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A Sixth District Congressional Debate and More On "Question 5," "Question 6," And "Question 7"
October 12, 2012
The Vice Presidential Debate wasn't the only debate held yesterday; in Hagerstown last night, the three candidates running for the Sixth District Congressional seat got together to talk about the issues. Those candidates: Libertarian Nickolaus Mueller, Democrat John Delaney, and 10-term incumbent Republican Roscoe Bartlett. Issues discussed included taxes, the structure of Medicare, abortion -- and the Congressional redistricting plan that converted the Sixth from a GOP-majority district to one with more Democrats than Republicans (via the Hagerstown Herald-Mail, with additional reporting and sound from WYPR's Karen Hosler). Congressman Bartlett has agreed to five more debates (via the Washington Post).
In related news: Question 5 is now the topic of a web-only ad... put forth by a group called "Repeal the Gerrymander." Gerrymander being a term referring to legislative or congressional districts drawn in strange shapes for political gain... several of Maryland's districts appear on lists of "most gerrymandered districts in the country." Even so, the map has been upheld by a federal judge, saying that its political gerrymandering is legal. It's unclear whether the ad will ever make it to television; the Republican-led group that made it says that it's a question of money (via the Baltimore Sun).
No dearth of money advertising another ballot issue -- yesterday, MGM Resorts announced that it's spending another $3-million dollars to promote a plan to expand Maryland's casino gambling program -- by allowing a casino in Prince George's County and permitting table games at casinos statewide. More than $40-million have now been earmarked for ads about the measure -- which will be on the November ballot as Question 7 (via the Baltimore Sun).
On today's edition of Inside Maryland Politics, WYPR Senior News Analyst Fraser Smith talks with WYPR News Director Joel McCord about the same sex marriage referendum and the political allies it has picked up.
Governor Martin O'Malley is calling for the reinstatement of a Gallaudet University official who was placed on leave for signing a petition put Maryland's same-sex marriage law on the November ballot (via our wire service and the Baltimore Sun).
The state Board of Elections says it made a mistake in mailing postcards to 20-thousand registered voters informing them that they were not registered. The mailings were part of an effort to increase voter turnout, and were meant to go to over a million unregistered voters. The vast majority did -- but the mailings that went to the already-registered have created significant confusion; there have been 18-thousand complaint calls about the mailings since they were sent (via our wire service and the Baltimore Sun; more here from marylandreporter.com).
A proposal to create a voter identification requirement in Frederick County is headed for a public hearing next week. The plan was announced earlier this week by Board of County Commissioners President Blaine Young; he says that requiring voters to show ID before casting ballots would prevent voter fraud... a problem that civil liberties groups doesn't exist, and even Young says is not common in his jurisdiction. Young says the idea is proactive, and argues that there's no reason to "wait till something is a problem to create a law." The legislation needs to be approved by the General Assembly to take effect; Frederick County residents will be able to comment on it and the rest of the County's legislative package at a public hearing on Tuesday night of next week. If the General Assembly signs off, the voter ID law would be in place for the 2014 election (via the Frederick News Post).
The number of new meningitis cases reported in Maryland is still rising. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say that, as of yesterday, the number of Maryland cases apparently linked to tainted steroid injections increased by four to 13 (via our wire service, the Baltimore Sun, and the Washington Post).
Baltimore City Schools CEO Andrés Alonso is defending the school system's financial management, after yesterday's official release of a state audit that uncovered a wide range of problems (via the Baltimore Sun).
Former Maryland State Senator Clarence Mitchell the Third has died of cancer at the age of 72. Mitchell was the nation's youngest black legislator when he was elected to the Maryland House of Delegates in 1962, serving four years in that chamber before being elected to the State Senate. During his two decades there, Mitchell is credited for helping push wide ranging desegregation legislation through the General Assembly (via our wire service and the Baltimore Sun).
And in sports: The Orioles evened up the American League Divisional Series last night -- beating the New York Yankees 2 to 1 in a 13 inning game. The O's and the Yankees are now tied 2 games to 2 in the best-of-five series; it'll finish up tonight in the Bronx, starting shortly after 5pm.
And: the Ravens host the Dallas Cowboys at M&T Bank Stadium on Sunday. The Ravens are at the top of the AFC North.
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