First Click -- Maryland
Your daily download of Maryland's top political news and analysis
Thursday, December 31, 2009:
Bay backers question the EPA's toughness, some jockeying takes place in the governor's race, and sunshine peeks out in Annapolis
EPA not tough enough, Bay backers say
"A day after the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency detailed its plans to crack down on Chesapeake Bay pollution, a collection of scientists, environmentalists and ex-politicians said Wednesday that its approach isn't tough enough," reports The Post's David Fahrenthold, detailing a meeting that took place in the Maryland State House. "The 38-member group, brought together by a former Maryland state senator, said the EPA is not moving aggressively enough to curb pollution that drains off farmland or to protect the forests that serve as a natural water filter. And although the EPA announced plans Tuesday to sanction states that lag behind their cleanup goals, the group called for Congress to pass legislation to expand that power to punish."
O'Malley targets Ehrlich; Owings targets O'Malley
"Gov. Martin O'Malley (D) plays up the prospect of a rematch with former governor Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. (R) in a new fundraising solicitation seeking contributions before the legislative session starts next month," writes The Post's John Wagner. Meanwhile, O'Malley's soon-to-be Democratic challenger George W. Owings III confirms his announcement plans on multiple Facebook pages. A sampling: "I hope you'll be with me as I announce my candidacy for Governor on 1/6!"
Mizeur serves up more sunshine than Ali
"When Maryland's General Assembly convenes next month, lawmakers will have to weigh competing good government bills authored by two Montgomery County delegates," writes The Post's Aaron Davis. The latest entry by Del. Heather Mizeur is more comprehensive than the Legislative Voting Sunshine Act pre-filed by Del. Saqib Ali, which would require lawmakers' committee votes to be posted on the General Assembly Web site.
And this just in: Sen. Nancy J. King (D-Montgomery), whose seat interests Ali, wrote to Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller Jr. (D-Calvert) on Wednesday, asking that Senate committee votes be posted online far more quickly than is the case now. Since 2007, Senate committee votes have been included in the publication of the chamber's Journal, which appears online well after the fact (House committee votes are never placed online). "We should place a prominent link to this information on the General Assembly's homepage," King wrote, saying she looks forward to working with Miller in 2010 to "promote openness and sunshine in Maryland's government."
O'Malley assembling foreclosure mediation measure
"During the legislative session that begins next month, Gov. Martin O'Malley (D) plans to unveil an agenda that includes a mediation program modeled on successful efforts in Philadelphia and Connecticut," reports The Post's Ovetta Wiggns. "He has assembled a group of his legislative staff, housing counselors, lawyers, bankers, and mortgage servicers to shape a plan."
MVA delays policy on sex changes
"The Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration has postponed a policy change that, starting Jan. 1, would have required transgender residents to obtain a court order or amended birth certificate to change the gender on their driver's license or identification card," reports The Sun's Laura Smitherman. "The delay drew praise Wednesday from gay rights advocates who mobilized to protest altering the policy that's been in effect since 2000 and allows applicants to change their designation if they provide a physician or psychologist's report confirming they are undergoing a sex change."
Md. Dems to ring in the New Year at Rams Head
"Come next month, people looking for the headquarters of the Maryland Democrats could find a party of another sort: The staff is about to move into office space that is part of the historic Rams Head Tavern in Annapolis," writes The Post's Wagner.
First Click is off until Monday. See you in 2010.
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