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First Click -- Maryland

First Click

Your daily download of Maryland's top political news and analysis

Wednesday, December 30, 2009:

Gansler seeks to push off ballot appearances for Circuit Court judges, new local laws are on the way, and the Obama administration tries to get tougher on the Bay

Gansler: Stop electing judges
Gansler mug.jpgMaryland Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler (D) wants the state to "stop electing its Circuit Court judges, claiming the current process politicizes the job and raises questions about impartiality," writes Scott Daugherty at The Capital. Gansler has proposed "that Circuit Court judges, who are currently required to stand for election within two years of their appointment by the governor, spend 10 years on the bench before their name appears on a ballot."

Drivers, others affected by new laws in Maryland
"Speeding drivers, tow truck operators and fast-food fans who prefer not to be confronted with calorie counts are among those who might be frustrated by new laws in Maryland in the New Year," writes The Post's Michael Laris. "There's no Jan. 1 trigger for new laws in Washington's Maryland suburbs, but several measures will take effect in the next few weeks, and others will kick in as the year progresses."

Obama administration outlines tougher Bay approach
Scenic bay.jpg"The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, hoping that a get-tough approach can turn around the failing effort to save the Chesapeake Bay, outlined Tuesday ideas for punishing states that don't do their part," writes The Post's David Fahrenthold. "Those punishments, the agency said, will fall on states that either don't meet their goals for cutting pollution draining into Chesapeake tributaries or don't set those goals high enough. The consequences might include changes in federal funding, rejections of permits for new factories or tighter rules on some farms."
The Baltimore Sun's take here.
Meanwhile, "the head of the Environmental Protection Agency will take the helm of the Chesapeake Bay restoration effort next week when state, local and federal leaders huddle in the Washington area for a hurriedly scheduled stock-taking of their bid to jump-start the lagging cleanup campaign," writes The Sun's Tim Wheeler.

More setbacks for PATH
The backers of a proposed electricity-transmission line from West Virginia to Maryland have asked to withdraw their application to run parts of it through Virginia, citing a study that shows its power will not be needed as soon as they had predicted," writes Fahrenthold in The Post.

Dixon jurors summoned to court
Thumbnail image for Dixon photo.jpg"Five of the 12 jurors who convicted Baltimore Mayor Sheila Dixon of embezzling retail gift cards this month have been asked to return to court -- this time, as witnesses," reports The Sun's Julie Bykowicz. "A court official confirmed Tuesday that Circuit Judge Dennis M. Sweeney sent a letter to the jurors who had communicated through Facebook during the three-week trial, asking them to appear at a hearing next week on Dixon's motion for a new trial."

Foreclosure crisis hitting Maryland renters
"More and more renters have been caught up in the national foreclosure crisis, and lenders taking back those homes nearly always want them gone," reports Jamie Smith Hopkins in The Sun. "That has proved tremendously disruptive for the tenants, despite state and federal laws enacted in May to try to ease the pain."

Stimulus money for affordable housing near Aberdeen
The state housing department announced its financial backing Tuesday of a pair of housing developments near Aberdeen Proving Ground, where a Pentagon realignment plan is expected to drive up demand for affordable housing, writes Daniel Sernovitz at the Baltimore Business Journal.

Briefly:

  • Maryland's new neighbor to the south, Virginia Gov.-elect Robert F. McDonnell (R), has sent a letter to U.S. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar asking him to allow for the exploration of oil and gas off Virginia's coast, writes The Post's Anita Kumar.

  • Galen Claggett.jpg
  • Del. Galen Clagett (D-Frederick), says Maryland homeowners should be free to hang their clothes outside to dry, and will propose legislation that would prohibit homeowners associations from banning the use of clotheslines, writes Alan Suderman at The Washington Examiner. Clagett owns a company that manages 155 homeowners associations in four states.

  • Last week we learned the pre-Christmas storm busted the state's budget for snow removal, The Post's Jonathan Mummolo writes it's also sent Prince George's and likely other county budgets further into the red.

  • The Post's editorial page says Maryland should follow's the District's lead on taxing disposable shopping bags.
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    By Aaron C. Davis  |  December 30, 2009; 6:30 AM ET
    Categories:  Aaron C. Davis , First Click , John Wagner  
    Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Storm delivers blow to Prince George's budget
    Next: Owings confirms bid for governor on Facebook

    Comments

    A lawyer opposed to accountability... not exactly man bites dog.

    Posted by: member8 | December 30, 2009 6:03 PM | Report abuse

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