August 29, 2014

State Roundup, August 29, 2014

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‘COOKIE’ HARRIS DIES: Sylvia “Cookie” Harris, the wife of U.S. Rep. Andy Harris and a prominent anti-abortion advocate in Annapolis, died suddenly on Thursday, reports John Fritze for the Sun. Harris, who would have turned 58 this weekend, was a frequent presence in Annapolis, where state lawmakers said she was a forceful advocate for causes she believed in, particularly anti-abortion policies.

MORE VOTER VIOLATIONS: The Maryland State Board of Elections has alerted the Office of the State Prosecutor to a report that 164 people voted in both Maryland and Virginia in the November 2012 presidential election, in violation of the law, writes the Sun’s Michael Dresser.

NO RAIL TRANSFER FACILITY: State officials have abandoned plans for a rail cargo facility in an economically depressed corner of West Baltimore, amid vocal opposition from residents and diminishing political will, Kevin Rector reports in the Sun. With the state withdrawing more than $30 million in funding, the CSX Transportation facility envisioned for the city’s Morrell Park neighborhood will not be built, Maryland Transportation Secretary James T. Smith said Thursday.

CORRECTING RECORD: In its Aug. 14, 2014, commentary, the National Alliance on Mental Illness of Maryland claims that it is “flatly untrue” that the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene is violating the “Outpatient Services Stakeholder Workgroup” legislation passed during the 2014 session. As chair of the Public Health and Long Term Care Subcommittee and lead sponsor of House Bill 1267, Del. James Hubbard of Prince George’s County writes a column in the Daily Record “to correct the record.”

$35 PER PRIMARY VOTER: Candidates for governor in Maryland’s June primary spent a record of almost $25 million — paying roughly $35 for every voter who showed up at the polls, Michael Dresser for the Sun. Campaign finance reports filed with the State Board of Elections this week show that the primary’s cost exceeded the total spent during the primary and general election four years ago by more than $2 million.

2nd BROWN-HOGAN DEBATE: Democrat Anthony Brown and Republican Larry Hogan have agreed to a second televised debate in the race for Maryland governor, write Erin Cox for the Sun.

LIBERTARIAN RUNS FOR ATTORNEY GENERAL: As a hearing officer with the Maryland Parole Commission, Leo Wayne Dymowski said he sees first hand the consequence of the war on drugs. Having just left a Maryland Division of Corrections facility in Jessup on Aug. 14, Dymowski said 10 of the 13 hearings he held that day were for nonviolent drug offenders. Dymowski, 58, a Libertarian from Dundalk, is running to be Maryland’s next attorney general. He faces Democrat Sen. Brian Frosh of Somerset and Republican Jeffrey  Pritzker, writes Kate Alexander for the Gazette.

EXPENSIVE NEUMAN-SCHUH PRIMARY: Laura Neuman and Steve Schuh fought the most expensive primary campaign in Anne Arundel County history, spending $2.4 million in their bids to be the GOP nominee for Arundel County executive, Rema Rahman reports in the Annapolis Capital. Neuman and Schuh spent double what all seven candidates — Democrats and Republicans combined — spent in Anne Arundel’s last contested primary for county executive, in 2006.

CAMPAIGN DONATION LOOPHOLES: The editorial board for the Frederick News Post looks into the funding for the campaigns of Frederick County executive candidates Blaine Young and Jan Gardner and finds that the bulk of Young’s funding came from 27 LLCs and LLPs — all registered under two addresses. Fourteen contributions worth $56,000 came from one address. Thirteen came from another.

NEW CIRCUIT JUDGE: Assistant State’s Attorney Viki Pauler said she was overcome with shock and joy when Gov. Martin O’Malley called Monday to tell her that she had been appointed as a Washington County Circuit Court judge, writes Caleb Calhoun for the Hagerstown Herald Mail. “I have to admit it brought tears to my eyes,” she said. “It was certainly an overwhelming feeling and very exciting to hear from the governor himself.”

FUNDING THE RED LINE: The commitments made this week by elected leaders in Baltimore City and Baltimore County to contribute $230 million and $50 million respectively toward construction of the light rail Red Line closes the funding circle for the region’s most important transit project in decades. Donald Fry of write in Center Maryland that such collaboration between the city and county likely provides a glimpse of the future. It’s the type of regional teamwork on transportation and other issues that must be addressed to keep our region competitive for economic growth and job creation.

SUBURBAN EDUCATION: Natalie Grigson of Movoto Real Estate blog writes that three of the Top 10 suburb for education are in Maryland. Wealth and low student to teacher ratios contribute to the rankings.

  • KatieSilverSpring

    Televised debate? Channel 8 on a Monday federal holiday. Oh yeah, that will be broadly watched.