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Sequestration, A Smoking Ban At Camden Yards And M&T Bank Stadium, and Baltimore's School Facilities Plan And Other Issues Before The General Assembly
February 26, 2013
With the deadline to stop the wide-ranging federal spending cuts known as sequestration looming, U-S Senator Ben Cardin spent part of his Monday answering questions about what the sequester would mean... asked by federal workers at the Social Security Administration in Woodlawn (via the Baltimore Sun). If Congress fails to act, the sequestration cuts would start on Friday. If they do, Maryland's nearly 300-thousand federal employees could feel some direct hit. And with and federal spending on goods and wages comprising nearly 20 percent of the state's economy, Maryland's budget would also likely suffer. A new poll from the Washington Post shows that 38 percent of Marylanders expect sequestration would have a major impact on their family's finances.
A couple thousand Baltimoreans, many of them children, rode school buses to Annapolis last night to show their support for legislation that would allow the city to borrow against future state aid to pay for a massive infrastructure project… leading to the rebuilding or replacement of many of Baltimore’s schools. WYPR’s Karen Hosler was there for the rally and tells us what happened. There's more on the rally and the facilities plan here from the Baltimore Sun.
Democrats in the House of Delegates will be talking about transportation funding today with Deputy US Transportation Secretary John Porcari. Porcari had previously served as Maryland's Transportation Secretary. Several proposals have been made for raising new transportation revenue... including a sales tax on gasoline at the wholesale level, as well regional gas taxes (via the Baltimore Sun).
The State Senate has narrowly rejected a measure that would have stopped the Maryland Transit Administration from taping the conversations of people who ride MTA buses (via the Baltimore Sun).
Today, lawmakers in the House of Delegates will take up a bill that would impose stricter penalties on motorists who have toll citations mailed to them but don't pay (via the Gazette).
President Obama has named Governor Martin O'Malley as co-chairman of a defense and homeland security panel (via the Baltimore Sun).
Officials are saying a Baltimore County councilman arrested over the weekend on drunk driving charges tried to get special treatment. County police spokeswoman Elise Armacost says Republican Councilman Todd Huff called the chief of police three times early Saturday. Huff was driving a county owned Jeep Cherokee when he was pulled over by police, who say his blood alcohol level was more than twice the legal limit. Councilman Huff said he'll give back his county-owned vehicle, but made no mention of leaving office -- as some of his constiutents are calling on him to do (via our wire service, WJZ, and the Baltimore Sun).
The U.S. Supreme Court today will hear arguments about when DNA samples may be taken by law enforcement. It stems from a Maryland court of appeals ruling that the practice violates Fourth Amendment rights (via our wire service, the Baltimore Sun, and the Gazette).
New Anne Arundel County Executive Laura Neuman has made good on her promise to start making personnel changes. Neuman yesterday fired Jonathan Hodgson, the head of the county law office who was hired by former County Executive John Leopold in 2006. Leopold was found guilty of two misconduct charges earlier this year; he resigned his post shortly after, opening it up for County Executive Neuman's appointment last week (via our wire service and the Baltimore Sun).
In sports news: The Orioles beat the New York Yankees in yesterday's Grapefruit League game; the score was 5 to 1. Today, the O's play against the Pittsburgh Pirates.
And: The Maryland Stadium Authority has announced a complete ban on smoking anywhere in Camden Yards and M-and-T Bank Stadium. Under the new policy, fans must completely leave the stadium if they wish to smoke. The Orioles and Ravens both say they will soon be announcing plans to allow smokers to exit and reenter the stadiums. Nearly all professional football and baseball stadiums across the country already ban smoking (via our wire service, the Baltimore Sun, and the Baltimore Business Journal).
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