Wed September 25, 2013
Mikulski On Budget Battles, Gansler Enters Governor’s Race, and The Background Check Backlog
Senator Barbara Mikulski says a government shutdown would be “terrible for our economy.” Doug Gansler launches his gubernatorial bid. Marylanders applying for gun purchase background checks before October 1st will not have to get handgun licenses. And more.
Possible Government Shutdown: NPR reported this morning about Texas Senator Ted Cruz’s efforts to delay a vote in the Senate on a bill to keep the government funded. Under Senate rules, it’s not a filibuster… and a vote on the bill will almost certainly take place today. Senator Barbara Mikulski is weighing in; she says lawmakers who try to delay a vote on a budget bill are not looking out for the long-term needs of the nation. Mikulski also warns that allowing a government shutdown would send the nation’s unemployment rate up. If Congress fails to pass a continuing resolution for the budget before Tuesday of next week, many government employees would be furloughed and many services would stop. The Capital Gazette reports that Fort Meade is preparing in case a government shutdown takes place.
Gansler Formally Enters Governor’s Race: State Attorney General Doug Gansler formally announced yesterday that he’s running for the Democratic nomination for governor. Gansler faces Lieutenant Governor Anthony Grown and Montgomery County Delegate Heather Mizuer in the Democratic primary. Gansler’s now in the midst of a weeklong tour of Maryland to talk up his campaign; he speaks this morning in St. Mary’s County, with appearances in Charles and Calvert Counties this afternoon, and a rally this evening in Prince George’s County. WYPR’s Joel McCord was at one of yesterday’s appearances, and brings us this report. There’s more here from the Washington Post and here from the Baltimore Sun.
O’Malley And Rawlings-Blake Clash Over Policing Tactics: The war of words over Baltimore’s spike in crime continues between Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake and her predecessor Governor Martin O’Malley. O’Malley last week said a recent increase in city crime is due to a decrease in the number of arrests. Rawlings-Blake says “more arrests do not lead to less crime” and adds “everyone seems clear on that except the Governor.” WYPR's Fraser Smith and Luke Broadwater of the Baltimore Sun have more, on this morning’s edition of Inside Maryland Politics.
Background Check Backlog: Maryland residents who submit a handgun purchase application on or before September 30th will not have to get a handgun license. The state's new gun law requires a license for all handgun purchases starting October 1st… but high demand in advance of that date has created a huge backlog in background checks. The Baltimore Sun reports that some 50-thousand gun buyers are still waiting for their checks to be completed. State officials say consumers should not be punished by the backlog. And they say anyone who applies for a background check before October 1st will not have to comply with the new gun law (at least, for that gun purchase).
Circulator’s Purple Route To Expand: Baltimore's free downtown shuttle, the Charm City Circulator, is expanding its north-south Purple Route. Currently, the Purple Route connects Federal Hill with Penn Station. The Baltimore Sun reports that, starting next year, the line will extend northward through Charles Village to University Parkway.
New Open Container Rules At Fells Point Fun Festival: The Fells Point Fun Festival is giving some slack to beer drinkers this year. Attendees will be able to take their open containers outside the beer garden boundaries and walk around the festival. The Baltimore Business Journal notes that hasn't been allowed in many years. The Fells Point Fun Festival is October 4th through the 6th.
“Baltimore Bill”: Get Ready For A Warm Fall It looks like Maryland’s in for a warm fall season – at least, if you can trust a blue crab named Baltimore Bill. The makers of Old Bay seasoning sponsored an event yesterday in which Bill the crab walked a bifurcated plank into the Inner Harbor… if he went right, it would have meant an early winter. But Bill went left, supposedly indicating a warm fall. This has been the second year that Bill’s walked the plank. Last year, he headed right, designating an early winter – and the first snowfall in Baltimore came on November 13th. The Baltimore Sun has more here.
Baltimore Baseball: A baseball record was set in Baltimore yesterday; last night’s 10-inning game between the Orioles and the Blue Jays was the 238th extra-inning affair in Major League Baseball this season. The O’s eventually lost 3 to 2; the defeat eliminates them from playoff contention. The Orioles look to end their six-game losing streak when they take on the Blue Jays again tonight, first pitch is set for 7:05 at Camden Yards.