May 15, 2014

State Roundup, May 15, 2014

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SCHMOKE NAMED UB PRES: The University of Baltimore on Wednesday named former mayor Kurt Schmoke its next president, marking the return of a pivotal figure in the city’s political history and someone boosters hope will strengthen the institution and its neighborhood, writes Carrie Wells for the Sun. Schmoke, who has held several roles at Howard University, including law school dean, said he hoped to “build on the momentum” of Robert Bogomolny, who announced last fall he would retire as president at the end of the academic year.

BACK TO VEGAS: Once again this year, Maryland politicians and business people will travel to Las Vegas for the Global Retail Real Estate Convention – a three-day deal-making event beginning May 18. In all, 669 Marylanders will be in attendance, including 10 from Baltimore City’s government, reports Luke Broadwater in the Sun.

PROFESSORS SALARIES: Full-time professors at Maryland public universities earn a salary roughly $16,500 above the national average, but tuition at Maryland public universities has remained lower than the national average, according to data from the American Association of University Professors, reports Margaret Sessa Hawkins for MarylandReporter.com.

JESUS PRAYERS RESTART: A member of the Carroll Board of County Commissioners opened the panel’s meeting Tuesday with a prayer “in Jesus’ name,” resuming the controversial practice a week after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that similar prayers before government meetings in an upstate New York town didn’t violate the Constitution, writes Nayana Davis for the Sun. In her short prayer, County Commissioner Robin Frazier asked for “wisdom and guidance.”

MARTIN & HILLARY: Gov. Martin O’Malley is so serious about laying the groundwork for a possible 2016 presidential bid, he’s even talked to the elephant in the room: Hillary Clinton. O’Malley told political allies at a closed-door meeting in mid-April that he called Clinton, who told him he should do what he needs to do. For him, that includes visiting early primary states, campaigning and fundraising for fellow Democrats, and growing his political network.

MARTIN & BILL: Former President Bill Clinton came to Potomac on Tuesday night to raise money for Anthony Brown’s 2014 gubernatorial campaign in Maryland. But his appearance also put a spotlight on the 2016 presidential ambitions of the state’s current governor, Martin O’Malley, who could wind up facing Clinton’s wife in the Democratic primaries, writes John Wagner in the Post.

MORGAN CONTRACT UPSETS FRANCHOT: Comptroller Peter Franchot turned up the heat on Morgan State University officials at the Board of Public Works Meeting Wednesday, accusing them of selecting their dining services contractor with a biased eye, Jeremy Bauer-Wolf reports in MarylandReporter.com. “This stinks,” Franchot said.

GOP WANTS DEJULIIS TO RESIGN:The chairman of the Baltimore County Republican Central Committee on Wednesday called for the immediate resignation of Ron DeJuliis, the state’s commissioner of labor and industry, over charges he stole campaign signs from his wife’s primary opponent for state Senate, reports Luke Broadwater for the Sun.

DISTRICT 30A: Gordon Smith, a candidate for the House in District 30A, writes in an op-ed for the Annapolis Capital that he is running for public office because Annapolis needs a delegate with a focus on smart growth and development. Throughout his life, he writes, he has seen Annapolis grow tremendously and he recognizes both the positives and negatives of this growth

DUTCH DOESN’T ENDORSE, YET: John Wagner of the Post reports that U.S. Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger, who spent months publicly mulling a run for Maryland governor, was spotted Tuesday night at a fundraiser for gubernatorial hopeful Anthony Brown that featured former President Bill Clinton. But he still hasn’t endorsed anyone.

UNEMPLOYMENT RATE FACT CHECK: When Doug Gansler first hit the campaign trail, he would say that the unemployment rate in Baltimore was 46%. The rival gubernatorial campaign of Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown quickly jumped on this and created a video to point out that Baltimore’s unemployment rate is only 8.4%. But in this fact-check for the Post, Jenna Johnson finds out that Ganlsers number is, for the most part, true.

VETERANS AFFAIRS: Democratic gubernatorial candidate Doug Gansler unveiled a plan Wednesday to improve state services for veterans while taking a swipe at rival Anthony Brown over the O’Malley administration’s management of the state Department of Veterans Affairs, Michael Dresser reports in the Sun.

MIZEUR ON UTILITY BILLS: Maryland gubernatorial hopeful Del. Heather Mizeur is tired of seeing electric bills continue to grow while customers endure outages that are often the result of investor-owned utility companies not having made enough infrastructure investments, writes Jenna Johnson for the Post.

AFL-CIO PASSES ON SOME ENDORSEMENTS: The pre-Primary Day homestretch has yielded an almost daily round of endorsement announcements from professional associations, labor groups and issue advocacy organizations, each hoping to influence the outcome of the many state and local contests on the June 24 ballot. But a recent round of endorsements from the Maryland/D.C. AFL-CIO has run into significant static from several of the five Montgomery County legislators passed over by the labor group, writes Louis Peck for Bethesda Magazine.