July 9, 2015

State Roundup, July 9, 2015

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HOGAN RECALLS KING RIOTS: Gov. Larry Hogan is pointing to precedent — a federal decision to aid Los Angeles after a 1992 riot — as he appeals the Obama administration’s decision to deny $19 million in assistance for Baltimore this year. The Sun’s Michael Dresser writes that, in a letter this week asking President Barack Obama to overturn the decision, Hogan provided several examples in which the Federal Emergency Management Agency provided aid to state and local governments hit by calamities other than natural disasters.

HOGAN, RED LINE & BALTIMORE: In a long article for the City Paper, Kate Drabinski addresses Gov. Larry Hogan’s seemingly callous attitude toward Baltimore City in the recent decision to not fund the Red Line.

MILLER ON HOGAN: Charley Crowson of WMAR-TV talks with Senate President Mike Miller about Gov. Larry Hogan, their long relationship, Hogan’s illness and Lt. Gov. Boyd Rutherford.

REENERGIZING DEM PARTY: In an effort to revitalize the party, Pat Murray, the new executive director of the Maryland Democratic Party, would like to keep Maryland Democratic campaign volunteers in-state instead of sending them out of state on assignments and lengthening the time that Democrats work hard to develop party loyalty and voter turnout, writes Len Lazarick for MarylandReporter.com.

Talbot Boys East Courthouse

Talbot Boys statue at the county courthouse in Easton. (By afagen with Flickr Creative Commons License)

BLUE CRAB NUMBERS UP: Blue crab numbers are up in the Cheasapeake Bay after a harsh winter killed more than 15% of the population, but the Chesapeake Bay Stock Assessment Committee urges Maryland and Virginia fisheries to be conservative in their harvests, Christopher Ullery reports for the Charles County Independent.

REMOVE TALBOT BOYS STATUE: Richard Potter of the Talbot County Branch of the NAACP addresses in an op-ed for the Easton Star Democrat the controversy surrounding the monument to Confederate soldiers that stands outside the Talbot County Courthouse. He and many others have called for its removal. Potter also suggests that all parties work together to come up with a more historically accurate monument.

RX POT FIRM BUYS LAND: A company planning to grow medical marijuana has purchased land in Allegany County to cultivate the plant, according to an AP report in the Daily Record. The Cumberland Times-News reports that Vast Organic Farms has bought 26 acres in Oldtown and is hoping to obtain one of 15 licenses the state of Maryland is planning to issue by early 2016 for medical marijuana growers.

HARRIS BACKS RX POT RESEARCH: U.S. Rep. Andy Harris, the Baltimore County Republican at the center of a controversy last year over the District of Columbia’s marijuana legalization, is pushing a bipartisan measure that would expand federally funded research of medical marijuana.The amendment, which has support from another Republican and two Democrats, would put pot in a new subclassification of drugs that sponsors say would make it easier for the National Institutes of Health and the Drug Enforcement Administration to study it, John Fritze reports for the Sun.

VAN HOLLEN FILLS COFFERS: U.S. Rep. Chris Van Hollen will report raising $1.5 million in the second quarter of the year in his bid for Senate — eclipsing the fundraising of his opponent — the campaign said Wednesday. John Fritze of the Sun writes that the Montgomery County Democrat’s campaign said 76% of its donors live in Maryland — a statistic that was intended to draw a contrast with Rep. Donna F. Edwards, who has relied more on a national network of donors to fund her bid for the seat.

O’MALLEY OUTLINES DEBT-FREE COLLEGE: Former Gov. Martin O’Malley, who is running for the Democratic nomination for president, on Wednesday proposed using federal money to help states freeze and eventually reduce tuition rates at universities — part of a broader effort to help students achieve debt-free college education within five years, the Sun’s John Fritze writes.

POLICE COMMISSIONER FIRED: In Baltimore City, Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake fired Police Commissioner Anthony Batts Wednesday, saying his presence had become a distraction in a city that needs to focus on ending a dramatic spike in homicides. The mayor, criticized for her handling of the riots, said “Too many continue to die on our streets, including three just last night and one lost earlier today. Families are tired of feeling this pain, and so am I. … We need a change.”  The mayor’s decision came as the City Council was preparing to send her a letter calling for Batts’ resignation. And the city’s police union was poised to hold a no-confidence vote next week, reports Yvonne Wenger in the Sun.

ON SHEILA DIXON’S RUN: Marc Steiner show (WEAA-FM) guest host Anthony McCarthy, of the Anthony McCarthy Show, speaks with Charles Robinson, reporter for MPT, about former Baltimore Mayor Sheila Dixon’s decision to run for her old jobWhat are her chances? Do Baltimoreans want her to return?

LEGGETT PROPOSES $50M CUTS: Montgomery County Executive Ike Leggett proposed more than $50 million in cuts Wednesday to the 2016 budget approved just two months ago, citing lower-than-expected revenues and the cost of tax refunds triggered by a recent Supreme Court decision, reports Bill Turque of the Post.