Daily "Recent Prince George's County News" updates were suspended in early March 2016. They were compiled primarily from retweets of news headlines. Those retweets continue, but in unformatted and unarchived form at PG-Politics-Briefs. To follow such headlines on a current basis, follow @pgpolitics on Twitter.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

News Briefs (Wednesday)

(Posted 1 March 2006)
Gory Prince George's
  • Sam Parker Becomes New Planning Chair, Jesse Clark Is New M-NCPPC Member.
  • New Planning Officials Approved.
  • The Prince George's County Council yesterday unanimously approved two members to the powerful board that oversees land use and development.

    Sam Parker will become the new chairman of the Planning Board, and Jesse Clark will become a member.
    [. . .]
    County Executive Jack B. Johnson (D) previously offered the chairmanship to County Council member David Harrington (D-Cheverly), but Harrington declined the position.
    [. . .]
    Clark, a lawyer from Fort Washington, will fill a seat left open by [tag] retirement last year to run for a council seat. Parker's term will end in June 2007..
  • County Council approves new planning board chair.
    • Gazette, 28 Feb 2006 (by Tiesha Higgins, Staff Writer).
    . . . Samuel J. Parker, Jr. became the new chairman. He received strong endorsements last month when Bowie Mayor Fred Robinson, Seat Pleasant Mayor Eugene Grant and several other notable figures in county politics testified on his behalf. . . .
  • New planning director in Prince George's County.
    The Prince George's County Council unanimously confirmed Sam Parker as the new Planning Board chairman. Parker, of Riverdale, has served as associate director at the Prince George's County Redevelopment Authority since 2004. Parker replaces Elizabeth Hewlett..
  • Prince George's offers security help for apartments.
    • Examiner, 1 Mar 2006 (By Anna Bailey, Examiner Staff Writer).
    Prince George's County lawmakers plan to give apartment building owners tax credits for installing security measures such as cameras or gates, an effort to placate owners riled by threats of closure if they didn't increase up security.

    "There's always tension when we strive to find the right solution," said House of Delegates Majority Whip Anthony Brown, D-Prince George's. "We think we've got the right solution here." . . . Sen. Gloria Lawlah, D-Prince George's, also has filed the bill on the Senate side. . . .
  • Ehrlich rallies against budget cuts.
  • Maryland Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. began a campaign to thwart legislative attempts to cut his budget by urging lawmakers yesterday to reject $35 million in spending reductions proposed for prisons by General Assembly budget analysts.

    At a press conference in Baltimore, the governor told correctional officers who were standing behind him that they should lobby legislators to protect the money he has included in next year's budget for their pay raises.
    [. . .]
    The only issue is whether to make the raises retroactive to the first of this year instead of effective July 1, the normal date for pay increases to take effect, said Sen. Ulysses Currie, Prince George's Democrat and chairman of the Budget and Taxation Committee, and Delegate Norman H. Conway, Wicomico Democrat and chairman of the House Appropriations Committee.

    Both noted that the suggested cuts in correctional budgets cited by the governor are among dozens in all areas of the state budget proposed by analysts who are looking for ways to cut about $100 million from the budget. That is the target for the budget committees because Mr. Ehrlich's budget exceeds the legislature's self-imposed limit on the growth of state spending.
    [. . .]
    The governor has scheduled another press conference in Baltimore for today to complain about possible cuts in spending for health care and programs to help the disabled.
  • [[tag]: Just above, legislators are saying that the Governor is spending too much and his budget must be cut. But just below, they are saying that the Governor's budget cuts are heartless and spending more is fiscally responsible. Seems rather hypocritical, but what do you expect from poiticians like ours?]
  • Bill targets immigrant health; House measure seeks restoration of funds for Medicaid insurance cut by Ehrlich in 2005.
  • . . . "These are women and children who are law-abiding residents; the children of these women will be U.S. citizens," said Del. Victor R. Ramirez, the bill's sponsor, at a news conference yesterday.

    A Democrat from Prince George's County, Ramirez was flanked by immigrant advocates, medical experts and Ehrlich's Democratic challengers in the governor's race.
    [. . .]
    Del. Anthony G. Brown, Baltimore Mayor Martin O'Malley's running mate, said it's up to the legislature to do what Ehrlich has not. "The governor's decision to cut $7 million in Medicaid, I believe, is not only irresponsible, it's just downright heartless," he said.
    [. . .]
    But advocates say restoring the $7 million is fiscally responsible.
    [. . .].
  • Ehrlich Urged to Restore Medicaid.
    • Post, 1 Mar 2006 (By John Wagner and Ann E. Marimow).
    . . . Legislation by Del. Victor Ramirez (D-Prince George's) would require Ehrlich to set aside at least $7 million in the state's Medicaid budget to cover low-income pregnant women and children who are legal immigrants but do not qualify for federal money. . . .
  • Bill restores immigrant health care.
    • TImes, 1 Mar 2006 (by Kristen Wyatt, Associated Press).
  • [Comment: None of the three apparently unbalanced stories makes any attempt to report on the administration's reasons for making the cut, nor is there either any report quoting any supporters or any statement that no supporters could be found.]
  • Socialist Left Takes Aim at Every American Success; [Rush Limbaugh reports on Del. Hubbard].
  • There's a piece by Brendan Miniter today in the Wall Street Journal's OpinionJournal.com section. You can access it there if you don't subscribe to the Wall Street Journal. It's about the war on Wal-Mart, and Mr. Miniter's point is that the war on Wal-Mart is really about expanding government.

    "With the war on Wal-Mart now heating up in nearly three dozen state legislatures, I put a call in to someone who was in on the ground floor in pushing to force the retailer to spend more on health care for its employees. What Maryland's Delegate James Hubbard, a Democrat from Prince George's County, had to say was revealing of both why he backed his state's 'Wal-Mart bill' and what this fight is really about: expanding Medicaid and other taxpayer-funded health-care entitlements.

    "Wal-Mart is doing more for low-income people than politicians can. That makes the politicians mad, and it threatens them. If the Democratic Party really meant what it says about compassion for the less fortunate, for the poor, for the hungry, the thirsty, and the whoever, then it ought to be riding Wal-Mart to the bank."

    "Let's first understand that the drive to enact anti-Wal-Mart legislation has very little to do with the retail giant except in two respects: dipping into its very deep pockets, and using the controversy surrounding the company to mask the larger agenda of expanding already-bankrupt entitlement programs. Of course, in this war legislators have a ready made ally in the AFL-CIO, which has its own reasons for going after the nonunionized company. With that, let's turn to Mr. Hubbard. He began our conversation by pointing out that the Wal-Mart bill--which forces companies with more than 10,000 employees to spend at least 8% of their payroll on health care or pay the state the difference--was always intended to be just the first step. Four years ago, he made his intentions clear by introducing legislation to increase cigarette taxes and to use the tax code to compel employers to provide health insurance. Under his legislation the revenue from these taxes would be dumped into a new state fund that would then be used to expand Medicaid eligibility to families with incomes up to 300% of the poverty line (up from 200% now). But even in a legislature with large Democratic majorities, his bill stalled.

    "So Mr. Hubbard and others settled on a new approach--pushing through smaller, bite-sized pieces. The first piece was the Wal-Mart bill. It passed last year and was enacted last month, when the Legislature overrode Gov. Robert Ehrlich's veto. Two weeks ago Mr. Hubbard was at it again, this time introducing a new bill to mandate that companies with at least 1,000 employees spend 4.5% of their payroll on health care or pay the state the difference. Once this piece is in place, Mr. Hubbard told me, the next step will be to create a similar mandate--perhaps 2% or 3%--for companies with fewer than 1,000 employees. Each year, Mr. Hubbard hopes to expand the mandate to include ever smaller companies with the ultimate goal of 'health coverage for all Marylanders.' Mr. Hubbard noted how effective splitting the difference can be in moving legislation toward a larger goal. 'If you give up 80% of what you want to get 20%,' he said, 'after five years you will have nothing left to give up.'
    [. . .].

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