April 3, 2015

State Roundup, April 3, 2015

Print More

HOGAN’S SUPPLEMENTAL: Gov. Larry Hogan submitted a supplement to next year’s state budget Thursday that spurns most of the General Assembly’s priorities for restored spending and reiterates his call for tax cuts lawmakers have already turned down, report Michael Dresser and Timothy Wheeler in the Sun. The $45 million supplemental budget sets the stage for what could be tough negotiations between Hogan and lawmakers over budget priorities during the last week and a half of this year’s legislative session.

HOGAN CHASTISED: Gov. Larry Hogan was chastised by delegates for attempting to slip into the budget a grant program for corporations who make private school scholarship donations, essentially bypassing the normal process, writes Rebecca Lessner for MarylandReporter.com. “He’s circumventing the policymakers,” said Speaker of the House Michael Busch, a Democrat. Hogan’s supplemental budget announced Thursday morning includes a provision for a “Student Assistance Organization Business Entity Grant.”

DUST UP OVER POWDERED BOOZE: Alcohol producers have discovered another way for partiers to get buzzed. But public health officials and lawmakers, concerned about the safety of teens and young adults, are scrambling to take a newly approved product off the market. Jenna Johnson writes in the Post that on Thursday, Maryland lawmakers further advanced legislation that would place a temporary ban on powdered alcohol.

BILL WOULD TRIGGER BUSINESS AUDITS:  Gov. Larry Hogan’s plan to give a modest tax break to some small businesses has been turned into a bill that could force tens of thousands of Maryland companies to undergo tax audits, writes Erin Cox in the Sun. The transformation — achieved through a unanimous vote of the Maryland Senate this week — undercuts the Republican governor’s pro-business message by tying a $72 tax break for tiny firms to a widespread audit of personal property tax returns filed by the state’s largest companies.

ONLINE RESERVATIONS TAX SPURS DEBATE: A bill that would increase taxes paid by online travel companies could become the first test of Republican Gov. Larry Hogan’s no-new-taxes campaign promise, writes Bryan Sears in the Daily Record. Complicating the issue is a three-year campaign for governor in which Hogan railed against 40 taxes increases passed under Democratic former Gov. Martin O’Malley and the new Republican governor’s promise to not raise taxes while making the state more friendly to businesses.

FUNDING FOR HAGERSTOWN PROJECTS:  A Senate capital budget subcommittee has allocated $125,000 to the Maryland Theatre in downtown Hagerstown to fund a bond bill sponsored by Sen. Andrew Serafini, writes Kaustav Basu in the Hagerstown Herald-Mail. The amount is in addition to $50,000 allocated to the historic theater to fund a similar bond bill sponsored by Del. Brett Wilson.

MILLER PUSHES FOR BAIL SOLUTION: Senate President Mike Miller pressed lawmakers Thursday to find a way to ease or stop the financial impact of a court ruling that requires taxpayers to provide lawyers at bail review hearings for poor defendants in criminal cases, reports the AP in the Cumberland Times News. The 2012 ruling by the Court of Appeals is “a problem crying out for a solution,” Miller told senators during session. If lawmakers again fail to find a solution, Miller said he would put together a panel of lawmakers to work on the issue this summer.

DEATH WITH DIGNITY ADVOCATES WILL RETURN:  Advocates of the legislation said they plan to return to Annapolis next January to lobby again for the bill, Chase Cook reports in the Annapolis Capital. It would have made it legal for terminally ill patients with a prognosis of less than six months to obtain a prescription for a lethal dose of a drug. Only the patients could make the decision and would take the medication without assistance.

CLEAN AIR ADS TARGET HOGAN:  Environmental and health groups have launched a television ad blitz Thursday calling on Gov. Larry Hogan to release an air pollution regulation that he blocked when he took office, reports Timothy Wheeler in the Sun. “Marylanders didn’t vote for dirty air last November,” the 30-second commercial begins, “but they might get it from Governor Larry Hogan.”

POT SMOKING IN PUBLIC: Maryland may have decriminalized possession of small amounts of marijuana, but the state hasn’t yet outlawed smoking in public. A Lower Eastern Shore legislator wants that to change, reports Brian Shane for the Salisbury Daily Times.

MADALENO’S MISTAKE: A highly regarded Maryland state senator, who happens to be gay, got carried away with his anger over a discriminatory Indiana law and dragged the governor’s wife unwillingly into the conversation. Sen. Richard Madaleno went too far, opines political columnist Barry Rascovar in his politicalmaryland blog. Madaleno crossed the line. His letter to the governor was hurtful to an innocent bystander, says Rascovar. Madaleno lost his credibility, and his argument, as soon as he dragooned Gov. Larry Hogan’s wife, Yumi, into his pitch for the governor to ban travel by state officials to Indiana.

Hogan Sarai Noah 2

MarylandReporter.com’s Len Lazarick was giving a State House tour to his daughter Sarai Gray and grandson Noah Gray when they ran into Gov. Larry Hogan on his way to give the anti-bullying speech. Sarai is a media specialist at Gorman Crossing Elementary and Forest Ridge Elementary schools in Howard County, and Noah is a very smart 1st grader at Arbutus Elementary.

ANTI-BULLYING EFFORTS: Gov. Larry Hogan kicked off a Six Flags anti-bullying campaign yesterday. Pat Warren of WJZ-TV reports, the anti-bullying will be the Prince George’s County amusement park’s theme for the year.

MILLER’S BRILLIANCE: GBC’s Donald Fry, in a column for Center Maryland effuses that Senate President Mike Miller, using his extraordinary skills and acumen as a legislator and leader, has found a way through the mass discord created by the so-called “rain tax.”  His proposed legislation would accomplish two key objectives including ending the public perception that a new tax had been created by the state.

MYTHS ABOUT PURPLE LINE: In an opinion piece for MarylandReporter.com last week, Richard Parsons tried to defend the Purple Line, but he illustrated the weakness of the Purple Line case, says Lewis Leibowitz. He responds to that writing that simply put, the Purple Line fails the basic test of balancing costs and benefits.  The costs are substantially understated and the benefits are very meager.  The Purple Line will not result in substantial economic development along the Purple Line corridor, and clearly will not ease traffic congestion.

POOLE NAMED INTERIM DEM CHAIR: The Maryland Democratic Party has elected an interim chair, the AP is reporting at WBFF-TV. The party’s executive committee on Thursday elected Bruce Poole as interim chairman. He succeeds Yvette Lewis, who announced last month that she was resigning to spend more time with family.

O’MALLEY ON THE RUN: For former Gov. Martin O’Malley, a new Washington Post-ABC News poll serves as a sobering reminder of the tough slog ahead if he is going to emerge as a serious challenger to Hillary Rodham Clinton for the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination, John Wagner writes in the Post.

CARDIN MOVES UP IN MENENDEZ’ WAKE: Sen. Ben Cardin will be named the top-ranking Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, taking over the position following the indictment of New Jersey Sen. Robert Menendez, a Democratic spokesman confirmed Thursday, reports John Fritze in the Sun.

  • Vidi

    Madaleno’s cheap shot at Yumi Hogan – bad form, bad taste, bad for Montgomery County. It appears that Madaleno’s hubris was no match for the rules of common courtesy.