July 10, 2015

State Roundup, July 10, 2015

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REGULATION REVIEW: In a continuation on a campaign theme, Gov. Larry Hogan announced Thursday that he is creating a commission tasked with reviewing and recommending changes to Maryland regulations, the Daily Record’s Bryan Sears is reporting.

DISABILITIES CARE SPENDING: Charlie Hayward of MarylandReporter.com reports that federal auditors told state officials earlier this week that more than $34 million for the care of developmentally disabled citizens during 2010-2013 had been spent improperly, and the money needs to be refunded. This latest disclosure indicates the state continues to harbor chronic and widespread deficiencies involving the care for people with disabilities despite “fixes” implemented over 10 years or longer.

RED LINE WORTH FIGHTING FOR: University of Baltimore researcher Seema D. Iyer, in an op-ed for the Sun, opines that Gov. Larry Hogan’s announcement that plans for the Red Line transit route would be tabled was painful both personally and professionally. It represented years of work for so many dedicated residents, government workers and advocates, but the people of Baltimore can’t let this be the final denial in the development of an equitable rail system that serves all of our communities. We have to get back into case-making mode and prepare for a struggle ahead. The Red Line may not have been perfect, but it is a good idea — and good ideas are worth fighting for.

REBEL SYMBOLS IN MD: Trying to prevent “political correctness run amok,” Gov. Larry Hogan, who banished the Confederate flag from Maryland license plates after the shooting of nine people in a racially driven attack in Charleston, S.C., said Thursday that the state will conduct no further review of Civil War-related symbols, Michael Dresser writes in the Sun.

THUMPING THE TUB FOR TUBMAN: The AP is reporting, in a brief in the Daily Record, that Sen. Barbara Mikulski  announced Thursday that she and New Hampshire Sen. Jeanne Shaheen are introducing legislation that would put the likeness of the abolitionist and Underground Railroad conductor Harriet Tubman on all newly issued $10 bills by 2021. The $10 bill has featured Alexander Hamilton since 1929. Tubman would be the first woman featured on U.S. paper currency in more than a century.

  • Harriet Tubman was born in Dorchester County, where she spent nearly 30 years as a slave. She escaped slavery in 1849, but returned to the Eastern Shore several times over the course of 10 years to lead hundreds of African Americans to freedom in the North. Known as “Moses” by African American and white abolitionists, she reportedly never lost a “passenger” on the Underground Railroad, according to the Salisbury Daily Times.
  • The editorial board for the Salisbury Daily Times is also pushing for Tubman to be the new face on the $10 bill, writing that, “Tubman’s legacy touches both women’s history and black history, securing a heightened awareness of both and sending a message about civil rights our nation guarantees to all, regardless of race, ethnic heritage, gender or religious choices.”

CITY BOOZE BOARD APPTS: Fern Shen and Danielle Sweeney of Baltimore Brew report that Gov. Larry Hogan announced two appointments to the Baltimore City Liquor Board, including Benjamin Neil, a former Towson University legal studies professor who resigned in 2013 as chairman of the city school system’s ethics panel amid plagiarism allegations.

HOGAN SURPRISED BY BATTS FIRING: The AP is reporting that the firing of Baltimore City Police Commissioner Anthony Batts came as a surprise to Maryland’s governor. Less than 24-hours after Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake announced her decision to dismiss the head of the city’s police force, Gov. Larry Hogan said the news came as a shock, but the action was a local one and had nothing to do with the state government. The Daily Record is running the story.

AA GETS FIREFIGHTING FUNDS: Ben Weathers of the Annapolis Capital reports that the Anne Arundel Fire Department will receive $7 million in federal funding to pay for 52 additional positions.  The announcement was made Thursday morning in a joint-press release issued by U.S. Sens. Barbara Mikulski and Ben Cardin and U.S. Reps. Steny Hoyer, Dutch Ruppersberger, John Sarbanes and Donna Edwards. The funding has been made available U.S. Department of Home Security Staffing for Adequate Fire & Emergency Response program.

VAN HOLLEN COFFERS OVERFLOW: U.S. Rep. Chris Van Hollen maintained a nearly 3-to-1 fundraising advantage against Rep. Donna  Edwards, his Democratic primary rival in the Maryland race to replace retiring U.S. Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D), according to second-quarter numbers provided by the two campaigns, writes Arelis Hernandez for the Post.

FAKE NEWS SNARES O’MALLEY: Democrat Martin O’Malley received some unwanted attention on Thursday for citing a fake story from a satirical news site to underscore a point about the revolving door between Wall Street and Washington, Michael Dresser and John Fritze report in the Sun. The presidential candidate and former Maryland governor included a cite to The Daily Currant in a white paper he unveiled Thursday that spells out his vision for strengthening Wall Street regulations. That site describes itself as a satirical news outlet.