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First Click -- Maryland

First Click

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

Thursday, January 14, 2010:

Maryland's tuition freeze is thawing; marchers on Annapolis brave the cold; a bundled-up Bob Ehrlich is among them

O'Malley: Maryland to thaw tuition freeze
O'Malley closeup.jpg"A four-year freeze on public university tuition in Maryland will come to an end this year, Gov. Martin O'Malley (D) said Wednesday, underscoring the stark fiscal choices ahead for state legislators as they convened for their annual 90-day session," writes The Post's John Wagner and Aaron Davis. "With Maryland facing a $2 billion shortfall next year, O'Malley said in-state students should expect only 'a slight increase' in tuition, perhaps about 3 percent. But his decision to curtail a signature initiative during an election year spoke volumes about the larger challenges facing the state because of the recession." Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller Jr. (D-Calvert) went further: "It's a major concession on the part of the governor," Miller said., adding that he was certain O'Malley would have liked to continue the tuition freeze for another year. "It's been good policy and great politics."
MikulskiHarrison.jpgPost coverage of the legislature's opening day includes a photo gallery created by Mark Gail.
In other coverage of the tuition issue, The Baltimore Sun writes that "the Democratic governor, who has prided himself on fulfilling his campaign promise to hold the line on college tuition increases, said the 'brutal economy' and pressure by the university system and other state officials led him to believe the freeze should end."
There is more coverage by The AP; Washington Examiner; The Daily Record; and The Sun's Jay Hancock weighs in, saying the freeze was "beginning to be counterproductive."
Some related news: University of Maryland in report faulting public universities on aid.

Tea party group marches on Annapolis, Ehrlich attends
Tea party.JPGMaryland's chapter of Americans for Prosperity marched on Annapolis Wednesday night -- or at least jumped up and down to stay warm outside the State House as the temperature hovered around freezing," writes The Post's Aaron Davis.
KendelBobRalle.jpg"Expectations for the rally were heightened last week when former Maryland governor Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. (R) used his radio program to encourage 'the largest crowd ever' in Annapolis. The event was certainly not the biggest -- one state law enforcement officer estimated the gathering at about 500 people. But Ehrlich, who arrived in a green winter coat and gloves, said the turnout made a statement.
More coverage in The Sun.

O'Malley names delegate, dominos fall in Frederick

Jenkins.jpgGov. Martin O'Malley (D) on Wednesday named Charles A. Jenkins as Maryland's newest delegate, ending a monthlong process in which Republicans in two counties disagreed over who should succeed Richard B. Weldon Jr., writes Andrew Schotz for the Herald-Mail. "Now, Frederick County's GOP will be back at it, choosing a replacement for Jenkins' county commission seat, to which he was elected in 2006. This time, the central committee expects to have just one recommendation for the governor to consider."
Red Maryland says there were consequences for the party not picking a replacement on its own.
The Baltimore Sun says the NAACP is kind of annoyed.

Maryland retains top education rating
"The nation earned a C on the 14th annual Education Week report card, which measures how well states have delivered a high-quality education to all students, with Maryland earning the best overall grade of any state," writes The Post's Valerie Strauss. "Maryland scored a B plus and was followed by Massachusetts and New York, which both earned a B. Most states got grades of C or lower. ... People pay attention to the report because Education Week is a respected publication. But as with any such assessment, don't take a grade as gospel." Strauss writes. "Some of the measures used to grade the states are debatable."

O'Malley taunts Indiana governor to bet on Ravens-Colts
"O'Malley (D) is riding the Ravens' playoff romp for all it's worth," Davis writes. "First he complained that Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick (D), didn't pay up when he bet New England lobsters on a Patriots victory. On Wednesday, he boldly taunted Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels (R), whom he said was avoiding a wager on Saturday's matchup between the Ravens and the AFC's No. 1 seed Indianapolis Colts. "I've tried calling Gov. Mitch Daniels, but I think he's a scared. He will not answer the phone. He will not take the bet. ... Mitch, c'mon. We'll put up crab cakes or we'll put up Smith Island cake, and you can put up whatever it is that Indiana does."

Briefly

  • "Six months after a building moratorium took effect in Bethesda, the Montgomery County Planning Board is poised to end it Thursday, opening the way for more development in one of the county's most densely packed areas," writes The Post's Miranda Spivack.

  • Rawlings-Blake.jpg
  • The Baltimore Sun looks at incoming Mayor Stephanie C. Rawlings-Blake's return Wednesday to the stomping grounds of her father, the late Del. Howard "Pete" Rawlings.

  • A major Prince George's County development faces foreclosure.

  • The Sun recounts House Speaker Michael E. Busch (D-Anne Arundel) telling radio host Marc Steiner: "I'm against neutering."
  • By Aaron C. Davis  |  January 14, 2010; 6:30 AM ET
    Categories:  Aaron C. Davis , First Click , John Wagner  
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