May 12, 2014

State Roundup, May 12, 2014

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BROCHIN SIGN THEFT: Yvonne Wenger of the Sun reports that three men were found removing four “Brochin for Senate” signs Saturday in Parkville. Officers said the men, who weren’t identified pending formal misdemeanor charges, are ages 29, 62 and 68.

  • MarylandReporter.com also publishes photos of the scene. Jeremy Bauer-Wolf and Len Lazarick report that police are saying that campaign foe Connie DeJuliis’ husband – who is the state labor commissioner and therefore sits on the governor’s cabinet – was caught with the signs. But she claims it was a misunderstanding.

SEXUAL ORIENTATION THERAPY: Gay rights activists in Maryland say they hope to ban clinical therapy for children that’s based on the notion that their sexual orientation can change, reports Kevin Rector in the Sun. The debate played out in Annapolis in the recently concluded General Assembly session, and is likely to become a top legislative priority for gay rights activists.

LAWMAKERS REIMBURSED $1.9M: Alex Jackson of the Capital Gazette reports that lawmakers were reimbursed nearly $1.9 million for eating, lodging and mileage during the 2014 General Assembly session.

SUNSHINE: Meredith Cohn of the Sun reports that Maryland Health Secretary Dr. Joshua M. Sharfstein has taken a course in the state’s Open Meetings Act following informal and formal complaints by the media that access to information about the state’s health care exchange is less than available.

SURPREME MISUNDERSTANDING: John Fritze of the Sun interviews University of Baltimore professor Michael Meyerson, whose book was plugged by Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy, who wrote the majority opinion on Christian prayer by government bodies. Meyerson says the citation was somewhat bittersweet since the decision misread the point of his book and took the quote out of context in a way that allowed the justices to draw an entirely different conclusion about how the Founding Fathers approached religion in public.

ENVIRONMENTAL FIGHTS: Post columnist Robert McCartney writes that on Monday, U.S. government scientists warned that the Chesapeake Bay will be washing over our ankles and threatening to dampen our knees within decades because of global warming. So why is it so hard to do anything serious to cut greenhouse gas emissions to protect the planet? Two major environmental battles over projects in Maryland are about to reach turning points in disputes that highlight the challenges.

HOPKINS JOBS PROTEST: Many held signs reading “End Poverty Pay at Johns Hopkins Hospital.” Some repeated union rally chants. Others brought their children and family for support. All gathered Saturday at the Inner Harbor to demand better wages and benefits from the world-renowned hospital, writes John-John Williams. About 2,000 Hopkins employees participated in the Mothers’ March & Rally for Justice at Johns Hopkins.

CASINO JOBS: WYPR’s Fraser Smith and Bryan Sears of the Daily Record talk about efforts by both Baltimore City and Prince George’s County to ensure that jobs at new casinos go to local residents.

***Friday’s roundup of General Assembly candidates has been updated to correct some endorsements, some links, and some other items. No major changes, but a few.***

4th CONGRESSIONAL: Warren Christopher is running as a Republican for the 4th Congressional District seat. In his column in the Annapolis Capital, he writes that, “Many tell me they are dissatisfied with the current leadership and struggling to make ends meet. They ask how I intend to help. My answer is through infrastructure, education, innovation and leadership; we will begin to put people back to work. In this column, I will address my education and jobs agenda.”

BONGINO ENDORSES IN 2B: Kaustuv Basu of the Hagerstown Herald Mail, in Political Notebook, writes that Brett Wilson, a Republican candidate for the House of Delegates from Subdistrict 2B, will be endorsed by Dan Bongino Tuesday and the Craig-Haddaway team was to make an announcement in Annapolis.

DISTRICT 16: Louis Peck of Bethesda Magazine writes that th
e first full-fledged forum in the District 16 House of Delegates contest, in which several of the challengers have been running for a year or more, was a highly civil affair in which few differences emerged.

SENATE DISTRICT 17: WYPR’s Fraser Smith and Lou Peck of Bethesda Magazine talk about a hard-fought state Senate Democratic primary in Montgomery County and why the era of genteel politics there might be over. The seat had been held by Jennie Forehand.

SENATE DISTRICT 30: Jack Lambert of the Annapolis Capital fact-checks a Quinton Report claim that Don Quinn, who is running for the Republican nomination for state Senate in District 30, was behind the website FindLocalPot.com. The website, created on Feb. 2, certifies medical marijuana distributors and helps find marijuana providers across the country.

HOUSE DISTRICT 30A: In 1985, Laurie Sears Deppa writes in a column for the Annapolis Capital, she moved to Maryland and never looked back. “I have traveled all over the world, and this is the greatest place on Earth — but things can be improved. Someone asked, “… I have a connection with nearly every person I meet — whether a veteran, Spanish speaker, business owner, parent of an autistic child, victim of suicide, Rotarian or fellow volunteer. I understand, and I am a good listener.”

HOUSE DISTRICT 33: Nora Keenan writes in a column for the Annapolis Capital that politics has become more about left and right than wrong and right, more about party politics than the good of the constituents. She says she is running to change this.

POST BACKS FROSH: The editorial board for the Washington Post endorses state Sen. Brian Frosh for attorney general, writing that, on the merits, the three-way race in the Democratic primary for attorney general in Maryland is a slam-dunk. Sen. Frosh, who is among the most admired, intelligent, civil and hardworking lawmakers in Annapolis, should win the nomination in a walk.

CARDIN’S NAME: The nephew of Maryland’s popular junior U.S. senator, Del. Jon Cardin does not deny that name recognition has helped him become the frontrunner in the campaign against his Democratic opponents for attorney general. But Cardin said it will take more than a name to win on primary day, June 24, reports Steve Lash for the Daily Record.

IN THE GOVERNOR’S RACE

HOW GOP COULD WIN: Sun columnist Dan Rodricks posits a scenario in which someone in the Republican Party could possibly win the governor’s house.

POST BACKS BROWN: Writing that lieutenant governors rarely have an opportunity to distinguish themselves, writes the editorial board for the Post, Anthony Brown strikes us as a conscientious public servant with broad experience as a lawyer (including in the Army, where he did duty in Iraq), a legislator (representing Prince George’s County in the House of Delegates for eight years) and in the executive branch (as Mr. O’Malley’s right hand for another eight years).

THE WINNER IS: Political opinionmaker Barry Rascovar, in a column for MarylandReporter.com, assesses the democratic gubernatorial debate and finds that everyone who was on air was a winner – the three candidates and even the moderator – but not necessarily the viewers.

BENEFITS OF ATTACKING: Jenna Johnson of the Post reports that as Heather Mizeur campaigns to become the next governor of Maryland, she has refused to directly attack her democratic opponents in a mission to focus solely on substantive policy issues. But staying positive could come at a price. During the first democratic gubernatorial debate on Wednesday night, Mizeur scolded her two opponents for bickering instead of discussing issues. But lobbing accusations earned them more airtime and attention.

DEBATE FACT-CHECK: The Democratic candidates for governor in Maryland met at the University of Maryland, College Park for their first debate ahead of the party primary on June 24. Jenna Johnson and John Wagner of the Post take a deeper dive into some of their claims, including whether only four people signed up for health insurance through the website.

BETTER BUSINESS CLIMATE: As Maryland looks to re-energize its economy amid federal budget cuts and slow growth in the aftermath of the recession, the three Democrats vying to be the next governor each developed distinct — and detailed — plans for how to improve Maryland’s business climate and promote job creation, writes Erin Cox for the Sun.

DUNCAN COMMERCIAL: Bill Turque of the Post reports that Doug Duncan has the first television ad of the Montgomery County executive’s race , which went up Friday afternoon.

ASSISTANT ATTY. CHARGED: The assistant city attorney for Annapolis has been charged with driving under the influence of alcohol after being pulled over in Millersville last month, reports Pamela Wood for the Sun.