An online journal of politics, policy, and society with a special focus on Maryland -- Contact: on_background at yahoo.com.

Friday, April 08, 2005


The Senate passed a minimum wage bill for Maryland, sending the modest increase to Gov. Ehrlich whose views are unclear. Does state Sen. E.J. Pipkin really think that he can win office outside of his narrow base when opposing an increase in the minimum wage to $6.15? And more importantly, does Ehrlich think this is a way to get his reelection going? Either are hard to imagine in Maryland.


Also locally, CongressDaily reports that Rep. Roscoe Bartlett voted for a previous version of the energy bill with provisions allowing groundwater pollution while having some of the worst water in their own districts:

With House Republicans moving rapidly on a comprehensive energy bill, a leading environmental group is taking aim at House members whose districts have evidence of groundwater contaminated with the gasoline additive methyl tertiary butyl ether, or MTBE.
According to a report released this week by the Environmental Working Group Action Fund, contaminated groundwater has been found in the districts of 112 House members in both parties who voted for the 2003 energy bill, which contained a provision shielding MTBE producers from lawsuits.
That measure stalled largely because of the MTBE liability waiver, which attracted strong Senate opposition.
The new energy bill as drafted by House Energy and Commerce Chairman Barton contains a provision, although unlike the previous bill it would not affect pending lawsuits.

The largest problems are in the districts of Reps. Roscoe Bartlett, R-Md., and Mike Ross, D-Ark., with contamination found in 50 different water systems each. Bartlett was unavailable for comment by presstime.


Speculation abounds about the 8th Congressional District opening up if Rep. Chris Van Hollen gets into the Senate race. Not much is being heard from the Republicans, but on the Democratic side, Frosh is very well respected and has built a substantive reputation. Floreen has been out shaking hands a lot lately her name i.d. up. Tom Perez has been mentioned a lot. What about Bill Bronrott, Cheryl Kagan, or Ana Sol Gutierrez as young (40-somethings), energetic, up-and-comers?