O’MALLEY SPARES DEATH ROW PRISONERS: Gov. Martin O’Malley announced Wednesday that he would erase the last vestiges of Maryland’s death row by commuting the sentences of the state’s remaining condemned murderers to life without parole, report the Sun’s Michael Dresser and Erin Cox.
WAIT-AND-SEE ON PRESIDENTIAL BID: How slow was the news between Christmas and New Year’s? A story about Martin O’Malley’s decision to stay in a “wait-and-see mode” for the reaction to Hillary Clinton’s candidacy occupied a quarter of the front page of the Washington Post print edition Dec. 27. John Wagner is the official O’Malley watcher.
HOGAN IS SUN’S MARYLANDER OF THE YEAR: The Baltimore Sun editorial board chose Gov.-elect Larry Hogan as its Marylander of the Year for the way his campaign and election has transformed Maryland politics.
HOGAN INVITES CHRISTIE: Erin Cox of the Sun reports Gov.-elect Larry Hogan has asked New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie to introduce him at his Jan. 21 inaugural.
MOM IS RASCOVAR’S MARYLANDER OF THE YEAR: According to Barry Rascovar of PoliticalMaryland.com: “Sometimes the most important man in the room isn’t there. That was the case with 2014’s Marylander of the Year, Gov. Martin O’Malley. The state’s 61st chief executive dominated events throughout 2014, even when he often wasn’t present.”
HOGAN ON BALTIMORE’S ECONOMY: Hogan told the Baltimore Sun that Baltimore should be the state’s primary economic engine. “It should be a driver of the whole state. It hasn’t been as strong as it should be, and that’s what we’re going to try to fix.”
HOGAN’S HERO: At Chick & Ruth’s Delly in Annapolis, with its wall of named menu items, Larry Hogan will get both soup and a sandwich, the Capital reports. One is Hogan’s Hero, a cheese steak, and the other is crab soup combining cream of crab and Maryland crab.
MORE HOGAN CABINET MEMBERS
- Hogan added to his growing Cabinet Tuesday, nominating four men to posts in his new administration. Hogan picked two former Ehrlich advisers, his campaign treasurer and a career police officer to lead the Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services, the Sun reports.
- The AP’s Brian Witte in the Hagerstown-Herald Mail reported that Hogan continued to brace residents for difficult budget decisions due to a growing financial shortfall in Maryland, as he announced several more appointments to his administration, including a prison-system secretary.
HEALTH SECRETARY CONFLICTS: Van Mitchell, an Annapolis lobbyist who is Gov.-elect Larry Hogan’s choice to serve as Maryland’s health secretary, said Friday he will recuse himself from considering matters that involve his former clients, The Sun’s Michael Dresser and Meredith Cohn report.
HEALTH SECRETARY: Jeff Newman of the Maryland Independent in Charles County has some more localized coverage of the appointment of former county delegate Van Mitchell to be secretary of Health and Mental Hygiene.
GUESS WHO’S RUNNING FOR GETTY’S SEAT: Wiley Hayes reports in the Carroll County Times: “Republican central committees of both Carroll and Frederick counties have stopped accepting applications for the seats to be left vacant by state Sen. Joe Getty, R-District 5, and Del. Kelly Schulz, R-District 4, being appointed to Gov.-elect Larry Hogan’s cabinet. But while Frederick’s central committee has released applicant names for Schulz’s seat, Carroll’s central committee is withholding the ones to replace Getty.”
- The editorial page of the Carroll County Times calls it “a shameful display of secrecy.”
FREDERICK DELEGATE SEAT: The Republican Central Committee of Frederick County on Friday narrowed the field for Delegate Kelly Schulz’s replacement to three candidates, writes Patti Borda Mullins in the Frederick News-Post. Retired Navy Capt. Christopher D. Glass Sr. is in the three-person field along with Barrie Ciliberti, who served in the Maryland House of Delegates as a Montgomery County representative in the 1990s, and former Maryland Delegate Paul Stull, who represented District 4A from 1995 to 2011.
DEL. VITALE NAMED A JUDGE: A House of Delegates seat has reopened in Anne Arundel County after the appointment Monday of Del. Cathy Vitale as a Circuit Court judge, Tim Prudente reported in the Capital.
- At least 10 Republicans say they are considering applying to replace Cathy Vitale in the House of Delegates, Jack Lambert and Prudente report in the Capital. They include Ed Middlebrooks, a former county councilman and state senator, and Dick Ladd, who lost his re-election bid to represent District 5 on the Anne Arundel County Council, and Del. Ron George, who ran for governor.
- Jerry Walker, new chair of the Anne Arundel County Council, is also considering applying for the seat.
BEST CLUB: The Sun’s Luke Broadwater describes the rise of a new political club, BEST (Baltimore Eastside Street Team) for younger Democrats, which saw one of its co-founders, Cory McCray, elected to the House of Delegates. Broadwater surveys the diminished status of political clubs around the state.
BACK TO THE FUTURE: Sun columnist Dan Rodricks goes back to the future with political predictions for 2015, including Ehrlich vs. O’Malley for president.
POLICE ISSUES IN 2015 LEGISLATURE: Body cameras and police use of force are two topics Frederick County State’s Attorney Charlie Smith thinks will dominate the 2015 General Assembly, Danielle Gaines reports in the Frederick News-Post. Smith, the head of the Maryland State’s Attorneys’ Association, said the organization has discussed these issues in committee meetings as they gear up to discuss positions on legislation next month.
PUBLIC INFORMATION ACT PROBLEMS: Several Maryland papers reported on a press association study of the problem with Maryland’s public information act.
- The same letter requesting public records was sent to each of Maryland’s municipal and county governments, but the responses were quite different, Vanessa Junkin reports in the Salisbury Daily Times. Many municipalities and four counties –– including Wicomico and Worcester –– didn’t respond at all within the legally required time frame of 30 days, according to a recently released Maryland-Delaware-DC Press Association report. The report, titled “Maryland Report: Public Information Act compliance and costs,” was a result of the press association’s freedom of information work group.
- Getting public records in the state can be a crapshoot, with some local governments going above and beyond to fulfill requests and others putting up barriers to those making requests, says Jim Lee, the editor of the Carroll County Times. There is no consistent charge for copies, no consistent fee for records searches beyond the free two hours allowed by law and no consistency concerning when or if fees for records will be waived.
- The Frederick News-Post editorializes about the problems and the lack of consistency.
St. MARY’S SURPLUS: St. Mary’s County government has $22.9 million in unspent leftover funds from the last budget, a draft audit showed, Jason Babcock reports in the Enterprise. As of June 30, the end of the last fiscal year, St. Mary’s County government had $46.4 million in fund balances, with $22.9 million currently unassigned.
SLOW MO MoCo: The Washington Post editorial page speculates about the persistently slow vote counts in Montgomery County.
MoCo VOTE REPORTS: Montgomery County Election Director Margaret Jurgensen claims news reports on how long it should take to close down a polling place were inaccurate, reports Kate Alexander in the Gazette. But based on comments during the Board of Elections’ November meeting, members board said Monday the media actually got it right.
RUDOLPH REMEMBERS: As Delegate David Rudolph (D-Cecil) prepares to leave the Maryland General Assembly, he is filled with many happy memories, gratitude to those he served and hope to continue with public service in some way, Cheryl Mattix reports in the Cecil Whig. Rudolph lost his bid for re-election to a sixth term in the House of Delegates in November, but he’s been spending recent weeks helping constituents solve problems, while trying to tie up loose ends. “I’m going to continue to take calls until my last day,” Rudolph said.
ASIAN-AMERICAN LEGISLATORS: Asian Fortune magazine gives some new insights on two new Asian-American delegates, Clarence Lam of Columbia and David Moon of Takoma Park.
KOREAN-AMERICAN FIRST LADY: Yumi Hogan knows about rural life and the tough life of a single mom, and she doesn’t intend to forget that as Maryland’s first lady, writes Matthew Bieniek in the Cumberland Times-News. The wife of the governor-elect grew up on a chicken farm in South Korea. She’s a Christmas baby, too, turning 55 on Christmas Day.
PRESIDENTIAL POLITICS: Less than two months after Election Day 2014, numerous elected officials in overwhelmingly Democratic Montgomery County are choosing sides in the early jockeying for their party’s 2016 presidential nomination, Louis Peck writes in Bethesda magazine. Del. Shane Robinson of Montgomery Village – recently elected to chair the county’s 24-member House delegation in Annapolis – is joining with Del.-elect David Moon of Silver Spring and at-large County Councilmember Marc Elrich in the effort to prod U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts into the race,
GOP FUNDRAISER: The Maryland Republican Party announced Friday it hired its first finance director since 2008, Margaret Crouch, who was deputy finance director of the Pennsylvania GOP, writes Erin Cox in the Sun.
16-DAY DELEGATE: Chris Cavey, a longtime Maryland Republican operative who was Gov.-elect Larry Hogan’s campaign director, was sworn in as member of the state’s House of Delegates last week, Jenna Johnson reports in the Post. The length of his term: 16 days. “I promise my best job in this 16 day period,” Cavey said with a smirk at a ceremony attended by the governor-elect and a small crowd of GOP insiders on Monday.
BIRTHDAYS: If you had MarylandReporter.com’s State House Birthday calendar you wouldn’t have missed last Friday’s birthdays for Dels. Anne Healey and Kelly Schulz, and Sunday’s birthdays for Speaker Mike Busch and Del. Frank Conaway Jr. Happy birthday today (Monday) to Del.-elect Carol Krimm. Find out how to order one of these birthday calendars by clicking here.