$650M GRANT FOR CHILDREN: Maryland has been awarded a five-year, $650 million federal grant to try to steer more children out of the state foster-care system, preserve families through community-based support programs, improve child safety and prevent abuse, reports Arelis Hernandez in the Post.
NEW LAWS: Lejla Sarcevic of CNS reports in MarylandReporter.com that the fruits of the General Assembly’s 2014 session will come into full effect on Oct. 1 as a number of bills passed in the spring become law in Maryland. Included in this batch are laws to protect transgendered people; toughen penalties on those who use hand-held devices while driving, then causes a serious accident; and allow for unannounced inspections of funeral homes.
- Starting Wednesday, you can no longer be arrested in Maryland for possessing a small amount of marijuana. But how the rest of that interaction with police plays out might depend on what jurisdiction you’re in, writes Justin Fenton for the Sun.
- In the last General Assembly session, lawmakers passed legislation that decriminalized possession of less than 10 grams of marijuana, making it a civil offense instead of a criminal offense. Civil offenses do not result in jail time, Jacob Owens writes in the Cecil Whig.
- The Governor’s Office of Crime Control and Prevention, with help from Maryland State Police and the Attorney General’s Office, conducted training sessions for local law enforcement officers, reports Jenna Johnson in the Post. State Police drafted a new policy but the agency is encouraging barracks commanders to work closely with prosecutors, said spokesman Greg Shipley. “That way, we’re not charging someone who’s going to not be prosecuted.”
- The state’s new marijuana decriminalization laws take effect today, and Harford County Sheriff’s Office deputies will have to use their judgment in deciding whether an amount of suspected substance found on an individual might exceed the weight considered a civil offense under the legislation, writes Aaron Cahall of the Dagger.
- The trash can will no longer be the sole destination for plastic bottles and cardboard boxes at condominiums, reports Bethany Rodgers for the Frederick News Post. But new blue bins at multifamily units will likely come at a cost to residents, who could see fees go up to pay for newly mandated recycling programs.
GAS EXPORT TERMINAL: Federal regulators gave a final go-ahead to Virginia-based Dominion Energy to build a natural gas export terminal in Southern Maryland this week. WYPR’s Fraser Smith and Christopher Connelly talk about what that means for Maryland and the concerns raised by the project’s opponents.
FISCAL STATEMENTS STUMP SOME LOCAL GOV’TS: Charlie Hayward of MarylandReporter.com writes that some local governments in Maryland are having difficulty preparing adequate financial statements and getting passing grades from their outside auditors, state auditors found in an annual review of local audit practices for the fiscal year ending June 2013.
LONG WAITS AT MINORITY POLLS: The Afro is reporting that a recent study has found that polling precincts in Maryland with higher percentages of minority voters had longer wait times during the 2012 presidential election, and that poor resource allocation was to blame.
BONGINO’S BATTLE: Maryland has eight congressional seats, but only one of the state’s incumbent representatives is in anything resembling a tough race. Republican Dan Bongino is challenging John Delaney for his 6th district seat. But he’s in an uphill battle, reports John Lee for WYPR-FM.
FRANCHOT STUMPS: Maryland Comptroller Peter Franchot will be rallying his supporters this Friday at the Talbot Democratic Headquarters, 125 N. Washington St., writes Chris Polk for the Easton Star Democrat. It’s the First Friday Reception from 5 to 7 p.m. The free event is sponsored by the Talbot County Democratic Forum. Drinks and snacks will be provided.
HOGAN, BROWN DISAPPOINT WOMEN: For an organization that works to promote opportunities for women on corporate boards and in executive positions, gender disparity in the makeup of state commissions and advisory boards was a natural problem to tackle. So Network 2000 reached out to the Maryland gubernatorial candidates asking for a commitment to fill half of those appointive positions with women. The responses they received did not please the group’s members — many of them female business leaders in the state, including bank presidents, law firm partners and corporate CFOs, reports Lauren Kirkwood for the Daily Record.
BILL SUBS FOR HILLARY: Hillary Rodham Clinton opted out of a fundraiser for Maryland’s Democratic gubernatorial nominee Tuesday to spend time with her new granddaughter, Charlotte Clinton Mezvinsky — and Charlotte’s mom, Chelsea. But the former secretary of state sent a well-known stand-in to Potomac to stump for Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown: her husband (and the proud grandfather), Bill Clinton, reports Jenna Johnson for the Post.
- Subbing for new grandmother Hillary Clinton on late notice, former President Clinton became the star attraction Tuesday night at a fundraiser for Democratic gubernatorial candidate Anthony Brown at a posh estate in Potomac. The Brown campaign said the former president helped Brown draw about 450 guests and raise more than $1.2 million for his campaign against Republican Larry Hogan in the Nov. 4 election.
WOOING POLITICIANS: David Trone, who hosted the fundraiser at his Potomac home, owns with his brother Robert, Total Wine & Spirits, a Maryland-based national company that has donated more than $200,000 to political candidates since 2011 — much of it to Brown, his running mate, Howard County Executive Ken Ulman, and Comptroller Peter Franchot. The big-ticket event Tuesday also highlights Trone’s growing political activism inside and outside Maryland and comes at a time when the company has been seeking to change some liquor laws that would benefit the business, reports Bryan Sears in the Daily Record.
NEGATIVE, NATIONALLY: If you thought the televised ads in Maryland’s gubernatorial race seemed particularly negative recently, it’s not just you. Erin Cox is reporting in the Sun that new data released Tuesday ranked Maryland as having the highest percentage of negative television ads in any gubernatorial race in the nation.
- The editorial board for the Sun agrees, and says that Brown and Hogan need to get beyond airing and responding to attack ads to provide specifics for how they would make Maryland’s new gun safety law work to reduce death and injury
MO CO PASSES PUBLIC FINANCE BILL: Bill Turque of the Post writes that the Montgomery County Council, seeking to draw more small, individual donors into campaigns and limit the influence of special-interest money, voted unanimously Tuesday to establish partial public funding for elections.
MO CO EXEC HOPEFUL TOUGH ON CRIME: If he’s elected Montgomery County executive, Republican Jim Shalleck says his main focus would be public safety, particularly school safety, Peggy McEwan reports in the Gazette. “I really believe we need a police presence and a police car at every one of our 202 schools,” said Shalleck, who lives in Montgomery Village. “Now they are only at the high schools.”
O’MALLEY TALKS DATA GOVERNING: Gov. Martin O’Malley got a chance Tuesday to talk about one of his favorite subjects — “data-driven governance” — with the prime minister of India, reports John Wagner for the Post. O’Malley met for about 30 minutes with Prime Minister Narendra Modi at Blair House in the District, according to aides to the governor. Modi was on a five-day visit to the United States that also included a meeting Tuesday with President Obama.
RESUME ISSUE FOR ASTLE OPPONENT: Republican blogger Jeff Quinton reports that Don Quinn, Sen. John Astle’s GOP opponent in District 30, seems to have claimed to hold a university degree he does not have.
***The deadline to register to vote, change party affiliation, update an address, and request an alternate polling place for this election is 9 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 14. Residents with a Maryland driver’s license or MVA-issued ID may register to vote, change their address, or change their party affiliation online at https://voterservices.elections.maryland.gov/OnlineVoterRegistration.***