September 3, 2014

State Roundup, September 3, 2014

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U.S. MILITARY GEAR ON CAMPUS: Rokia Hassanein of the Diamondback reports that three college police departments in this state — including this university’s — have received surplus military gear through a federal defense program that has fallen under scrutiny in recent weeks. The handful of items this university received included 16 12-gauge shotguns, 49 M16 rifles, two transport vehicles and a $65,000 armored truck, University Police spokeswoman Sgt. Rosanne Hoaas confirmed.

SERVICES FOR ‘COOKIE’ HARRIS: Sylvia “Cookie” Harris was remembered Monday as a selfless mother and grandmother, a devout Christian and “right-to-life torchbearer” whose influence extended from the neighborhoods outside Baltimore City to the halls of government in Annapolis, reports Jeremy Cox for the Salisbury Daily Times. Harris, the wife of U.S. Rep. Andy Harris, died unexpectedly Thursday, three days before what would have been her 58th birthday. A photo package by Steve Ruark accompanies the article.

CAMPUS DRINKING: More than half of Maryland college students who reported being high-risk drinkers had parents who permitted at least some drinking in high school, according to a study released by the Maryland Collaborative to Reduce College Drinking and Related Problems. Krishana Davis of the Carroll County Times writes that the study was based on a survey that was conducted at McDaniel College and nine other schools.

O’MALLEY’S CASINO: John Wagner of the Post reports about Gov. Martin O’Malley’s uncomfortable embrace of the casino industry in Maryland. The governor once called slot machines “a pretty morally bankrupt way” to fund education.” With confetti flying and fireworks exploding over the launch of the Horseshoe Casino in Baltimore City, Gov. Martin O’Malley looked decidedly unenthusiastic as he welcomed VIP guests.

PUBLIC DEFENDERS OFFICE: Bryan Sears of the Daily Record writes that language justifying an expansion of a lease of Towson office space by the Office of the Public Defender was based on a 2012 Court of Appeals decision regarding representation of indigent defendants and was accurate at the time the request was made to the state, according to a document provided by Maryland Public Defender Paul B. DeWolfe Jr.

DDA SERVICE TRACKING: Maryland’s Developmental Disabilities Administration has not made much progress since last October on verifying that consumers actually received the services they’re supposed to get, according to a follow-up review released Tuesday. The AP is reporting in the Daily Record that the Maryland General Assembly’s Office of Legislative Audits conducted the follow-up after an October audit found the administration’s fiscal accountability and compliance rating was unsatisfactory.

A FEW GOOD RACES: Ordinarily, around now, in an election year in Maryland, we’d be all in a lather about the upcoming primaries, writes Josh Kurtz for Center Maryland. Instead, we’ve been in general election mode for more than two months already. It doesn’t feel right. Traditionally, the primaries here are more exciting than the general election anyway. But at least it looks like we’ll have a few good races this fall.

BROWN ATTACKS HOGAN OVER ‘DREAM:’ Maryland’s two leading gubernatorial candidates sparred Tuesday over a decade-old veto of a bill that sought to extend in-state college tuition rates to undocumented immigrants, reports John Wagner for the Post. During an appearance before a Hispanic business conference, Democratic nominee Anthony Brown attacked his Republican opponent, Larry Hogan, for a move made in 2003 by the state’s last Republican governor, Bob Ehrlich.

CHRISTIE TO STUMP FOR HOGAN: New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is coming to heavily Democratic Maryland this month to raise money to help Larry Hogan, the state’s Republican gubernatorial nominee, in the first sign of national GOP interest in the race. Christie, the chairman of the Republican Governors Association and a possible 2016 presidential candidate, writes John Wagner for the Post.

BROWN AD HIGHLIGHTS PRE-K: Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown continued his attempt to draw contrast between himself and Republican nominee Larry Hogan Tuesday, releasing a television ad that highlights Brown’s proposal to gradually expand the state’s pre-kindergarten program to include half-day classes for youngsters, reports Erin Cox in the Sun. The story is topped by the commercial.

O’MALLEY HEADS TO SUNSHINE STATE: Add Florida to Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley’s political itinerary, writes John Wagner for the Post. O’Malley, who is weighing a 2016 White House bid, has a full day scheduled Sept. 20 that includes fundraising meetings, campaigning for Charlie Crist, the state’s Democratic nominee for governor, and an appearance at a Democratic party reception, aides said.

O’MALLEY CAN’T WIN: Gazette political pundit Blair Lee writes that Martin O’Malley can’t win a presidential run despite all his pluses. He also outlines why he can’t even make the move into the vice presidential race.

O’MALLEY RUN IN WALL ST. JOURNAL: Democratic fundraisers say Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley has told them he would enter the presidential race even if front-runner Hillary Clinton is a candidate, suggesting she would face at least some competition for her party’s nomination from an established elected official if she runs, writes Peter Nicholas in the Wall Street Journal. Mr. O’Malley’s camp had signaled earlier this year that the governor likely wouldn’t join the field if Mrs. Clinton sought the Democratic nomination. But some party fundraisers say they have come away from private conversations with Mr. O’Malley with a clear impression that he wouldn’t stand down should Mrs. Clinton run.

NO RAISES FOR AA COUNCIL: After taking a beating from a handful of critical constituents, members of the Anne Arundel County Council voted Tuesday night not to give a pay raise to the next set of councilmen. The measure to gradually increase the annual salary for the part-time, elected position from $36,000 to $40,518 failed on a 2-5 vote. The votes in favor came from Councilmen Jamie Benoit, a Crownsville Democrat who sponsored the bill, and Dick Ladd, a Broadneck Republican. Neither will return to the council after the election, after Ladd lost his primary and Benoit hit term limits, Pamela Woods is reporting in the Sun.

GUARD DRILLS POSTPONED: Army National Guard units in Maryland and across the country are postponing drills this month to help the National Guard Bureau close an unexpected budget shortfall, John Fritze reports in the Sun.

PESKY LEGAL FEES: The Carroll County Times editorial board opines that one of the things that the new Carroll County board of commissioners should look at when it takes office later this year is the amount of money spent by the current board on legal fees. In just under four years, the commissioners have spent $178,454 for outside legal counsel. This is on top of the county attorney and staff that are already on the payroll to handle legal issues.

TRASH COLLECTORS SEEK HEALTH CARE: Workers who collect trash and recycling in Montgomery County are calling on County Executive Ike Leggett to back legislation that would require their employers provide them with access to affordable health insurance, Kate Alexander is reporting in the Gazette.