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First Click -- Maryland

First Click

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

Monday, January 11, 2010:

General Assembly previews focus on budget gap
Cloudy State House.jpgAlmost every news organization in the state ran a story over the weekend previewing Wednesday's opening of the legislative session - and almost every one focused on Maryland's near $2 billion budget gap:

  • AP: "With every seat in the Legislature up for re-election in November, tax increases have been ruled out by the Maryland General Assembly's presiding officers," writes Brian Witte. "That means Gov. Martin O'Malley, who also is up re-election, and lawmakers will have to go through another round of spending reductions at the worst possible time for public officials who approved big tax hikes and budget cuts in recent years."

  • WPost: "State-level cuts will quickly trickle down to localities, where officials will have to make the same sorts of decisions," writes Sandhya Somashekhar. "Local officials in Maryland are particularly worried about funding for roads. Last year, counties did not receive nearly all of the state highway maintenance funds they were counting on and lawmakers said they are not likely to get any of that money back this year."

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  • The Capital: "O'Malley and leaders such as House Speaker Michael E. Busch, D-Annapolis, and Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller Jr., D-Calvert, have emphasized the session will be focused on job creation," writes Liam Farrell. However, "Individual delegates and senators of both parties also will have differing philosophies and ideas on how to jump-start Maryland's struggling economy. Their task will be to persuade a majority of their colleagues to follow the same path"

  • The Examiner: "Stimulus money is slated to run dry over the next fiscal year as the economic crisis outlives the stopgap funds," writes Hayley Peterson.

  • Daily Times: Greg Latshaw outlines Eastern Shore issues, including strengthening sex offender laws, helping watermen, and allowing beer tastings.

  • Herald-Mail: Erin Julius offers the view from Washington County

  • The Baltimore Sun (news pages): "Gov. Martin O'Malley and the Democratic-controlled General Assembly will begin the 90-day legislative session Wednesday with one eye on the battered budget and the other on this fall's election," writes Julie Bykowicz.

  • The Baltimore Sun (editorial page): "Maryland lawmakers prefer the final year of a four-year term to be quiet and noncontroversial as they face an election year. The General Assembly session set to begin Wednesday is likely to prove nothing of the sort for a variety of reasons," which the paper outlines here.
  • Beyond the budget

    Ehrlich urges 'major' turnout for Annapolis march
    Thumbnail image for Ehrlich head turned.jpg"Former Maryland governor Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. (R) used his Saturday morning radio program to promote a defiant march on Annapolis on Wednesday, the opening day of the 2010 legislative session," reports The Post's John Wagner. ""This is your night," Ehrlich, who is contemplating a rematch with O'Malley (D), told his listeners on WBAL radio in Baltimore. "I want to encourage a major, major presence. I want to encourage the largest crowd ever in Annapolis, Maryland." On its Web site, the Maryland chapter of Americans for Prosperity, the organizers of the march, encourage people to "come to Annapolis and send a message to your elected officials: ENOUGH IS ENOUGH!" The group claims that O'Malley's "fiscal mismanagement is astounding."
    The Sun's take here.

    O'Malley State House.jpgKilling of 11-year-old, sex offender issues to resonate through session
    "Depending on how far the state's Democratic-controlled legislature is willing to go in an election year and whether O'Malley latches on to a particular proposal, efforts to tighten restrictions could add a layer of complexity to lawmaking this year in Annapolis," writes The Post's Aaron Davis, in a story that also takes a deeper look at how the killing appears to have affected O'Malley's message on crime reduction. "With or without new legislation, hearings on Maryland's sex offender rules appear likely to raise questions about the tenacity of prosecutions and coordination of law enforcement efforts surrounding at least one of the state's registered sex offenders. A Washington Post review of court records and interviews with law enforcement sources reveal a more disturbing picture than detailed previously about Thomas Leggs Jr., 30, the man charged with kidnapping in the disappearance of Sarah Haley Foxwell."


  • More jobless benefits may translate into higher Maryland taxes, writes The Baltimore Business Journal's Scott Dance.

  • In a Washington Post op-ed, Del. Luiz Simmons (D-Montgomery) offers his take on more open government, starting with a proposal to require timely committee votes on all bills.

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  • Republican National Committee Chairman (and former Maryland Lieutenant Governor) Michael S. Steele published a book this past week titled "Right Now." It should have been called "Going Rogue," writes The Post's Dan Balz.

  • In an opinion piece, The Post's Charles Lane argues that voters -- not a prosecutor -- should have decided whether Baltimore Mayor Sheila Dixon stays in office.

  • The Pew Research Center's Project for Excellence in Journalism focuses on the Baltimore media in a new study.

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  • Michael R. Enright, a senior aide and friend since high school of Gov. O'Malley, is leaving the administration for a job with a power and infrastructure company in Easton.

  • Maryland lawmakers' pensions still better than most, writes Len Lazarick at

  • Prince George's County to start using speed cameras in school zones, writes The Post's Jonathan Mummolo.

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  • By Aaron C. Davis  |  January 11, 2010; 6:45 AM ET
    Categories:  Aaron C. Davis , First Click , John Wagner  
    Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Ehrlich urges 'major' turnout for Annapolis march
    Next: Busch session priorities include gang legislation

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