Headlines: Brown's Gubernatorial Ambitions and A Call For A Special Session
Lieutenant Governor Anthony Brown says he'll make a "very special announcement" next month; likely, that he's running for Governor in 2014. US Senator Ben Cardin praises his colleagues for moving a gun control bill to the Senate floor. A Montgomery County lawmaker calls on Governor Martin O'Malley to call a special session of the General Assembly to deal with dog bite liability. Plus: a look at how the GOP fared in the just finished General Assembly session, the state's Public Service Commission overturns its own ruling on flat taxi fares from the Port of Baltimore, MD's Congressional delegation calls for the FBI's new HQ to be located in Prince George's County, and the ACLU challenges an Ocean City noise ordinance.
Lieutenant Governor Brown Could Announce Gubernatorial Bid Next Month: Maryland holds statewide primary elections more than a year from now, in June of 2014. And it appears that one democratic candidate for Governor plans to formally announce his plans as soon as next month. Lieutenant Governor Anthony Brown has asked his supporters to attend an event at Prince George's Community College on May 10th, where he'll make a "very special announcement." The Washington Post says that Brown's announcement will likely be that he's running for governor. The race for the democratic nomination will likely be crowded -- with Brown, Attorney General Doug Gansler, Congressman Dutch Ruppersberger, Howard County Executive Ken Ulman, and Montgomery County Delegate Heather Mizeur all considered potential candidates. Republicans reportedly eyeing the governor's mansion include Harford County Executive David Craig and Frederick County Board Of Commissioners President Blaine Young.
Pit Bulls And Dog Bite Liability: One of the notable failures in this year's General Assembly session was on a bill designed to overturn a court ruling that labeled pit bulls as "inherently dangerous" dogs, and made landlords liable if one of their tenant's pit bulls bites someone. The ruling has prompted some landlords to order tenants to get rid of their pets or face eviction. Lawmakers had tried to set standards for dog bite liability during a special session last year, but couldn't reach a compromise. A compromise was put forth at the end of this year's regular session, but it failed to pass in the session's final hours. Now, a lawmaker who'd been key in killing that compromise -- Montgomery County Delegate Benjamin Kramer -- is calling on Governor Martin O'Malley to call a special session aimed chiefly at passing a dog bite liability bill. An O'Malley spokesperson tells the Baltimore Sun that the Governor won't comment on the proposal until he talks with legislative leaders about it; if a special session is called, it would be the fourth in two years. The Maryland Director of the Humane Society says her group would support a special session to pass a dog bite liability bill -- but says there'd need to be clear agreement among lawmakers before one is called. And some lawmakers say that not likely to happen.
Gun Control Legislation In Congress: The US Senate voted yesterday to bring a bill to the floor that would require background checks on gun sales made at gun shows and online. Maryland US Senator Ben Cardin applauded the move, and urged his Senate colleagues to "seize this moment, set our political fears aside, and act responsibly." The Senate is expected to debate the measure next week, and that debate is likely to last for several weeks before a final vote is held.
The Republican Party In The 2013 General Assembly Session: WYPR's Fraser Smith and Alexander Pyles of the Daily Record talk about how the GOP fared in this year's General Assembly session, on today's edition of Inside Maryland Politics.
Maryland's Bid For The FBI's Headquarters: Maryland's ten-member Congressional delegation is calling on the federal government to locate the FBI's new headquarters in Prince George's County. As the Washington Post reports, US Senators Ben Cardin and Barbara Mikulski -- and all eight of Maryland's Representatives in the House -- have sent a letter to the heads of the FBI and the General Services Administration saying that PG would be the best place for reasons of security, cost effectiveness, and convenience. It certainly would be convenient for many FBI employees -- Senator Cardin's office says that 43 percent of them live in Maryland; that's more than any other jurisdiction. The Gazette notes that competing bids for the FBI HQ are coming from several counties in Virginia, as well as Washington DC.
No Flat Rates For Port Taxis: It looks like people taking taxis out of the Port of Baltimore will not be paying flat rates for their rides. Last week, the state's Public Service Commission agreed to set flat fees for trips from the port to three major tourist destinations: Fort McHenry visitors' center, the World Trade Center and Penn Station. But yesterday, the PSC rescinded that approval. The Baltimore Business Journal notes that the plan was against the state code, which only permits set taxi fares for trips that cross county or city lines. And while a spokesperson for the Maryland Port Administration says the PSC's decision was correct, he worries that it might hurt future cruise-related business.
The ACLU Challenges An Ocean City Noise Law: An Ocean City noise ordinance is being challenged by the American Civil Liberties Union. The law forbids playing of any musical instrument on the resort town's boardwalk that can be clearly heard at a distance of 30 feet. A violinist who's prevously played for tourist tips on the boardwalk is challenging the law, saying it's cost him significant income. And as the Daily Times reports, the ACLU is taking the ordinance to federal court on First Amendment grounds.
Michelle Obama To Speak At Bowie State's Commencement: First Lady Michelle Obama will speak at this spring's Bowie State University commencement ceremonies. The Baltimore Business Journal reports that the event will take place at Comcast Center on the University of Maryland College Park campus Friday morning, May 17th at 11:00.
Hopkins Searches For Carson Speaker Replacement: Johns Hopkins University administrators are working quickly to find a new commencement speaker to replace Dr. Ben Carson. The prominent neurosurgeon stepped aside as speaker for the schools of medicine and education this week amid criticism over comments he made about same sex marriage. University officials tell the Baltimore Sun that the dean and his staff will be working their contacts to identify a speaker, and are confident that someone noteworthy can be found quickly.
And in sports: The Orioles won yesterday's game against the Boston Red Sox, 3 to 2. The O's kick off a three-game series with the New York Yankees tonight.