September 24, 2014

State Roundup, September 24, 2014

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RX POT FEES COULD HIT $125,000: Erin Cox of the Sun is reporting that running a medical marijuana operation could cost each grower more than $125,000 a year in fees, a sum so steep some officials believe it may shut out small businesses. Maryland’s medical marijuana commission is tentatively proposing that fee for each of the 15 potential growers envisioned for the state’s new program. The panel also is recommending a $40,000-a-year charge for dispensaries.

O’MALLEY SHIFTS ON ONLINE VOTING: Gov. Martin O’Malley (D) said Tuesday that he is “inclined to believe” that Maryland should comply with a federal judge’s ruling that the state allow disabled voters to fill out absentee ballots online before printing and mailing them to election officials, reports John Wagner for the Post.

RETURN TO PAPER BALLOTING: Maryland’s Board of Elections put on a demonstration last week of two potential voting systems that will have voters producing paper ballots again for the 2016 Presidential Primary Election, writes Alexis Webb for MarylandReporter.com.

TEACHER EVALUATION SYSTEM: A survey of Maryland’s public educators shows that teachers don’t feel the new system for evaluating them is going as well as the principals who are grading them do, writes Liz Bowie of the Sun. While 70% of principals believe the expectations are clear under the evaluation system put in place across the state last school year, only half of the teachers agree. The survey included responses from 16,000 educators across 23 school districts from April to May.

BEST PLACES TO LIVE: Money magazine’s annual 50 best places to live rankings include three Maryland locations: Columbia/Ellicott City (6), Rockville (24) and Bowie (28).

HOGAN USES EHRLICH PLAYBOOK: Republican gubernatorial candidate Larry Hogan is taking lessons from the 2002 campaign book of former Gov. Bob Ehrlich, writes Tim Prudente for the Annapolis Capital. Hogan said he will campaign outside his Republican base in Anne Arundel County — a necessary strategy, since Democrats outnumber Republicans more than 2-to-1 in Maryland.

O’MALLEY TO AID BROWN: Since Anthony Brown won the Democratic primary June 24, Gov. O’Malley has not been a highly visible presence in the gubernatorial campaign against Republican Larry Hogan. That is about to change, according to the governor and his aides. O’Malley said he will be actively involved in efforts to boost Democratic turnout – a factor that could be crucial to Brown’s success, reports Michael Dresser in the Sun.

O’MALLEY IN NEVADA, N.H.: Gov. Martin O’Malley’s political itinerary for this weekend includes stops in two early presidential nominating states — New Hampshire and Nevada — as well as a fundraiser with show-business types in Los Angeles, writes John Wagner in the Post.

CARSON MAY RUN FOR PRES: After distancing himself from the possibility of a presidential campaign, former Johns Hopkins neurosurgeon turned author and Fox News contributor Ben Carson is sending new signals that he may seek the GOP nomination in 2016 after all, John Fritze writes in the Sun.

GREEN 6th DISTRICT CANDIDATE: George Gluck is the Green Party candidate for the U.S. House of Representatives in Maryland’s 6th District. The general election is Nov. 4. He speaks with Bethany Rodgers of the Frederick News Post about why he is running and what he can do to make the district better.

DELANEY BACKS FREDERICK ROADS PROJECTS: U.S. Rep. John Delaney of the 6th District pledged his support for several Frederick County transportation projects at a meeting with local transportation advocates, Kelsi Loos writes in the Frederick News Post. The issues they discussed included highway congestion, infrastructure at the Point of Rocks MARC station and the airport.

CRIME-FIGHTING MO CO EXEC HOPEFUL: Bill Turque of the Post is reporting that those creepy mugshots of 1970s serial killer David Berkowitz (aka Son of Sam) hover over Jim Shalleck’s right shoulder in one of two new campaign ads the GOP candidate for Montgomery County Executive has posted on YouTube. They’re a not-so-subtle reminder that the former Bronx prosecutor, who helped put Berkowitz away, is making public safety the centerpiece of his longshot campaign against incumbent Ike Leggett in the November general election.

BILL WOULD BAN HOURLY HOTEL RATES: Prince George’s County Council member Karen Toles, in response to a growing human-trafficking problem in the county, introduced a bill Tuesday that would prohibit hotels and motels from renting rooms at hourly rates, reports Arelis Hernández for the Post.

UM SGA CONSIDERS STUDENT WAGE HIKE: College is a breeding ground for progressive ideas — and the Student Government Association at the University of Maryland, College Park takes that notion to heart, writes Alissa Gulin for the Daily Record. The SGA can’t control everything on campus, but it can control the Student Activities Fee. So, SGA members are using that authority to evaluate whether revenue from the fee should be used to raise the minimum wages of certain student workers.