September 19, 2014

State Roundup, September 19, 2014

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MINDING THE GERRYMANDER LINES: Over the rivers and through the woods, two dozen runners and bikers will start a 3-day super marathon Friday morning to traverse the 225-mile perimeter of Maryland’s 3rd Congressional District, the second most gerrymandered seat in the country, writes Len Lazarick for MarylandReporter.com.

COLLABORATION OVER LITIGATION: A push for collaboration rather than litigation in divorce and other civil disputes gained momentum in Maryland on Thursday, when the Judiciary’s rules committee gave preliminary approval to a proposal spelling out attorneys’ responsibilities before, during and after a collaborative law process, reports Steve Lash for the Daily Record.

EXELON-PEPCO MERGER: Bill Turque of the Post writes that a coalition of elected officials and environmental groups said in a filing with the Public Service Commission that Maryland regulators should approve Exelon’s proposed merger with Pepco only if its profitability is tied to new standards for reliability, carbon reduction and innovation.

Martin O'Malley didn't attend Sen. Tom Harkin's (right) final steak fry in Iowa last weekend, but Dan Rupli, Democratic state Senate candidate in District 4, did, as did Hillary and Bill Clinton. Harkin and Rupli have been friends for decades. (From Dan Rupli for Senate Facebook page)

Martin O’Malley didn’t attend Sen. Tom Harkin’s (right) final steak fry in Iowa last weekend, but Dan Rupli, Democratic state Senate candidate in District 4, did, as did Hillary and Bill Clinton. Harkin and Rupli have been friends for decades. (From Dan Rupli for Senate Facebook page)

RIGHT YEAR, WRONG DOCUMENT: Bryan Sears of the Daily Record blogs that, with all the tall ships and events and fireworks surrounding the week-long festivities celebrating the 200th anniversary of the Star Spangled Banner, it’s easy to understand that people in the area might still be a little torqued up. So we’ll give Sen. Brian Frosh, D-Montgomery, a little bit of a pass for his post on Facebook urging people instead to celebrate the 200th anniversary of the signing of the U.S. Constitution — 27 years too late.

SEN. YOUNG SCORES 100: Maryland Sen. Ron Young this week earned the title of consumer champion from a state coalition that took stock of his voting record, reports Bethany Rodgers for the Frederick News Post. Young was the only lawmaker from Frederick County to get a 100% score from the Maryland Consumer Rights

TRANSPORTATION FUND LOCKBOX: With little discussion and no controversy, the Montgomery County Democratic Precinct Organization Wednesday night endorsed three changes to the state constitution and the county charter on this year’s ballot – the most prominent of which would make it harder for the state General Assembly to use transportation revenues for other purposes. The county Democratic Central Committee then took just minutes to ratify the action of the precinct leaders; the party’s actions will be reflected on sample ballots sent out in the coming weeks to about 260,000 Democratic voters, blogs Louis Peck for Bethesda Magazine.

MD. ROADS RANKED LOW: Maryland continues to hover toward the bottom of rankings by a nonprofit organization evaluating state road systems, but the State Highway Administration continues to take issue with the ranking methodology, Meg Tully writes in MarylandReporter.com.

HOGAN CALLS BROWN A LIAR: The war of words in the race for governor escalated Thursday as Republican Larry Hogan called his Democratic rival a liar and asked him to take down a series of “slanderous” advertisements, reports Erin Cox in the Sun.

DUELING WEBSITES: Before Republican Larry Hogan even announced his new site that decries Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown’s attack ads as lies, the Maryland Democratic Party ferreted out the site’s likely URL this morning. And then the Democrats launched their own site, with just one letter differing from Hogan’s, the Sun reports.

DEFINING HOGAN: Republican gubernatorial hopeful Larry Hogan is at risk of being defined by his opponent, according to a recent editorial by the Baltimore Sun. Sun editorial page editor Andy Green joins WYPR’s Fraser Smith to talk about the message war between Hogan and his rival, Democratic Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown.

CHRISTIE FOR HOGAN: As head of the Republican Governors Association, in this YouTube video, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie gave an impassioned 15-minute speech for Larry Hogan on Wednesday morning. He told a group of well-heeled donors that they need to do more to help Hogan win so they do not wake up on Nov. 5 with regret for not having done enough. Christie also promised to be back in Maryland for Hogan, saying the race is winnable in a blue state just as his was in New Jersey.

JOHNSON KNOCKS SCHUH: The general election campaign for Anne Arundel County executive got rougher on Thursday. Democrat George Johnson knocked Republican Steve Schuh’s vision for education and cutting taxes, while also criticizing his tenure as a delegate and comparing him to former County Executive John Leopold, according to a story in the Annapolis Capital.

PLAN DROPPED: County Executive Ike Leggett said Thursday that Montgomery County has dropped plans to spur redevelopment of the Apex Building to make way for a more spacious Purple Line station in downtown Bethesda, Bill Turque and Katherine Shaver report for the Post.

CITY COUNCIL VACANCY CANDIDATES: Luke Broadwater of the Sun writes that 15 people have applied to fill the vacant 11th District seat on Baltimore City’s Council.

SPARROWS POINTS FUTURE: Officials predicted that the sale of the Sparrows Point peninsula to a local investment group should lead not only to the cleanup of the abandoned Bethlehem Steel mill site, but also to the creation of a vital hub of economic activity, including shipping, writes Adam Bednar for the Daily Record.

PG ENDORSEMENTS: Under the headline, “Easy decisions in Prince George’s County executive, council and sheriff races”, the editorial board of the Gazette makes its endorsements for in those November General Election races.

OPEN MEETINGS COMPLAINT: An open meetings complaint has been filed against the Town of Chestertown by a former reporter for the Kent County News, writes Peter Heck in the Cecil Whig. Craig O’Donnell filed the complaint July 16. His letter to the state’s Open Meetings Compliance Board cited closed meetings held by the mayor and council following the Dec. 16, 2013, and June 16, 2014, council meetings. However, he said those meetings were examples of a pervasive pattern.

NO TO BOOTS ON THE GROUND: As President Barack Obama prepares to increase U.S. military action against the rapid expansion of Islamic extremists in Iraq and Syria, some members of Maryland’s congressional delegation want to guarantee that American troops will not get involved in a ground war, write Idrees Ali and Teddy Amenabar of the Capital News Service. The story appears in the Cecil Whig.