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Gun Legislation, Baltimore's Fiscal Woes, Sandy Aid, and "Chronic Smile Disorder"
February 7, 2013
More than a thousand gun rights activists, as well as hundreds of gun control advocates, showed up in Annapolis yesterday to hear Governor Martin O'Malley speak to the State Senate Judiciary Committee about his proposals aimed at reducing gun violence. O'Malley is calling for a ban on assault rifles and high-capacity ammunition magazines, as well as the imposition of strict handgun licensing rules and more guidelines regarding mental health when it comes to gun ownership (WYPR's Karen Hosler has more here; there's more here from the Baltimore Sun and here from the Gazette; and the Frederick News Post looks at Frederick County Sherriff Chuck Jenkins' opposition to O'Malley's proposals here).
A new report indicates that Baltimore is in deep financial trouble. It comes from a consultant hired by the city -- and indicates that Baltimore has a structural deficit of around $750-million in the next ten years. Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake says the report also shows an infrastructure deficit of $1-billion, and unfunded pension liabilities of more than $3-billion (via our wire service, the Baltimore Sun, and the Baltimore Business Journal).
A circuit court judge has dismissed a lawsuit from Comptroller Joan Pratt's against the Mayor Rawlings-Blake's administration. The suit was aimed at stopping the Mayor's Office of Technology from installing a new phone system, and alleged a bypassing of the competitive bidding process. In throwing out the suit, the judge said she could find no illegal actions in the Rawlings-Blake administration's conduct, and urged Comptroller Pratt to work out the dispute in City Hall (via our wire service and the Baltimore Sun).
Federal funds are on the way to millions of Hurricane Sandy victims in the Northeast. Maryland's share comes to about $8.6-million dollars... that's in addition to the $1.5-million worth of individual assistance that went to Sandy victims on the Eastern Shore (via our wire service and the Baltimore Sun).
Some 30% of BGE customers are not buying their electricity from BGE; instead, they're getting it from third-party suppliers. That's a record high -- and marks an increase from 25% at the end of 2011 and 18% at the end of 2010. Customers who choose other electricity or gas suppliers pay those companies for the energy and BGE for the cost of delivery (via our wire service and the Baltimore Sun). The state's Public Service Commission keeps a list of electricity suppliers here, and a list of natural-gas suppliers here.
It looks like our region will dodge the proverbial bullet as a massive winter storm bears down on the Northeast. Boston, New York and parts of Pennsylvania will likely see blizzard conditions... but while we'll likely miss those, we could get some wintry weather... rain, snow, sleet, and freezing rain are possible tonight, with a mix of rain and freezing rain likely tomorrow (via our wire service and the Baltimore Sun).
Baltimore's celebrations of the Ravens Super Bowl Victory may go on and on and on (...and on). WYPR’s Senior News Analyst Fraser Smith comments in his weekly essay.
Ninth grade sports could come to an end in the Frederick County Public School System, under the Fiscal Year 2014 spending plan that's now under consideration (via the Gazette).
In other sports news: The Orioles are considering their options for September 5th's scheduled home game with the White Sox. The Ravens' victory in Super Bowl 47 means they will host the NFL's first regular season game that same night. The O's could move the game to earlier in the day, or push the game back a day or two and create a doubleheader. Meanwhile, Ravens fans are speculating who the team will play against in the 2013 season opener. The Patriots, Steelers, Texans, Packers and Vikings are all rumored to be among the choices; the NFL will likely announce its choice in the middle of March (all this, via our wire service).
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