September 8, 2014

State Roundup, September 8, 2014

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PREVENTING OVERDOSES: Maryland health officials, desperate to stem an 88% rise in heroin overdose deaths from 2011 to 2013, have launched an initiative to put naloxone into the hands of addicts, their families, police and other nonmedical personnel, Jean Marbella reports in the Sun.

TRACKING BIG DONORS: Maryland lacks an efficient way of tracking large political donors in the wake of a U.S. Supreme Court decision that eliminated aggregate limits, according to the head of Common Cause Maryland, reports Bryan Sears for the Daily Record. A state elections official said that changes in the law mean that the state no longer tracks donors who exceed $10,000, and it may be up to the public, news media and watchdog groups like Common Cause to track such contributors.

CASINO RECORD: Maryland’s casinos set a record for monthly revenue in August, and with only six days of operation Horseshoe Baltimore took 7% of the cash, reports Lizzy McLellan for the Daily Record. The state’s five casinos generated $80.6 million in the month of August, the state Lottery and Gaming Control Agency reported Friday.

COMMON CORE: The Common Core standards are unique because they are the first set of standards to be developed and adapted by the majority of states. The highly politicized debate over how, why and by whom these standards were developed will continue. But it distracts us from what matters most in education: the teaching and learning that happens in every classroom, every day, Howard County Schools Superintendent Renee Foose writes in a commentary in the Sun.

MD, VA & CORRUPTION: David Lublin of the Seventh State political blog write that Maryland has much more experience with corruption than Virginia, “so I thought it might be helpful to offer a few tips to our sister state” in light of the convictions of former Va. Gov. Bob McDonnell and his wife. “After all, we had much of our political class arrested in the 1960s. The Old Line State can speak from experience.”

CAMPAIGNS BEGIN: After a summer spent laying the groundwork, candidates across Maryland are launching their campaigns this week, reports Erin Cox for the Sun. From fiercely fought legislative races to the lively governor’s contest at the top of the ticket, the onslaught of television, mail and seemingly ubiquitous political signs is about to begin in earnest.

HOGAN’S BUS: When Republican Larry Hogan has someplace special to be in his bid for governor, he arrives in a giant, rock star-style bus emblazoned with his campaign logo. Such campaign buses can draw stares and criticism, and in Hogan’s case, a closer look by the state board of elections, writes Erin Cox in the Sun.

LGBT ORG HONORS O’MALLEY: It’s no doubt a sign of the end when people start talking about honoring your “legacy” — and we’ve apparently come to that point for Gov. Martin O’Malley, writes Kevin Rector for the Sun. Equality Maryland, the state’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender organization, has announced O’Malley and his record on LGBT rights will be the toast of the group’s annual “Signature Brunch” in November.

Best Democratic New Faces

NEW FACES: Baltimore’s BEST Democratic Club hosted an event for new Democratic nominees from across Maryland Saturday night at Captain James Seafood in Fells Point. Marilyn Mosby, running for state’s attorney in the city, addressed the crowd as did Howard County Exec Ken Ulman, running for lieutenant governor. (More pics on the club’s Facebook page.)

O’MALLEY PRAISED ON IMMIGRATION: Gov. Martin O’Malley on Saturday won praise from fellow Democrats for his record on immigration issues as he appeared at a campaign rally in Chicago for Sen. Richard J. Durbin (D-Ill.). O’Malley, who is weighing a 2016 White House bid, spoke at an event at the National Museum of Mexican Art as part of a weekend swing through three midwestern states, John Wagner of the Post writes.

O’MALLEY & SLOTS: Gov. O’Malley has played a key role in bringing legalized slots and table games to Maryland. But he wasn’t always so supportive. WYPR’s Fraser Smith and John Wagner of the Washington Post talk about why O’Malley changed his mind.

BROCHIN’S TOUGH FIGHT: State Sen. Jim Brochin spent the summer beating back a Democratic primary challenge from the left. Now, he’s facing what’s perhaps an even tougher fight from the right, Luke Broadwater reports in the Sun. Because of state redistricting that left his northern Baltimore County district with considerably more Republicans, Brochin, a 12-year incumbent Democrat, is spending his evenings attempting to appeal to conservatives — stressing his votes against many of Gov. Martin O’Malley’s tax and fee increases if not his vote for the governor’s gun control law.

KITTLEMAN CALLS FOUL: For almost two weeks, a Democratic slate supporting Courtney Watson for Howard County executive had been attacking Sen. Allan Kittleman, her Republican opponent, for supporting arming teachers and administrators with guns to protect students. For almost as long, Kittleman has been saying he was misquoted in the 2006 Washington Examiner story that was the basis of the claim, and had demanded a correction, reports Len Lazarick for MarylandReporter.com.

EHRLICH HEADS TO N.H.: Former Maryland Gov. Bob Ehrlich  is planning a weekend of Republican Party events this month in New Hampshire, quickly becoming a popular destination for Maryland politicians, writes Michael Dresser for the Sun.

REVIVING ‘THE POINT:’ After 124 years of operation, work at Sparrows Point was over. The blast furnaces closed for good in June 2012, the property sold for a pittance to a liquidator. Now there is reason for optimism. “The Point” once again might turn into economic gold, writes Barry Rascovar for MarylandReporter.com.

TESTING GARDNER’S CONTENTION: For the last fact-checking article, the Frederick News Post looked at some campaign literature printed by Republican contender Blaine Young. This time, it puts Jan Gardner’s statements to the test, reports Bethany Rodgers for theNews Post. Gardner, a Democrat who served as county commissioner for 12 years and as board president from 2006 to 2010, has compared the way she and Young have managed county finances. Young, the sitting commissioners president, has portrayed himself as a fiscal conservative, but Gardner says he is actually a free-wheeling spender whose administration has raised taxes.

YOUNG & BOND RATING: “I am proud to say that, over the last four years, the Young Board of County Commissioners has: … Achieved the best bond ratings in County history” is among the list of successes Commissioners President Blaine Young has on his website. That quote is correct, writes the editorial board for the Frederick News Post. But, it opines, there is much more to the bond rating story than Young is letting on.

ARUNDEL EXEC RACE: WYPR political journalist Kenneth Burns talks to Center Maryland about the outcome of the GOP primary for Anne Arundel County executive and what voters can expect in the upcoming competitive general election.

AA EXEC & RENAISSANCE FEST: The race for Anne Arundel County’s top job boils down to one issue for E. Steuart Chaney: the proposed move of the Maryland Renaissance Festival, reports Ryan Hunter for the Annapolis Capital. The concerns of Chaney and hundreds of other south county residents have resonated with the two men vying to be the next county executive.

OPPORTUNITY TO RUN: After finishing second-to-last in the June 24 primary for Charles County Board of Education, Waldorf resident Marcus Tillman was planning to support other candidates as they advanced to the Nov. 4 general election. But when the board of elections disqualified then-Republican nominee for District 3 county commissioner Steve Mattingly, Tillman saw the opening as another opportunity to serve, writes Jeff Newman for the Gazette.The Charles County Republican Central Committee put out an open call to those interested in filling the District 3 vacancy and selected Tillman on Aug. 25.