September 10, 2014

State Roundup, September 10, 2014

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RX POT REGS MOVE FORWARD: A state panel on Tuesday hashed out more of the nitty-gritty details to create a medical marijuana industry from scratch, but some key points remained unresolved as the commission nears a deadline next week, reports Erin Cox in the Sun.

DONATION TRACKING: The Supreme Court recently struck down a ban that limited the aggregate amount of money that one donor could give to all political candidates. WYPR’s Fraser Smith and Bryan Sears of the Daily Record talk about how the change affects the state’s system for tracking campaign contributions.

MOVE OVER: Motorists will be required by law to move over for tow trucks starting Oct. 1, reports the Easton Star Democrat. The law is intended to provide an extra barrier of safety for police, fire and emergency rescue personnel, and now tow truck drivers, police said.

DO-NOT-CALL FAILS: The federal do-not-call list was supposed to stop marketing robocalls, but they persist and have even been hitting once off-limits cell phone numbers. On Tuesday, Maryland Attorney General Doug Gansler and 33 other state attorneys general from around the nation wrote to the Federal Communications Commission asking it to clarify the federal law that the phone companies say prohibit them from using technology to block illegal telemarketing, writes Len Lazarick for MarylandReporter.com.

CAESARS TROUBLE: Overlooked in all the hoopla surrounding the opening of Baltimore City’s Horseshoe casino is this sobering fact – the chief owner and sole operator of the new facility is in deep financial trouble, writes Mark Reutter in introducing Part I of a three-part series on the casino for Baltimore Brew.  In Part I, Reutter writes that Caesars Entertainment’s troubled empire has been playing a high-stakes game with creditors.

CECIL VS. STATE ON SEPTIC MAP: State officials remain at odds with Cecil County over the county’s tier map revisions after a recent informational meeting at the end of August between the two, reports Cheryl Mattix for the Cecil Whig. The state is requiring changes to land use policy as a result of the passage of Senate Bill 236, or the Maryland Sustainable Growth and Agricultural Preservation Act of 2012. The intent is to restrict major subdivisions from being built on septics in resource areas dominated by agriculture and forest lands, thus reducing the number of new septic systems and reducing nitrogen into the Chesapeake Bay.

BROWN FORMS BIZ PANEL: Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown, the Democratic nominee for governor, announced the formation of a business advisory council on Tuesday morning that he said will counsel his campaign on how to attract more businesses to Maryland and keep them there, writes Jenna Johnson for the Post;

DGA TO BUY BROWN ADS: The Democratic Governors Association plans a hefty purchase of television ads in coming weeks to bolster Maryland Democratic gubernatorial nominee Anthony Brown in his campaign against Republican businessman Larry Hogan, writes John Wagner for the Post.

DEMS VS. HOGAN BUS: John Wagner of the Post is reporting that the Maryland Democratic Party filed a complaint late Tuesday alleging that the campaign of Republican gubernatorial nominee Larry Hogan is, in effect, not paying full fare for its campaign bus.

POLS BACK AWAY FROM RICE: Ray Rice, the football star fired from the Baltimore Ravens on Monday after TMZ published a video that showing him knocking his then-fiancee unconscious, is a familiar face in Annapolis, where he lobbied against bullying and drunk driving. Jenna John and John Wagner of the Post report that both Gov. O’Malley and Lt. Gov. Brown rushed to distance themselves from the football star on Monday. Photos and comments that mentioned Rice disappeared from Brown’s Facebook page and Twitter feed. O’Malley and Brown released statements condemning domestic violence, and other politicians quickly followed their lead.

Busch team

House Speaker Mike Busch, center in black, got together with his team on Saturday that in included Anne Arundel County Council member Chris Trumbauer next to him in purple) and county executive candidate George Johnson (in red). From his Facebook page.

NEVERDON LOSES AGAIN: Veteran defense attorney Russell Neverdon has lost another battle in his effort to get his name on the November ballot as a candidate for Baltimore state’s attorney. Baltimore Circuit Judge Martin Welch ruled against Neverdon on Tuesday in Neverdon’s appeal of a ruling by city elections officials denying him a place on the ballot, Kevin Rector and Ian Duncan report in the Sun.

FREDERICK COUNCIL RACES: Candidates in Frederick County Council races can agree on the importance of listening to residents, expanding recycling programs and building up the economic development wing of local government, writes Bethany Rodgers for the Frederick News Post. During a Tuesday night forum at the Mount Pleasant Ruritan Club, competitors for the same office occasionally even nodded while their opponents were speaking. But they did differ on the issue of school capacity.

FOAM CONTAINER BAN: First it was cigarettes. Then trans fats. Now Montgomery County could kick plastic foam cups and containers out of area restaurants. Kate Alexander of the Gazette reports that the Montgomery County Council introduced Tuesday a bill that would ban restaurants and food service companies from using plastic foam cups and containers — also known expanded polystyrene or sometimes as Styrofoam — and require the use of compostable or recyclable containers instead.

OVERLOOKED BUSINESSES: Montgomery County has too often overlooked businesses owned by minorities, women and the disabled when purchasing goods and services, according to a study released Tuesday. Bill Turque of the Post reports that the study, conducted for Montgomery by the public policy consulting firm Griffin & Strong, found that between 2007 and 2012 the county spent $368 million on minority and women-owned firms — representing 14% of total spending during that period. Payments to disabled-owned companies totaled $11.5 million or 0.45% of county spending.

***Len Lazarick, the editor and publisher of Marylandreporter.com, will be on “Political Pulse” with Charles Duffy on Montgomery County cable channel 16 to discuss the governor’s race and other issues.  The interview will air at 9 p.m. Thursday Sept. 11 and at 6 p.m. Friday through Sunday, Sept. 12 through Sept. 14. We’ll post a link when it goes up on the website.***