A Senate special committee will call for Maryland to post online the financial disclosure information filed annually by state lawmakers.
Maryland is the only state in the country that requires citizens requesting that information to access it in person. Other states offer financial information online or will send it by email or traditional mail.
“There’s a growing consensus on the committee that publicly available information should be available online,” Sen. Jamie Raskin, chairman of the Special Committee on Ethics Reform, said Friday. “We shouldn’t be the only state in the country where you have to go into a room, sign your name and swear a blood oath” to access these documents.
U.S. Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta has lifted the two-year probation placed by his predecessor on the F-35B Lightning Short Takeoff, Vertical Landing (STOVL) Joint Strike Fighter variant. Panetta made the announcement Friday during a tour of Patuxent River Naval Air Station arranged by Rep. Steny Hoyer (D: 5th) Panetta made the announcement before a group of Pax River workers and community leaders and standing in the JSF hanger before one of the aircraft.
“Because of your work the STOVL variant has made sufficient progress so that today I am lifting the STOVL probation, Panetta said to a very loud applause from those assembled in the hanger.
Panetta credited the hard work of the Integrated Test Team at Pax River that consists of 550 contractor personnel and 250 civil service employees. “This generation of fighter behind me is absolutely vital to maintaining our air superiority,” the secretary said. He said he and the defense department were committed to the development of the F-35, which was good news for the community that is one of the key locations for testing the various JSF variants.
A prominent Waldorf businessman, Wayne Magoon, was elected Tueday night the new chairman of the Business Alliance of Charles County. The decision was announced less than a week after former chairwoman Seanna Smallwood resigned abruptly after a falling-out with BACC founders.
Magoon is co-owner of Beacon Printing, which won the Charles County Chamber of Commerce’s Business of the Year Award for 2011.
In addition to serving on the executive committee of the chamber, Magoon is past president of the Waldorf Lions Club and the associated foundation, and current president of Lions Camp Merrick in Nanjemoy, a free summer camp for children with disabilities.
The Charles County Board of Elections will begin verifying Walmart Supercenter referendum petition signatures on Monday.
La Plata Town Manager Daniel Mears said the elections board has requested a period of 20 days to verify the signatures on the petition aiming to bring the annexation of land for a Walmart Supercenter to a special election.
The deadline to verify the signatures is Feb. 11.
January 21, 2012
1.01 [8:00 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.] 2012 Unity in OUR Community Diversity Forum - The Changing Face of Charles County….Taking a Look at Diversity” (North Point High School, 2500 Davis Road, Waldorf, Maryland)
explores the threat of a mega development zone for Port Tobacco
WATCH our new video about what’s at stake as Charles County’s Board of Commissioners get ready for a public hearing on the Planning Commission’s Port Tobacco Environmental Restoration and Recovery Area (ERRA).
Contamination blamed on drilling
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced Thursday it will begin testing well water supplies at 60 homes in Dimock, Pa., the small Susquehanna County town where residents say Marcellus Shale gas drilling has contaminated their water.
In a move at odds with the state’s environmental department, the EPA also said it will start delivering water today to four homes where the well water is undrinkable.
Craig Sautner, who with his wife and two children, lives in one of those four homes, said he is “ecstatic” about the EPA’s decision to take a more active role in Dimock.
Ask most Americans how much they pay in taxes, and they’ll probably refer to their tax bracket, a series of rates that ranges from 10% to 35%. By that measure, Mitt Romney’s tax rate sounds outrageously low.
But when the Republican presidential candidate revealed earlier this week that he pays about 15% in taxes, he was referring to his effective tax rate, not his tax bracket. And by that measure, he’s paying a higher tax rate than the majority of taxpayers.Read more...
When a man recently visited an emergency room here with a toothache, consulting physician Alan Sorkey quickly diagnosed the dental infection was serious and even potentially fatal.
The patient was on more than 25 medications and scheduled for a major surgery — not dental related — all covered by government health care programs, Sorkey said.
Those same programs wouldn’t cover the estimated $70 to pull the rotting tooth. The patient didn’t have the money for it, and a local low-cost oral surgery clinic had a wait of as long as a year for an appointment, he said.
This week, Young plans to change how the estate tax applies to farms throughout Maryland by introducing legislation in the Maryland General Assembly.
“The goal is to keep people in farming both for the sake of farming and for protecting the land from development,” Young said. “We don’t want someone forced out of farming because they can’t pay the bill.”
When a farm is sold to the next generation or to another farmer, the Maryland estate tax exempts the first $1 million value and taxes the new farmer 16 percent of the estate’s value above that.
Because the tax bill is due nine months after a farm is sold, farm families throughout Maryland often face tough decisions, which are directly tied to the size of their estate tax bill.
Gov. Martin O’Malley’s proposed budget for fiscal 2013 takes aim at gun trafficking, among other public safety initiatives.
The spending plan released this week includes $20.8 million in competitive grants local law enforcement grants to target domestic violence, substance abuse and gun trafficking.
Another $45.4 million in formula based-grants is being made available for police aid to local governments and municipalities.
Gov. Martin O’Malley’s proposal to shift some of the nearly $1 billion annual cost of teacher pensions onto Maryland’s local governments could force school boards to lay off teachers or hire less-qualified ones, several public education officials say.
In addition, the move could force local governments to raise taxes — increases that taxpayers likely would blame on teachers and school boards, several officials said.
“I fear a train wreck,” said Cathy Allen, a member of the St. Mary’s County Board of Education and past president of the Maryland Association of Boards of Education. “We’ve been watching the train come down the track and we’ve been trying to alert the trainmaster. … But the crash seems to be imminent.”
Maryland Democratic Reps. Christopher Van Hollen and John Sarbanes are joining Democratic state lawmakers in pushing for a U.S. constitutional amendment to overturn the Supreme Court’s Citizens United case.
Van Hollen and Sarbanes were in Annapolis on Thursday to launch a campaign to gather signatures opposing the 2010 ruling that stripped away some limits on campaign contributions.
...for shuttering Justice.gov
Hacker collective Anonymous has claimed responsibility for taking down the Justice Department’s website just hours after Justice officials shut down a popular file-sharing website.
The loose group of activist hackers — or hactivists — claimed responsibility via several of the group’s Twitter accounts.
As of Thursday evening, the group had also claimed responsibility for shutting down the websites belonging to the Motion Picture Association of America, the Recording Industry Association of America and Universal Music.
The Navy broke ground this week on what will become the service’s single largest solar energy project and one of the largest in the federal government.
The new solar array at China Lake Naval Air Weapons Station in California’s Mojave Desert will cover 118 acres of land, something China Lake has in abundance, as the Navy’s largest installation by land area. It will produce 13.8 megawatts of power, bringing China Lake in slightly behind the military’s largest solar installation at Nevada’s Nellis Air Force Base, which generates 14.2 megawatts.
The Navy won’t incur any upfront cost for the construction of the 31,680-panel solar array. Instead, under a 20-year agreement with San Jose, Calif.-based SunPower Inc., the Navy has agreed to purchase the power generated by the solar installation in exchange for use of the land.