Wed May 7, 2014
Prayer At Public Meetings, Climate Change, Tonight’s Gubernatorial Debate, & Summer Vacations In OC
We look at prayer at public meetings, in the wake of Monday’s Supreme Court decision. Plus: the White House’s climate change report, tonight’s gubernatorial debate, the aftermath of the 26th Street collapse, Maryland’s online health insurance exchange, & Ocean City’s #5 position on a ranking of summer vacation destinations. And more.
26th Street Collapse: The people displaced from Baltimore’s Charles Village because of last week’s street collapse could be headed home earlier than had previously been expected. A crew is building a new retaining wall along East 26th Street, the site of a landslide a week ago that sent cars and debris tumbling onto the CSX train tracks below. The emergency wall could be up in three weeks – far shorter than the 40 days that people displaced from their homes because of the street collapse had been told to expect. The work on the wall is being done in a hurry and the Baltimore Sun reports that the cost of the project isn't really in focus so far. Meanwhile, an investigation into what caused last week's landslide continues.
Prayer At Public Meetings: The Carroll County commissioners are set to publicly discuss the issue of legislative prayer at a meeting tomorrow. On Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court gave its okay to prayers at public meetings. Within hours, a federal judge lifted his order that forbid prayers to a specific deity at Carroll County commissioner meetings. The Baltimore Sun reports the commissioners did not invoke the name of Jesus Christ when they met yesterday, instead praying to a non-sectarian "God of us all." Meanwhile, Frederick County officials say they may consider loosening their policy on prayer at County Commissioners meetings; the Frederick News Post notes that current rules forbid invocations to reference any particular religion, denomination, or sect.
Climate Change Report: Rising sea levels in the coming years mean the Port of Baltimore is facing an increased threat of flooding. That’s one of the conclusions of the Obama administration’s new “National Climate Assessment.” The report examines research conducted over the last four years, and concludes that Maryland could also face more heat waves and smog, and heavier downpours. The report also says that changing weather patterns will likely have an impact on Maryland’s farming and fishing industries. The White House citing the report in a renewed call for reductions in greenhouse gas emissions. The Baltimore Sun reports that Maryland is developing its own plan for curbing carbon emissions, and encouraging communities along the Chesapeake Bay and the Atlantic to prepare for rising sea levels.
Delegate Cardin Missed The Majority Of Committee Votes In 2014 Session: The Baltimore Sun is reporting that one of the Democratic candidates for state Attorney General missed the majority of committee votes during this year’s legislative session. The Sun has reviewed records from the General Assembly, showing that Delegate Jon Cardin missed 121 out of 164 votes held in the House Ways and Means Committee, where he served. That’s nearly 75%. Cardin’s campaign notes that the Delegate has a better than 90 percent attendance record for floor votes during his 12 years in the General Assembly. The two other Democrats in the race – State Senator Brian Frosh and Delegate Aisha Braveboy, missed “few or no committee votes.” Frosh and Braveboy issued sharp criticism of Cardin’s attendance record yesterday – which could become an issue in the Attorney General’s race. The primary election is June 24th.
Cardin, Mikulski Call For US To Take Action Over Nigerian Abductions: Maryland’s US Senators are joining the growing call for an international effort to help find more than 200 kidnapped Nigerian girls. Senator Ben Cardin says the kidnapping is "unconscionable." Cardin is calling on the US and its allies must coordinate efforts to bring the girls home safely. Meanwhile, Senator Barbara Mikulski is calling for tougher international sanctions on the terrorist group Boko Haram, which has claimed responsibility for the kidnappings. The Baltimore Sun has more.
Maryland Again Faces Tight Health Care Deadline: WYPR's Fraser Smith and Jenna Johnson of the Washington Post talk about Maryland's construction of a new health care exchange website using software code from Connecticut, and why some say the process has been too secretive. It’s this morning’s look Inside Maryland Politics.
Tonight’s Democratic Gubernatorial Debate: Maryland’s online health exchange will likely be a topic at tonight’s televised debate between the three top Democratic gubernatorial contenders. Lieutenant Governor Anthony Brown, state Attorney General Doug Gansler, and Montgomery County Delegate Heather Mizeur will take part in the debate, which starts tonight at 7, and will be broadcast on Maryland Public Television and streamed online at NBCWashington.com. The Baltimore Sun has more here.
Sparrows Point Building Collapse: Baltimore County police have released their report on Monday’s construction accident at the old Bethlehem Steel plant in Sparrows Point. Nine workers were injured when a roof collapsed while they were removing asbestos as part of demolition work in one of the buildings on the property. According to the police report, many of the workers were in lift trucks about 40 feet off the ground when the collapse happened. The Maryland Occupational Safety and Health agency is conducting a detailed investigation into the incident. The Baltimore Sun has more.
MSU President’s Contract Extended Indefinitely: The President of Morgan State University looks like he’ll be sticking around for a while. Yesterday, MSU’s Board of Regents approved a new contract for President David Wilson; it’s a deal with no end date, the Baltimore Sun reports that the contract instead says that Wilson will serve “at the pleasure of the board.” Wilson became Morgan State’s president in 2008. Back in 2012, a majority of the Board had voted to remove Wilson from his post, but following protests from the MSU community, reversed course. The person who chaired the Board of regents at the time of the ouster vote was later voted out of the chair’s post.
AA County Schools Superintendent To Be Named This Morning: Anne Arundel County's new school superintendent is about to be revealed. The school board is expected to announce the choice at its meeting today. The Annapolis Capital reports that the three finalists include two candidates who already work for the school system and the current schools chief of Trenton, New Jersey. The board is looking to fill the vacancy created when former Superintendent Kevin Maxwell left after seven years to take the same position in Prince George's County.
State Police Enforcement Actions: Maryland State Police say 81 people were arrested for impaired driving as part of their Cinco de Mayo crackdown. The traffic enforcement on Monday also nabbed more than 18-hundred drivers for speeding. The State Police have also released the results of a month-long initiative targeting distracted drivers; in April, police issued nearly 16-hundred citations and 12-hundred warnings for violations including texting while driving and using a handheld phone while behind the wheel. The Police now begin a concentrated focus on seat belt and child safety seat violations; May is “Occupant Safety and Awareness Month.”
Ocean City Among Top 10 Summer Travel Destinations: If you’re planning to visit Ocean City this summer – you’ll be in good company. Travel website TripAdvisor.com has released a survey on summer vacation plans – which lists OC as one of America’s top 10 travel destinations. In fact, Ocean City came in #5 on the list – ahead of San Francisco, Orlando, and Key West. The Baltimore Sun has more.
Baltimore Baseball: The Orioles beat the Tampa Bay Rays 5 to 3 in last night’s game – a match that had to take a 19 minute break in the 8th inning, because of a power outage. The O’s and the Rays play again tonight.
Washington Baseball: The Washington Nationals lost their game against the LA Dodgers; the score there: 8 to 3.