Tuesday, December 31, 2013

JUICE: Equality Maryland for Brown, Gansler Backers Fight Donation Ruling, A Wrinkle for Ervin's Seat, Minimum Wage

UPDATE: An anonymous source indicates that Ronnie Galvin (a potential applicant for Valerie Ervin's interim County Council vacancy) may have moved to White Oak not too long ago, which would mean he may indeed still be eligible for the District 5 "caretaker" position. False alarm?

Below Maryland Juice provides a few news items of interest to politicos:

JUICE #1: EQUALITY MARYLAND ENDORSES ANTHONY BROWN FOR GOVERNOR - Maryland's LGBT rights advocacy group Equality Maryland made a notable endorsement in the upcoming Governor's race by endorsing Lt. Governor Anthony Brown last week. The Washington Blade reported on the development (excerpt below):
WASHINGTON BLADE: Maryland’s largest LGBT advocacy organization on Monday announced it has endorsed Lieutenant Gov. Anthony Brown for governor.... “We are proud to put our support behind the Brown/Ulman ticket for governor and lieutenant governor,” said Equality Maryland Executive Director Carrie Evans in a statement....

Mizeur described the Brown endorsement as a “puzzling choice” in a statement. “No one in this race has done more for the LGBT community than the Mizeur-Coates ticket,” she told the Washington Blade. “I’m not sure what more we could have done to earn their support....”

Evans defended her organization’s decision to endorse Brown — and not Mizeur. “I suppose any candidate that doesn’t get an endorsement feels snubbed,” Evans told the Blade. “Equality Maryland is confident the Brown/Ulman administration will provide the leadership Equality Maryland needs in our next governor and has the relationships we need to move LGBT issues forward in our state....”

JUICE #2: GANSLER SUPPORTERS FIGHT BOARD OF ELECTIONS RULING ALLOWING ULMAN TO FUNDRAISE DURING LEGISLATIVE SESSION - Maryland Juice reported that the state's board of elections recently drafted an opinion allowing Howard County Executive Ken Ulman to continue fundraising during the upcoming Annapolis legislative session. We previously noted that this decision means that the Brown-Ulman ticket can fundraise during the January to April session, while the Gansler-Ivey ticket cannot. Notably, state officials are prohibited from fundraising during session, and Doug Gansler and Jolene Ivey are both state officials. But The Baltimore Sun reported that the day after Christmas, supporters of Doug Gansler filed a lawsuit seeking to invalidate the Board of Elections ruling (excerpt below):
BALTIMORE SUN: Lawyer Daniel M. Clements, who backs Gansler's campaign for the Democratic nomination, filed suit in Anne Arundel County Circuit Court against Maryland State Elections Board chief Linda H. Lamone, Brown and his running mate, Howard County Executive Ken Ulman. The suit seeks to invalidate the board's ruling that Ulman — as a county officeholder — is not covered by a fundraising moratorium that applies to state officials while the legislature is meeting....

But Lamone ruled Dec. 19 that Ulman can continue to raise money for his own campaign committee during the legislative session, which runs from Jan. 8 to April 7. The Brown campaign has said Ulman's fundraising activities will be kept separate from the overall Brown-Ulman effort, though any money Ulman takes in could be spent to promote the ticket in the June 24 primary.

Maryland law prevents statewide elected officials and legislators from soliciting or accepting donations during the session — a provision intended to avoid the appearance that campaign gifts are influencing the lawmaking process. A third Democratic candidate, Del. Heather R. Mizeur of Montgomery County, can continue to raise donations of up to $250 because she is accepting public financing....

JUICE #3: MOCO ATTORNEYS RULE THAT CARETAKER APPOINTEE FOR VALERIE ERVIN'S COUNCIL SEAT MUST LIVE IN NEWLY REDISTRICTED BOUNDARIES - MoCo politicos have been discussing potential replacements for Councilmember Valerie Ervin's District 5 seat. There is one year left in Ervin's term, and a majority of Councilmembers plan to appoint a "caretaker" who will not run for her seat in the June 2014 Democratic Primary. Several names have been floated as possible appointees for the coveted County Council seat, but last night Maryland Juice received word of a wrinkle to the story. A source forwarded us an email they received from the County Council's press officer, Neil Greenberger indicating that the Council vacancy must be filled be a Democrat who lives in the newly redrawn District 5 boundaries (excerpt below):
NEIL GREENBERGER: I promised to get back to you as soon as I learned of the decision regarding the residency boundaries in regard to filling the County Council District 5 vacancy. After careful study, both the attorneys of the County Council and the County Attorney have concurred on the following:

The appointee to the District 5 Council seat, which will become vacant when Councilmember Ervin resigns on January 3, 2014, must be a resident of District 5 as it is currently configured after the 2011 redistricting, which became effective on March 7, 2012.
Notably, Montgomery County's Council districts were recently redrawn, and so it now appears that Democrats who live in Council District 5 as it existed in the 2010 election cycle are not necessarily eligible to apply for the appointment. Bethesda Magazine and The Gazette published lists of Democrats who may be interested in applying for the Council vacancy (see below), but so far only one possible appointee may be disqualified by MoCo's interpretation of the vacancy appointment process: Ronnie Galvin. Maryland Juice checked the voter registration addresses of all of the possible D5 appointees named below, and so far all but Ronnie Galvin appear to live in the new District 5. UPDATE: An anonymous source believes that Galvin moved to White Oak not too long ago, which would mean he would likely still be eligible for the appointment.

In any case, in a pair of articles this month, Bethesda Magazine and The Gazette began highlighting some of the folks that are interested in the "caretaker" appointment. Here's Lou Peck of Bethesda Magazine's coverage of the possible contenders (excerpt below):
BETHESDA MAGAZINE: So far, the field includes:

* Alan Bowser, 61, a Silver Spring-based attorney who was a deputy assistant secretary of Commerce during the Clinton administration and more recently chief of staff to former County Councilmember Duchy Trachtenberg.

* Michael Diegel, 59, a public affairs consultant who chairs the Silver Spring Arts & Entertainment District Advisory Committee and is a member of the county’s Nighttime Economy Task Force.

* Ronnie Galvin, 45, executive director of Impact Silver Spring, a group formed in the wake of the Silver Spring redevelopment to provide support services to community residents.

* Tim Male, 43, a Takoma Park city council member since 2011 and, until recently, vice president of a national environmental organization, Defenders of Wildlife. 

* Dale Tibbitts, 55, for the past seven years chief of staff to at-large Councilmember Marc Elrich and a former chair of the Silver Spring Transit Management District Advisory Committee.

* Dan Wilhelm, 68, a former president of the Montgomery County Civic Federation and a former chair of the Committee for Montgomery, an umbrella group that is active on state legislative issues.

Applicants for the seat must reside in Silver Spring/Takoma Park-based District 5 and, like Ervin, be a registered Democrat. They will be asked to pledge only to fill out the remainder of Ervin’s term, which runs through next Dec. 1, and not to seek a full term in next June’s primary, according to Rice’s statement.
Note that the list above flags people that may be interested in the caretaker appointment, though not all of them have actually submitted an application for the County Council vacancy. The Gazette's Ryan Marshall followed-up on the story with an article highlighting four people that have actually submitted applications already. Notably, three out of four people who have actually applied were not on Lou Peck's list, indicating that interest in the interim appointment is strong. Here's an excerpt from The Gazette's caretaker coverage:
GAZETTE: A retired high school principal, a Howard University law professor, a government contractor and a former town councilman are among the people who have applied to fill the soon-to-be vacant District 5 seat on the Montgomery County Council.... The deadline to submit applications is Jan. 8.

So far, applicants to fill the spot are: Jeanette Dixon of Silver Spring, Arthur H. Jackson Jr. of Takoma Park, Howard University law professor Harold McDougall and Daniel Wilhelm of Colesville, according to county records....

JUICE #4: TERRILL NORTH ANNOUNCES CAMPAIGN FOR VALERIE ERVIN'S MOCO COUNCIL SEAT   - While the County Council prepares to appoint a temporary District 5 Councilmember, the June 2014 primary race for a full four-year term is beginning to take shape. Maryland Juice received the following press release from Takoma Park activist Terrill North announcing that he will be running for the District 5 County Council seat in the June 2014 Democratic Primary. So far Terrill North is facing off against Silver Spring activist Evan Glass, though politicos expect Board of Education member Chris Barclay and Delegate Tom Hucker to make decisions on the race shortly. In the meantime, you can see Terrill North's press announcement below:

Terrill North released the following statement:
I’m in. And I’m in to win – Then-Sen. Hillary Clinton, 1/20/2007

Living and working in Montgomery County has brought many moments of deep joy into my life, including:
I have spent the past few months listening to neighbors, family, and friends about issues including school construction, community-centered development, and environmental protection.  I have been humbled by expressions of support from all corners.  You can hear what several local leaders including my new campaign chair, Emily Koechlin, have had to say about me or my candidacy at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=42CwihDTBis.

Today I’m announcing that I am running in the Democratic primary on June 24, 2014 for the open Montgomery County Council seat representing District Five.

Over the next several months I am looking forward to many discussions about preserving our Montgomery County heritage and preparing for our future, including:
  • Addressing growing inequality and closing the achievement gap in local schools;
  • Protecting Ten Mile Creek, the last pristine waterway in Montgomery County;
  • Reducing congestion; and
  • Building a Health Economy Corridor in centered on the FDA Science Center, Washington Adventist Hospital, local college campuses, and Bus Rapid Transit.
I'm in.  And I'm in to win – with your help.

Now let’s get to work…

JUICE #5: MINIMUM WAGE ADVOCATES TO HIGHLIGHT WHICH MOCO DEMOCRATS SUPPORT $10.10 AN HOUR // PLUS: 13 STATES TO INCREASE WAGE ON JAN 1  - Maryland Juice received the following press release from advocates of a minimum wage hike announcing a press conference to highlight which Montgomery County Democrats have signed onto a $10.10 minimum wage:

Montgomery County delegation to the Maryland General Assembly to announce support for raising the state’s minimum wage during upcoming legislative session

County delegation chairs to announce list of elected supporters of higher pay for Maryland workers

Press conference with Montgomery County delegation to the General Assembly to announce support for raising the minimum wage
Montgomery County delegation chairs Sen. Jamie Raskin and Del. Anne Kaiser along with other county elected officials and advocates
Temple Emanuel
10101 Connecticut Avenue
Kensington, MD 20895
Friday, January 3, 2014 at 10 am

The Montgomery County delegation to the Maryland General Assembly will detail its support for raising the state’s minimum wage during the upcoming legislative session at a press conference to be held at Temple Emanuel in Kensington on Friday, January 3.  Montgomery County delegation chairs Sen. Jamie Raskin and Del. Anne Kaiser will announce which members of the delegation have signed onto a letter of support circulated by Raise Maryland in support of a higher wage. Signatories call for legislation to raise the state’s lowest wage that includes three key provisions:
  • Raise Maryland’s minimum wage in three steps to $10.10 by 2016;
  • Index the minimum wage to the cost of living thereafter so that it doesn’t lose value over time; and
  • Increase the minimum wage for tipped workers from the current 50 percent to 70 percent of the prevailing minimum wage.
Speakers will include the delegation chairs who will discuss their plans to pass the minimum wage bill during the 2014 General Assembly session and why they believe that an increase in the minimum wage is good for both workers and business.

By failing to act to raise the wage floor during the 2013 Maryland General Assembly, state lawmakers effectively cut the pay of state workers as the value of the minimum wage continues to fall. By contrast, low-wage workers in 13 other states will get a raise on January 1, including four states that recently raised the wage as well as nine states that annually index the minimum wage to inflation

Momentum has been building for Maryland to increase the state’s minimum wage during the upcoming 2014 session of the Maryland General Assembly.  Montgomery and Prince George’s county councils each recently passed bills raising wages in those jurisdictions to $11.50 by 2017.

Research has found that approximately 472,000 Marylanders would benefit from the increase, putting $466 million more in their pockets in the next two years. At the same time, businesses would benefit from nearly half a billion dollars in new consumer spending and would create more than 4,000 new full-time jobs as they expand to meet increased demand.

COMPETING MINIMUM WAGE PROPOSALS? - Though the event above will highlight which MoCo lawmakers are supporting a $10.10/hour minimum wage, by deduction that means we will also soon know which lawmakers are not supporting a $10.10 indexed minimum wage. Maryland Juice previously noted that Senate President Mike Miller was suggesting an $8.25/hour minimum wage, and we recently noticed that Delegate Keith Haynes of Baltimore filed a bill in the upcoming session establishing a $12.50/hour minimum wage that does not appear to be indexed.

Meanwhile, the National Employment Law Project just put out a press release noting that 13 states will increase their minimum wage on New Year's Day:

13 States to Increase Minimum Wage on New Year’s Day

2.5 million low-paid workers to receive a pay raise as a growing number of states raise the minimum wage in the face of Congressional inaction

Washington, DC – After a year when thousands of low-wage workers staged historic strikes to demand higher pay in the retail and fast-food industries, and after escalating calls from President Obama and Congressional Democrats to raise the federal minimum wage for the first time in four years, the new year will begin with 13 states implementing minimum wage increases that are estimated to boost the incomes of 2.5 million low-paid workers, according to an analysis of Census data by the Economic Policy Institute.

Four of these states – Connecticut, New Jersey, New York, and Rhode Island –  passed laws to raise the minimum wage earlier this year, while the remaining nine states – Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Missouri, Montana, Ohio, Oregon, Vermont, and Washington – are adjusting their minimum wages in accordance with state laws requiring automatic annual increases to keep pace with the rising cost of living. (California, which also passed a law this year to raise its minimum wage, will raise its minimum wage in July).

The increases will generate an additional $619 million in new economic growth as low-paid workers spend their increased earnings on basic necessities like food, gasoline, and housing.

“As Congress drags its feet on raising the federal minimum wage, more and more Americans are earning poverty-level wages in expanding industries like retail and fast food,” said Christine Owens, executive director of the National Employment Law Project. “In the face of federal inaction, states are boosting the paychecks of the lowest-paid workers, promoting growth and consumer spending, and hopefully providing an example for Congress to follow.”

As the unemployment rate in many states continues to slowly decline, new job growth remains disproportionately concentrated in low-wage industries such as retail and food services, making an increase in the minimum wage an urgent priority for growing numbers of working families who are relying on low-wage work to make ends meet. Fully 58 percent of new jobs created in the post-recession recovery have been low-wage occupations, according to a 2012 report by the National Employment Law Project.

A growing list of states and cities is expected to approve minimum wage increases over the next year. Legislators have introduced proposals in Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Delaware, Maryland, Minnesota, and Hawaii, while efforts to place minimum wage increases on the November 2014 ballot are underway in South Dakota, Alaska, New Mexico, Idaho, Arkansas, Massachusetts, and the District of Columbia.  Local leaders are also exploring citywide minimum wage increases in Seattle, Chicago, and other cities.

In a rare example of regional cooperation, the District of Columbia City Council approved a bill earlier this month to raise the District’s minimum wage to $11.50 per hour, with parallel measures  raising the minimum wage to $11.50 per hour also approved in the neighboring Maryland counties of Montgomery and Prince George’s.

The Fair Minimum Wage Act of 2013, supported by President Obama and introduced in the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives earlier this year, would raise the federal minimum wage to $10.10 per hour and adjust it annually to keep pace with the rising cost of living. The Fair Minimum Wage Act would also gradually raise the minimum wage for tipped workers from its current low rate of $2.13 per hour, where it has been frozen since 1991, to 70 percent of the full minimum wage.

At the local level, San Francisco will also increase its minimum wage on New Year’s day, to $10.79 per hour, along with San Jose, which will boost its wage to $10.15 per hour, in accordance with city statutes requiring annual inflation indexing. The city of SeaTac, Washington, will establish a $15 per hour wage for airport-related hospitality and restaurant occupations, following a ballot measure approved in November.

As of January 1st, 2014, 21 states, including the District of Columbia, will have minimum wage rates above the federal level of $7.25 per hour, which translates to just over $15,000 per year for a full-time minimum wage earner.

The most rigorous economic research over the past 20 years shows that raising the minimum wage boosts worker pay without causing job losses – even in regions where the economy is weak or unemployment is high. A recent study by the Center for Economic and Policy Research reviews the past two decades of research on the impact of minimum wage increases on employment and concludes that “the weight of the evidence points to little or no effect of minimum wage increases on job growth.” An April 2013 poll found that 67 percent of small business owners support raising and indexing the minimum wage, indicating that the majority believe an increase will help boost economic growth.

The following table lists the states with increases, amount of increase, the new wage on January 1, 2014, the total workers directly and indirectly affected, and the GDP impact of each minimum wage increase:
States with Minimum Wage Increase
Amount of Wage Increase
New Wage onJan. 1, 2014
Total Affected Workers
GDP Impact
New Jersey
New York
Rhode Island

The National Employment Law Project is a non-partisan, not-for-profit organization that conducts research and advocates on issues affecting low-wage and unemployed workers. For more about NELP, visit www.nelp.org or www.raisetheminimumwage.org.

JUICE #6: FORMER MD GOP CHAIR ALEX MOONEY EARNS BACKING OF RIGHTWING GROUPS FOR WEST VIRGINIA CONGRESSIONAL SEAT - We previously noted that Maryland's discredited former GOP Chair Alex Mooney left the state to run for Congress in West Virginia. In case you were hoping what ever became of his race, I just noticed that Mooney received the endorsement of the rightwing activist and opponent of womens rights, Phyllis Schlafly. Check out the following press release from Mooney's West Virginia campaign website:

Eagle Forum PAC Endorses Alex Mooney for Congress

Martinsburg, WV - Eagle Forum PAC endorsed Alex Mooney, conservative Republican candidate for Congress in West Virginia’s Second Congressional District.

“Alex is exactly the kind of leader we need in Washington. He will be a bold, pro-family, Constitution-supporting representative who can provide sorely needed leadership in Washington,” said Phyllis Schlafly, founder and president of Eagle Forum. “We know we can count on him to continue to stand up for the unborn and the Constitutional rights that we hold dear.”

“I am honored by Eagle Forum’s endorsement,” Mooney said. “We share a deeply held belief that our traditional conservative values are under assault by the liberal Obama administration. West Virginians deserve a representative who will stand up for their conservative beliefs and their freedom. In Congress, I will be a relentless voice for our individual liberties, our families, and our industries.”

The Eagle Forum endorsement is part of a growing conservative movement rallying behind Mooney’s candidacy. Mooney has also been endorsed by the Gun Owners of America Political Victory Fund, Citizens United Political Victory Fund, and Morton Blackwell. The Eagle Forum endorsement can be read here.

Candidate Alex Mooney, his wife Grace, and their children reside in Charles Town, West Virginia. Mooney is taking his campaign to defend conservative values to every part of West Virginia’s Second Congressional District.


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