June 1, 2015

State Roundup, June 1, 2015

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O’MALLEY ANNOUNCES FOR PRES: Martin O’Malley announced his candidacy for president Saturday with a progressive pitch targeted at a generation of Americans he said is yearning for a new approach to the nation’s problems. John Fritze of the Sun reports that, after his speech, as supporters ambled off Federal Hill and O’Malley boarded a plane to Iowa, the question that has hung over the former two-term Maryland governor for months still lingered: Does he have a plausible path to the White House?

O’MALLEY ON THE TRAIL: Fresh off his presidential announcement in Baltimore, Martin O’Malley arrived Saturday afternoon in Iowa, where he was warmly received but also faced questions about his place in a Democratic field that already includes a heavy favorite and a liberal alternative, John Wagner of the Post reports from Iowa.

THEN CAME BERNIE SANDERS: For months, Martin O’Malley has mulled how to compete with front-runner Hillary Rodham Clinton in the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination. Now that he’s officially a candidate, he also has to worry about Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), who is not only rising in the polls but drawing record numbers of enthusiastic crowds, John Wagner reports for the Post.

O’MALLEY’S ODDS: Columnist H.A. Goodman writes in a piece for the Sun, says that there’s a myth among Hillary Clinton supporters that decades of experience has made the former secretary of state the most pragmatic choice for president in 2016. And like most fairy tales, it conveniently glosses over the heroine’s flaws: her 31,000-plus missing emails (the subject of a lawsuit by the Associated Press), questions about foreign donations to the Clinton Foundation, and direct donations to Ms. Clinton from big banks, including Citigroup, Goldman Sachs and J.P. Morgan.

SHAKE UP AT DNR: Timothy Wheeler of the Sun reports that four veteran top officials in Maryland’s Department of Natural Resources have been let go, marking the first major shakeup since Gov. Larry Hogan took office of the agency that manages the state’s parks and protects its fish, wildlife and ecologically sensitive lands. Deputy natural resources secretary Frank Dawson, assistant secretary Kristin Saunders, communications director Darlene Pisani and fisheries director Tom O’Connell all have left, Natural Resources Secretary Mark Belton informed department employees by email Friday.

Hogan gets doctorate

Hanyang University President Young Moo Lee presented Gov. Larry Hogan an honorary doctorate in political science from the private research university in Seoul. Check out the white gloves. Hogan continues his Asian trip with a stop in Beijing this week. Photo from the Governor’s Office.

NEW GAMING REGS: It was all fun and games in Annapolis as state officials were celebrating new regulations for electronic gaming, but for residents of West Baltimore, it was anything but time to celebrate. Homicides are up and arrests have plummeted since the Freddie Gray riots, sparking fears that city police have abandoned the area, according to a staff report in the Daily Record.

MLWV HEAD STEPS DOWN: Susan Cochran wrapped up her two-year term as president of the Maryland League of Women Voters on Sunday, Rick Hutzell reports for the Annapolis Capital. The Annapolis area resident turned over leadership of the nonpartisan voter education group at the end of the group’s two-day convention in Annapolis.

ADOPT A REG, TOSS ONE OUT: The editorial board of the Frederick News Post is urging a one-for-one rule when it comes to regulation, just like the one Canada is using. The board writes: Morning listeners of NPR may have heard an intriguing concept Wednesday on the recent passage of the Red Tape Reduction Act in Canada. Essentially, our northern cousins’ federal government has adopted a one-for-one regulatory framework that requires that for every regulation adopted, one must be removed from the books.

LEOPOLD LAWSUIT APPEAL: An appeals court has agreed individuals can sue government officials in Maryland and ask for monetary damages if their privacy rights are violated under the state’s Public Information Act, according to attorneys involved with the case. Rema Rahman of the Annapolis Capital reports that the ruling sends part of a lawsuit against former Anne Arundel County Executive John Leopold back to Anne Arundel County Circuit Court where a trial judge must reconsider his dismissal of a claim that a privacy provision within the act was violated when police allegedly created dossiers. The judge also must reconsider whether citizens can seek damages.

BAKER BLASTS COUNCIL: Arelis Hernandez of the Post reports that Prince George’s County Executive Rushern Baker lashed out at lawmakers Friday for rejecting his dramatic school spending plan and accused them of having misplaced priorities for approving a smaller tax hike to benefit county parks and planning.

AA COUNCIL SKEPTICAL ON BUDGET: Rema Rahman and Chase Cook report in the Annapolis Capital that on the surface, Anne Arundel County Executive Steve Schuh’s first budget proposal seems like a slam dunk for residents. Two new libraries, a new school, police radio upgrades, bike lanes — all while implementing his key campaign promise, a property tax rate reduction of 3%. Some County Council members are saying not so fast. They say Schuh has crammed too many campaign promises into his first budget. And that has thrown the administration and legislators into a debate over how much it will cost taxpayers.

QA BUDGET OK’D: The Queen Anne’s County Commissioners approved a $125.1 million budget for fiscal year 2016 at their May 26 meeting, up from the $124.3 million originally proposed and a $6.2 million increase over the fiscal year 2015 budget, reports Mike Davis for the Easton Star Democrat.