June 10, 2015

State Roundup, June 10, 2015

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TOLL CUTS WORRY LEGISLATORS: Maryland officials delivered good and bad news about the state’s revenue outlook Tuesday, saying recent toll cuts will not affect planned transportation funding but warning that local jurisdictions could pay a steep price for a new court-mandated tax deduction, Josh Hicks of the Post is reporting.

GROUP PUSHES BALTIMORE SOLUTIONS: A group of thinkers from government, academia and nonprofits unveiled Monday the last piece of a three-year, $3.5 million plan outlining ways to address poverty and other deeply entrenched problems facing the Baltimore region. The catch: It’s not clear whether many of the proposals will come to fruition. The Opportunity Collaborative group compiled what it called a “first-ever” comprehensive regional plan for sustainable development, Natalie Sherman reports for the Sun.

TRUTH ON FARMING PRACTICES: Chuck Fry of the Maryland Farm Bureau, writing in MarylandReporter.com, says that there seems to be more misguided information and biased views on the effect chicken and dairy manure may have on the environment.

FOR STANDARDIZED TESTS: The editorial board for the Post is standing by standardized testing in Maryland schools, writing that any examination of testing must be premised on the fact that schools need to assess student learning systematically. It’s the best way to get objective and timely information on student achievement to let parents know how their children are doing, help school officials identify where to put resources and show taxpayers what they are getting for their tax dollars.

SUPREMES TO HEAR REDISTRICTING-RELATED CASE: According to an AP report at WJZ-TV, the Supreme Court will decide whether it was proper for a single federal judge to throw out a lawsuit challenging Maryland’s 2011 congressional redistricting plan. The justices on Monday agreed to hear an appeal from a group of Maryland residents who say their First Amendment challenge should have been reviewed by a three-judge panel.

HOGAN CALLED FOR JURY DUTY: Gov. Larry Hogan plans to report bright and early this morning for possible service on a jury in Annapolis, his office announced Tuesday. Hogan is due at the Anne Arundel County Circuit Court at 8 a.m. to serve as part of the jury pool, taking his chances that he could be selected for a trial, writes Michael Dresser for the Sun.

MOCO POLICE ALTER TACTICS: Fatal shootings by Montgomery County police would be investigated not by fellow officers but by detectives from outside law enforcement agencies under a plan outlined for the County Council on Tuesday by Police Chief J. Thomas Manger, writes Bill Turque in the Post.

DELANEY HAS COMPETITION IN 6TH: A Republican state lawmaker and Marine veteran announced Tuesday he will run against Rep. John Delaney in Maryland’s 6th Congressional District, reports John Fritze for the Sun. David Vogt III of Brunswick briefly sought the GOP nomination for the seat in the 2014 cycle before deciding instead to run a successful campaign for a seat in the House of Delegates.

CUMMINGS’ UNDECIDED RUN: Ask U.S. Rep. Elijah Cummings how he views his role in helping Baltimore City to heal from the April riots and the Democrat offers the kind of response that has become his trademark. “I see my role as being all up in it,” he says confidently. But ask whether he could be more effective at helping the city if he were a member of the Senate than by staying in the Baltimore-based House seat he has occupied for 19 years, and Cummings, 64, shakes his head and responds with uncharacteristic uncertainty: “I don’t know.”

O’MALLEY’S CIRCLE: John Wagner writes about a core group of O’Malley loyalists in the Post. They’re grayer now and thicker around the middle, with real jobs, families and responsibilities. But they still cling to the idealism that led them to work for Gary Hart’s come-from-nowhere 1984 presidential campaign. Some three decades later, more than a dozen Hart campaign veterans have latched onto another long-shot candidate. This time, it’s one of their own: Martin O’Malley.

RAND CALLS FOR BIG GOP TENT: Speaking at a Maryland Republican fundraiser less than 15 miles from West Baltimore where Freddie Gray was taken into police custody and rioting took place two months ago, Rand Paul told an audience made up mainly old white men about the recent suicide of a young black man who spent three years imprisoned without a trial, Ovetta Wiggins reports for the Post. Paul told the crowd that the Republicans have “got to have people with tattoos, without tattoos, with long hair, without, with earrings, black, white, brown, rich, poor, working class. We’ve got to be a more diverse party.”

ETHICS IN FREDERICK: The editorial board of the Frederick News Post is urging the Frederick County Council to pass task force recommendations on county ethics reforms, which will restore the public trust in the public process. Recommendations include expanding the commission’s membership from five to seven. This will help ensure a broad range of views are reflected and instituting a judicially enforced subpoena authority that can compel people to testify under oath.