October 10, 2014

State Roundup, October 10, 2014

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POT DECRIMINALIZATION: When Maryland’s marijuana decriminalization law went into effect Oct. 1, law enforcement agencies and prosecutors were left to figure out some of the loose ends. Frederick County law enforcement and State’s Attorney Charlie Smith expressed concerns with some aspects of the new law. Now, only a week after the rollout of the new law, many of those concerns are falling to the court system, law enforcement officers and prosecutors to develop a unified policy, writes Jeremy Arias for the Frederick News Post.

LABOR FORCE DROPS: The share of Maryland’s population participating in its labor force — those actively employed or looking for work — has dropped over the last 15 years, writes Mark Newgent for Red Maryland. According to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, compiled by the Liberty Foundation, a consortium of free market think tanks, Maryland’s labor force participation rate has dropped from 69.8% in 1999 to 67.4% in 2013. The labor force participation rate dropped as Maryland’s overall labor force increased 11% (2.8 million to 3.1 million) over that same period.

GUBERNATORIAL CONTESTS: National party strategists on both sides started the year focusing on governor’s races in just a handful of mega-states: Florida, Ohio, Wisconsin and Michigan. Now they’re dealing with a much larger electoral map, as voter unrest puts an unexpected number of gubernatorial contests in play — and leaves Democrats on defense in states they ordinarily win. That’s especially true in the Northeast, with Republican candidates performing surprisingly well in states like Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Maryland and Connecticut, reports Reid Wilson in the Post.

CLOSE IN MARYLAND: Election day is less than four weeks away and there are signs that the race between Democratic nominee Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown and Republican nominee Larry Hogan is closer than many expected. WYPR’s Fraser Smith and Bryan Sears talk about recent evidence that shows that residents of Baltimore County may again be a crucial voting bloc.

WHY NO CLOSED CAPTIONING? The Maryland gubernatorial campaigns were pressed Thursday on why they are not producing televisions ads with closed captioning during a forum that focused on issues of interest to people with disabilities, reports John Wagner for the Post.

BROWN SAYS HOGAN FLIPPED ON PURPLE LINE: Maryland Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown accused his Republican rival Thursday night of having a “campaign conversion” about building a light-rail Purple Line through the Washington suburbs, saying Larry Hogan assured primary voters he would block the project, reports Katherine Shaver for the Post.

TOP DEMS BLAST HOGAN: Two top Maryland Democrats rebuked Republican gubernatorial candidate Larry Hogan Thursday for including $450 million in school construction spending in his tally of  waste, fraud and abuse in state government. House Speaker Michael Busch and Prince George’s County Executive Rushern Baker criticized Hogan for what they construed as Hogan’s plan to cut that money from the state’s spending on schools. Hogan, however, contends that was never his intention, report Michael Dresser and Erin Cox in the Sun.

CATHOLIC GOV: DeMatha Catholic High School in Hyattsville can claim a connection to the next governor. Larry Hogan, the Republican candidate, attended the Prince George’s County all-boys school 1970-1972 before transferring to a Catholic high school in Daytona Beach, Fla. Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown, the Democratic candidate, has a son and stepson enrolled in DeMatha’s freshman class. Barring a highly improbable Election Day upset from a lesser-known candidate, one of these Catholics will become Maryland’s 62nd governor Nov. 4, writes Maria Wiering for the Catholic Review.

HOGAN ON POLITICAL PULSE: Larry Hogan Jr. will be on Political Pulse with Charles Duffy on Montgomery County Cable Channel 16  Friday, Saturday and Sunday, October 10th-12th  at 6 p.m. (We’ll link to the half-hour interview when it goes online.)

HOGAN BACKS TAX CREDITS FOR NONPUBLIC SCHOOLS: Tax credits for nonpublic schools are in for gubernatorial candidate Larry Hogan, but state-mandated paid leave for employees is out, Hogan tells Maria Wiering of the Catholic Review.

BROWN TOUTS JOBS AS JOB NO. 1: “Jobs, jobs and jobs,” answered Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown when asked his administration’s focus, should he be elected Maryland’s next governor. Maria Wiering reports the story for the Catholic Review.

THE NEXT FIRST LADY

YUMI HOGAN: The art studio in Yumi Hogan’s Edgewater home, perched above water and surrounded by tall trees, is as serene as her nuanced ink paintings of dreamlike landscapes. Her delicate brushstrokes on traditional Korean paper seem at odds with the bruising, unambiguous political world of her husband, Republican gubernatorial candidate Larry Hogan.

KARMEN BROWN: Some people choose their causes. In the case of Karmen Bailey Walker  — who married Democratic gubernatorial candidate Anthony Brown in 2012 — her issue seems to have been selected for her. If Brown defeats Republican candidate Larry Hogan on Nov. 4, she said, she hopes to continue advocating for crime victims as Maryland’s first lady.

BIZ GROUP BACKS HOGAN: The National Federation of Independent Business threw its weight Thursday behind Republican Larry Hogan’s campaign for governor, calling him the the best choice to control taxes and government spending, the Sun reports.

CONWAY, ANDERTON DEBATE: The two men who want to represent the Maryland legislative district that includes the Lower Shore’s economic engine have starkly different views about how to help it run better. That was apparent Thursday as long-serving Del. Norm Conway, D-38B-Wicomico, squared off against Delmar Mayor Carl Anderton in an hour-long debate hosted by the Salisbury Area Chamber of Commerce, reports Jeremy Cox for the Salisbury Daily Times.

DELANEY, BONGINO DEBATE: Incumbent Democratic Rep. John Delaney and Republican challenger Dan Bongino offered sharply differing opinions on the economy and immigration policies during a campaign forum in Hagerstown on Thursday. The candidates for the Nov. 4 election to represent Maryland’s 6th Congressional District squared off at an event organized by the Hagerstown-Washington County Chamber of Commerce. Also in attendance was George Gluck, a Green Party candidate for the seat, Kaustuv Basu for the Hagerstown Herald-Mail.

YOUNG, GARDNER SPLIT ON STATE AID: Frederick Commissioners President Blaine Young, who helped approve two large housing developments along the small Md. Route 75 and is running for county executive, agrees that the highway needs improvement. And although the project is estimated to cost hundreds of millions of dollars, the GOP candidate says state help is on the way if Republican Larry Hogan becomes Maryland’s next governor. Young’s opponent, Democrat Jan Gardner, says she’s not holding her breath, writes Bethany Rodgers of the Frederick News Post.

ARUNDEL COURTS LAUNCH E-FILING: The Maryland Electronic Courts system, or MDEC, is set to launch Tuesday in Anne Arundel County District Court, Circuit Court, the Court of Special Appeals and the Court of Appeals, reports Tim Pratt in the Annapolis Capital.The county is the first in Maryland to launch the $75 million statewide electronic filing system, which is designed to integrate court systems around the state and make the judicial process more efficient. Come Tuesday, attorneys will be required to file all documents electronically in new civil, family and juvenile cases.

TAXI COMPETITION IN MOCO: A Montgomery County Council member said Thursday he will sponsor legislation to ease regulatory burdens on traditional taxi operators so that they can compete more fairly with Uber, Lyft and other app-based car- and ride-share services, writes Bill Turque for the Post.

ARMSTRONG, PEROUTKA DEBATE: District 5 County Council candidates Patrick Armstrong and Michael Peroutka laid out their stances on expanding the county’s public safety workforce, public education and on stormwater fees when they met for the first time in a debate on Thursday, according to the Annapolis Capital.

BASEBALL ECONOMICS: For the bars, restaurants and shops immediately around Camden Yards in Baltimore, playoff baseball means more customers and more revenue. But sports economists argue that while that may be the case, the city as a whole isn’t likely to generate too much additional revenue, in large part because business stays in the areas immediately around the ballpark. Tommy Chalk of Capital News Service writes the story in MarylandReporter.com.
  • InGodWeTrust

    I attended the Peroutka-Armstrong debate. Both candidates were convincing. Armstrong convinced us he is just another tax and spend wind-up toy programmed with ‘I will do all I can to help firefighters, police and education’ with a delirious disregard to budget realities as well as a depraved lack of concern about families who simply cannot afford more taxes and fees. Peroutka convinced us he is, FINALLY, not only someone who will NOT raise taxes, he will actually be the ‘adult in the room’ who brings fiscal sanity and moral clarity to what is currently a deplorable deficit of decency and common sense. What a breath of fresh air…..a true leader and statesman. Peroutka is a not only a rare gift, he is life-saving medication for AACounty and Maryland, that voters will do well to take him up on his offer to serve the people.