Gas Taxes, A Crib Bumper Ban, Harbor Point Funding, and Holidays For Baltimore Speed Cameras

Jun 21, 2013

As of today, it is illegal to sell or ship crib bumpers to Maryland consumers. The state’s gas taxes are set to increase next week. $107-million in tax increment funding for the Harbor Point development have stalled in the City Council. Baltimore’s speed cameras will take major holidays off (once they’re back online). Plus: Congressman Paul Ryan urges to MD Republicans to take back the Governor’s mansion, and a disputed (and months-old) poll puts Lieutenant Governor Anthony Brown ahead of Attorney General Doug Gansler in the 2014 Governor’s race. Also: today will have more sunlight than any other this year, and this weekend’s full moon will appear larger than any other ‘till 2014. And more…

Crib Bumper Ban Kicks In Today: It’s no longer legal to sell decorative crib bumpers to anyone in Maryland – either in stores or online. The bumpers in question are those made of non-mesh material and sit directly above mattress; vertical bumpers that wrap around individual crib rails are not included in the ban. The Baltimore Sun reports that vendors selling or shipping bumper pads now face a fine of up to 500 dollars.

Gas Taxes To Go Up Next Week: Maryland's first increase in gas taxes in two decades is taking effect in a little more than a week. On July first. state taxes on gasoline will increase by about four-cents.Watchers tell WJZ that the higher price at the pump will likely prompt Marylanders who live near the Pennsylvania or Virginia borders to cross state lines in search of cheaper gasoline. 

Harbor Point Funding Stalled: The approval of 107 million dollars in “tax increment financing” for Baltimore’s Harbor Point development has stalled in the Baltimore City Council. The hold on the cash was made by City Councilman Carl Stokes, who chairs the Council’s taxation committee; the Baltimore Sun reports that Stokes is demanding that the Baltimore Development Corporation provide him with more information on the proposal before he holds a hearing necessary for the infrastructure financing to move forward. 

Baltimore Speed Cameras To Take Holidays Off: Drivers in Baltimore will no longer have to worry about getting a speed camera ticket on major holidays. The Baltimore Sun reports that once the speed camera program is restarted, the cameras will not be doling out citations on Christmas, Thanksgiving, the Fourth of July, and at least six other days – including Election Day. At this point, lead-footed drivers in Charm City aren’t getting any tickets from Baltimore's speed and red light cameras – the entire system has been shut down since mid-April, and the city hasn’t released a timeline for getting it back up.

Ryan Speaks To MD GOP: Wisconsin Congressman Paul Ryan was in Baltimore yesterday, calling on Maryland Republicans to get energized and take back the Governor’s office in next year’s election. The 2012 Republican vice presidential candidate was in town to headline the state GOP’s largest annual fundraiser last night; the Baltimore Sun reports that Ryan took the occasion to call on Marylanders to increase the Republican majority in the House of Representatives; currently only one of the state’s eight congressional seats is held by a Republican, and Ryan urged GOP voters to increase that number to two next year. Marylandreporter.com has more on the event.

Early (And Old) Poll For 2014 Governor’s Race: A newly-released poll shows Lieutenant Governor Anthony Brown with a lead for the Democratic nomination in the Maryland governor's race – but the poll is facing criticism.As the Washington Post reports, the Global Strategies survey shows Brown with 37-percent support compared to 20-percent for Attorney General Doug Gansler; the plurality of respondents were undecided, some 43 percent. The Gansler campaign is dismissing the results, noting that the poll is three months old; it was conducted back in March – before any candidate had entered the race (as only Brown has done so far). It also didn’t ask voters’ opinions of two other Democrats who appear to be considering gubernatorial bids – 2nd District Congressman Dutch Ruppersburger and Montgomery County Delegate Heather Mizeur.

Call For Independent Counsel For Jail Corruption Probe: WYPR's Fraser Smith and Karen Hosler talk about Attorney General Doug Gansler's letter to Governor Martin O'Malley requesting an independent counsel to investigate corruption at the Baltimore City Detention Center, and O'Malley's quick response. It’s today’s edition of Inside Maryland Politics

PG County Exec Baker Kicks Of Re-Election Bid: Prince George's County Executive Rushern Baker is making it official -- he wants to serve another term. The Washington Post reports that Baker kicked off his re-election campaign yesterday with a barbecue and in Mitchellville. Baker was elected Prince George’s County Executive in 2010 after trying and failing to win the office twice. 

O’Shea To Enter Annapolis Mayoral Race: Annapolis holds its Mayoral election later this year… and it looks like incumbent Democrat Josh Cohen will not be running unopposed. The Capital Gazette reports that Republican Alan O’Shea Junior is planning to get into the race next week; it’ll be the 13-year Annapolis resident’s first bid for elective office.

Foam Recycling: While the Baltimore City Council mulls a proposed ban on polystyrene foam products used by restaurants and carryouts, the city’s Department of Public Works is reminding residents that they can recycle household Styrofoam at DPW's Sisson Street yard. The proposed city ban on polystyrene foam products had been set for a vote on Monday of this week, but was sent back to committee for more work. 

Rabid Raccoon In OC: A raccoon that attacked a man in north Ocean City has tested positive for rabies.Worcester County health officials tell the Daily Times that a raccoon that attacked the man on Tuesday near Northside Park had the disease. It's believed the rabid raccoon had earlier charged two other people.

Most Sun, Biggest Moon: Today’s the longest day of the year – at least, in terms of daylight… the Baltimore Sun reports that Baltimore’s getting 14 hours, 56 minutes, and 19 seconds of sunshine today. The summer solstice occurred at 1:04 this morning… a point many recognize as the beginning of summer. Another astronomical event this weekend – a so-called supermoon. The moon will be closer to the earth than at any other time this year, and the Daily Times says observers will see a bigger full moon this weekend than any other until August in 2014. 

Baltimore Baseball: the Orioles are in Canada tonight, for the first of a three-game set against the Toronto Blue Jays.