Aug. 1, 2007
2 councilmen seek repeal of state job prohibition
Baltimore County Councilman Vincent J. Gardina worked for a quasi-state agency, then collected a six-figure legal settlement from the government when he challenged his firing.
Now Gardina, along with fellow Councilman John Olszewski Sr., want to place on the 2008 ballot a charter amendment to repeal a prohibition against council members holding state jobs.
Gardina and other county officials say they were unaware of the charter provision in 2003 when the councilman was a project manager for an agency create d by the state legislature. He and Olszewski say the prohibition is antiquated and unfairly restricts who can run for the council. But opponents contend that council members with state jobs hold the possibility of having too much influence, and would inevitably run into conflicts of interest.
Open Space purchase debated
Amid Shore deal, some question how state chooses, buys
Department of Natural Resources officials say the state ought to buy a 74-acre parcel at the northern tip of Kent Island - known as Love Point - because it is unique, offers deep-water access for boaters and has historical significance as the main docking point for a ferry that shuttled passengers between Baltimore and the Eastern Shore in the decades before the Bay Bridge opened. But others say the proposed $7.2 million deal for the Langenfelder Marine property - a dusty, industrial waterfront site - raises broader concerns about how the state handles land purchases under Program Open Space.
Kopp noted that the deal was proposed by the property's owners, Atchafalaya Holdings LLC, and did not originate with the state. Records show that company representatives approached Natural Resources officials in the waning days of Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr.'s administration and that the proposal moved forward under O'Malley.
Del. Richard A. Sossi, a Queen Anne's County Republican, said the Kudner farm purchase appeared "odorous" but that he doesn't object to the deal for the Langenfelder site. "To me, it looks fine and legitimate," said Sossi, who serves on the House of Delegates Environmental Matters Committee. "I think it's a fair price. ... I have not seen or heard anything to cause me concern."
Franchot plans to block purchase of shoreline property
Comptroller Peter Franchot said Tuesday he will again attempt to block the state's purchase of 73 acres of shoreline property on
Lawmaker: Flag teachers suspected of child abuse
School systems throughout the state wo uld be informed when teachers face allegations of sexual or violent crimes under a bill a state lawmaker plans to propose.
Sen. Nancy Jacobs, R-District 34, said the measure would prevent school districts from unknowingly hiring a teacher accused of these crimes.
"Children's safety in the classrooms should be a primary goal of the school systems in this state," Jacobs said in a statement. "We must not allow sexual predators to hide out in our children's classrooms." Jacobs' bill would include private schools that do not notify county superintendents of teachers under criminal investigation for alleged sexual, violent or child-abuse crimes.
Top official seeks to ban cancer-causing coal fly ash
The use of coal fly ash, which has been linked to well water contamination in Gambrills, may soon be illegal to use in Anne Arundel. County Executive John Leopold is drafting an emergency bill that would prohibit the material that has been blamed for leaching cancer-causing heavy metals into 23 wells in western Anne Arundel. "We're talking about an immediate halt in spreading the plume of carcinogens in our drinking water,” Leopold said.
Foes of Nuclear Expansion Find Few Allies
The longtime environmentalist is among a tiny group of
Garrett Co. crops could provide for areas suffering from drought
"Our limiting fa ctor here for crops is temperature," according to Willie Lantz, who is agriculture and natural resources educator for Maryland Cooperative Extension for Garrett County. "The rainfall is seldom a limiting factor here. We are having a dry year here, but even though rainfall is less than normal, it's still enough for crops."Farmers in other counties have contacted the extension office to find
Doing the math
Maryland's Court of Appeals has agreed with the State Board of Education that charter schools are entitled to a much larger sum of money th an school boards, particularly Baltimore's Board of School Commissioners, think is fair. The ruling could cost the city school system hundreds of thousands of dollars in compensatory funds. It may also inspire the General Assembly to come up with more realistic funding for charter schools.
In the meantime, a more practical solution might be for Baltimore's school board members and new schools CEO Andres Alonso to sit down with members of the state board and try to convince them that a recent funding formula offered to charter schools by the city school system is satisfactory even under the court's ruling.
Teaching the Constitution
It is about time someone taught the Constitution to the professors, lawyers and journalists. In responding to President Bush's recent assertion of presidential control over
When one branch pushes too hard, the others strike back. This is what happened with the
Donald Devine was the director of the
Sketches keep state staffers on same page as legislature
By Tom LoBianco
A drawing from 2001 represents the jet leased by Gov. Parris N. Glendening, dubbed "Air Parris," and from 2003 is Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr.'s face on a slot machine. The images, often humorous and irreverent, appear in a collection of posters Maryland officials have kept in secret to chronicle the high and low points of each General Assembly session since 1980.
Troubles mount for Shore farmers
Growers turn to crop insurance subsidies
This was supposed to be a year of good fortune where
A new five-year $285 billion Farm Bill was reauthorized by the U.S. House of Representatives on Friday, and more crop insurance subsidies are in the bill. U.S. Rep. Wayne Gilchrest, R-1st-Md., supported the bill, which passed 231-191, because it has reorganized some money to more conservation programs and pushed more dollars to cleaning the
The region has been identified as having historic agricultural importance, too. There are also additional support options for fruit and vegetable growers, which haven't been in previous bills. "I would say this Farm Bill is probably the most beneficial farm bill to
Candidate for Congress also eyes presidency
Sounding off on topics such as immigration and pedophilia, congressional candidate Frank Nethken sat on the steps outside
He called it a press conference, but it was actually a monologue in front of a reporter and a videographer from The Herald-Mail.
Nethken, 76, a Republican challenging eight-term incumbent U.S. Rep. Roscoe Bartlett, R-6th, said he's also running an "exploratory" campaign for president. He said he checked with the Maryland State Board of Elections on how he should proceed.
Ethics Bill Faces Tough Senate Test
After winning overwhelming passage in the House, a lobbying and ethics overhaul landed Tuesday in the Senate, where all sides are bracing for a fight. But while Senate Democrats urged swift passage, Republican leaders said they needed some time.
Joe L. Barton, R-Texas, said he voted against the bill in part because he believed it would expose members and their campaign committees to possible investigations if they make errors in the newly required paperwork. "It's setting people up to fail," Barton said. "My concern is that there is way too much bureaucracy in this legislation." "It's not a perfect bill. But it's a significant step forward," said Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer, D-Md.
House votes to give up many traditional perks
The House on Tuesday overwhelmingly approved sweeping ethics rules that would require lawmakers to disclose the names of lobbyists who gather more than $15,000 in political contributions for them within a six-month period. The measure would also impose new restrictions on accepting gifts, discounted airfare and other long-held perquisites of office. The legislation, to be considered by the Senate later this week, also calls for greater disclosure of legislators' special projects, or earmarks, which are often shrouded in secrecy.
The most far-reaching element of the bill - and the one that caused the most contentious behind-the-scenes negotiations - was the provisions to require the disclosure of campaign contributions that lobbyists gather from clients and associates to give to political candidates and the parties' congressional campaign committees. The bill would require lawmakers and the committees to disclose the names of lobbyists who raise $15,000 or more within a six-month period.
"Trying to preserve those provisions was a sticking point in the negotiations all along," said Rep. Chris Van Hollen, D-Md., chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, who led the push for them.