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Hurricane Sandy Relief, Maryland's Upcoming General Assembly Session, and The Ravens' Advance To The AFC Divisional Playoffs
January 7, 2012
Some 800 Maryland families hit hard by Hurricane Sandy will soon be getting some help. President Obama has signed into law the first part of a Sandy aid package -- it was passed by both chambers of Congress late last week, and includes more than $9-billion in flood assistance. GOP Congressman Andy Harris was the only Maryland lawmaker to vote against the measure; Harris said he wanted budget cuts to be passed to pay for the spending, and argued that the federal flood insurance program needs significant reform. Another $51-billion in emergency spending will be considered later this month; that package is likely to be more contoversial (via our wire service and the Baltimore Sun).
Maryland's General Assembly convenes its 90 day regular session this week. Lawmakers will converge on Annapolis Wednesday to start a session which will likely address gun control, transportation funding, the development of an offshore wind power industry, MD's automated speed camera legislation, and a possible repeal of the death penalty (via our wire service, the Baltimore Sun, and the Daily Times).
Baltimore Police Commissioner Anthony Batts says he's instituting a "dramatic reform" of the city's speed camera system (via the Baltimore Sun).
On today's edition of Inside Maryland Politics, WYPR Senior News Analyst Fraser Smith talks to WYPR News Director Joel McCord about Senate President Mike Miller's juggling of committee assignments in this year's General Assembly.
It's likely that there will be a vacant seat in the House of Delegates when the session starts... but Maryland's highest court has given Governor Martin O'Malley broad power to fill that vacancy. The seat was left open last year, when former Delegate Tiffany Alston was forced out after being convicted of misconduct in office. Alston sued to get the seat back, but on Friday, the Court of Appeals upheld a lower court's ruling that she's not eligible to do so. Before Governor O'Malley can fill the seat, the Prince George's Democratic Central Committee must formally withdraw its nomination of businessman Gregory Hall. O'Malley had declined to appoint Hall amid concerns over Hall's criminal record (via our wire service, the Gazette, and the Baltimore Sun).
Driving on the I-95 corridor near White Marsh might be a little tricky. A new traffic pattern went into effect there yesterday: If you're on Route 43 westbound, you'll exit on the right and veer to the left to get to 95 south... if you're going eastbound on 43, you'll exit to the right and veer to the left to get to 95 north (via our wire service; more here from the Parkville Patch).
Another note for drivers, this time, those who use the Bay Bridge. The MdTA says that, weather permitting, the bridge's westbound span will be closed from 8pm to 5am throughout the week for maintenance work. One lane of the wesbound span of the bridge may also be closed during the daytime, from 9am to 2:30pm, throughout the week. You're encouraged to call 877-BAYSPAN for the latest on Bay Bridge traffic changes (via the Maryland Transportation Authority).
The last dry town in Maryland is preparing to sell alcohol. The first application in 132 years to sell alcohol in Damascus got preliminary approval Friday (via our wire service and the Washington Post).
The town of New Market is considering a plan to double its size through annexation. A public hearing will be held tonight at 7 in the Town Hall (via our wire service; more at TownOfNewMarket.org)
An Eastern Shore facility that manufactures avian vaccines has been slated to shut down. Merial Select has announced that it will close its Berlin facility in 2014, leaving most of the 45 people who work there without jobs (via our wire service and the Daily Times).
And in sports: The Ravens are now headed to the AFC divisional playoffs, after they beat the Indianapolis Colts 24 to 9 in yesterday's wildcard game. The Ravens play against the Denver Broncos this coming Saturday; the Ravens lost to Denver 34 to 17 when the teams played last month.
IN FOCUS TODAY
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