December 18, 2014

State Roundup, December 18, 2014

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LEGISLATORS OK SPENDING CUTS: A bipartisan panel of state legislators on Wednesday approved spending recommendations that include a request for incoming Republican Gov. Larry Hogan to reduce ongoing spending by at least $350 million in his first budget, Bryan Sears reports in the Daily Record.

STAFF CUT FOR RUTHERFORD: Maryland’s incoming lieutenant governor, Boyd Rutherford, has decided that he doesn’t want a stand-alone office with a full staff that reports just to him. Instead, Rutherford said Tuesday that he plans to work closely with the staff of Gov.-elect Larry Hogan (R), which he said should result in better coordination and prevent the isolation that some deputies have experienced in previous administrations, Julie Zauzmer reports for the Post.

ETHICS PANEL RULES ON TRANSITION TEAM: The Maryland Ethics Commission said Wednesday that the state ethics law does not apply to the head of a Rockville firm bidding on the light-rail Purple Line while he also serves on the transition team for Gov.-elect Larry Hogan, Bill Turque and Katherine Shaver write in the Post.

CHARTER SCHOOLS: Liz Bowie and Erin Cox of the Sun are reporting that Gov.-elect Larry Hogan said Wednesday that he is likely to push for changes to make it easier to open and operate charter schools. “We’re going to do everything we can to expand the use of charter schools. It’s a great idea,” Hogan said, adding that he has discussed the issue with Senate President Mike Miller. “We shouldn’t be last in the nation in charter schools,” Hogan said.

SEN. PINSKY AGAINST FRANCHOT SCHOOL IDEA: Not everyone is a fan of starting school later and you can safely count Sen. Paul G. Pinsky amongst the members of that group, writes Bryan Sears in the Daily Record. Pinsky, a Prince George’s County Democrat and incoming vice chairman of the Senate Education, Health and Environmental Matters Committee, told a gathering of teachers in no uncertain terms that he finds the proposal championed by Comptroller Peter Franchot to be “ridiculous” and “substantively embarrassing.”

HOGAN & THE DEFICIT: WYPR’s senior news analyst Fraser Smith talks to the Daily Record’s Bryan Sears about how Gov.-elect Larry Hogan will tackle Maryland’s structural deficit.

HOGAN’S CABINET: Gov.-elect Larry Hogan announced his first four Cabinet appointments Wednesday, choosing veterans from the O’Malley and Ehrlich administrations along with a Republican state delegate and a businesswoman from Laurel, reports Erin Cox for the Sun.

CARET AS CHANCELLOR: Bob Caret said he had orally accepted the job offer and has not yet formally resigned, report Joe Burris and Carrie Wells in the Sun. Caret said he would focus on two primary goals: ensuring students can get a high-quality education at an affordable price, and continuing “to build a research-based economic engine.”

Keith Campbell Chesapeake Conservancy

The Chesapeake Conservancy honored its first Chesapeake Champions at an Annapolis dinner Dec. 9. Among the honorees was Keith Campbell, far left, chairman of the Campbell Foundation for the Environment. With him are Chesapeake Conservancy Board Member Patrick Noonan, chairman emeritus of the Conservation Fund, and Chesapeake Conservancy Executive Director Joel Dunn.

SENATOR KAGAN: In the six weeks since the general election, former state Del. and now Sen.-elect Cheryl Kagan (D) of Rockville has been busily preparing for her return to Annapolis next month and eagerly awaiting the opportunity to represent her constituents in a new position, reports Jenn Davis for the Gazette.

GOP STRENGTH GREW: John Gallagher of the Seventh State blog writes that the statewide Republican bench for 2022 got a whole lot deeper on Nov. 4.

MO CO FREEZES SPENDING: Montgomery County, facing an estimated $179 million budget shortfall, has frozen most hiring and purchasing for the remainder of fiscal year 2015, Bill Turque reports in the Post.

FREDERICK’S SHORTFALL: Frederick County Executive Jan Gardner will have to bridge a roughly $3.4 million budget shortfall as she crafts the first spending plan of her term, reports Bethany Rodgers for the Frederick News Post. The interim county budget director reported that the county’s base operating budget totals $529.1 million, or about $3.4 million above the prior year.

BLAINE’S CONFESSION: The editorial board for the Frederick News Post, beneath the headline “Blaine Young’s strange, uncomfortable confession,” addresses the recent revelations that the former commission president was having an affair with a staffer whose position and pay was subsequently downgraded.