Gansler enters the governor’s race; Brown picks up Sarbanes’ endorsement; a new poll of likely Democratic voters puts Brown ahead. The GOP gets new leadership in the State Senate. Leopold looks for a political comeback. A look at the new gun law that takes effect next week. And more.
New Gun Law: New gun purchasing regulations take effect in Maryland a week from today, on October 1st. And there has been a run on firearms dealers this year, as residents seek to avoid the restrictions of the new law. State Police tell the Baltimore Sun that Marylanders are buying about 1-thousand guns a day. More than 100-thousand gun purchase applications have come in this year – more than twice the number that were submitted throughout 2011. The new gun law bans the sale of 40 weapons classified as military style assault rifles. It forbids the sale of magazines that hold more than ten rounds of ammunition. It also requires that everyone who buys a handgun pay a licensing fee, undergo a background check, and submit their fingerprints to state police. People buying shotguns or hunting rifles aren’t subject to those restrictions. The Gazette reports that there’s also a new training mandate in place for handgun buyers… under it, people applying for a handgun license to shoot one live round first. That regulation was approved yesterday by the state’s Joint Committee on Administrative, Executive, and Legislative Review – over the opposition of six lawmakers who attended the panel’s hearing. The Baltimore Sun reports that a protest was held yesterday in Annapolis before the panel met; about 100 gun rights advocates turned out for it.
Gansler Launches Gubernatorial Bid: Attorney General Doug Gansler launches his bid to become Maryland’s next governor today. The Baltimore News Journal reports that Gansler will kick off his campaign in Rockville at 12:30 this afternoon, and continue a planned tour of the state with a stop this afternoon in Ellicott City and another this evening in Baltimore. Two other Democrats are already in the race: Montgomery County Delegate Heather Mizeur and Lieutenant Governor Anthony Brown. The Baltimore Sun has more here.
Sarbanes Backs Brown: Another Maryland Congressman has endorsed Brown’s gubernatorial bid; yesterday John Sarbanes of the 3rd District announced his support. The Baltimore Sun notes that Representatives Elijah Cummings, Donna Edwards, and Steny Hoyer are also backing Brown, as is Senator Barbara Mikulski and a majority of the state’s elected Democrats. A list of Brown’s endorsements is here. Doug Gansler says he’ll start announcing his own endorsements once his campaign gets underway.
Brown Leads In Early Poll: The Brown campaign is talking up a new poll that puts him ahead of Gansler and Mizeur in the race for the Democratic nomination. The survey of likely Democratic voters, conducted in mid-September by Garin-Hart-Yang, indicates that Brown has 43 percent of the vote, with 21 percent going to Gansler and 5 percent to Mizeur. The poll’s margin of error is plus or minus 4 percent. The primary is 9 months away, on June 24th of 2014… and the poll shows that 31 percent of likely Democratic voters remain undecided. In the past, the Gansler campaign has dismissed early polls as “costume jewelry.”
GOP Leadership Team In State Senate: A new leadership team is in place for Republicans in the State Senate. The Frederick News Post reports that Senator David Brinkley will take the post of minority leader - a position he held before, five years ago. Marylandreporter.com notes that Brinkley is replacing former Senator E. J. Pipkin, who resigned over the summer. The position of Senate minority Whip goes to Senator Joseph Getty; he takes over from Senator Ed Reilly, who’s remaining in the Senate but stepping down from the leadership post. Reilly tells the Baltimore Sun: “I’m happy to be back in the ranks.”
Cardin Taps Kratovil: US Senator Ben Cardin has selected Kimberly Kratovil as his new Eastern Shore field representative. Among other things, Kratovil will represent Cardin in eight counties, working with residents on federal issues and coordinating with local and state officials. Kratovil is the wife of former Congressman Frank Kratovil, who represented the 1st District for one term.
Leopold Seeks Political Comeback: Former Anne Arundel County Executive John Leopold is looking to return to politics. Leopold was forced to leave office earlier this year, after being convicted on two misdemeanor counts of criminal misconduct. He went to jail for a month, and is serving five years of probation. Leopold wants to run for public office again, and says he should be allowed to do so while he’s on probation. Last week, Leopold's lawyer filed a brief with the Maryland Court of Special Appeals saying the court lacked the authority to ban Leopold from running, and that particular “condition of [the] sentence must be stricken.” Oral arguments in the appeal will likely take place in January. The Capital Gazette has more here, there’s more here from the Baltimore Business Journal and here from the Baltimore Sun.
Lawsuit Alleges Unequal Treatment For Homeless Students: A federal class action lawsuit says homeless students aren't treated equally in Baltimore City schools. As the Baltimore Sun reports, a Public Justice Center spokesperson says the law requires "the same opportunity to succeed as housed kids." The suit says kids from homeless families haven't had school transportation and have suffered because they couldn't pay for uniforms and field trips.
O’Malley Promotes EARN Initiative: Governor Martin O'Malley is promoting a new initiative designed to allow employers to lead workforce training programs to create jobs. O'Malley visited a food products company in Dundalk yesterday to discuss the EARN initiative, which stands for Employment Advancement Right Now. It allows entities to apply for competitive grants to fund workforce training programs to help make sure Maryland's workforce remains highly skilled. For more information about applying for grants visit earn.Maryland.gov.
Contraband Coral To The National Aquarium: The National Aquarium in Baltimore is getting a gift of contraband coral. US customs officials say the shipment of ancient corals was cut from reefs off the coast of the Solomon Islands in the South Pacific. The Baltimore Sun reports that the pieces were seized by agents last March at the Port of Tampa, Florida. A spokeswoman says the corals are being used as educational tools and in the Aquarium's new Blacktip Reef.
Baltimore Baseball: The Orioles are back in Baltimore tonight to play against the Toronto Blue Jays; the game starts at 7:05pm. There are six games left in the regular season, and the O’s could still get a Wild Card slot, but any combination of two losses or Indians' victories will eliminate the O's from contention. The Orioles lost last night’s game with the Tampa Bay Rays, the score: 5 to 4.