Headlines: Petition Drives, A Rescheduled Hearing On Jail Corruption, and Sparrows Point's Future
An overhaul of Maryland's gun laws and a repeal of the state's death penalty are facing petition drives which, if successful, would have MD voters decide whether they go into effect. A legislative hearing on the corruption scandal at the Baltimore City Detention Center that had been scheduled for next week has been rescheduled for June and expanded to include more lawmakers. And Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz calls for a new shipping terminal at Sparrows Point, a move he says will create 10-thousand new jobs over 10 years.
Death Penalty Repeal Petition Drive: Supporters of the death penalty are holding a petition drive that could lead to a referendum on whether capital punishment should continue to be allowed in Maryland. The Baltimore Sun reports that Republican Delegate Neil Parrott, chair of the website MDPetitions.com, is leading the petition effort; his group will need to gather nearly 56-thousand signatures by the end of June to put the measure on the November 2014 ballot. The Washington Post notes that a first batch of nearly 19-thousand signatures must be submitted at the end of this month for the process to move forward.
Gun Control Petition Drive: Another petition drive appears to be underway to overturn an overhaul of Maryland's gun laws; this after, the state Board of Elections approved petition language submitted by a Montgomery County woman, who says she plans to gather signatures with a web site called Free State Petitions. The gun measure is expected to be signed into law later this month; it includes bans on certain guns classified as assault weapons, and a licensing requirement for handgun buyers that would have them submit their fingerprints to state police. The Baltimore Sun notes that the law would take effect in October... but if the necessary petition signatures are gathered, it would be put on hold until voters decide its fate in November of next year.
Prison Corruption Case: A legislative inquiry into the corruption scandal at the Baltimore City Detention Center that had been scheduled for next week has been postponed until June, and expanded. The Washington Post reports that a re-scheduled hearing will be held by a joint committee of legislators from the State Senate and House of Delegates. Lawmakers tell the Baltimore Sun that they'll use the hearing to look into the conditions that led to the alleged smuggling ring that led to the indictments of 25 people -- including 13 corrections officers -- last week. For the latest on the investigation, check out this report from WYPR's Mary Rose Madden, originally broadcast on May 3.
The Future Of Sparrows Point: There could be a renewed life for the now shut-down Sparrows Point steel mill complex in Dundalk; the Baltimore Business Journal reports that Baltimore County Executive Ken Kamenetz is calling for a new shipping terminal and clean energy facilities at the site. The Baltimore Sun reports that the project could create 10-thousand new jobs over 10 years. More information is here, in this May 3 report from WYPR's P. Kenneth Burns.
And in sports: the Orioles lost yesterday's game against the L-A Angels; the score was 4 to 0.