September 22, 2014

State Roundup, September 22, 2014

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GERRYMANDER MEANDERING: This weekend, the activists and their adventure-seeking friends ran, biked and boated for 225 miles, from the city of Baltimore to Baltimore County, to Howard, Montgomery and Anne Arundel, to make this point: Representative government isn’t supposed to look this way. Jenna Johnson writes in the Post.

FRACKING, SAFETY & NEXT GOV.: Three years ago, Gov. Martin O’Malley established a commission to study whether natural gas can be safely extracted from the Marcellus Shale, which runs under Garrett and Allegheny counties. WYPR’s Christopher Connelly talks with Fraser Smith about the study and the accompanying politics, as Maryland’s next governor will decide whether to allow hydraulic fracturing in the state.

NFL TAX-EXEMPT STATUS: Several U.S. senators have proposed stripping the NFL of its tax-exempt status — a warning analysts say the image-damaged league can’t afford to ignore even if the threat proves hollow. Just as it did during Major League Baseball’s steroid scandal nearly a decade ago, Congress is using its bully pulpit — and threatening legislation — to prod change on another of the nation’s pastimes, reports Jeff Barker for the Sun. The two scandals that have spurred the recent action are over Ray Rice and the Washington Redskins’ name.

TRANSPORTATION LOCKBOX: A diverse coalition of business groups, unions and transit advocates is urging Maryland voters to put a constitutional “lockbox” on state transportation funds, making it harder for governors and lawmakers to divert the money to other purposes, reports Michael Dresser for the Sun.

POLITICAL NOTES: Kaustuv Basu of the Hagerstown Herald Mail writes in Political Notebook that Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown will be fund-raising for Del. John Donoghue, among other items.

IN THE GUTTER WITH HOGAN & BROWN: So much for a positive, uplifting campaign for Maryland governor. Both candidates already are down in the gutter hurling mud balls at each other, writes Barry Rascovar for MarylandReporter.com. Anthony Brown is by far the worse offender, which is curious. The Democratic nominee and current lieutenant governor should be enjoying the view from the top of the campaign mountain.

PINOCCHIO AD PULLED: The campaign of Republican gubernatorial nominee Larry Hogan has taken down an advertisement that compared Lt. Gov. Anthony G. Brown to Pinocchio because it included a copyrighted image from the Walt Disney Co. without permission, reports Michael Dresser in the Sun.

HOGAN VISITS WASHINGTON COLLEGE: Republican gubernatorial candidate Larry Hogan will visit Washington College at 5 p.m. Monday, Sept. 22, in Hynson Lounge, located in Hodson Hall on the college campus. He will discuss his campaign to become Maryland’s next governor, according to the Easton Star Democrat.

CLINTON TO FUND-RAISE FOR BROWN: Hillary Rodham Clinton is coming to Maryland later this month for a fundraiser for Democratic gubernatorial nominee Anthony Brown, writes John Wagner for the Post.

12th DISTRICT RACE: Luke Broadwater of the Sun writes that in Maryland’s newly redrawn 12th legislative district — which slithers from southwestern Baltimore County to West Columbia in Howard County — the race for the State House is pretty neatly divided along county lines. All four Republicans in the race live and work in the smaller Baltimore County portion of the district, while every Democratic candidate works in the larger Howard County side, and three live there. The district’s geography has the underdog GOP candidates decrying what they perceive as gerrymandering to diminish their county’s voice.

Bobo cumming knowles

Del. Liz Bobo, far left, held her annual picnic Sunday to say farewell after 20 years in the legislature, four years as Howard County executive and nine years on the County Council. Here she introduces long-time campaign chair Sally Cook. Among the hundreds attending were Congressman Elijah Cummings and her husband and aide, Lloyd Knowles, far right, with whom she served on the council.

WICOMICO SHERIFF & GUN RIGHTS:  In a video and print interview, published to YouTube on Aug. 21, Wicomico County Sheriff Mike Lewis says he’s no fan of government intervention in limiting the constitutionally protected right to possess firearms. Attorney General Doug Gansler, however, says Lewis’ remarks seem to imply a lack of interest in enforcing state gun laws based on the Second Amendment. “But the fact of the matter is, the gun law that was passed by the General Assembly in Maryland is completely and unassailably constitutional under the Supreme Court’s interpretation of the Second Amendment.” Delmarvanow.com reports.

OPEN SEASON LAW CHANGES: Changes to open season laws are leaving Maryland residents at odds about the need for more public input on new hunting regulations. The state’s 2014-15 hunting and trapping guide adds several new Sundays when people can shoot deer and other game in Frederick, Allegany, Garrett and Washington counties. But state Sen. David Brinkley asked for a legislative hearing on the new regulations after Maryland Horse Council members argued that enacting changes too quickly could endanger horses and riders, writes Rachel Karas for the Frederick News Post.

HEROIN OVERDOSES & NARCAN: Since last fall, Anne Arundel and Annapolis police have been trying to deal with heroin overdoses by equipping officers with Narcan and focusing enforcement efforts in areas where heroin appears most prevalent. Now, law enforcement officials believe those efforts are starting to bear fruit, writes Ben Weathers for the Annapolis Capital.

O’MALLEY IN SOUTH CAROLINA: Gov. Martin O’Malley stopped by a gay pride festival in South Carolina on Saturday as part of a campaign swing with the state’s Democratic gubernatorial nominee, reports the Post’s John Wagner.

MO CO & IMMIGRATION POLICY: Montgomery County will review its policy of complying with all requests from federal immigration authorities to detain prisoners — even if incarceration past their release date could violate Fourth Amendment protections, writes Bill Turque for the Post.

ROUTE 175: Brandi Bottalico of the Annapolis Capital reports that the state needs to allocate $30 million to $40 million on top of a $10 million federal grant announced last week for work to go ahead to widen Route 175 between Disney and Reece roads.

TAKING BALTIMORE CITY TO HEART: Running the city of Baltimore isn’t for the faint of heart, Yvonne Wenger writes in the Sun. Like Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, many of the city’s chief executives over the past 100 years have worked their way into the hospital. Rawlings-Blake’s health scare came during the Star-Spangled Spectacular concert at Fort McHenry on Sept. 13. She was taken to the hospital — her second brief stay during her time as mayor — for chest pains and shortness of breath.

INSURANCE FRAUD: Buying a diamond ring is always a costly expense. Claiming to lose it — twice — came at an even steeper price for Colby White, chief financial officer for Prince George’s County public schools. The Maryland Insurance Administration has ruled White and his wife, Keisha, who works as an internal auditor for the school system, committed insurance fraud by filing a claim for a lost diamond ring that another insurer had already paid $16,313 to replace months earlier, Doug Donovan reports in the Sun.

LEGAL JOURNEY: Don Aines of the Hagerstown Herald Mail writes about the journey that Viki Pauler made to get into law, and finally to be sworn in as the newest associate judge of the Washington County Circuit Court.