Maryland lawmakers consider US force in Syria. Governor O’Malley is set to unveil $1.5-billion in state funds Baltimore-area transportation projects. An update on the Annapolis mayoral race. An ad campaign to educate Marylanders about their new insurance options. And more.
US Force In Syria: Leaders of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee have come up with a draft resolution on a possible U.S. military strike on Syria. As NPR notes, it sets a 60-day deadline for a strike to be launched with a single 30-day extension. It also bans the use of American ground forces. A similar prohibition on the use of ground troops is the keystone of a draft resolution being circulated in the House of Representatives by 8th District Congressman Chris Van Hollen. Van Hollen tells the Washington Post that he hopes his measure will “mesh easily” with the one before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. That panel could vote on the resolution today; if it’s approved, it would go to the full Senate for a vote once members return from recess next week. Recent surveys have shown more Americans opposed to force in Syria than in favor of a military action. And that’s being reflected by the constituents who are contacting 7th District Congressman Elijah Cummings, who tells WYPR that “99% of all the calls that I’m getting into my office are against this.” Cummings says he hasn’t decided how he’ll vote. Also leaning against military action in Syria is 1st District Congressman Andy Harris. The only Republican – and only veteran – in Maryland’s delegation said yesterday that if a vote on military intervention in Syria were held today, he’d vote against it. But Harris tells the Baltimore Sun that he plans to “examine all the evidence before making a decision.”
Transportation Projects: Governor Martin O’Malley is planning to announce $1.5-billion in new state funding for more than a dozen transportation projects in the Baltimore area, including the planned Red Line. The Baltimore Sun reports that O’Malley is also expected to talk about Maryland’s desire to attract public-private partnerships to get the Red Line project moving forward. And on today’s edition of Inside Maryland Politics, WYPR's Fraser Smith and Alexander Pyles talk about why some Baltimore politicians recently wrote to Governor O'Malley and asked him to change the plan for the Red Line.
Annapolis Mayoral Race: When Josh Cohen became Annapolis’s mayor four years ago, the city was living beyond its means while not making the most of its assets. But despite what he calls a successful rescue, Cohen’s bid for re-election has drawn sharp criticism. WYPR’s Karen Hosler reports. The candidates running for Annapolis Mayor will be involved in two elections forums: one on Thursday of this week, the other on Thursday of next week. The Baltimore Sun has information about them here.
Lollar’s Gubernatorial Bid: Republican businessman Charles Lollar kicked off his campaign to be Maryland’s next governor yesterday. He’s in the midst of a statewide bus tour, which continues today with scheduled stops in Baltimore City and Baltimore County, as well as in Ellicott City and in Frederick. The Baltimore Sun reports that Lollar is one of three men now vying for the GOP gubernatorial nomination; also in the race are Harford County Executive David Craig and Anne Arundel County Delegate Ron George.
Ad Campaign For Maryland Health Connection: State officials yesterday unveiled a paid advertising campaign designed to get people to sign up for health insurance, under the state’s new online insurance marketplace. As WYPR’s Bret Jaspers reports, the campaign’s designed to educate Marylanders about their new insurance options. The state’s goal is to enroll about 180-thousand uninsured individuals into new plans by March 31, when open enrollment closes. Another goal is to get 100-thousand new people into an expanded Medicaid program. Currently about 800-thousand Marylanders have no health insurance. The Baltimore Sun has more here.
Busy Busy BWI: BWI Airport is now the busiest airport in the region. A new study by Airports Council International shows that BWI served some 22.7 -million passengers last year. The Baltimore Business Journal reports that the increased traffic made BWI making it the 23rd busiest airport in the country in 2012. That traffic put it ahead of nearby Dulles International Airport, which was the 24th busiest in the nation last year.
Bogomolny Announces Retirement: University of Baltimore President Robert Bogomolny says he's retiring from his position at the end of the academic year. The 75-year-old has led the school for more than a decade, helping to revive the university's four-year degree program and improve the campus and surrounding area. Bogomolny tells the Baltimore Sun that he plans to take a year off to travel, then return to the university to teach law. A committee will be formed next month to begin a national search for his successor.
Baltimore Baseball: The Orioles lost yesterday’s game against the Cleveland Indians; the score was 4 to 3. The loss puts the O’s three games out of a wild card spot. The O’s and the Indians play again tonight.
Baltimore Football: The Ravens are headed to Denver today, in advance of tomorrow’s first game of the regular season. A special floating stage for tomorrow night's NFL Kick-off concert in Baltimore is now in place. Yesterday, a tugboat with a stage on it was hauled into the Inner Harbor across from the Maryland Science Center. Grammy Award-winning country music star Keith Urban will perform on the stage as part of a free concert leading up to the NFL's season-opening game.