July 11, 2014

State Roundup, July 11, 2014

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ONLINE BALLOTING ISSUE: An effort by the Maryland State Board of Elections to certify an online balloting tool and possibly head off a federal lawsuit failed Thursday on a technicality in board rules, reports Bryan Sears in the Daily Record. The vote, essentially a re-vote from an April meeting, came after board members met in closed session for more than an hour to discuss a lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court in Baltimore by the National Federation of the Blind seeking to require the state to use the online tool. The failure to certify the online voting tool means the issue now may be headed for a federal courtroom in August.

CURRY’S FAREWELL: The many friends and relatives of former Prince George’s County Executive Wayne Curry were determined that their final farewell would not be a somber occasion. It just wasn’t Wayne’s way, Ovetta Wiggins and Arelis Hernández report in the Post. So, instead, for two hours, they shared stories and laughs and a little bit of “Wayne’s World.” A photo gallery tops the article.

  • Weeks before his death, former Prince George’s County Executive Wayne Curry made one last visit to his childhood home in Cheverly. The man who presided over Prince George’s emergence as one of the country’s most affluent majority-black counties got out of his silver Mercedes in front of a modest, two-story red brick house on State Street. DeNeen Brown writes the story for the Post.

DHR OVERRUNS: In the last four years, the Department of Human Resources overspent its budget by $27 million — and inadvertently masked its overruns with improper accounting adjustments, an audit of the department has revealed, reports Charlie Hayward for MarylandReporter.com. After the audit came out, DHR removed the director of the grants management office due to concerns about oversight of millions of dollars of grants.

BA CO TO HELP FUND RED LINE: Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz isn’t happy about his jurisdiction contributing to the construction of the Red Line, but in a letter to the state he offered to pay for 22% of the cost of construction in the county, Adam Bednar and Bryan Sears of the Daily Record report.

HOGAN CLEARED: Maryland election officials have determined Republican candidate for governor Larry Hogan broke no laws in converting his Change Maryland advocacy organization into a campaign operation, reports Erin Cox in the Sun. But in a memo released Thursday, officials pointed out that a loophole permits corporations such as Change Maryland to test the water on behalf of candidates without disclosing donors or spending, as the candidates themselves must do.

PUBLIC FINANCING: The editorial board of the Sun opines about public financing of campaigns, writing that Republican gubernatorial candidate Larry Hogan’s decision to accept it “for the general election is both good and bad for democracy in Maryland. It’s good in that it validates the notion that our prospective leaders can and should seek to gain public office without being beholden to special interests. But it’s bad in that the limited nature of Maryland’s system means Mr. Hogan will almost certainly be outgunned by his Democratic rival, Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown, making it that much harder for the Republican to mount a competitive campaign in a state where the odds are already stacked against him.”

  • Fraser Smith, in a column for the Daily Record, writes “Larry Hogan is the underdog in the race for governor of Maryland. You say you knew that? Of course, you did. It’s Maryland. Maryland votes Democrat. Hogan is a Republican. But  …I refer to this week’s news that Hogan will take public financing in his race for governor against Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown, the Democrat.”

DEM UNITY EVENT: All three of the major Democratic candidates for governor of Maryland this year — including Attorney General Doug Gansler — are scheduled to appear next week at a “unity reception” hosted by the Maryland Democratic Party, reports John Wagner in the Post.

E-ZPASS SCAM: Maryland Transportation Authority officials are warning of an email phishing scam that asks E-ZPass holders to pay their toll debts online, writes Carrie Wells for the Sun. The MdTA posted a sample of one of the phony emails, which claimed that the driver was “in arrears” and instructed the driver to “service your debt in the shortest possible time.”

TUBMAN HISTORIC SITE: The Senate has approved a measure creating two national historical parks, including a site in Dorchester County, that trace the life and achievements of famed Underground Railroad “conductor” Harriet Tubman, writes the Salisbury Daily Times. The Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad National Historical Park would encompass more than 2,700 acres in Dorchester.

RASKIN ON CITIZENS UNITED: Marc Steiner of WEAA-FM hosts state Sen. Jamie Raskin, who is also a law professor, to update and discuss the Citizens United and McCutcheon rulings by the U.S. Supreme Court.McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission lifts the limits on amounts that individuals can give in aggregate to political campaigns, and in Citizens United the high court granted personhood to corporations.

RECOUNTS SOUGHT: Two candidates in local races in Baltimore and Prince George’s counties filed Thursday for recounts in their primary election races. Tony Campbell, a Republican candidate for Baltimore County executive, and outgoing Del. Doyle Niemann, a Democratic candidate for the Prince George’s County Council, both filed requests with their respective county election boards asking for a recount, writes Bryan Sears for the Daily Record.

21-YEAR-OLD WINS PRIMARY: While some 21-year-olds dream of their first legal drink, others hope to see their name on the ballot for the county council. Jake Shade, a 2013 alumnus, won a Maryland Republican primary election on June 24, becoming the party’s nominee for Allegany County commissioner, a position that oversees government spending, economic development and education, Sissi Cao writes in the Diamondback.

GOP SEEKS CANDIDATE: Talbot Republicans plan to interview those interested in replacing Josh Horner as a candidate for Talbot County Council, according to the Easton Star Democrat. Horner withdrew from the race after the June 24 primary, in which he placed second among the six active Republican county council candidates.

O’MALLEY HEADS SOUTH: The latest destination on Gov. Martin O’Malley’s political travel itinerary: Mississippi. The Mississippi Democratic Party announced Thursday that O’Malley has been booked as the special guest at its 2014 Jefferson-Jackson-Hamer dinner on Aug. 15 in Jackson, John Wagner writes for the Post.

MIKULSKI ADDRESSES HEROIN CRISIS: U.S. Sen. Barbara Mikulski announced last week legislation she’s proposing to combat the heroin crisis across the nation, reports Josh Bollinger for the Cecil Whig.