Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Same Sex Marriage

Annapolis - The hurdle for same sex marriage was in the Senate of Maryland. The bill had failed several times and the Senate President, Thomas V. "Mike" Miller has made no bones he doesn't like. Time takes it's toil on a lot of legislation. Conservative Democrats had been the bulwark. With a number of new Senators the tide changed and so did several Democratic senators.

The first to come around to the idea of allowing was Sen. James Brochin. Sen.Brochin was swayed by what he called vitriol from those against the measure. Coming from a swing district he made what some see is a calculation this vote would not hurt him.

The Sen. James Rosapepe from Prince George's and Anne Arundel Counties also changed his vote.

The debate was predictable with conservatives trying to add amendments which went no where. There was one change, the title of the bill. The term "Religious Freedom" was removed in an amendment. Here's the final tally of votes.

City vs. Poly Football Game

High School Football isn't what it use to be. One of the highlights for a number of teenagers is the annual City College versus Polytechnic Institute Football Game. I didn't attend either school but have friends who swear by the gridiron match up.

So it was slightly amusing when Delegate Jill Carter says she has bill which is causing fireworks because she wants the game played on Thanksgiving Day. House Bill 699 would revive the Turkey Day game. The school system changed the date so these two schools would be eligible for the statewide championships.

You not going to believe this but some in the Baltimore delegation believe it should stay where it is. Apparently, former University of Maryland and famed Dunbar coach Bob Wade spoke out against the bill. Is this a lot about nothing? Love to hear your thoughts.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

MIA Pat Jessamy

Baltimore- When last we saw Mrs. Patricia Jessamy, she was giving a concession speech to her supporters. Guest what, she may be dodging the spotlight but she's not really retired. I'll let her speak for herself.

I Missed Chuck Brown

Annapolis- There are just some things you don't want to miss and I did. Famed Go-Go creator Chuck Brown was honored by the House of Delegates. There are some things that don't often happen in Annapolis. He didn't bring his guitar or the band but no one will ever forget his appearance. Thanks to the folks from Maryland Reporter who made me feel like _ _it for missing it.

But here's my sweet revenge...Chuck Brown doing my personal theme song. Enjoy.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Negro Mountain et al...

(Annapolis, MD) - The ability to frame a debate can often be curious. Such as the case involving a natural wonder in western Maryland, called Negro Mountain. To the uninitiated holding on to a name like this seems to relate to a different time. Some would even suggest a time which has come and gone. It's not like people didn't know this existed, in fact some people have posed in pictures with signage.

The story behind the name apparently relates to former slave who saved a group of White Frontiersmen. In honor of his heroic efforts they honored him by calling this scenic mountain, Negro Mountain.

Many of the attempts to change the name have often come from people outside of Western Maryland where it sits. The feds tried but were thwarted. State Senator Lisa Gladden from Baltimore has tried to unsuccessfully for a number of years to change the name.

This year however, she has also included another mountain name that some suggest is politically incorrect, Polish Mountain. Senate Joint Resolution 3 has nine sponsors. FYI, when this was brought to the floor of the house and the Maryland Legislative Black Caucus had not taken a position on the name change.

For Western Maryland delegates some suggest this is a bit much. Listen to the arguement Del. Kevin Kelly made to me in the Maryland State House.

The irony about his position, he's apparently been willing to battle any and all comers on this subject.

"What was I thinking"

There have always been people who want to stir the pot in Annapolis, enter Delegate Curt Anderson. Delegate Anderson (I don't know if he was joking or trying to balance a new caucus) announced he was joining the Tea Party Caucus in the the Maryland Legislature.

When news of his joining the caucus was discovered, there were gasps. There was even a suggestion he could be stripped of his seniority in the Judiciary Committee.

This only lasted a few days because according to sources who went to an open delegation caucus he received a tongue lashing from several high powered Democrats including Delegates Maggie McIntosh, and Melvin Stukes. Len Lazarick of Maryland says, all Del. Stukes could do is shake his head, "I'm disappointed."

Friday, February 4, 2011

End of Week Politics in Annapolis

Annapolis - There are couple of items that caught my attention this week one involves the Department of Natural Resources haul of 20,000 pounds of "rock fish" from illegal gill nets that were anchored below the surface. The nets were found near Bloody Point Light, south of Kent Island in the Chesapeake Bay. In the Round table I said there was a $10,000 reward but its only $7000 reward. In lieu of this activity the gill net season has been closed.

For those wondering the fish was sold to the Maryland Wholesale Fish Market in Jessup, Maryland at market price(shouldn't it go at a lower price). The proceeds are put back into the DNR Police. Last year they able to purchase a radar.

Next week hearings on PEPCO, a Washington suburban utility will get a grilling and the contentious issue of Gay Marriage comes up.

Alan Brody of the Gazette has a excellent piece on taking slots out of the Maryland constitution. Several people suggested when it was originally proposed it should not be a part of a constitution because it would be difficult to change. Dahhhhh!!!!

The Herb and Lisa Show

When MPT decided to put Senator Lisa Gladden and Delegate Herb McMillan on the face off it became classic. The pair return and they are in rare form.You can catch their act on Maryland Public Television.

Also this week I have a story about higher education budget cuts which features Morgan State University President Dr. David Wilson.

Well it's what you've been waiting for the Roundtable. This week my guest is Nicholas Sohr of the Maryland Daily Record. He writes a blog called Eye on Annapolis.

Lastly, you can check out my appearance on Annapolis Week with Len Lazarick of Maryland

Till next week or when things break.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

The Few Memories from the State of State

Owings Mill, MD- With more than a third of the Maryland Legislative session done, Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley appeared before a joint session and delivered the State of the State. In attendance were the cabinet and congressional leaders. (I’ll have to check my sources, but I believe this was the first time Republican Congressman Roscoe Bartlett has every attended the event.)

The new democratic mantra seems to be “we must adapt to win.” The governor invoked President Obama’s message, “we must win the future.”

While it’s always difficult to measure a speech you know it’s not exactly going your way when you have to encourage people to clap especially when talking about Bowie State University. Parents And Colleges dot com ranked the school #1 for affordability.

There is always a laundry list of programs, activities, accomplishments and challenges. If there was any enthusiasm in the speech it came during the portion where he championed an idea to hold utilities accountable for falling to repair damaged power lines after snow storms. A bill is moving through the legislative process which would invoke fines and penalties for failing to restore power. The measure seems to be targeted at PEPCO who failed miserably during the most recent snow storm (According to some reports there are homes in the Washington Metro area that still don’t have power.) The blame was put on regulation.

Several positive points include O’Malley taking about how the state is poised to take advantage of its most promising industries, bio-medical, health, and cyber-security (being close to NSA and Washington helps).

The visionary stuff seemed centered on the Wind Turbines…especially those off Ocean City. I think we’re a little behind because Delaware is moving forward. I anticipate there will be litigation from the Sierra Club and Tourist groups.

Here are some of the more notable quotes from the guv – (with many apologies to Robert Erhlich).

“We must adapt to win.”

“87 cents of every general fund dollar we now spend allocated to public education, public health and public safety, there are no easy answers.”

(On the reliability of electric power)
“How long do you want to wait?”

“Everything has a cost…inaction had a huge cost.”

Republican Response

The Republicans were served well by Delegate Jeannie Haddaway-Riccio. I’ve been a fan of Delegate for a while. Her election as Minority Whip to me was a no brainier. Her public relations background should serve the caucus well. Unlike some of her predecessors who didn’t understand television she came off as sincere. FYI, delegate Haddaway-Riccio the hand gestures did seem to sell you sincerity.

Now let’s get to the message. If the Democrats mantra is to “win the future,” the GOP’s message is to “slow the growth of government.” It works well on a national level but remind yourself this is the state that elected a Democrat over a Republican for Governor. It was the only state to do so in a Republican landslide.

The other issue the Republicans want to hang their hat is the repeal of the Healthcare Law – and no I’m not going to call it Obamacare because that’s not what the law is called.

The big push is limiting the growth of government. I found it curious there was not mention of the combining of Department of Environment and the Department of Natural Resources. No credit for this…hmmm?

Here are some of the more quotable quotes.

“The message from the election, put the politics aside get the job done, reduce spending.”

“If we must be first in the Health Exchange process let it be private.”

“We must have an eye to limited government.”

You can click Republican Response to see the full speech.


I’m often underwhelmed by these events and this one lived up to the billing on both sides. These are now no more than political theater. For the state’s utilities I’m guessing your lobbyist will be working overtime to beat back the proposal to impose penalties. Once again utilities will be seen as bogeymen. Be happy there’s not a Southwest Airline ad being run that shows an executive who doesn't have a care in the world attitude.

The State of the State

(Annapolis) - Their are three events which are always a part of the Maryland legislative process. The State of the State is like a report card. If you're on twitter you can responses to the address which is airing live on Maryland Public Television.

Later the Lt. Governor Anthony Brown will respond to YouTube questions. The legislature has come a long way from having the address reported days later, but it is a sign of the times.

I'll address what was said and what the outcome will be.

Last but not least I want to welcome my good friend Tom Lou Bianco. He's reporting for Associated Press.