May 5, 2015

State Roundup, May 5, 2015

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HOGAN HEADS BACK TO ANNAPOLIS: Gov. Larry Hogan closed down his temporary office in Baltimore on Monday and returned to the State House in Annapolis, as National Guard soldiers and police units called in last week to help quell violence continued to move out of the city, Ovetta Wiggins of the Post is reporting.

HOGAN OK ON ARREST ACTION: A Baltimore circuit judge ruled Monday that Gov. Larry Hogan did not violate the Maryland Constitution when he ordered that hundreds of people arrested during last week’s riots could be held longer than 24 hours before seeing a court commissioner, writes Justin Fenton for the Sun.

PROTESTS USED TO LOBBY: Advocates who lobby Gov. Larry Hogan on schools, mental health services and transportation have begun to incorporate Freddie Gray, the protests against his death and the riots of last week into their pitches, reports Erin Cox in the Sun. The national conversation on urban poverty sparked by Baltimore’s unrest, they said, underscores the need to invest in the city.

HOGAN URGED TO BACK RAIL LINES: About 60 Maryland state lawmakers sent a joint letter to Gov. Larry Hogan on Friday urging him to build the Purple Line and Red Line, two transit projects under review by state transportation officials, reports Ovetta Wiggins in the Post.

CUMMINGS STANDS OUT: Paul Schwartzman and Rachel Weiner of the Post profile U.S. Rep. Elijah Cummings, who last Monday stood between a raucous crowd and a phalanx of police officers in riot gear and raised a bullhorn to urge people to get indoors. He returned to the West Baltimore intersection each of the next four nights repeating the same message. Now Cummings has a decision to make: whether to run for Barbara Mikulski’s U.S. Senate seat or remain in the House, representing the area of Baltimore that may need him most.

RESTORING CALM IN BALTIMORE: Marilyn Mosby made a calculated political decision to prosecute six Baltimore police officers in the death of Freddie Gray, and you have to wonder what kind of weekend Baltimore would have had if she hadn’t, writes Len Lazarick for MarylandReporter.com.

HENSON HEADED TO COURT: Julius Henson, the longtime Baltimore political strategist, is headed back to court, this time for allegedly defaulting on his credit card debt, writes Bryan Sears for the Daily Record. The lawsuit filed in Baltimore City Circuit Court alleges that the bombastic, bare-knuckle political adviser and former candidate for state Senate ran up more than $36,000 in credit card debt.

STATE ORDERED TO REVISE PIPELINE PERMIT: A Baltimore County Circuit Court judge has ordered the Maryland Department of the Environment to revise a permit it issued for a 21-mile natural gas pipeline that would run into Harford County, reports Danny Jacobs for the Daily Record. Judge Justin King ruled last week it was “impossible” for him to determine whether the permit complies with water quality regulations because it lacks specifics. He also said MDE did not give enough time for public notice and comment.

STAKE IN SUPREME COURT CASE: The Obama administration will get a U.S. Supreme Court hearing as it tries to save a rule that rewards industrial consumers for cutting electricity use — an issue in which Maryland has a stake. The decision to hear the case was hailed by Maryland People’s Counsel Paula Carmody, who said demand-response programs are “very active” in Maryland and have helped hold down prices and ensure reliability for consumers, according to a report in the Daily Record.

WHEN THE DUST SETTLES: Josh Kurtz, in a column for Center Maryland, assesses the fates of Martin O’Malley, Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, Elijah Cummings and Marilyn Mosby, all brought into the harsh spotlight because of the unrest in Baltimore.

O’MALLEY BUILT THAT: In an op-ed for the Post, Marc Thiessen writes that Martin O’Malley (D) says he plans to announce his presidential campaign in Baltimore. Perhaps he’ll used a burned-out police car or a looted storefront as his backdrop. The former Maryland governor and Baltimore mayor tried to blame last week’s unrest on structural problems in our economy, outsourcing and a failure to invest in infrastructure. Nice try. The fact is, O’Malley and the Democrats own Baltimore and the disaster it has become. As one resident who met O’Malley at an inner-city food drive last week put it, “He’s walking into the aftermath of his legacy.” It’s not his legacy alone.

OBAMA ON BALTIMORE: President Barack Obama on Monday discussed the economic underpinnings of racial tension in places like Baltimore as he announced the creation of a nonprofit organization intended to provide opportunities for young men of color, writes John Fritze for the Sun. “Some communities have consistently had the odds stacked against them,” Obama said. “And folks living in those communities, and especially young people living in those communities, could use some help to change those odds.”

  • John Fritze of the Sun writes that President Barack Obama, making his eighth appearance Monday on the “Late Show,” said that rebuilding trust with police has to be a central effort in avoiding the kind of racial tensions and rioting that took place last week in Baltimore. “There’s some very practical, concrete things we can do to make the system work better,” Obama told David Letterman. “This is not just a policing problem. What you have are pockets of poverty, lack of opportunity…all across the country. Too often we ignore those pockets until something happens.”