Fri July 11, 2014
Hearing On Funding For Child Immigrant Crisis, Primary Recounts, & Baltimore Pensions
Lawmakers in Washington are considering President Obama's request for $3.7-billion to help deal with the flood of immigrants crossing the US Mexico border. Recounts could be on the way for two close primary elections. A look at Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake’s desired changes to the pension plan for new police officers and firefighters. Plus: Baltimore curfew centers, the Red Line, Sparrows Point, an E-ZPass phishing scam, and more.
Hearing On Emergency Funding For Child Immigrant Crisis: Lawmakers in Washington are considering President Obama's request for $3.7-billion to help deal with the flood of immigrants crossing the US Mexico border. Yesterday, the Senate Appropriations Committee heard testimony on the proposal. Maryland Senator Barbara Mikulski chairs that committee. She describes the situation as a “refugee crisis.” Tens of thousands of undocumented migrants have poured across the U.S.-Mexican border in recent months, fleeing Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador. Many of the migrants are unaccompanied children. The Baltimore Sun reports that federal officials are eyeing a former Army Reserve site in Westminster as a possible shelter for some of the children.
Pension Fight Brewing Again In Baltimore: WYPR's Fraser Smith and Luke Broadwater of the Baltimore Sun talk about the mayor's desired changes to the pension plan for new police officers and firefighters, and why public safety unions are fighting against them. It’s this morning’s edition of Inside Maryland Politics.
Primary Recounts: Recounts could be on the way for two close primary elections. Republican Tony Campbell has asked for a recount in the Baltimore County Executive’s race, where he lost to George Harman by eighteen votes. And Democrat Doyle Niemann is calling for a partial recount in a Prince George’s County Council race, where he lost by six votes to Deni Taveras. The Washington Post reports that recount could take place over the weekend; the Baltimore Sun reports that a timeline for a recount in the Baltimore County Executive’s race is not yet available. The Daily Record has more.
Board Of Elections Rejects Online Balloting Tool: The State Board of Elections has revisited its decision on an online voting tool – and has decided not to certify the system. However, the Daily Record notes that the tool could still be approved and in place by the November general election. The National Federation of the Blind has filed a lawsuit in federal court calling for the state to use the online balloting tool. The case is set to be heard in August.
Board Of Elections Clears Hogan Of Complaint: The Board of Elections has cleared Republican gubernatorial nominee Larry Hogan in a complaint filed against him… saying Hogan did not break any laws when he converted his advocacy group, Change Maryland, into a campaign force. The complaint against Hogan was filed two months ago by two of his challengers in the GOP Primary – David Craig and Ron George – who alleged disclosure laws were violated. The ruling did note that Change Maryland was used for political “exploratory activities,” but said such activities were legal. There’s more here from the Washington Post and here from the Baltimore Sun.
Democratic “Unity Rally”: Maryland Democrats have scheduled a “unity” rally for next week, as the governor’s race intensifies. The party’s nominee, Lieutenant Governor Anthony Brown, will be joined by his two chief primary rivals, Doug Gansler and Heather Mizeur, for the event next Wednesday in Greenbelt. There’s more here from the Washington Post and here from the Baltimore Sun.
Baltimore Curfew Centers: Two curfew centers for Baltimore youth will open before a new curfew law kicks in August 8th. Mayor Stephanie Blake-Rawlings announced yesterday that the centers will be located on the east and west sides of the city and will have police officers and social workers on their staffs. Baltimore’s new curfew is said to be among the strictest in the nation, requiring unsupervised children to be indoors as early as 9pm. The Baltimore Sun has more.
Red Line: Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz says his county is willing to pay $26.5-million to help construct the Red Line – the long-planned east-west transit line that would connect Woodlawn to East Baltimore. But that $26.5-million is only about half of what the state has asked the county to chip in. The state’s Transportation Director is planning a meeting with Kamenetz in the near future to discuss Red Line funding… and the Maryland transit Administration is set to issue a report on the projected costs of the Red Line on September 1st. The Baltimore Sun reports that the current timeline for the project would see the 14.1 mile transit line open in 2022.
Sparrows Point: The owner of the Sparrows Point steel mill property is looking to sell a “significant portion” of the land to a local investment group. Sources tell the Daily Record that the group is Hanover-based Redwood Capital Investments. Baltimore County has created an organization called the “Sparrows Point Partnership” which is hoping to redevelop the land for industrial uses. County officials tell the Baltimore Sun that they’re optimistic that the Partnership’s plans will become a reality. The Sparrows Point steel mill closed in 2012.
Power Outages Persist In Western MD: It will be at least another day before hundreds of people in Frederick and Washington counties get their electricity back. Allegheny Power says there are about 930 of its Maryland customers who still don't have electricity, in the wake of the violent storms that rolled through the region Tuesday night. Those customers are being told their power may not be restored until tomorrow. The utility is giving out bags of ice and water to those affected. The Frederick News Post has more.
BGE Uses Helicopters To Find Power Line Problems: Here in central Maryland, BGE will be using helicopters to find problems with its power lines. The choppers will fly above Anne Arundel, Baltimore, Howard and Prince George's Counties through August as a way to inspect towers, poles and wires. BGE says inspections will continue on the ground as well in an effort to improve service reliability. The Baltimore Sun has more here, and there’s more here from WBAL.
E-ZPass Phishing Scam: The Maryland Transportation Authority is warning the public about an E-ZPass phishing scam. The MTA says emails requesting that customers pay their toll debt online are circulating, but it's really an effort to obtain personal information and should be ignored and deleted. The MTA says it does not ever request personal information through email. The Baltimore Sun has more.
“Battle of the Beltways”: The Orioles remain at the top of the American League East, after beating the Washington Nationals 4 to 3 in yesterday’s game. The O’s are now set to play a series of home games against the New York Yankees; tonight’s starts at 7:05 at Camden Yards.