Monday, September 30, 2013

JUICE: SEIU for Brown, Sam Arora News, Delaney Letter for Saqib Ali, Susan Lee Lit, Gun Frenzy, Minimum Wage, Drones

Below Maryland Juice writers Dan Furmansky and David Moon highlight recent news of interest to politicos:

JUICE #1: SEIU ENDORSES ANTHONY BROWN FOR GOVERNOR, DOUG GANSLER RESPONDS - Today The Baltimore Sun noted that SEIU will endorse Anthony Brown for Maryland Governor (excerpt below):
BALTIMORE SUN: Lt. Gov. Anthony G. Brown is expected to collect the endorsement of one of the most powerful unions in Maryland Monday in his race for the 2014 Democratic nomination for governor.... The SEIU is one of the state's largest unions, representing more than 30,000 public employees, health care workers, security workers and janitors in Maryland.....
Attorney General Doug Gansler's campaign responded with the following press release:


Campaign Statement Re: SEIU Endorsement

Silver Spring, MD - In response to SEIU endorsement announcement, Gansler campaign manager Matthew "Mudcat" Arnold said,  "SEIU 1199, with far more members in New York than Maryland, carried the state council endorsement. That is disappointing, but the fact remains that the largest, fastest-growing, statewide local with the most Maryland members, SEIU 500, cast their vote for Doug Gansler, proving once again that hard-working families in Maryland want a candidate with ideas and who isn’t afraid to shake up the status quo to get things done. This starts for Doug with creating jobs and a fairer economy where the middle class, and thus all of us, thrives. "


JUICE #2: IT'S OFFICIAL DISTRICT 19 INCUMBENTS RUNNING FOR RE-ELECTION WITHOUT SAM ARORA - The Gazette's Kate Alexander reported last Friday that District 19 incumbents are publicly confirming that they will be forming a slate for re-election without Sam Arora. For what it's worth, Arora has not yet announced if he will seek re-election but will apparently be deciding "soon" what he is doing next year (excerpt below):
GAZETTE: Three District 19 state lawmakers — Dels. Bonnie L. Cullison and Benjamin F. Kramer, and Sen. Roger Manno — have confirmed they will campaign as a group for the upcoming election, excluding Del. Sam Arora.... [A] photo that recently popped up on Manno’s Facebook page taken for collective campaign materials shows him, Cullison and Kramer, without Arora. All four are Democrats.

Asked about the photo, Manno repeatedly answered “Who?” at the mention of Arora’s name, as if the first-term delegate already was gone and forgotten.... Arora has not announced publicly if he will seek re-election.... On Thursday, he would say only that he will announce “soon....” At least two other Democrats have committed to the District 19 race. Meloyde A. Berry of Silver Spring has filed to run for delegate. MaricĂ© I. Morales of Silver Spring, a special assistant in Manno’s office has, too.
Maryland Juice has also heard of another potential candidate or two, but hopefully there will be more news on those fronts very soon. In the meantime, Delegate Sam Arora is making public appearances, as we noted his recent attendance at a ribbon cutting for Montgomery County's newly expanded bike share program:

JUICE #3: FORMER DELEGATE SAQIB ALI RELEASES LETTER FROM REP. JOHN DELANEY FOR DISTRICT 15 MCDCC APPOINTMENT - The vacancy created by District 15 Delegate Brian Feldman's appointment to the State Senate is creating yet another vacancy appointment by the Montgomery County Democratic Central Committee. Feldman's seat will be filled at the MCDCC meeting next Tuesday, October 8th, and the District 15 Democratic Caucus is holding a candidates forum tomorrow night. You can see the list of candidates vying for the D15 Delegate appointment below, along with a letter from Congressman John Delaney on behalf of former Delegate Saqib Ali:
The District 15 Candidates Forum
7:00 pm October 1, 2013
Up County Regional Services Center
12900 Middlebrook Road
Germantown, MD  20874

  • Anis Ahmed
  • Saqib Ali
  • Lori Askinazi
  • David Frazer-Hidalgo
  • Hamza Khan
  • Jinhee Wilde
  • Venattia Vann

JUICE #4: DELEGATE SUSAN LEE CAMPAIGNS FOR D16 STATE SENATE // HERE'S HER FIRST LIT PIECE - Maryland Juice recently bumped into Delegate Susan Lee at a death penalty repeal victory party. Lee is currently campaigning for the District 16 State Senate seat being vacated by Brian Frosh, but so far she appears to be the only candidate in the race. Delegate Lee has produced the following State Senate lit piece highlighting testimony from State Senator Jamie Raskin and MoCo State's Attorney John McCarthy:

JUICE #5: IN ADVANCE OF NEW GUN LAWS, MARYLANDERS BUYING GUNS AT RATE OF 1,000 PER DAY // MEANWHILE, LAWSUIT TO DELAY GUN LAWS COMMENCES - Like squirrels collecting nuts for the winter, gun enthusiasts are flocking to collect assault-style rifles and other fun tinker toys before Maryland’s new gun laws take effect this week, when such weapons are banned and fingerprints and a license will finally be required to buy a handgun. The state police reported to The Baltimore Sun that more than 102,000 gun purchase applications have been submitted so far this year — twice the number for all of 2011. This month, a swarm of requests hit the Maryland State Police background check system at a pace roughly seven times that during the same time last year.

The Sun also reports that at a store in Pasadena (the district of Delegate Don Dwyer, who hosted an auction of assault weapons during a "Gun Rights and Liberty BBQ) has sold out of the AR-15 — the nation's most popular assault-style rifle (pictured below), and the same type of gun used in the December Newton shooting:

The Baltimore Sun report notes that this gun-purchasing onslaught temporarily resulted in residents with criminal backgrounds being able to purchase firearms (excerpt below):
BALTIMORE SUN: The spike in sales — and resulting backlog of background checks — has put guns at least temporarily into the hands of people whose criminal records barred them from owning firearms and has complicated efforts to implement the new law.

Demand for guns overwhelmed the state's background check system months ago, leading half of the state's 314 dealers to release weapons to buyers without waiting for them to be checked out. Under state law, gun dealers must wait only seven days to release a firearm, but background checks have taken two months or more. All told, dealers have released 45 guns to 40 people prohibited from having them. State police said they have recovered them all....

While the new law bans the sale of 45 different types of assault weapons, it allows dealers to sell their existing inventory of assault-style rifles after Sept. 30 so long as there is a valid order placed before then.
In the meantime, gun advocates have launched a lawsuit seeking to delay implementation of the new Maryland gun regulations. The Washington Times reported on the development (excerpt below):
WASHINGTON TIMES: A federal judge is scheduled to consider Tuesday whether to issue a temporary restraining order to halt new firearms restrictions set to take effect that day in Maryland.
The request for the order is part of a lawsuit filed by a collection of Maryland residents, gun store owners and Second Amendment advocates attempting to block implementation of some of the most stringent gun laws in the nation.

In court papers served on Gov. Martin O’Malley, Maryland Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler and the Maryland State Police, the plaintiffs are seeking to block the laws from going into effect because they “will burden impermissibly the fundamental constitutional rights” and cause “significant economic harm” to business.

The lawsuit, filed Thursday in U.S. District Court in Maryland, says the Firearms Safety Act of 2013 passed this year by the General Assembly would “unconstitutionally restrict” the right to keep and bear arms. It argues the new laws violate the Second Amendment by arbitrarily outlawing certain guns and prohibiting features and accessories that promote their effective and efficient use. It also says the prohibition on magazines holding more than 10 rounds is unusual and limits a gun owner’s ability to defend themselves....

JUICE #6: SPEAKING TRUTH TO POWER ON MARYLAND'S PROPOSED MINIMUM WAGE INCREASE - Proposals to increase the minimum wage are gaining traction in the state. Here’s a kick-ass argument for the long-overdue increase made by Progressive Maryland Executive Director Kate Planco Waybright from MPT’s latest State Circle. It’s entirely worth watching her rattle off important facts and statistics we all should know and mop the floor with Rob Santoni of Maryland Food Dealers Council, who offers only weak platitudes in response (archived video begins at 12 mins. 30 secs):

Edward Kimmel (photo by Alan Bowser)
JUICE #7: PHOTO GALLERY: DISTRICT 20 CAMPAIGN SHOES - Edward Kimmel is well-known in Montgomery County Democratic circles for taking and posting massive amounts of photos from political events in the region. Today, Kimmel posted an amusing montage of candidates' footwear from a forum featuring nine candidates for the District 20 House of Delegates last Sunday:
EDWARD KIMMEL: On Sunday, the Democrats of Maryland Legislative District 20 -- the most liberal district in the Bluest State of the Union, held a "debate" in which nine candidates presented themselves to the most active of the activists -- Sheila Hixson's D20 Breakfast Club. Each of the feet shown in this forum trod upon the stage. So, for those of you who wanted to know what the movers and shakers of Lefty Land put on their feet, here it is. But who's shoes are these?

JUICE #8: GOV. MARTIN O'MALLEY SIGNS PACT WITH GOP GOVERNORS TO PUSH STATE UNIVERSITIES INTO DEVELOPING DRONES - Maryland Juice received a copy of the following unfortunate press release from Gov. Martin O'Malley noting that he is launching an effort to push Maryland's public colleges into development of drone technology. Much criticized for allowing the Obama administration to conduct executions without transparent due process, the use of drones is now being proposed for use by local law enforcement and for other surveillance activities. Similar to other efforts to develop weapons at academic institutions, O'Malley and GOP Presidential hopefuls NJ Gov. Chris Christie and VA Gov. Bob McDonnell are joining hands on this initiative. Indeed, along with government surveillance (ie: NSA) and arms dealing (ie: Lockheed Martin), Virginia and Maryland seek to make "drones" a jobs issue in the region:


Governor O'Malley, New Jersey Governor Christie, Virginia Governor McDonnell Sign Letter of Support for Universities' Collaboration on Unmaned Aircraft System Testing

MOU strengthens Mid-Atlantic region’s potential to be selected as FAA test site

Annapolis, MD (September 27, 2013) – Governor Martin O’Malley today joined New Jersey Governor Chris Christie and Virginia Governor Robert McDonnell in submitting a letter supporting a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) in which the University System of Maryland, Rutgers University and Virginia Tech University agreed to collaborate and partner on a Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) test site. The letter, sent to U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx and FAA Administrator Michael Huerta, highlighted the cooperative UAS research conducted by the three universities.

“With the potential to create more than 2,500 well-paying jobs in Maryland over the next 12 years, the Unmanned Aircraft Systems sector has the potential to have a significant positive economic impact on our state,” said Governor O’Malley. “This is an exciting agreement between three world-class educational institutions that takes advantage of the unparalleled capabilities in Maryland, New Jersey and Virginia for research, development and testing, and positions the Mid-Atlantic region as the ideal location for an Unmanned Aircraft Systems test site.”

In Maryland, the Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division (NAWCAD) at Naval Air Station Patuxent River is recognized as the world’s leading center of UAS activity. At both the university level and among federal facilities, Maryland has been testing and developing UAS technology for more than two decades. Maryland’s UAS proposal, submitted to the FAA in May, includes the University System of Maryland campuses in College Park, Baltimore County and Eastern Shore, general aviation airports in Crisfield and St. Mary’s County, federal and industry partners and community organizations such as the Southern Maryland Navy Alliance, the Patuxent Partnership, and the Joint Atlantic and Chesapeake Range Collaborative.

“We are thankful to our entire Congressional delegation, especially Congressman Steny Hoyer, who worked diligently to grow this coalition, the universities for their spirit of cooperation, and to partner companies in each state whose support is testament to the potential of this initiative,” said Governor O’Malley.

“This memorandum of understanding between the University System of Maryland, Rutgers University, and Virginia Tech significantly strengthens our bid for one of six UAS test site designations chosen by the Federal Aviation Administration,” stated Congressman Hoyer. “With the presence of three outstanding higher education institutions; federal facilities, such as Pax River Naval Air Station and Webster Field; and strong industry partners, I’m optimistic that we are strongly positioned in the bidding process. I thank Governor O’Malley, Governor Christie, and Governor McDonnell, as well as our three universities, for partnering on this effort, which has the potential to spur private sector development through the commercialization of autonomous systems and boost job creation in our region.”

Under the FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012, Congress authorized the FAA to develop a comprehensive plan to integrate UAS into the National Airspace System. In February 2013, the FAA opened the selection process for the six UAS Test Sites that will conduct research and testing of technologies to support the UAS integration.

“The partnership between the University System of Maryland and leading institutions in Virginia and New Jersey will help increase the safety, efficiency, reliability and security of our nation’s airspace,” Senator Barbara Mikulski said. “Because of Maryland’s incredible federal assets, dynamic private sector and academic institutions, Maryland is well-suited to work together with the FAA on the Unmanned Aircraft Systems. Through this Mid-Atlantic collaboration, we will enhance the safety of our nation’s airspace, while supporting Maryland’s economic security through jobs today and jobs tomorrow.”

With the University of Maryland, College Park, taking the lead, Maryland applied to be selected by the FAA as one of six test sites for Unmanned Aircraft Systems. New Jersey and Virginia submitted a joint application as the Mid-Atlantic Aviation Partnership, under Virginia Tech. The three universities subsequently determined that the region’s competitive position is significantly enhanced as a multi-state entity which leverages the competitive strengths of each state. The universities have agreed to work as a united Joint Test Team in the event either or both teams are selected by the FAA as a Test Site for UAS.

Fifty applications across 37 states were submitted to the FAA through May 6, 2013, and 25 applicants remain. A decision is due December 31, 2013.


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