June 25, 2015

State Roundup, June 25, 2015

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HOGAN ON PURPLE LINE? Gov. Larry Hogan has scheduled a major announcement about “transportation infrastructure” for this afternoon, raising speculation that he has made a decision on whether to build the long-planned Purple Line project, a 16-mile rail line that would connect two Washington suburbs, reports Ovetta Wiggins in the Post.

  • The Governor’s Office said Wednesday that Hogan would return to the State House from the governor’s mansion, where he has worked the past two days, for a 2:30 p.m. news conference. A spokesman would not provide details, but Hogan is facing a self-imposed end-of-the-month deadline to announce his decision on whether to build the $2.4 billion Purple Line in the Washington suburbs, reports Michael Dresser for the Sun.

Purple Line Map

RACISM & SYMBOLISM: The fate of a petition to remove what organizers describe as racist symbols from the Maryland State House and the University of Maryland football stadium seemed uncertain Wednesday as Gov. Larry Hogan hedged on the issue, despite saying he wants to end the use of the Confederate battle flag on specialty license plates, Josh Hicks is reporting in the Post.

GERRYMANDER LAWSUIT: Judicial Watch has filed a voter lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of Maryland’s gerrymandered congressional district maps. The lawsuit was filed on behalf of voters in each of Maryland’s congressional districts. Plaintiffs in the new lawsuit include Dels. Neil Parrott and Matt Morgan, and Ambassador Ellen Sauerbrey, a former state legislator and gubernatorial candidate, according to a press release posted on Digital Journal.

ON HOGAN & CANCER: As Gov. Hogan undergoes treatment for non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, Chase Cook of the Annapolis Capital takes a look at how much medical information public officials have to reveal.

  • West Baltimore community leaders and City Councilman Pete Welch plan to hold a prayer vigil Friday for Gov. Larry Hogan, who is battling cancer. Welch said community leader Kenny Ebron will lead a prayer vigil of residents of West Baltimore’s 9th district. The vigil will take place on Friday at 5 p.m. in front of City Hall, writes Luke Broadwater for the Sun.

MARYLAND & THE CHESAPEAKE: Conservation activist Bob Irvin, in an op-ed for the Sun, urges the state of Maryland to vigorously oppose proposed federal legislation (The Hydropower Improvement act of 2015) that would strip Maryland of its authority to hold hydropower dam owners accountable for water quality violations and end critical protections for fish and wildlife at hydropower dams.

CITY LIQUOR BOARD UNDER FIRE: The rhetoric is getting ugly and the behind-the-scenes maneuvering super intense as Gov. Larry Hogan prepares to replace outgoing Baltimore City Liquor Board chairman Thomas Ward in a matter of days. Fern Shen of Baltimore Brew reports that Korean store owners are charging racism, community advocates are warning of liquor industry influence-peddling, and an anti-Ward Twitter troll is kicking into overdrive.

MOON’S LOW-KEY FUND-RAISER: The Bump ‘n Grind, a coffee bar in the new urbanized core of Silver Spring, was briefly the center of progressives in the Maryland legislature, as Del. David Moon, about as left as they get in Annapolis, held a low-key fundraiser, heavy on the policy wonk from his fellow legislators, writes Len Lazarick for MarylandReporter.com.

BWI NEEDS HOTEL: Baltimore-Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport remains one of Maryland’s most valuable economic engines, and its steady growth in passengers to 22.6 million annually is no accident. It surpasses competitors Dulles International Airport and Ronald Reagan National Airport in large measure on the strength of its convenience — easy in and easy out. But at least one amenity has been missing — a hotel attached to the airport. That may soon change, and for the better, opines the editorial board for the Sun.

MO CO PAID SICK LEAVE: Katelyn Newman of the Daily Record reports that advocates say that Montgomery County’s passage of a bill Tuesday to become the first jurisdiction in Maryland to guarantee paid sick and safe leave to employees may be a catalyst for similar legislation to be enacted statewide.

O’MALLEY IN SOUTH CAROLINA: Former Gov. Martin O’Malley was to visit South Carolina yesterday to pay his respects to the late state Sen. Clementa Pinckney, one of nine people killed in last week’s church shooting, a person with knowledge of his plans said. O’Malley, who is running for president, had met Pinckney during an earlier stop in South Carolina, which holds one of the nation’s first primaries, John Fritze reports in the Sun.

TRUMP AS HONEY BADGER: Josh Hicks of the Post writes that if Donald Trump was a YouTube sensation, he’d be the honey badger. He talks like he just doesn’t care, people laugh and none of it seems to hurt him. The notoriously brash real-estate mogul and reality-television star did little to soften his image for a recently announced presidential run as he headlined the Maryland GOP’s annual Red, White and Blue fundraiser Tuesday night.

OKINAWA: THE END OF THE BIG BATTLE: MarylandReporter.com’s Len Lazarick will be on Dan Rodricks’ Midday show on WYPR (live streaming and 88.1 FM) to talk about the end of the final big battle of the Pacific 1-2 p.m. Thursday. In case you missed it, here are the stories we ran March 30.