Mon October 7, 2013
The Federal Government Shutdown, The BDC Violates MD’s Open Meetings Act, and Poe House Reopens
The tens of thousands of Maryland federal government workers who’ve been furloughed during the government’s partial shutdown will likely get their back pay, under legislation approved by the House of Representatives on Saturday. Plus: the BDC violates MD’s Open Meetings Act, Poe House reopens, and more.
Federal Government Shutdown: Maryland Senator Barbara Mikulski is continuing to call on her fellow lawmakers to pass a bill that would fund the entire federal government, as its partial shutdown enters its seventh day. But so far, there’s no indication that Congress is any closer to an agreement than it was last week. The federal government plays a major role in Maryland’s economy… with about 10 percent of the state’s workforce employed directly by the federal government, and an additional 8 percent employed by companies that contract for the federal government. One of those contractors, Bethesda-based Lockheed Martin, says it’s going to start furloughing its workers this week. For the start, about 3-thousand of the aerospace company’s employees will be furloughed; Lockheed Martin’s CEO tells the Washington Post that the number of furloughs will increase weekly if the shutdown continues. The furloughed Marylanders who work directly for the federal government will likely be paid once the shutdown ends, due to legislation passed over the weekend by the House of Representatives. The Baltimore Sun reports that the bill would give furloughed government workers back pay once the shutdown ends; it still needs a vote in the Senate and the signature of the President – and while that is expected to happen, it’s unclear when. While the shutdown continues, Maryland’s economy is estimated to be taking a hit of nearly $15-million a day. And at last count, there were more than 14-thousand federal claims for unemployment benefits filed in our state due to the shutdown.
Furloughs Contribute To Lower Gas Prices: The price at the pump is dropping in Maryland, and AAA Mid Atlantic says the government shutdown may be partially responsible, due to a decline in demand. AAA says that another factor in the lower prices is a seasonal change – as gas stations are now switching over to less expensive winter blends of gasoline.
BDC Violates Open Meetings Act: Maryland’s Open Meetings Compliance Board says that the Baltimore Development Corporation’s board violated the state’s Open Meetings Act when it refused to disclose the topics discussed during closed meeting in July. The Baltimore Business Journal had filed a complaint after the BDC declined to state what topics were discussed during the July 25th meeting. The Business Journal reports that the Open Meetings Compliance Board has no power to penalize the BDC.
Will Balt. Co. Executive Kamenetz Abide By The Court Of Law? For more than 400 retired Police Department employees from Baltimore County the fight continues as they try to get reimbursed for being overcharged for health insurance. There’s more on today’s edition of Inside Maryland Politics.
Poe House Reopens: The former home of Edgar Allen Poe is open the public again. The house on Amity Street is now being operated by the group Poe Baltimore. The Poe House will now be open from noon to 4:00 p.m. every weekend until winter. Admission is free. The Baltimore Sun has more here.
Lady Baltimore Moves: The Lady Baltimore statue has a new home. The eight-foot marble figure that symbolizes Baltimore had stood atop the Battle Monument at Courthouse Square since 1822 until it was moved Saturday. The Baltimore Sun reports that Lady Baltimore's new home is inside the Maryland Historical Society Museum and Library in Mount Vernon. A concrete replica now stands in front of the courthouse.
Overnight Pratt Street Closure: The section of Pratt Street between Howard and Charles here in Baltimore will be closed nightly all week long as crews make repairs to a pedestrian bridge. City transportation officials said demolition work will commence tonight and should continue through Friday morning, weather permitting. The Baltimore Sun reports that, until repairs are complete drivers should expect detours in that area but only during the overnight hours.
Rain In The Forecast: Maryland’s getting some rain today… but not the powerful winds that had at one point been expected. The Baltimore Sun reports that the storm system that was Tropical Storm Karen has been was downgraded to a low pressure system. But the Free State will get wet today – with rain developing this morning, and thunderstorms possible this afternoon. An inch or more of rain could fall before tomorrow. Also, unrelated high winds are pushing the Chesapeake Bay’s waters to higher than normal levels; that’s prompted officials to issue a coastal flood advisory until tomorrow. Bay tides could be 1 to 1½ feet above normal.
Baltimore Football: The Ravens beat the Miami Dolphins 26 to 23 yesterday. The Ravens host the Green Bay Packers this coming Sunday – October 13th.