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Entries in Maryland (8)

Monday
Jan142013

Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley Backs Gun Control Bill

SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images(BALTIMORE) -- Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley announced on Monday that he will bring legislation to his state’s legislature that would become one of the nation’s most expansive responses to last month’s tragic school shooting in Connecticut.

Among the more sweeping proposals would be a requirement for most prospective gun buyers to provide fingerprints to state police, undergo a background check and complete a mandatory gun-safety course in order to obtain an owners permit.

Buyers of shotguns and hunting rifles would be exempt from the measure.  Currently, only Maryland residents seeking a concealed-carry permit must submit their fingerprints.

Speaking before a two-day gun violence summit at Johns Hopkins University, O’Malley said the proposals, which will include an assault weapons ban, were an attempt to cure what he called the “sickness in this country” of violent crimes with firearms.

“It makes absolutely no sense when you look at the level of carnage on our streets from guns to blame every factor but guns,” he said.  “If we are to have a comprehensive approach then let us be comprehensive.”

Maryland’s Democratic-controlled legislature is likely to pass the proposals, which will also address high-capacity magazines by halving the maximum number of bullets allowed in clips to 10.

O’Malley said such weapons “have no place on the streets of Baltimore or in any other neighborhood in our state.”

The bill will include measures seeking to ban sales to residents with mental illness that have shown violent tendencies, but avoids the National Rifle Association’s call for armed guards in all schools.  Instead, it would allocate a $25 million fund to improve school safety in the form of auto-locking doors and mandatory guest check-in requirements, among others items.

Johns Hopkins’ summit was timed to begin one month to the hour from when Adam Lanza killed 20 first graders and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., using a Bushmaster .223 assault-style rifle.

“Perhaps there is no way to completely prevent the next Newtown tragedy, but then again perhaps there is.  None of us can predict the future,” O’Malley continued.  “And yet we know every life is valuable.”

If the measure is signed into law, Maryland will join New York and other Democratic-controlled states in an active push for restricting gun rights and other measures in the wake of the Newtown shooting.  

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg joined O’Malley at Johns Hopkins to continue his own push for reform at a national level -- including universal background checks for all gun sales.

A July CNN poll reported 96 of every hundred Americans supported universal background checks for all gun purchases, regardless of origin.  An estimated 40 percent of gun sales in the U.S. take place without a background check, according to statistics compiled by the Brady Campaign to Stop Gun Violence.

“There’s really no debate here, it’s common sense,” Bloomberg said.

Last week, Bloomberg told reporters that his office had been advising a task force led by Vice President Joe Biden on a federal response to gun violence.  That group, which has held working meetings with law enforcement officials, media representatives and mental health advocates, is expected to release its findings on Tuesday.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Apr032012

ABC News Projects Mitt Romney Will Win Wis., Md. and DC Primaries

DON EMMERT/AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Based on analysis of exit polls, ABC News has projected Mitt Romney will win the Republican primaries in Wisconsin, Maryland and District of Columbia, beating his main challenger, Rick Santorum, in what has become mostly a formality as the perennial frontrunner jogs toward the party's nomination.

As polls closed in Maryland and Washington, D.C., at 8 p.m. ET, ABC News projected that Romney would defeat second-place Rick Santorum in Maryland. Santorum did not quality to make the D.C. ballot. Polls closed for voters in Wisconsin at 9 p.m. ET, where Romney also claimed victory.

Looking more inevitable than ever, Romney strode through the latest primary contests with a parade of establishment and revered GOP figures hoisting him up. His latest endorsements came from former President George H.W. Bush, budget idol Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin and tea party scion Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida.

Already Romney had indicated that mentally, he'd moved on from the primary and on to the general election, after decidedly winning the primary in Illinois, a state in which Santorum's blue-collar appeal could have boosted him but didn't.

This week, the Republican National Committee -- which technically stays out of the primary until a nominee is decided -- announced it would start raising money jointly with the Romney campaign.

In Wisconsin, voters seemed to agree. Preliminary exit polls showed that regardless of their choice, 80 percent of them said they expected Romney to win the nomination, even as half of them said the former Massachusetts governor was "not conservative enough."

In a speech to supporters in Wisconsin, Romney, who has been dogged by charges that as a mega-millionaire he doesn't understand working-class values, planned to call President Obama disconnected.

"It's enough to make you think that years of flying around on Air Force One, surrounded by an adoring staff of true believers telling you what a great job you are doing, well, that might be enough to make you a little out of touch," he planned to say, according to excerpts of his speech.

Despite Romney's wins, Santorum showed no signs of leaving the race.

"We have now reached the point where it's halftime," he told his fans in Pennsylvania, his home state. "Half the delegates in this process have been selected. And who's ready to charge out of the locker room in Pennsylvania for a strong second half?"

Romney won the majority of voters in many demographics, according to exit polls. For example, among the 40 percent of Maryland voters who said beating Obama was the most important characteristic for the eventual nominee, Romney won over 72 percent of them. He also won 65 percent of the vote among those who said experience is most important.

Romney's rivals have tried to block his seemingly unstoppable road to victory, pledging to stay in the race until the party's convention in August, in Tampa, Fla. By the rules of the Republican Party, the nominee must win 1,144 delegates, who are divvied up after each state primary; Romney is the only candidate who has a realistic path to get to that number, an argument that his campaign has made repeatedly.

Tuesday night's victory extends Romney's lead even more. Most of Maryland's 37 delegates and Wisconsin's 39 are likely to go to Romney, and he'll get all of D.C.'s 16, too.

A figure that will stick out no matter how well Romney performs is the money that has been spent in his favor -- a dollar amount that Democrats are sure to say indicates that his appeal is artificial. For example, the Romney campaign and the super PAC supporting it have spent more than $3 million on TV ads in Wisconsin, four times as much as Santorum and his super PAC have spent.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Apr032012

Primary Primer: Wisconsin, Maryland and DC

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- The short break in the 2012 Republican primary calendar has come and gone; Wisconsin, Maryland and the District of Columbia hold their primaries on Tuesday.

The three contests fall at a pivotal moment in the campaign, as Romney gathers up establishment support and begins to look more and more like the inevitable nominee.  A clean sweep on Tuesday night would further solidify this perception.  A Santorum upset, on the other hand, would give a jolt to Santorum’s campaign and perhaps make Romney’s “inevitable nominee” status look, well, not quite so inevitable.

Here are five important things to note about the three contests.

1.) The delegate math will strongly favor the winner.

A total of 98 delegates are at stake on Tuesday: 42 in Wisconsin, 19 in D.C., and 37 in Maryland.  The District of Columbia’s primary is winner-take-all, meaning that whoever receives the highest percentage of the vote gets all of the delegates.

Maryland and Wisconsin are both winner-take-all by congressional district.  The allotment scheme in Maryland and Wisconsin allows the second-place finisher potentially to score a couple of delegates here or there if he is able to carry any congressional districts, but for the most part the winner of the state will get a big majority of the state’s delegates.

2.) Wisconsin is the big prize.

Although Wisconsin does not have a lot more delegates than Maryland, it’s the primary on Tuesday that matters the most as far as perception is concerned.  Just look at the candidates’ schedules over the past 10 days since the Illinois primary, and this becomes very clear.  Candidates have spent far more time in Wisconsin than in Maryland or D.C.

Why?

Maryland and D.C. are both blue states.  In the general election they will be virtually ignored because they are easily assumed to be Obama wins.  Their victories bring no trump cards.  Wisconsin is viewed as a swing state.  Obama carried it in 2008, but the state has one Republican senator, a Republican governor and a mixed congressional delegation.

3.) Money, Money, Money.

Candidates and their allies have poured serious change into the Wisconsin airwaves.  Romney and his allies have spent upwards of $3.1 million on TV ad buys, according to a source tracking GOP ad buys.  For comparison, Santorum and his allies have spent roughly $717,000 on TV ad buys, a margin of about 4:1.

Romney and Santorum aren’t alone on the airwaves. The Super PAC supporting Newt Gingrich -- Winning Our Future -- made a small ad buy in the Badger state -- $120,381, according to their Federal Election Commission (FEC) filings.

Though it’s much smaller than the amount spent in Wisconsin, the pro-Romney Restore Our Future Super PAC has also spent money in Maryland.  The group has spent $436,204 on ad buys in the state, according to their FEC filings.

4) All signs point to Romney.

Polling indicates that Romney is ripe to sweep Wisconsin and Maryland.  There has been no polling in Washington, D.C., though the assumption is that he’ll carry the district as well.  Plus, Santorum failed to qualify for the ballot in the District of Columbia, so his name will not appear as an option for voters.

5) But don’t look for the rest of the field to bow out Wednesday.

Santorum has pledged to fight on until his home state of Pennsylvania holds its primary on April 24.  Newt Gingrich appears to be committed to staying in the race until Romney reaches 1,144 delegates -- the number needed to secure the nomination.  And then there’s Ron Paul, who shows no signs of slowing down.

If the current polling holds and Romney is able to sweep all three primaries, he would increase his already strong delegate lead, making it almost impossible, mathematically speaking, for the other candidates to catch up to him.  However, just as likely, he’ll continue to share the field for the foreseeable future.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Saturday
Feb182012

Maryland House Approves Same-Sex Marriage Bill

Mario Tama/Getty Images(ANNAPOLIS, Md.) -- A same-sex marriage bill sponsored by Democratic Gov. Martin O'Malley narrowly passed in the Maryland House on Friday evening.

The Civil Marriage Protection Act passed with a 72-67 vote. It now proceeds to the Senate which is expected to discuss the measure next week. If approved, Maryland will become the eighth state in the nation to allow same-sex unions.

A similar measure passed in New Jersey on Thursday and was subsequently vetoed by Republican Gov. Chris Christie on Friday.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Nov152011

Officials Caught on Tape: Stuff Cash in Panties

Adam Gault/Thinkstock (PRINCE GEORGE, Md.) -- If you wanted your wife to hide almost $80,000 in cash from FBI agents knocking on your door, what would you tell her to do?

When faced with that dilemma, former Prince George’s, Md., County Executive Jack Johnson said, “Put it in your panties and walk it out of the house.”

The U.S. Attorney’s office has released audio of Johnson saying that and more to his wife, former County Councilwoman Leslie Johnson, over the phone.

Johnson and his wife have been charged with tampering with a witness and evidence relating to a federal offense. Jack and Leslie pleaded guilty to corruption charges in May and June of this year, respectively, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

In light of what Special Agent in Charge Richard A. McFeely calls “a long and complex investigation by the FBI in Prince George’s County,” officials say Johnson took bribes including a $100,000 check in exchange for his influence over the county’s choice of which developers to fund with its Home Investments Partnerships program.

Maryland’s Gazette.net reported that federal prosecutors say the taped phone calls offer enough evidence to put the former county executive behind bars for at least one year.

On one of the calls, listeners can hear FBI agents pounding on the door to his home as Jack says to Leslie of the $100k check, “Yeah, flush that” down the toilet.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Monday
Jul112011

Maryland Petition Forces Referendum on State DREAM Act

Hemera Technologies/Thinkstock(ANNAPOLIS, Md.) -- With federal legislation perpetually stalled in Congress, 13 states have taken the DREAM Act into their own hands, passing legislation to provide in-state tuition and reduce other funding barriers so that undocumented immigrants can attend college.

Last week, Maryland became the first state to try to overturn its version of the act.

The Maryland State Board of Elections announced Thursday that opponents to the DREAM Act had collected the required 55,736 signatures, or 3 percent of voters from the last gubernatorial election, that are needed to put the law up for referendum on the ballot next November.

By Friday afternoon, the petition had 74,108 verified signatures.

"The Maryland referendum will really give lawmakers at the state and federal level a gauge for how American taxpayers feel about extending taxpayer benefits and subsidies to illegal aliens who are not taxpayers themselves," said Kristen Williamson, a spokeswoman for the Federation for American Immigration Reform.

Maryland Sen. Victor Ramirez, who sponsored the bill, said the only reason people oppose the law is because they do not know what is actually in it.

According to the law, undocumented immigrants must attend a Maryland high school for at least three years, earn a diploma, prove their parents pay taxes and enroll in a community college paying out-of-state tuition for two years before they are eligible for in-state tuition at a four-year public university.

"I think the economy is bad, and opponents are playing off peoples' worst fears that we are giving away free tuition," Ramirez said.  "And that is absolutely false."

Sen. Dick Durbin has introduced the DREAM Act in the U.S. Senate every session since 2001.  The closest it ever came to becoming law was in 2010, when it passed in the Democrat-controlled House but was eight votes shy of overcoming a filibuster in the Senate.

The law under discussion at the federal level does not give any tuition breaks to undocumented immigrants but allows children who were brought to the country illegally when they were under the age of 15 to become permanent residents if they completed two years of college or enrolled in the military.

Opponents of the federal bill say it would grant amnesty to people who broke the law and create more competition for jobs at a time when even American citizens cannot find work.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Friday
Apr012011

Obama: Budget Negotiations Cannot Break Down

JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images(LANDOVER, Md.) -- As budget negotiations continue on Capitol Hill, President Obama said Friday if the “details and differences” are not worked out it would be the “height of irresponsibility” to shut down the government.

“We could end up having to shut down the government just at a time when the economy's starting to recover,” the president said. “That could…jeopardize the economic recovery.”

Standing in a UPS warehouse in Landover, Md., the president said that if a shutdown was not averted it would negatively impact everyone’s bottom line.

“UPS, I know, delivers a lot of packages to the U.S. government. You don't need a shutdown right now. Every business here could be impacted. We can't allow that to happen. So given the encouraging news we received today on jobs, it would be the height of irresponsibility to halt our economic momentum because of the same old Washington politics.”

The president said that it does appear that they are close to an agreement, even with some work left to be done.

“There's still details and differences to work out. And what I've said is, neither Democrats or Republicans should give up 100 percent of what they want. They're going to have to compromise. “

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Jan052011

Barbara Mikulski Becomes Longest-Serving Woman Senator in History

Photo Courtesy - Mikulski[dot]senate[dot]gov(WASHINGTON) -- Sen. Barbara Mikulski, the 74-year old Maryland Democrat standing under five-feet tall, Wednesday became the longest-serving woman senator in United States history.

“When I walked down that aisle, I walked into the history books. I never set out to do that,” she said in a brief speech on the Senate floor.

“But for me,” she said, “it’s not how long I serve – it’s how well I serve.”

“The history of women in the Senate is short. I might add, it’s four-foot-11 short,” she joked.

Mikulski said her focus is not on breaking records that deal with longevity, but rather ones that deal with key national issues.

“Let’s break that high record of unemployment,” she said. “Let’s break that record of low graduation rates in our high schools. Let’s break that record of the longest war in American history and bring our troops home as safely as we can.”

Mikulski’s colleagues -- such as her fellow Maryland Senator Ben Cardin, the Senate’s top Republican Mitch McConnell, and Maine Republican Olympia Snowe --Wednesday paid tribute to her milestone.

“Thank you. Sen. Mikulski, for living the American dream and making that dream a reality for so many Americans,” Cardin said.

“She has had a path-breaking career and that’s an understatement,” said Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.

Today’s is just another in a long line of “firsts” for Mikulski, who is starting her fifth term in the Senate since coming to the chamber 24 years ago. She was the first Democratic woman elected to the Senate in her own right, the first Democratic woman to serve in both houses of Congress, the first Democratic woman senator elected to a leadership post, the first woman elected to statewide office in Maryland – and the list goes on.

Lest anyone think that Mikulski’s tenure on Capitol Hill has merely been about milestones, it has also been one of historic legislative accomplishments. She fought hard for passage of the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, a bill to guarantee equal payment for women. And she championed Rosa’s Law, a citizen advocacy measure that banned the use of the term “mentally retarded.”

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio







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