21 STATES HOPE TO OVERTURN MD GUN LAW: Led by West Virginia’s attorney general, 21 states have joined a legal effort seeking to overturn Maryland’s tough new gun control law, Erin Cox reports in the Sun. The Maryland statute has no effect on gun laws in their states, but the attorneys general argue in an amicus brief filed this month that Maryland’s law was written too broadly and violates the Second Amendment rights of their citizens.
POLICE BODY CAMS: Police agencies around the state could be required to begin developing and phasing in body camera programs as soon as next year, reports Bryan Sears for the Daily Record. Del. Sandy Rosenberg, D-Baltimore City, and some other members of a state work group looking at the issue say such a mandate to implement body cameras that would be used to record some interactions between police and the public could be on the horizon.
HAZING, ASSAULT AT FRATS: Records from Maryland’s public universities, which investigated allegations involving fraternities, sororities and athletic teams, shed new light on rituals long cloaked in secrecy and shame — incidents that often peak during fall “Hell Week” initiations, writes Carrie Wells for the Sun.
- In a related matter, a UMBC fraternity has been shut down. Members of the Kappa Alpha Psi fraternity at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County allegedly invited women to a darkened basement on campus, blindfolded them at the door, seated them in chairs, then kissed and touched them in a sexual manner, reports Carrie Wells in the Sun.
TURKEYS FOR THANKSGIVING: Post columnist Robert McCartney serves up the “Turkeys of the Year,” including Maryland’s Health Exchange, the town of Chevy Chase, political polling and himself.
SECRETARY EDWARDS? When state Sen. George C. Edwards has traveled to Annapolis in recent weeks, his colleagues have jokingly referred to him as “secretary,” reports Kaustuv Basu for the Hagerstown Herald Mail. Behind the jokes are a flurry of rumors that the Republican state senator who represents District 1, which includes Garrett and Allegany counties and western Washington County, will be appointed as the secretary of the Maryland Department of Natural Resources by Gov.-elect Larry Hogan.
JUDICIAL APPOINTMENTS: Incoming governor Larry Hogan will have at least two vacancies to fill on the Maryland Court of Appeals. WYPR’s Fraser Smith talks to Steve Lash of the Daily Record about how these judicial appointments are made and one particular Maryland case that’s likely to be appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court. Hopefully, by the time you read this, the audio link will have been corrected.
BEATING BOGEYMAN POLITICS: When Larry Hogan bested Anthony Brown for the governorship, he did more than defeat the hand-picked candidate of Maryland’s Democratic establishment. He beat the kind of bogeyman politics we have witnessed in Maryland for quite some time, opines political pundit Richard Cross for the Frederick News Post.
MCINTOSH APPLE: Until last week, Del. Maggie McIntosh was an important member of the House of Delegates leadership. Now, she’s a Very Important Person, writes political commentator Barry Rascovar in MarylandReporter.com. The new chair of the House Appropriations Committee holds the second-most powerful post in the chamber. It even could put her in prime position to succeed House Speaker Mike Busch whenever the Annapolis lawmaker decides to give up his gavel.
CONWAY QUESTIONS PROBE: State Sen. Joan Carter Conway, who has been scrutinizing Maryland’s regulation of group homes for disabled foster children, is questioning results of an investigation into the death of 10-year-old Damaud Martin. The chair of the Senate committee on education, health and environment called on state health officials to release more details on the July death at a Laurel-area group home, reports Doug Donovan for the Sun.
ECKARDT LEADS: Addie Eckardt knows her role as the most senior member of the Eastern Shore’s legislators. “One of the things I think I bring is a historical memory,” said Eckardt, District 37 state senator-elect. Phil Davis of the Salisbury Daily Times interviews Eckardt about the new state legislature among other things. Eckardt, still currently a delegate for District 37B, is leading a brand new batch of Eastern Shore Republicans into the state legislature, with newly elected delegates Johnny Mautz, R-37B-Talbot, and Mary Beth Carozza, R-38C-Worcester.
- Here’s a video interview with Eckardt from the SDT.
CONWAY-ANDERTON SPENDING: Delmar Mayor Carl Anderton’s upset of longtime state Del. Norman Conway was one of the surprises of the 2014 election. During the reporting period of Oct. 20 to Nov. 11, Conway spent $81,965 on his campaign, $48,618 just on media expenses. Anderton spent $9,415 during the same reporting period. Overall, Anderson spent $33,365 for all of 2014, Phil Davis reports in the Salisbury Daily Times.
BONGINO AD DISPUTE DISMISSED: A contract dispute in Frederick County District Court between Citizens for Bongino and a campaign advertising firm has been dismissed, according to the Frederick News Post. The Waters Agency LLC filed a suit for $14,137 plus interest against the campaign committee and Dan Bongino, former congressional candidate for Maryland’s 6th District, in August.
WATSON IN THE BLACK: Amanda Yeager of the Howard County Times reports that despite outspending opponent Allan Kittleman in the weeks leading up to this year’s general election, Howard County executive candidate Courtney Watson closed the campaign season with over eight times more money than Kittleman, post-election campaign finance reports show.
PG AGENCY VIOLATED OPEN MEETINGS LAW: Two statewide legal advocacy groups based in Baltimore City were correct in accusing the Housing Authority of Prince George’s County of violating the state open meetings law when its board met in August to approve a new budget without notifying the public, writes Doug Donovan in the Sun.
SPENDING CURBS IN MO CO: Montgomery County Executive Ike Leggett warned Friday that lower-than-expected tax revenues will force sharp limits on new spending in the current fiscal year and in the budget for FY 2016, which begins July 1, writes Bill Turque for the Post.
CRAIG’S MONUMENTS: It’s easy to say that every county executive has left a mark on Harford County, but the form it takes is bound to be different. In David Craig’s case, his nine and a half years as the head of Harford County government have been marked particularly by a flurry of construction projects that have touched every part of the county’s 437 square miles, Bryna Zumer reports in the Aegis..
ON PUBLIC SAFETY IN ARUNDEL: Ben Weathers of the Annapolis Capital speaks with recently appointed public safety chiefs just named by Arundel County Executive Steve Schuh. Timothy Altomare is going to replace outgoing Police Chief Kevin Davis and Allan Graves, a 37-year fire service veteran, to replace outgoing Fire Chief Michael Cox.
EDUCATOR JOINS SCHUH: Outgoing Anne Arundel School board member Amalie Brandenburg is joining County Executive-elect Steve Schuh’s team, writes Kelcie Pegher for the Annapolis Capital. Brandenburg was appointed as the education adviser to the county executive Friday morning. She will act as a liaison for Anne Arundel Community College, the library system and the Board of Education. It’s a new position for the county, and is part of a comprehensive reorganization of the county government.
APPOINTEE DONATIONS: Some threw in $50, others nearly maxed out at $4,000. Rema Rahman of the Annapolis Capital reports that more than half of the 38 appointees made by County Executive-elect Steve Schuh in the last two weeks also made contributions to his campaign in the last few years totaling more than $25,000.
FRANCHOT IN HAGERSTOWN: The Democratic Club of Washington County will hold its holiday dinner at 6 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 3, at The Gourmet Goat in downtown Hagerstown. Peter Franchot, the Maryland comptroller, will be the guest speaker, writes Kaustuv Basu in his political notebook for the Hagerstown Herald Mail.
RAIN TAX IN SALISBURY: The Salisbury Public Works Department is urging passage of a city council bill that institutes a stormwater fee on all properties, writes Jeremy Cox for the Salisbury Daily Times. To be fair to all property owners and ensure financial stability, the department’s leaders said, the proposed fee should be applied to all properties. If it passes, Salisbury would join Berlin as the only jurisdictions on the Lower Shore to have embraced the controversial fee, which some critics call a “rain tax.”
MAYORAL VETOES: For more than a decade, mayoral vetoes were practically unheard of in Baltimore City, Luke Broadwater and Paul McCardell report in the Sun. Not anymore, they write. Within the past three months, Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake has vetoed or vowed to veto three City Council bills — legislation empowering the council to reduce minor privilege fees, requiring body cameras for police officers and banning plastic grocery bags.
ILLEGAL DUMPING: Thanks to quick-thinking citizens, the speed of Facebook and a phone call from 45th District Del.-elect Cory McCray – Baltimore City Code Enforcement was able to impound a truck used for illegal dumping in Herring Run Park and charge the driver and his dumping companions.
GOATS DO ROAM AT TU: Towson University has recruited a herd of new groundskeepers to put the bite on a pesky weed problem on the suburban campus, reports Tim Wheeler for the Sun. Hauled in from a Harford County farm, 18 goats began munching away Sunday on a patch of English ivy covering the forest floor in the school’s Glen Arboretum. They didn’t stop there, though, grazing on almost everything in reach, including fallen leaves, dead vines and even tree bark.
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