July 29, 2014

State Roundup, July 29, 2014

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UNACCOMPANIED MINORS: Maryland religious leaders issued a call for families to offer foster care to immigrant children from Central America as part of an effort to see that unaccompanied minors find shelter in homes rather than in barracks, reports Michael Dresser for the Sun. Faith leaders who met with Gov. Martin O’Malley at the State House on Monday said as many as 2,000 children are expected to join more than 2,200 who have already found homes in Maryland, often with relatives, since the beginning of the year.

A report by Pat Warren of WJZ tops the article.

ALL PASSION, NO ACTION: Few governors have spoken with more passion and eloquent conviction than Maryland’s Martin O’Malley (D) about the plight of tens of thousands of underage, unaccompanied and undocumented Central American immigrants who have crossed the southwestern border in recent months, writes the editorial board for the Post. His actions, the board writes, tell a different story.

BOYCOTT MARYLANDREPORTER.COM: Len Lazarick of MarylandReporter.com writes that the blowback from Barry Rascovar’s column accusing Republicans of being anti-immigrant was fast and furious Monday and congressional candidate Dan Bongino urged a boycott of MarylandReporter.com unless the column was taken down. At the urging of Bongino and others, about a dozen people asked to have the column removed, as well as demanding a retraction and an apology. The column won’t be removed.

RRs SEEK TO PREVENT INFO RELEASE: Two national railroad companies that transport crude oil have sued the Maryland Department of the Environment to prevent the release of information about their shipments, reports Danny Jacobs for the Daily Record. Norfolk Southern Corp. and CSX Transportation Inc. each filed suit last week as MDE was preparing to disclose the information under the Maryland Public Information Act.

DOUBLE THE RETURN: State pension officials are lauding returns on investments that are nearly double the target for the retirement fund for about 331,000 retired and active state employees and teachers, writes Bryan Sears for the Daily Record. The Maryland State Retirement and Pension System reported 14.37% return on its investments, bringing the fund balance to $45.4 billion at June 20. The earnings were nearly double the fund’s stated expectation of 7.70%.

MSP ACCREDITATION: The Maryland State Police will receive a site visit from assessors with the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies in August, and members of the community are invited to offer comments, reports Heather Cobun in the Carroll County Times. CALEA requires agencies to comply with high standards in four policy areas, including policy and procedures, administration, operations and support services, according to a police news release.

SWEET DREAMS: What do governors dream about when they take a little governor snooze? One local parody-songwriter asks just that in a video posted over the weekend on YouTube, writes Bryan Sears for the Daily Record.  Ronnie Buss, whose real name is Ronnie Tankersley, posted the song, which is a send up of “Stu’s Song” from the movie The Hangover.

CHANGE AT THE TOP: In an open letter to House Speaker Michael Busch, Josh Kurtz of Center Maryland urges him to change up the leadership of two committees to overcome the stagnation that his leadership committee is dealing with. “The House could see as many as 50 new members come 2015. That’s great – the new blood will be welcome, and many of the newcomers seem very promising,” Kurtz writes. “The farther away you get from your initial ascension to the top job, the harder it is to command loyalty from the troops. How much fealty do you expect from these incoming freshmen? How many will feel like they owe you?”

WAIT FOR SALE: State officials seem to have reached a consensus with local leaders that more waiting is in order before a decision on whether Frederick County must repay a Maryland grant for the construction of a publicly owned care center, writes Bethany Rodgers in the Frederick News Post. In a chiding June correspondence, the Maryland Board of Public Works had urged the county to abide by its grant agreement and wait for state consent to the sale of Citizens Care and Rehabilitation Center and Montevue Assisted Living.

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Arnold Jolivet

STATE GRANT COULD AID 100 TOTS: Washington County Public Schools will add pre-kindergarten services that could affect 100 children this fall thanks to a $336,000 state grant the school system will receive, officials said Monday, Julie Greene reports in the Hagerstown Herald Mail.

SNOWDEN GETS NEW POST: The Annapolis housing authority created a new position for Carl O. Snowden, whom the city’s mayor decided not to reappoint to the authority’s board, reports Pamela wood in the Sun. Snowden’s five-year term as chairman of the board of the Housing Authority of the City of Annapolis is due to expire at the end of July. Mayor Mike Pantelides declined to reappoint Snowden.The housing authority board voted on Monday night to create a new position called “chairman emeritus” and appointed Snowden to the position.

ARNOLD JOLIVET DIES: Arnold Jolivet, a longtime advocate for minority- and women-owned businesses who was a familiar presence at City Hall (and at the State House), died of complications from heart disease Sunday morning at Sinai Hospital. The Village of Cross Keys resident was 71. The Sun’s Jacques Kelly writes the obit.