November 14, 2014

State Roundup, November 14, 2014

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POT PANEL OKS DRAFT RULES: Erin Cox reports in the Sun that Maryland’s medical marijuana program cleared a key hurdle Thursday as a state panel approved draft rules to govern the new businesses. The medical marijuana commission set license fees for growers and dispensaries — at rates among the highest in the country — and developed rules for patients to obtain the drug in either a smokable or liquid form, among other new regulations.

STATE COLLEGES’ SEXUAL MISCONDUCT REMEDIES: Attorney General Doug Gansler issued recommendations to the state’s universities Thursday as they work to revamp their approach to sexual misconduct, including training students to intervene when they can and directing school officials to work more closely with law enforcement. Joe Burris of the Sun reports that universities have until the end of the year to implement new policies to prevent assaults and encourage students to report them.

LGBT KIDS HARASSED IN SCHOOLS: High school students in Maryland who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender constantly hear derogatory remarks and are often verbally, physically and sexually harassed and assaulted by their classmates. Fewer than half report the abuse. Kevin Rector of the Sun reports on the key findings of a survey of LGBT secondary students in the state conducted in 2013 and released Thursday by the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network, or GLSEN.

ACID STING OF BUDGET WOES: The editorial board of the Frederick News Post opines that the annual briefing of lawmakers on the state budget rarely carries good news — it hasn’t for the last several years. But this year, the warning that the state continues to spend more than it takes in carries a wee bit more of an acid sting, delivered as it was to a Democrat-controlled legislature soon to be presiding under a Republican governor elected on a platform that included budget reform.

STUDY SAYS CONOWINGO NO MAJOR THREAT TO BAY: The 200 million tons of sediment trapped behind the Conowingo Dam is not a major threat to the health of the Chesapeake Bay, according to a three-year study by the Lower Susquehanna River Watershed Assessment. Daniel Menefee reports for MarylandReporter.com that the study conducted by the Army Corps of Engineers and Maryland Department of the Environment found that 87% of sediment flowing to the Bay through Conowingo from 2008 to 2011 came from Pennsylvania and New York — and only 13% came from the sediment that already rests behind the dam.

EX-TROOPER BLASTS O’MALLEY: Jack McCauley enjoyed a fast-rising career in the Maryland State Police, starting out on the street and then moving on to gangs, drugs and murders. He went all the way to the top post in the firearms licensing division — until, he claims, political pressure over the state’s high-profile gun control push drove him out, according to a Fox News report.

DEM MODERATE-CONSERVATIVE WING WIPED OUT: Barry Rascovar writes in MarylandReporter.com that hardly noticed in the Nov. 4 election that saw Anthony Brown wiped out in an embarrassing avalanche of rejection was the obliteration of the Democratic Party’s moderate-conservative wing in Annapolis. While quite a number were voted out of office, a number retired.

YOUNGER GOP LEADERS: Following up on a MarylandReporter.com story, John Wagner of the Post writes that Republicans in the Maryland Senate are turning to two of their younger members to lead the caucus at a time when the minority party will have a greater voice in Annapolis. Sen. J.B. Jennings (R-Harford) was selected Wednesday by his colleagues to be the new minority leader. Sen. Christopher  Shank (R-Washington) was designated minority whip.

HERE’S TO WINNERS & LOSERS: Don Fry writes in Center Maryland  writes, “I have a special respect, not just for the winners, but for the hundreds of people around the state who put themselves on a ballot, subjecting themselves to public scrutiny, criticism and ridicule at times. It’s all of the candidates – not just the winners – who provide voters choices, articulate fresh issues, and frame election debate during the fundamental process that constitutes the essence of our democracy.”

HOGAN, BUSCH MEET: Maryland Gov.-elect Larry Hogan spent about an hour at the State House in Annapolis on Thursday, meeting with House Speaker Michael Busch for the first time since last week’s election, writes John Wagner of the Post. Busch told reporters that the private session touched on several issues, including the state budget and health care, but was mostly about building a positive working relationship.

HOGAN COURTS TECH ENTREPRENEURS: Gov.-elect Larry Hogan told technology entrepreneurs Wednesday they would “have a friend in the governor’s mansion” come January, reports Scott Dance in the Sun. Hogan, who has made few public appearances since an upset win over Democratic Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown, shook hands and made brief remarks at a Maryland Technology Development Corp. conference in Linthicum.

Hogan Boulevard dinner Johnny Ray Salling

Gov.-elect Larry Hogan Jr., center, at the Boulevard Diner in Dundalk with Senator-elect Johnny Ray Salling and wife Donna Salling. (Change Maryland Facebook photo)

HOGAN THANKS DUNDALK: Taking his statewide “thank-you tour” through the once-Democratic bastion of Dundalk on Thursday, Republican Gov.-elect Larry Hogan was hailed as a conquering hero at the Boulevard Diner, reports Michael Dresser for the Sun. Hogan received as much gratitude as he gave while spending over an hour shaking hands, posing for pictures and exchanging embraces with supporters in a part of Baltimore County where he ran up the score against Democrat Anthony Brown last week.

O’MALLEY SNIPES AT HOGAN: Gov. Martin O’Malley hasn’t had much to say about the recent elections but he does have some thoughts about his Republican successor: Larry Hogan hates open space. O’Malley hasn’t spoken about the election or Hogan’s victory over Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown but took a shot at the incoming Republican during a discussion about a state purchase of farm land in Kent County and a controversial proposed lease to a Democratic donor for $1 per year, writes Bryan Sears in the Daily Record.

PG GROUP CHALLENGES STATUS QUO: A coalition of Prince George’s County activists and politicians wants to challenge the Democratic Party establishment on the use of sample ballots, political slates and other issues, reports Arelis Hernandez in the Post. The Maryland Alliance for Election Integrity grew out of a grass-roots movement that successfully opposed a proposal to relax term limits for county officials.

HARFORD COUNCIL ALL MALE, ALL GOP: With three new members joining Dec. 1, plus a new president also coming on board, the rate of turnover on the Harford County Council still won’t be that much different from prior post-election changes. Allan Vought of the Aegis reports that in addition to new leadership, however, there will be two other key differences between the incoming council and the outgoing one: It will be all-Republican and all-male.

NEW CHIEFS IN ARUNDEL: Anne Arundel County Executive-elect Steve Schuh is replacing the fire and police chiefs. Past county executives who also chose new public safety leaders when they took office said it is important the county’s chief executive choose people he trusts — and quickly, write Rema Rahman and Ben Weathers for the Annapolis Capital.

NEUMAN REPAYS COUNTY $114: Arundel County Executive Laura Neuman has written a check for $114 to reimburse the county  for mileage of trips where members of her executive protection detail drove her to campaign events, reports Rema Rahman for the Annapolis Capital.

FREDERICK COMMISSIONERS PREP FOR CHARTER: The Frederick County Commissioners have crossed themselves out of the Frederick County code, reports Bethany Rodgers in the Frederick News Post. More than 1,000 changes to the county code will erase all mention of the Board of County Commissioners, a body that is set to dissolve with the Dec. 1 shift to a charter system. The legal revisions unanimously approved by commissioners Thursday swap the soon-to-be-obsolete language with references to the county executive or council, who together will lead the new form of government.

HARRIS CONTINUES TO FIGHT D.C.: Lawmakers from states that have removed or relaxed marijuana restrictions teamed up Thursday to defend the District of Columbia’s right to legalize marijuana — a move that Republican Rep. Andy Harris of Maryland has vowed to continue fighting, Nicole Gaudiano of USA Today reports in the Salisbury Daily Times. A video tops the article.