July 7, 2014

State Roundup, July 7, 2014

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GUBERNATORIAL DEBATES: Democrat Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown last week proposed three debates with Republican nominee Larry Hogan, along with a separate debate among their running mates in the race for governor, writes Erin Cox in the Sun.

A REAL RACE: WYPR’s Fraser Smith and Karen Hosler talk about why they think that despite Democrats’ significant voter registration advantage, this year’s campaign for governor may be a real race.

FORMER OPPONENTS ON PARADE

Brown Mizeur Takoma Park parade

At the Takoma Park Fourth of July parade, Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown meets up with former opponent, Del. Heather Mizeur. (From the Brown Facebook page.)

Ceaig Hogan Havre De Grace parade

At the Havre De Grace parade, Harford County Executive David Craig, left, marches with Larry Hogan, who beat the Havre De Grace native for the Republican nomination for governor. (From Hogan’s Facebook page.)

HIGH COSTS: The $77 million in budget cuts approved last weekby the Maryland Board of Public Works mark the first recognition there’s a price to be paid for placing election-year politics ahead of fiscal realities. It won’t be the last spending pullback, either, writes Barry Rascovar for MarylandReporter.com. Maryland has a serious, ongoing imbalance between its high spending habits and its lower than expected revenue receipts. Everyone knew this was coming.

DRUG INITIATIVES: Maryland officials are responding to alarming new data on the growing number of fatal drug overdoses in the state by launching coordinated initiatives that build on overdose prevention work already being done by local public health officials, particularly in Carroll County, Jon Kelvey of the Carroll County Times reports.

MINIMUM WAGES RISE: Juggling the rising cost of textbooks, tuition, food and rent is a little more manageable now for rising University of Maryland, Baltimore County senior Keyerra Jeter, thanks to a June 1 raise in starting pay to $9 per hour for Gap Inc.’s 65,000 employees. In Maryland, the companies are ahead of the gradual curve of a new law that will raise the state minimum wage to $10.10 an hour by July 1, 2018. In January, the current minimum of $7.25 — defined by state and federal law — will increase by 75 cents to $8 per hour, with periodic increases scheduled through 2018, Michael Bodley reports in the Sun.

CAREFIRST’S BOON: The overwhelming majority of Maryland residents who used the state’s troubled online marketplace to sign up for health insurance made possible by the Affordable Care Act have become customers of CareFirst, a massive and well-known insurance provider based in Maryland, reports Jenna Johnson in the Post.

BEACH BOYCOTT: The proposal by Maryland U.S. Rep. Andy Harris to block the decriminalization of marijuana in the District of Columbia has devolved into a war of words — with some D.C. advocates calling on Washingtonians to boycott the beaches of the Eastern Shore this summer in protest, writes John Fritze for the Sun.

DISTRICT 12 LOSERS: With the unofficial results in, seven candidates in the District 12 Democratic primary election won’t advance to the general election. Baltimore County residents Brian Bailey, Rebecca Dongarra, Mike Gisriel, Rene McGuirk-Spence and Nick Stewart finished behind Clarence Lam, Terri Hill and Eric Ebersole and the top three now move on to face three Republicans in November, writes Lauren Loricchio for the Sun.

BRINKLEY’S LOSS: WYPR’s Nathan Sterner and Jeremy Bauer-Wolf of MarylandReporter.com talk about Sen. David Brinkley’s loss to Del. Michael Hough in the primaries, and how that upset teed up a general election race with Democrat Dan Rupli.

O’MALLEY TO HOLD FUND-RAISERS FOR THREE: Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley will organize a fundraiser for three at-risk House Democrats later this month on the Eastern Shore in the run-up to this year’s midterm election, reports John Fritze for the Sun.

ARUNDEL COUNCIL: Unleash a barrage of radio ads and robo-calls to catch your opponent off-guard — that strategy apparently worked in Michael Anthony Peroutka’s campaign for County Council. Now the outcome of the Republican race in District 5 — Anne Arundel County’s only as-yet undecided primary election — depends on a final day of canvassing Monday, nearly two weeks after voters went to the polls on June 24, writes Rema Rahman for the Annapolis Capital.

FREDERICK CHARTER: The editorial board for the Frederick News Post opines that it has heard some healthy ideas debated over the past few years for tweaking the county’s charter — the new, guiding document for the switchover from five commissioners to a county executive and seven-member council. Three are compelling, and should be debated as the new council takes its seat in the new year.

MO CO CAMPAIGN FINANCING BILL: The bill that would establish partial public financing of political campaigns in Montgomery County was enthusiastically welcomed when Council member Phil Andrews introduced it in February. Five months later, however, the bill’s future — at least in its current form — seems far less certain, reports Bill Turque for the Post.

RUNNING AS WRITE-INS: Despite losing their races in the recent primary election, Carroll County candidates still have the option to run in the November general election as write-in candidates, reports Christian Alexandersen for the Carroll County Times. Gail Carter, director of the Carroll County Board of Elections, said candidates can file as a write-in up until Oct. 29 for the general election in November.

ACLU CHALLENGES SIGN RULE: The American Civil Liberties Union is challenging an amendment to the Hancock Town Charter that reduces the amount of time people are allowed to post political signs on private property, writes Dan Dearth for the Hagerstown Herald Mail.