BREAKING NEWS: Gov. O’Malley appoints fmr. delegate to D24 seat

Gov. Martin O’Malley has appointed former Prince George’s County Delegate Darren Swain to the House of Delegates. Swain will fill the vacated D24 seat that has been locked in a legal battle after Tiffany Alston was forced to step down last year.

PRESS RELEASE
        
STATEMENT FROM GOVERNOR MARTIN O’MALLEY
ON APPOINTMENT OF DISTRICT 24 DELEGATE

   
ANNAPOLIS, MD (January 25, 2013) – Governor Martin O’Malley issued the following statement on his decision to appoint Darren Swain to the Maryland House of Delegates:

“After careful consideration of a number of very impressive, qualified, and talented candidates, I am pleased to appoint Darren Swain to represent District 24 in the House of Delegates.  

“With experience as a former legislator, support from county and local partners, and his dedication and commitment to moving our State forward, I am confident that Darren Swain will serve the people of Prince George’s County with distinction.

“I thank the Prince George’s County Central Committee and County Executive Rushern Baker for their valuable insights and hard work in filling this important seat in the House of Delegates for the people of the 24th District of Prince George’s County.”

Darren Swain previously served in the House of Delegates, District 24, from 1999 to 2003.  He presently serves as assistant vice president for alumni relations at Bowie State University.  He also served as a business analyst for the Prince George’s County Minority Business Opportunities Commission.  He holds a B.S. in political science and an M.A. in administrative management from Bowie State University.

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Governor O’Malley releases comprehensive gun control legislation

Governor O’Malley just released his “comprehensive” response to the school shootings in Newton, CT. Take a look at his proposals and let us know what you think:

Friend,

There’s no easy answer to the complex problem of gun violence. I’ve spent my entire career — as a prosecutor, city councilman, mayor, and now as governor — focused on trying to keep families safe and reduce violent crime. 

We need a comprehensive approach. That’s why in the next few days, I’ll unveil a three-pronged strategy focused on gun safety, school safety and mental health.

1.) Gun safety: We should ban military-style assault weapons, limit large ammunition capacity, and require licenses for handgun purchases. We respect the rights of hunters and sportsmen and that’s why our licensing requirements will NOT apply to shotguns or rifles.

2.) School safety: We will invest in security upgrades for schools, including cameras at entrances, automatically locking doors, shatterproof glass and buzzer entrance systems. We will also establish a “Maryland Center for School Safety,” which will amplify our efforts by gathering meaningful data and serving as a central hub for collaboration between our federal, state and local law enforcement partners. 

3.) Mental heath: We will improve data sharing practices between federal and state officials. In addition, we will invest more to improve mental health services so we can intervene early and reduce the potential for violent behavior. We’ll expand crisis intervention teams, expand response services and establish a center for excellence on early intervention for serious mental illness. 

This is a complex problem and we need a comprehensive approach. I look forward to hearing from you in the days ahead as we work to build a stronger, safer Maryland.  

Thank you,

Martin O’Malley

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MD High Court rules for O’Malley, gives Central Committee power to revoke Hall name

Greg Hall (Photo: Hall's facebook)

Greg Hall (Photo: Hall’s facebook)

The Maryland Court of Appeals ruled yesterday that former Delegate Tiffany Alston’s seat is vacant and can’t get it back despite her plea deal. The court, in a one paragraph ruling, also sided with Governor Martin O’Malley (D) that the Prince George’s County Democratic Central Committee could withdraw their previous nomination of Greg Hall. Following the ruling Tiffany Alston and Greg Hall both slammed the court and said it would damage the potential for local residents to decide their own representation.

Tiffany Alston was removed from her seat after being found guilty for paying her legal assistant through state funds. Alston later entered into a plea agreement for campaign violations after being accused of paying for her wedding dress with campaign funds. The agreement called for community service with the promise of later expunging her record. After Alston’s plea agreement the House of Delegates declared her seat vacant and the Prince George’s County Democratic Central Committee met and nominated Gregg Hall as her replacement. Hall who defeated committee chair Terry Speigner for the nomination later came under fire for a past that included drug charges two decades ago. News of those charges led Governor O’Malley to seek another replacement which initially was refused by the committee.

The Democratic Central Committee is expected to meet soon to formally withdraw Hall’s name. Should they do so O’Malley will be able to fill the vacancy with a choice of his choosing. Rumors about the replacement include former delegate Darrian Swain. Swain is an Assistant Vice President at Bowie State University.

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O’Malley endorses Brown for Governor, sorta

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Earlier today Governor Martin O’Malley sent an email to supporters lining up behind Lt. Governor Anthony Brown for “No matter what lies ahead for Anthony in public service.” To many that equaled an endorsement in Brown’s bid to be his successor.

Read the governor’s full email below:

Dear Friend,

I consider myself fortunate for a number of reasons: the privilege to serve the people of Maryland, the ability to make a real difference in the lives of families, and the opportunity to move our great State forward through difficult economic times.

I am also fortunate that I have had a true partner in governing from the day I took office – your Lieutenant Governor, and my friend, Anthony Brown. Anthony is an outstanding public servant, and I have seen first-hand the results we’ve achieved becaused of Anthony’s leadership on efforts to create jobs, improve healthcare, and make college more affordable for more families.

No matter what lies ahead for Anthony in public service, I know that I will be with him 100 percent, because I believe that our State, our communities, and all Marylanders will benefit greatly with Anthony bringing people together to work for our shared priorities.

As Lieutenant Governor, Anthony has pushed hard to get our economic initiatives passed to protect our investments in education and job creation. He is nationally recognized for hisleadership on behalf of our veterans, and he has developed groundbreaking new laws to protectvictims of domestic violence.

The challenges facing Maryland have not been easy, and our progress would not have beenpossible without Anthony’s leadership and determination. Together, we’ve made the largest investment in our State’s history in public education, and Maryland’s public schools have been ranked number one in the nation four years in a row. Together, we have been able to maintain Maryland’s Triple A bond rating. And together, we’ve been able to recover 65 percent of jobs lost during the Great Recession and keep our unemployment rate more than 15 percent below the national average.

Throughout all of these challenges, Anthony has been by my side every step of the way. He has taken the lead on some of the most difficult measures our administration has pursued, fromexpanding and improving the delivery of health care and eliminating waste, fraud, and abuse in Medicaid, to strengthening Maryland laws protecting neglected children, to taking guns out of thehands of domestic abusers. He has leveraged legislative experience, consensus-building skills, and intelligence to pass many of our most critical priorities.

We have to work hard to make sure this progress continues well into the future, and that our State continues to move forward. For these reasons and more, I urge Anthony to continue his public service and pursue the greatest possible level of public responsibility. He has been mypartner day in and day out, and he understands what needs to be done to make sure our state moves forward, not back.

After nearly six years of working together, I know that Anthony understands better than anyone how our government works, and more importantly, how to ensure it works best to improve the lives of our citizens. More than any other public official, Anthony Brown has my complete trust in his ability to serve the best interests of Maryland.

Over the coming months, I will be working hard to make sure Maryland benefits from Anthony’s continued leadership and that the progress we have made together continues well into the future. I hope you will join me in supporting Anthony in his commitment to build on the progress we’ve made in the years to come.

Sincerely,

Martin O’Malley

P.S. Please take the time to visit www.AnthonyBrown.com to learn more about Anthony’s story, his family, his military service, and the hard work he’s doing every day to move Maryland forward.

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By Authority: Friends of Martin O’Malley, Martin Cadogan, Treasurer 218 East Lexington Street | Baltimore, MD 21202

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Gov. Commission on Hispanics talk quality health care access for Hispanics tonight

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The Governor’s Commission on Hispanic Affairs Cordially Invites You to Attend the June 2012 Commission Meeting

Wednesday, June 20, 5:30 p.m.

Mary’s Center
8908 Riggs Road
Adelphi, MD 20783

Please join the Governor’s Commission on Hispanic Affairs for a dialogue on

Quality Health Care Access for Hispanics in Maryland  

The dialogue will focus on a closer overview of the recently passed Health Enterprise Zone Bill championed by Lieutenant Governor Anthony Brown, as well as focus on minority health care disparities. A presentation by Mary’s Center on the successful health care provider model used the clinic for minority communities and the under- and uninsured.

The Governor’s Commission on Hispanic Affairs encourages everyone to attend and take advantage of the presentations, engage in the dialogue with our State officials and guests, and receive helpful information and resources for our communities.

Invited Speakers:

The Lieutenant Governor’s Office
Annapolis, MD

Joshua M. Sharfstein, M.D. – Secretary
Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene

Zulma Aparicio – Director of Operations in Maryland
Mary’s Center for Maternal and Child Care, Inc.

The Governor’s Commission on Hispanic Affairs meetings are free and open to the public

For Information call (410) 767-7425

www.hispanic.maryland.gov

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Setback to Baker, state panel rejects new casino in PG

Prince George’s Executive Rushern Baker

Today the special commission that was charged by Governor Martin O’Malley, Speaker Michael Busch, and Senate President Mike Miller to explore finding a consensus on the hotly debated proposal of expanding casino gambling into Prince George’s County had planned to announce a deal on a plan that would be considered in a special session the week of July 9th, but those plans have been scrapped. Panel leaders announced they have not been able to reach consensus and there would be no extension in their work. That is fancy talk for saying they failed.

The proposal, which was pushed by County Executive Rushern Baker, took over the final days of the regular session of the General Assembly. Many blamed Senate President Miller for holding up budget negotiations in an attempt to push the hand of the House of Delegates but by midnight both proposals had failed to be approved. Legislators returned to Annapolis last month to resolve budget work and planned to return next month to deal with the casino proposal. News today that the commission named to draft the plan both chambers would debate failed to reach a deal seems to end those plans. Governor O’Malley had indicated he would not call another special session unless the panel was successful.

Last week officials with MGM Grand announced plans to develop a casino at Prince George’s National Harbor in what some elected officials said was another attempt to push the hand of legislators. MGM promised the deal would create more than 1,000 construction jobs and more than 4,000 jobs after the casino opened. For Prince George’s County, which struggles with job creation, that was big news. Additionally a state report released said the casino would generate more than $200 million annually in education funding for the state. Opponents to the casino point to the promises made by the lottery and said they never came to fruition. Community groups and church leaders in the county also opposed the plan saying the amount of crime and social issues the casino would create was not worth the risk.

Sources in the Prince George’s County government say the executive and his team will continue to explore ways to move forward with their plans. Any expansion in the county would first have to be approved by both the legislature and voters in a constitutional amendment.

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The O’Malley casino commission: PG gets none, MoCo well represented.

Governor Martin O’Malley on Face the Nation

On Monday Governor Martin O’Malley appointed his long discussed Working Group on Gaming. Despite what the governor puts out as a wide ranging portfolio, this group has one task, deciding if the state will allow an additional casino at National Harbor in Prince George’s County. However guess what we weren’t supposed to notice? None of the voting members of the group are from Prince George’s County.

Here are the official voting members of the group –

  • Governor’s Chief of Staff Matthew Gallagher
  • Secretary of the Department of Budget and Management T. Eloise Foster
  • Secretary of Appointments Jeanne Hitchcock
  • Senior Policy and Legislative Advisor Joseph Bryce
  • Senator Edward Kasemeyer
  • Senator Nathaniel McFadden
  • Senator Richard Madaleno
  • Delegate Sheila Hixson
  • Delegate Peter Hammen
  • Delegate Frank Turner

Now before we get all crazy and stuff the governor did also name alternates to the group and there are two members from Prince George’s County in that group, but both of them are pro-slots coming to the county. The members of that group are below.

Senator Douglas Peters, Senator George Edwards, Senator Robert Garagiola, Delegate Dereck Davis, Delegate Robert Costa, and Delegate Eric Luedtke.

So here is how things balance out.

Voting Members of the Working Group

Baltimore City – 2

Howard County – 2

Montgomery County – 2

Non-voting Members of the Working Group

Anne Arundel County – 1

Montgomery County – 2

Prince George’s County – 2

Total= Baltimore City 2, Howard County 2, Montgomery County 4, Prince George’s County 2

From looking at this you would think that this site was going to be in Montgomery County.

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PGCPS leads state’s largest public school systems to raise political pressure in special session

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With the special session of the Maryland General Assembly days away, the chiefs of Baltimore City, Prince George’s County, and Montgomery County public schools have joined together to fight for a restoration of school funding. In a letter released today, the three superintendents urge the state leaders to remember their investments and restore cuts to public education.

The Prince George’s County Public Schools took it a step further unveiling a feature on their website urging community members to pressure the legislature to restore the cuts. The feature allows citizens use the PGCPS website and lobby their legislators and the governor. To view the page yourself go to http://www1.pgcps.org/budget/13.aspx

Press Release and Letter from PGCPS about combined efforts with BCPS and MCPS.

Superintendents of Baltimore City, Prince George’s County and MCPS Send Joint Letter to State Leaders

May 7, 2012
For Immediate Release
CONTACT:

Office of Communications

301-952-6001

The leaders of three of the largest school districts in Maryland sent a joint letter today to the Governor and the leaders of the State Senate and the State House of Delegates urging them to fully restore funding for public education during the special session of the General Assembly, which begins on May 14. The General Assembly failed to come to a budget agreement during its regular session, which ended last month, leading to the passage of a so-called “doomsday budget,” that would cut funding for schools and other services by more than $500 million. The letter stresses the importance of Geographic Cost of Education Index (GCEI) funds and other state education funding, and outlines the impact that such cuts could have for the three districts and the state, as a whole.

The letter is signed Dr. Andrés A. Alonso, CEO of Baltimore City Public Schools, Dr. William R. Hite, Jr., superintendent of Prince George’s County Public Schools, and Dr. Joshua P. Starr, superintendent of Montgomery County Public Schools. It is addressed to Governor Martin J. O’Malley, President of the Senate Thomas V. Mike Miller, Jr. and Speaker of the House of Delegates Michael E. Busch.

The text of the letter is below. A copy of the letter can be found here.

—————————————

Dear Governor O’Malley, Senate President Miller and Speaker Busch:

We are writing to share our collective concern about the devastating impact the so-called “doomsday” budget would have on our three school systems and Maryland’s hard-earned standing as being “first in education.” As you prepare to gather for a special session of the General Assembly on May 14, we urge you to fully restore the Geographic Cost of Education Index (GCEI) and other formula funding for public education.

Our districts, combined, educate more than one-third of Maryland’s students and, within that, nearly two-thirds of the African American and Hispanic students in the state and more than half of the students who qualify for free and reduced-price meals. The elimination of $93 million in GCEI funding would disproportionately harm our students, our ability to continue to narrow achievement gaps for those students who are minorities and poor, and student performance for the state as a whole.

Under the state’s Thornton formula in the past five years, our districts have received a majority of GCEI dollars that the state distributes to create equity in funding across jurisdictions. The GCEI offsets funding in districts where the cost of living—and, by extension, the cost of educating children—is higher. During those same five years, our three districts combined have shown significant student achievement gains—gains that have improved the educational and life prospects of tens of thousands of children and gone a long way to moving us toward financial and educational equity for our kids. These gains have also contributed heavily to Maryland’s continued status as having the best public education system in the country.

For instance, Maryland is rightfully proud of its position as a national leader in Advanced Placement participation and performance. Since 2007, the number of AP exams taken by Maryland students has increased 35 percent. Our three districts, combined, have accounted for about half of the state’s AP growth, having increased the number of AP exams taken by more than 40 percent since 2007.

And the GCEI funding has been critical to making this success happen; most importantly, it has been essential to our ability to deliver the education our students need and deserve. The elimination of the GCEI would be a huge setback in the gains our students have made. Collectively, our three districts would sustain 73 percent of what would be a $128.8 million cut to public education.

If we are to ensure that our students graduate from high school prepared for the workforce of the 21st century, and if we are to grow the pool of workers trained to enter the fast-emerging STEM professions in our state, then we cannot retreat on education funding. If we are to make good on our commitment to educating children equitably, regardless of their geographic location, we must maintain, and even increase, our investment in education. As our state’s leader-, you have demonstrated your commitment to education time and again. We ask you to maintain that commitment to our students during the special session.

Sincerely,

Andrés A. Alonso, Ed.D.
CEO, Baltimore City Public Schools

William R. Hite, Jr., Ed.D.
Superintendent, Prince George’s County Public Schools

Joshua P. Starr, Ed.D.
Superintendent, Montgomery County Public Schools

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Sen. Muse comes out against casino in special session

State Senator C. Anthony Muse today released the following editorial opposing consideration of a new billion dollar casino during the expected special session. The opposition from Muse for consideration is interesting as he represents the area that both potential sites, National Harbor and Roscroft, are located.
The Only Gaming During a Special Session Should be Doubling Down on the People’s Business”
 

Whether you support casinos in Maryland or not, one thing is certain, the proposed expansion of gaming will have no direct impact on the fiscal year 2013 budget.  In fact, projected revenues from a proposed casino in Prince George’s County would not be realized for nearly six years, at best; and projected revenues from table games are a few years off as well. Further, the expansion of gaming hinges on the voters of Maryland agreeing to support the referendum, which some may say is likely, but there are no guarantees.  For these reasons, and many others, it seems irrational and irresponsible to tie the ability of the General Assembly to pass a responsible budget for this year to the condition that we send a question to referendum that may fail.  This is a gamble that I don’t believe the state should take.

Governor Martin O’Malley was right when he said, “Our republic was not built on gambling gimmicks, bingo games or bake sales.”  I believe that our republic was built on intellect, courage and humanity; and the future of our republic depends on brave men and women standing for the greater good and putting personal interests aside to get a job done for the citizens of Maryland. 
We ended this session with the people’s business unfinished, because the special interest of gaming dominated the closing days of the General Assembly.  As a result, Maryland must cut $512 million from education, public safety and other services.  In addition, tuition rates will increase at state universities, making higher education less affordable for our young people.  My home county, Prince George’s, will likely see a $65 million reduction in state aid, resulting in cuts to k-12 education, public safety and other services.
I understand that Senate President Mike Miller and County Executive Rushern Baker have a desire to bring slot machines and table games to Prince George’s County, but I believe it is mutually exclusive from this year’s budget and should be dealt with during the course of the regular session next year.   I don’t believe it is worth gambling with the important issues that we as public servants must face today.  Right now, the Prince George’s County Public School System ranks 24th of 24 in the state, yet we are now facing devastating cuts to our education system because we could not pass a responsible budget.  Just a couple of weekends ago, there were five killings and four shootings in Prince George’s, yet we are now risking cuts to public safety.  Conditioning this year’s budget on gaming is at best poor judgment, or at worse one of the greatest abuses of power that this state has ever seen.
The state of Maryland is facing a structural deficit, and yet we allowed one special interest to potentially cost taxpayers additional money to bring the General Assembly back into session to pass the budget that should have been and could have been passed in the 90 days the people have allotted for us.  If we allow gaming to play a role during a special session, shame on us!  We would be sending a message to the world that Maryland can be bought and bossed by special gaming interests, and that we are willing to sacrifice education, healthcare, public safety and transportation for the promise of revenues generated by slot machines and table games.  I believe the people of Maryland deserve better of us.  Let’s not gamble with their future.
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O’Malley blast GOP, Senate and PG Democrats over budget, PG Young Dems hit back

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Yesterday Governor Martin O’Malley took to this campaign email to blast members of the GOP for cheering the cuts the doomsday budget lays out:

Ten days ago, Democrats in the Maryland General Assembly failed to reach a consensus on a budget to move Maryland forward.  Now, there is more work to do.

As Democrats, we know we need to come together to protect our investments in public education, affordable college and public safety — and we will come back to complete this important work.

The failure to pass a budget to move Maryland forward is bad enough, but the Republican reaction is even worse. When Republicans in Annapolis learned that the inaction by the Maryland General Assembly would result in more than $500 million in cuts to public education, public safety and social services, they cheered.

They cheered about the possibility of turning back Maryland’s progress over the past six years.

They cheered for cuts that will harm every school in every county.

They cheered for cuts that will harm every student in every classroom, every library, and every local police department.

They cheered for cuts that will raise tuition on every Maryland college student, make our community colleges less affordable and reduce funding for life-saving and innovative research and development.

For all of this, they cheered.

After blasting the GOP for cheering the cuts, the governor tried to play the elder statesman in Annapolis by imploring his party leaders to come together on a deal.

If there is ever a time to come together as Democrats, it is now. You and I both know that a modern economy requires modern investments, by all of us, for all of us.

Governor O’Malley has received a lot of bad press following the legislatures failure to reach a budget deal. Many blame his national ambitions as a reason the budget package wasn’t passed. Now he is fighting back.

Earlier today O’Malley took to twitter to blast Senate Democrats focus on gambling and that didn’t sit well with the Prince George’s County Young Democrats. See the governor’s tweets below and then the PGCYD response that follows.

Earlier this week Senate President Mike Miller, who represents part of Prince George’s, sent a two page letter to members of his chamber hitting back at efforts to blame him and County Executive Rushern Baker for pushing the National Harbor Casino project as the cause of the budget deadlock. With the special session likely weeks away, both sides of this inter-party struggle seem far apart.

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