July 14, 2015

State Roundup, July 14, 2015

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TACKLING HEROIN PROBLEM: Fighting Baltimore’s heroin epidemic will require expanding access to treatment, including making sure addiction resources are available 24 hours per day, city officials say. That means creating a specialized emergency room that caters specifically to patients with substance abuse and mental-health issues, Dr. Leana S. Wen, the city’s commissioner of health, said Monday. Daniel Leaderman of the Daily Record writes that Wen, joined by elected officials and health advocates, unveiled 10 recommendations for tackling the city’s heroin problem developed by the Mayor’s Heroin Treatment & Prevention Task Force, convened by Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake in October.

Rawlings-Blake overdose death

Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake and other officials at press conference. (From the mayor’s Facebook page)

NOT ‘MY MARYLAND:’ The editorial board of the Frederick News Post takes on the controversy surrounding the state song, writing: “Should the lyrics to Maryland’s ridiculously anachronistic state song be changed? Yes, they should. Should the state Legislature spend a lot of time on it? No. “The Civil War was the most divisive period in America’s history,” Frederick Del. Karen Lewis Young said Thursday in our story reporting legislation she has submitted to alter the song. “I don’t think our state song should be based on a battle hymn that celebrates that.” Lewis Young is correct.”

FEDERAL AID FOR BALTIMORE: Members of Maryland’s congressional delegation are urging President Obama to reconsider the federal government’s recent decision to deny federal aid to Baltimore City as it continues to recover from the riots that broke out in April following the death of Freddie Gray, who suffered a severe spinal cord injury while in police custody. Nine Democrats, including Sen. Barbara Mikulski and House Minority Whip Steny H. Hoyer, signed the letter Monday, asking Obama to approve Gov. Larry Hogan’s (R) appeal of the June 12 decision by the Federal Emergency Management Agency to not to declare Baltimore City a major disaster.

STATE GRANTS FOR LOCAL PROJECTS: A $2.6 million package of state grants will aid local projects and organizations, including Canal Place, the Savage River State Forest and the rehabilitation of the Western Maryland Scenic Railroad’s recently acquired steam engine. While the grants from the Maryland Heritage Areas Authority are distributed statewide, the grant package includes more than $266,000 for Allegany and Garrett county endeavors, writes Matthew  Bieniek for the Cumberland Times News.

IVEY’S COFFERS: Former Prince George’s County State’s Attorney Glenn Ivey will report raising more than $275,000 in his bid for Maryland’s 4th Congressional District, his campaign announced Monday — becoming the first in the race to reveal fundraising numbers, John Fritze reports in the Sun. Del. Joseline Peña-Melnyk, meanwhile, will report raising $210,000, her campaign said.

ENVIROS BACK VAN HOLLEN: Dozens of state environmental leaders endorsed U.S. Rep. Chris Van Hollen’s campaign for Senate on Monday, noting the Democrat’s long record of “getting things done” on the issue in Annapolis and Washington, writes John Fritze for the Sun. Standing on City Dock in Annapolis with the Severn River behind them, the group repeatedly touted Van Hollen’s past legislative achievements, part of the campaign’s effort to highlight not only his progressive stances but also a record of passing bills into law.

O’MALLEYS’ COLLEGE DEBT: Former Gov. Martin O’Malley and his wife Katie, a district court judge, have accumulated an astounding $339,000 in college debt for their two daughters for a couple that has been making over $300,000 a year with minimal household expenses. That debt figure leaped out of coverage of O’Malley’s presidential campaign and his proposal for debt-free higher education for those who go to in-state public four year colleges and universities, writes Len Lazarick for MarylandReporter.com.

O’MALLEY TAKES ON TRUMP: John Fritze writes in the Sun that former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley lashed out at Donald Trump on Monday, arguing that the Republican presidential candidate’s recent comments about Mexican immigrants were “hate speech” and that the GOP should do more to distance itself from a “hate-spewing character.”

MOSBY CANCELS EVENT: Baltimore City Councilman Nick Mosby abruptly canceled a fundraiser scheduled for tonight in Philadelphia that used images of his wife, Baltimore’s State’s Attorney Marilyn J. Mosby, to market the event. Mosby said Monday he didn’t know the event organizers had been promoting the event with his wife’s photo or that the fundraiser was being billed as supporting “this political power couple that has been recently catapulted onto a National stage.” Yvonne Wenger of the Sun reports that within an hour of being asked about the event, Mosby said, he canceled it.

KITTLEMAN VETOES VENDING BILL: Howard County Executive Allan Kittleman has vetoed legislation creating a set of nutritional guidelines for the food and drink sold in vending machines in Howard County government buildings. “I trust Howard County residents and employees to make their own decisions about what to eat,” Kittleman said before signing the veto on Monday afternoon at the county’s government headquarters in Ellicott City, writes Amanda Yeager for the Sun.