Tuesday, May 8, 2012

JuiceBlender: Dead Body Found at Rep. Steny Hoyer Event // PLUS: Sen. Mike Miller Undermines Marriage Equality & More

Here's a random blend of political tidbits from recent news, starting with news of the weird regarding Maryland Congressman Steny Hoyer:

JUICE #1: DEAD BODY FOUND AT REP. STENY HOYER FUNDRAISER - Politico this morning reported that a dead body was found at a fundraiser for U.S. House Minority Whip Rep. Steny Hoyer. The event took place in Puerto Rico:
POLITICO: Campaign donors to House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer had a startling moment this weekend when they discovered a dead body in the ocean during a political fundraiser at a resort in Puerto Rico.
Lobbyist John Michael Gonzalez of Peck, Madigan, Jones & Stewart and his spouse Richard Bauer saw something floating in the ocean Saturday afternoon while staying at the St. Regis Bahia Beach Resort for Hoyer’s annual fundraising jaunt, according to sources familiar with the incident. The two men helped pull the body ashore, and later learned the victim was the father of a bride who was set to be married over the weekend

JUICE #2: MIKE MILLER UNDERMINES MARRIAGE EQUALITY AGAIN - Maryland Juice hopes that Free State progressives and marriage equality supporters are willing to fight for social justice this summer. WBAL recently reported that marriage equality opponents are (not surprisingly) making steady progress at gathering signatures to overturn the recently passed LGBT rights measure.
WBAL: Opponents of same-sex marriage said they have collected more than half of the petitions required to try to change Maryland's new law recognizing the new marriage act....

On Wednesday, opponents of the bill said they've collected more than 30,000 petitions needed to get the definition of marriage referendum on the ballot in November. They still need another 30,000 before the end of June.

Meanwhile, The Washington Post today notes that marriage equality advocates will have to work extra hard to make Maryland the first state in the nation to earn a majority of voters' support for marriage equality. Our task is made all the more difficult since Senate President Mike Miller has joined former GOP Gov. Bob Ehrlich in undermining marriage equality in the media:
WASHINGTON POST: National polls show increasing acceptance of same-sex marriage. Proponents have prevailed in court and recent state legislative battles....

Since 1998, voters have gone to the polls 31 times to have their say on statewide ballot measures. Advocates for same-sex marriage have lost every time.

Polls show the epic losing streak is likely to continue with North Carolina’s vote. But gay rights advocates are hopeful that Maryland voters could be among the first to break the streak by affirming same-sex marriage in a November vote....

Gay rights activists are much more hopeful about November, when Maryland and a couple of other more liberal states are expected to ask voters whether same-sex marriage should be allowed....

A Washington Post poll early this year showed that 50 percent of adults voiced support for same-sex marriage and 44 percent opposed it.

Like national surveys, the poll found that backing is strongest among younger residents, suggesting that the trend of growing support is likely to continue in coming years....

In a recent column in the Baltimore Sun, former Maryland governor Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. (R) predicted a “decisive defeat,” arguing that “a coalition of Catholics, African Americans, Hispanics and conservatives from both sides of the aisle” will make their voices heard.

Long-serving Maryland Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller Jr. (D-Calvert), who opposes same-sex marriage, said last week that this could be an issue on which lawmakers are ahead of their constituents.

Will somebody please buy some duct tape or challenge Mike Miller for the Senate Presidency?

JUICE #3: ROB GARAGIOLA ETHICS COMPLAINT DISMISSED - In other belated news, in case you missed it, Mike Miller's majority Leader State Sen. Rob Garagiola received a minor reprimand over a recent ethics disclosure controversy. You may recall the flap that emerged during the 6th Congressional District Democratic Primary. The Baltimore Sun reported last week:
BALTIMORE SUN: State Sen. Rob Garagiola, a Democrat from Germantown, has been sent a letter of reprimand from a state ethics committee for failing to disclose income he received as a lobbyist on state disclosure forms.

The committee said in a letter it will take no further action on the issue.

Questions about the 2001-2003 disclosure forms surfaced as Garagiola ran for the Democratic nomination in Maryland’s 6th Congressional District this year. The issue became a frequent point of attack for his leading opponent, John Delaney, who raised the issue in campaign advertisements....

The ethics complaint was filed by Randa Fahmy Hudome, a former associate deputy secretary of the U.S. Department of Energy who was appointed by Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. to the Maryland Commission for Women.

JUICE #4: SPECIAL SESSION SET FOR 5/14 - If you haven't heard already, the Maryland legislature will begin a special session next week to prevent implementation of the Doomsday Budget. Thanks to Senate President Mike Miller's hijacking of the budget, Maryland residents will face at least three legislative sessions this year, just so that Maryland can expand gambling into all corners of the State. Many stakeholders have weighed in on the possible outcomes from the session, which begins May 14th. Maryland Reporter today has a roundup of news articles discussing the various viewpoints. Stay tuned for a budget update from Maryland Juice as we get closer to the start of special session.

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