September 16, 2014

State Roundup, September 16, 2014

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MORE WORK ON RX POT: A Maryland commission still has significant decisions to make on proposals to implement the state’s medical marijuana law as they bumped up against a Monday deadline for submitting a draft of regulations, according to an AP report in the Daily Record.

DOD EQUIPMENT: The Department of Defense has transferred more than 11,000 pieces of surplus weapons and equipment worth more than $12.4 million to Maryland law enforcement agencies since 1995, writes Mark Newgent of Red Maryland. Within the copy is a database listing the equipment and which department it went to.

TAX HIKE BREAK: Maryland Comptroller Peter Franchot says he’s calling for a three-year breather from tax and fee increases to help pull the state out of what he describes as the “economic doldrums,” reports Bethany Rodgers for the Frederick News Post. On a visit to Frederick on Monday, Franchot said he keeps close watch over the state’s economic indicators, and he is not encouraged by what he sees.

BED BUG INVASION: About 200 Maryland Department of the Environment employees on one floor out of the four the agency occupies at its Baltimore headquarters were granted administrative leave Monday as officials dealt with a bed bug infestation problem, writes Luke Broadwater for the Sun.

CAESARS, PART III: Mark Reutter of Baltimore Brew, in the third and final part of his series on the Horseshoe Casino and Caesars Entertainment, writes about Gary Loveman, the math prodigy and CEO who set the company up for major wins and losses.

BETTING ON GAMBLING: Under the headline “Gambling industry never a sure bet,” the editorial board for the Annapolis Capital writes that given the extent to which Maryland has pinned its hopes on the gambling industry, the state’s politicians should be paying close attention to news about how it is doing. They should have noticed a few recent stories.

DOUGLASS PORTRAIT: A full-length portrait of Frederick Douglass is now the first painting of an African-American to go on display in the Maryland governor’s mansion. The portrait of the 19th century abolitionist was unveiled Monday night inside Government House, according to an AP report in the Daily Record.

CAMPAIGN FINANCE COMPLAINTS: Anyone can file a campaign finance complaint, and they do: Maryland Board of Elections records of a dozen complaints this year show everyone from private citizens to disgruntled campaign employees are feeling aggrieved this election season. And the state prosecutor’s office has received many more, Lelja Sarcevic of the Capital News Service reports in the Annapolis Capital.

TRANSIT PROJECTS DIVIDE CANDIDATES: Anthony Brown brightens as he talks about building large transportation projects — including two light rail lines worth a combined $5 billion. To the Democratic nominee for governor, they are a key to creating jobs and stimulating Maryland’s economy. His Republican opponent, Larry Hogan, has ice in his voice as he vows to block construction of Baltimore’s Red Line and the Purple Line in the Washington suburbs. The GOP candidate sees the mass transit projects as expensive boondoggles that would use money that should be spent on fixing roads.

HOGAN’S HERO: Josh Kurtz of Center Maryland writes about Larry Hogan Sr., former FBI agent and governor, and the effect that he has had on his son, Larry Hogan Jr., candidate for governor.

DEMS BLAST HOGAN ON BANKRUPTCY: The Maryland Democratic Party turned Republican Larry Hogan’s charge that the state is on the verge of bankruptcy against him Monday, pointing to the GOP gubernatorial nominee‘s 1994 bankruptcy filing over more than $1.5 million in debt, reports Michael Dresser in the Sun. In a campaign news release, the Democrats also charged that has “a long history of mismanaging money,” pointing to outstanding debt left over from his primary campaign. The report also criticizes the Maryland Republican Party for its track record of debt.

TAX BREAK FACT-CHECK: The claim is stated twice for emphasis in a new television ad attacking Maryland Republican gubernatorial nominee Larry Hogan: Instead of investing in pre-kindergarten programs, he would give “$300 million in tax breaks” to wealthy corporations. But is it true? John Wagner fact-checks the assertion for the Post.

NOW SEEKS CANDIDATE ANSWERS: Posing a challenge to Republican Larry Hogan, the Maryland chapter of the National Organization for Women has asked candidates for governor to explain their positions on a series of women’s health issues, writes Michael Dresser for the Sun. NOW made a formal request Monday that Hogan, Democratic rival Anthony Brown and Libertarian candidate Shawn Quinn answer five questions on abortion and contraceptive services.

O’MALLEY THRIVES AS UNDERDOG: The massive groundswell of support for Hillary Clinton — who visited the key early-nominating state of Iowa this weekend for the first time in almost seven years — leaves Gov. Martin O’Malley an obvious underdog. But the governor knows firsthand how quickly political fortunes can change. Those close to him say he feels he has little to lose with a White House bid — and no other obvious political options at this point in his career, John Wagner writes in the Post.

O’MALLEY CELEBRATES: This weekend, the country celebrated the 200th anniversary of the “Star Spangled Banner,” but no one did it better than Gov. Martin O’Malley, writes Jamie Fuller in the Post.

PAY RAISE FOR NEXT AA EXEC: The next county executive for Anne Arundel will make more money than County Executive Laura  Neuman, reports Pamela Wood for the Sun. Members of the Anne Arundel County Council voted 5-2 Monday to raise the executive’s annual salary by $3,000 per year over the next four years, bringing the salary from $130,000 to $142,000.

SCHUH ON THE MOVE: In the middle of a campaign for county executive, Republican nominee Steve Schuh is unpacking, writes Elisha Sauers for the Capital Gazette. Schuh, a two-term state delegate who will oppose Democratic candidate George Johnson in the General Election Nov. 4, was busy in August selling his primary residence in the gated Gibson Island community. The over 47,000 square-foot waterfront property went for $4 million, according to Maryland real-estate records.

PANTELIDES BACKS SCHUH: Annapolis Mayor Mike Pantelides endorsed Steve Schuh for Anne Arundel County executive, writes Rema Rahman for the Annapolis Capital.

RAWLINGS-BLAKE RECOVERING: Yvonne Wenger of the Sun is reporting that Baltimore City Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake will split her time Tuesday between working from home and at City Hall as her health continues to improve after a brief hospitalization over the weekend, her spokesman said. Spokesman Kevin Harris said Rawlings-Blake would resume her public appearances Wednesday.