January 13, 2015

State Roundup, January 13, 2015

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ECONOMIC RELIANCE: WMAR-TV reports on the the state’s economic recovery with an interview with economist Anirban Basu, who was on Hogan’s transition team. He says Maryland’s reliance on public sector funding – which helped insulate the state during much of the recession – is now having the reverse effect. “There are many reasons for Maryland’s economic struggles. Part of the reason is the growth of state government along with structural issues the state faces. Our economy is largely oriented to institutional employment and the economic mantra of the state has been ‘meds, eds, feds and beds.’

PURPLE LINE PART I: In the first of two stories examining the pros and cons of the Purple Line, Glynis Kazanjian of MarylandReporter.com writes that developers want it.  Business wants it.  But does the incoming Republican governor want it? Today’s article focuses on the pro-Purple Line arguments. Tomorrow’s story will focus on opposing arguments.

IN THIS SESSION: Rick Seltzer of the Baltimore Business Journal offers up a few issues to pay attention to as the 2015 legislative session gets under way. Transportation and phosphorus rules are on the list.

HOGAN AND BALTIMORE CITY: WYPR’s Fraser Smith talks to the Baltimore Sun’s Andy Green about Gov.-elect Hogan’s plans for Baltimore City — and whether they align with Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake’s.

  • The Maryland General Assembly should respond quickly and strategically to Gov.-elect Larry Hogan’s pledge to strengthen Baltimore City and make it more of an economic engine for Maryland. Together the governor and legislature can make the most out of divided government to take Baltimore City’s renaissance to the next level, Laura Gamble, Thomas Bozzuto and Thomas Wilcox on the op-ed pages of the Sun.

PARTYING WITH THE PARTIES: In perhaps another sign of the partisan reversal of fortunes in Annapolis, the Maryland Democratic Party this year scrapped a traditional luncheon held on the eve of the 90-day legislative session for a much lower-key breakfast gathering that took place Monday, John Wagner reports in the Post. Maryland Republicans, meanwhile, are anticipating a far more festive pre-session lunch than usual Tuesday that organizers say will include an appearance by Gov.-elect Larry Hogan, whose election in November has energized the party.

INCOMING: Chase Cook of the Annapolis Capital reports that Ned Carey and other the Anne Arundel delegates and delegates-elect have been moving into their offices, a tradition for newly elected officials with the same feel of furnishing your first dorm room. There is the scramble for furniture. Choosing where to hang pictures. Managing a small budget — about $4,000 every year for supplies, desks and other knickknacks — to optimize the office for workers, the politicians and visitors.

  • Tuesday, the face of the Lower’s Shore delegation will change by the most it has in nearly two decades, writes Phil Davis for the Salisbury Daily Times. Five of the six delegates will be beginning their freshman terms. Two legislators with more than 30 years combined experience will be gone from both state houses: Del. Norman Conway and Sen.Richard Colburn.
Moon Yumi Hogan Mark Chang

A BI-PARTISAN START: From Delegate-elect David Moon Facebook page: Here is Moon with the next First Lady of Maryland Yumi Hogan, and Democratic Delegate-elect Mark Chang 2014! “I had a nice chat with the first-lady about bipartisanship, and I extended an olive branch to her husband (Larry Hogan),” says Moon. “The three of us are the first wave of Korean Americans entering public life in Maryland, so we celebrated last night with the Korean-American Foundation and the Council of Maryland Korean Churches. P.S. I put a bug in the First Lady’s ear about the Purple Line.”

IN LIMBO: Three lawmakers are at risk of not being sworn in Wednesday, when the 2015 General Assembly begins its 90-day session, for failure to clear up fines owed to the Maryland State Board of Elections, reports Bryan Sears for the Daily Record. The three delegates — all Democrats — owe fines to the board for a failure to file timely campaign finance reports as required by law.

FRAZIER FLAP: The Carroll County Republican Central Committee’s nomination of former county commissioner Robin Bartlett Frazier to fill a vacancy in the Maryland Senate has sparked an uproar, Wiley Hayes reports in the Carroll County times. Nearly 2,000 people have signed an on-line petition and one GOP county commissioner calling the nomination a “slap in the face of the voters.” Frazier had served two non-consecutive four-year terms as a county commissioner, but lost in the June 2014 Republican primary and a subsequent write-in campaign in the November general election was unsuccessful.

PRAGMATISM VS. TEA PARTY: The editorial board for the Sun opines that this week the New York Times held up Gov.-elect Larry Hogan as an exemplar of Republicans turning away from the ideologically driven tea party politics of 2010 and toward pragmatism. But then the board puts forth four names of Republicans who haven’t come across as pragmatists: Kirby Delauter, Billy Shreve, John Grasso and Robin Frazier. Oh, what to do about Robin Frazier.

  • David Lublin of Seventh State blog gives us a rundown of state Senate nominee Robin Frazier and the “bizarro” world of Carroll County politics that has found her in that unlikely position. Frazier is the former commissioner who sang part of her state of the county address, who willingly violated a court order in invoking Jesus during a commission meeting and who lost her primary 56% to 38% and is now being rewarded by the Carroll County Republican Central Committee.

EXEMPT FROM ETHICS PROVISIONS: Josh Bollinger of the Easton Star Democrat reports that the Maryland State Ethics Commission advised St. Michaels that it is exempt from adopting parts of the state ethics measure that previously caused a stir in the town. The decision was handed down by the commission after a December 2014 hearing in which St. Michaels representatives explained why the town was seeking an exemption from adopting conflict of interest, financial disclosure and lobbying provisions.

POLLUTION FINE: A Laurel woman must pay $12,000 in fines after pleading guilty to polluting a Wicomico County waterway that feeds into the Chesapeake Bay, reports Phil Davis in the Salisbury Daily Times. Marie Marius pleaded guilty to the misdemeanor charges of water pollution and the improper alteration of a sewage system, according to Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh.

FROSH WEIGHS IN ON IMMIGRATION: Maryland has joined 11 other states on a friend-of-the-court-brief supporting President Barack Obama’s executive actions on immigration in a high-profile federal lawsuit brought by the state of Texas. The decision is arguably the first instance in which Maryland’s new Democratic Attorney General, Brian Frosh, has weighed into a national debate, writes John Fritze for the Sun.

VAN HOLLEN FOR GOV.? U.S. Rep. Chris Van Hollen said Monday he’s “flattered” by talk he may run for governor of Maryland in 2018, but dodged several questions about whether he will be a candidate. Any talk about who may run for governor in 2018 seems premature considering Gov.-elect Larry Hogan has yet to serve a day in office, writes Ryan Sharrow for the Baltimore Business Journal.

  • InGodWeTrust

    Am rolling on the floor with laughter at the New York Times notion that Hogan’s election indicated Republicans are dissing the tea party. Earth to NYT: It is totally the opposite case…..but go ahead and continue your delusions, while Maryland Republicans roll up their sleeves to clean up the cesspool created by O’Malley-Brown.

    • heretheycomeagain

      Hmmm…you might not know your new Governor as well as you might think. I hope you’re right, but if he’s anything even close to what his friend, Governor Bob Ehrlich was, the NYT was spot-on. But time will tell.