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Offshore Wind, Speed Cameras, Flu Season, and Sunday's Ravens-Colts Wild Card Game
January 4, 2012
A plan to aid development of an offshore wind power industry will likely go before Maryland lawmakers during this year's General Assembly session. If so, it would be the third time Governor Martin O'Malley has backed such a proposal. Observers tell say this week's "fiscal cliff" deal in Washington may foster an offshore wind deal in Annapolis -- after Congress extended a tax credit for wind power developers that had been set to expire. And a change in a key State Senate Committee may help as well -- yesterday, Senate President Mike Miller confirmed that he has moved Senator Anthony Muse out of the Finance Committee, which would need to pass an offshore wind bill to send it to the full Senate. Muse had voted against past offshore wind legislation... he says he was told he'll be put on the Judicial Proceedings Committee until the wind bill gets a vote. Muse has been replaced on the Finance Committee by Senator Victor Ramirez, who says he's keeping an "open mind" about offshore wind legislation. Meanwhile, the groundwork is being laid to put up wind turbines 10 miles off the coast of Ocean City; earlier this week, the state Board of Public Works approved a $3.3-million geophysical survey of the area. The data gleaned will be made public, and likely be used by offshore wind power developers (via the Washington Post, the Baltimore Sun, and the Gazette).
MD lawmakers will likely spend part of this year's session dealing with proposals to revise the state's law on automated speed cameras. State Senator Brian Frosh says he wants to close a loophole that allows speed camera vendors to collect money for each ticket issued (via our wire service; more here from WTOP).
Some laws passed by the General Assembly last year have just gone into effect. One of them is designed to protect children from identity theft. The law permits parents and legal gaurdians to freeze their children's credit. The law is a first of its kind in the nation (via our wire service and WJZ).
Flu season is upon us. Health officials are saying Maryland's flu season is already the worst since 2009. The epidemic reportedly started during the first week of December. Officials say there is still time to get vaccinated against the influenza virus; doctors say that flu shots are about 70 percent effective (via our wire service and the Baltimore Sun).
On today's edition of Inside Maryland Politics, WYPR Senior News Analyst Fraser Smith talks to WYPR's Karen Hosler about the Horse-Racing Industry's recent good news.
Hundreds of federal jobs that had been slated to leave Maryland are now slated to stay... for another five years, at least. The government had planned to relocate 450 Treasury Department positions from Prince George's County to West Virginia. But Maryland's congressional delegation reportedly pressed federal officials at the Treasury Department to abandon the plan. While the move hasn't been dropped entirely, it's been delayed... the jobs were originally expected to leave Maryland in 2014... they're now set to leave in 2019 (via our wire service and the Baltimore Sun).
The Federal Emergency Management Agency has agreed to send Baltimore County disaster aid, to pay for some of the damage done by Hurricane Sandy. The county is the last jurisdiction in Maryland to get its aid approved; the delay came because it took some time to get submit a full assessment of damage. The FEMA aid will reimburse the County for at least 75 percent of eligible costs; storm preparations and damage cost the County an estimated $3.4 million (via the Baltimore Sun).
A Catonsville developer has pled guilty to charges that he made illegal campaign contributions. Steve Whalen Jr. admitted that he illegally funnelled money to the campaign of Baltimore County councilman Tom Quirk. Prosecutors say they have not uncovered any evidence that Quirk was aware of the illegal contributions, and the Councilman has not been charged with any crimes. Whalen was given a probation before judgement, and will pay fines of 58-thousand dollars (via our wire service, the Catonsville Patch, and the Baltimore Sun).
The city of Baltimore is making the final preparations to open a new carousel at the Inner Harbor in the spring (via our wire service and the Baltimore Sun).
And in sports: the Ravens play against the Indianapolis Colts in the AFC Wild Card round this Sunday. The game's set to start at 1pm, here in Baltimore. It will likely be the final home game in the career of linebacker Ray Lewis, who has announced he is retiring when the season's over. And Lewis may be heading to to the broadcast booth; Sports Illustrated says he's close to signing a multi-year deal with ESPN -- and could play a major role in the network's "Monday Night Countdown" program (via the Baltimore Sun).
Meanwhile, the Better Business Bureau of Greater Maryland is warning Ravens fans hoping to buy playoff tickets that some for sale on websites such as eBay and Craigslist could be bogus. The BBB says that's more likely if a website asks you to wire the money. Tips to ensure that playoff tickets are real include checking if the seller is legitimate, and using a credit card or PayPal so you can dispute any charges (via our wire service and the Baltimore Business Journal).
IN FOCUS TODAY
Friday, May 17, 2013 - 4:41am
More than 17,000 Baltimore students miss 20 or more days of school a year. Many of these...
Friday, May 17, 2013 - 4:37am
WYPR's Fraser Smith and Karen Hosler talk about changes to the horse racing industry in Maryland...
Thursday, May 16, 2013 - 7:00am
Attorney General Doug Gansler may run for governor in 2014, but he's moving toward a decision...