Capital Notebook

CAPITAL NOTEBOOK

March 13, 2007

Law enforcement officials back repeal of Md. death penalty

Three dozen law enforcement officials will add their voices in Annapolis today to the push for a repeal of the death penalty in Maryland.

The group, which plans a news conference in the House Office Building, includes a former federal prison warden from Illinois, two former Montgomery County state's attorneys and a former police commissioner of New York City and Washington, D.C.

Maryland Citizens Against State Executions is sponsoring the event, which is being held two days before a Maryland Senate committee is expected to vote on a bill that would replace the death penalty with life without parole.

Gov. Martin O'Malley has testified in favor of the repeal, but lawmakers on the 11-member Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee appear deadlocked, with Republican Sen. Alex X. Mooney, a Frederick Republican, as the potential swing vote.

Judges on the Maryland Court of Appeals halted executions in December when they ruled that the state should have oversight of lethal injections procedures.

Jennifer Skalka

Holocaust victims' insurance

Del. Jon S. Cardin, a Baltimore County Democrat, presented a resolution yesterday to the House Rules and Executive Nominations Committee that would address unpaid insurance policies held by Holocaust victims.

The proposal would urge Congress to pass legislation requiring the collection of World War II-era insurance information and allow survivors to pursue legal action against insurers.

The Maryland Jewish Alliance estimates that 174,000 Holocaust survivors live in the United States. At least 10,000 live in Maryland, Cardin said.

Jennifer Skalka

Ehrlich joins think tank board

Former Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. has been named to the board of the Maryland Public Policy Institute, a market-oriented think tank, the organization announced yesterday.

"Governor Ehrlich's leadership and public service will prove invaluable in helping the Maryland Public Policy Institute promote its message of free enterprise, limited government, and civil society in Maryland," Christopher B. Summers, the think tank's president, said in a news release.

Ehrlich, a Republican, said the institute provides a perspective that is often lacking in Maryland's public discourse.

"Their principled pursuit of market-based solutions to government challenges is an important contribution to our public policy debates," he said in the news release.

Ehrlich announced last month that he and several former associates from the governor's office would form a Maryland branch of the North Carolina law firm Womble, Carlyle, Sandridge and Rice.

The public policy institute, founded in 2001, is a non-partisan, nonprofit organization that produces research briefs on education, health care, transportation, the environment, economic development and other issues.

Andrew A. Green

Md. Democrats get new director

A union organizer has been chosen as the executive director of the Maryland Democratic Party.

Maya E. Goines, the new director, is a senior campaign field coordinator for the Service Employees International Union. She previously worked at the Democratic National Committee Training Institute and for the chief of staff of the Democratic National Committee.

"Maya Goines brings great leadership ability and a strong organizing background to the Maryland Democratic Party," said party chairman Terry Lierman, who made the announcement with Gov. Martin O'Malley.

Goines succeeds Derek Walker, who plans to advise Democratic candidates and organizations after 16 months as executive director.

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