July 15, 2015

State Roundup, July 15, 2015

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PURPLE LINE AS TIE THAT BINDS: When Gov. Larry Hogan demanded more local funding last month to pay for the Purple Line, Prince George’s Executive Rushern Baker balked, saying the county had ponied up plenty already. But his counterpart in wealthier Montgomery County, meanwhile, said additional money would not be a problem. The disparity in tone reflects a broader contrast: When finally built, the Purple Line will stitch together two jurisdictions with dramatically different needs, priorities and resources, Arelis Hernandez and Bill Turque report for the Post.

RED LINE ALTERNATIVES: Gov. Larry Hogan, who recently rejected the $2.9 billion Red Line light-rail project in Baltimore, said Tuesday that the state is reviewing several dozen alternatives to it. “I said to all the leaders in Baltimore that we’re open to meeting with them and listening to their suggestions and options,” Hogan said during a wide-ranging interview on “The C4 Show” on WBAL.

NO LOVE: WYPR-FM’s Fraser Smith and Bryan Sears of the Daily Record discuss Gov. Larry Hogan’s soured relationship with Baltimore City.

TRANSPORTATION FUNDING IN W. MD: Both Hagerstown and Washington County governments have done their part to cut budgets and try to fill the gap left by diminished state revenues, local leaders told Maryland’s Budget and Management secretary Tuesday. But any cooperation from the state would be welcomed. Specifically, restoration of pre-O’Malley administration levels of highway user revenues is a  priority, officials told Secretary David Brinkley, a former legislator from Frederick County, Tamela Baker writes in the Hagerstown Herald Mail.

HOGAN AT DC SUBWAY: Gov. Larry Hogan visited Washington Tuesday for talks with U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx about safety issues affecting the Washington Metro subway. Foxx convened a meeting of Hogan, Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe and Washington Mayor Muriel Bowser, whose three jurisdictions collaborate in the governance of the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority.

LAYOFFS IN PUBLIC SAFETY DEPARTMENT: The Hogan administration is moving to abolish 63 positions — some through layoffs — in the department that runs the state’s prisons and parole and probation service, Michael Dresser reports in the Sun. The administration plans to ask the Board of Public Works Thursday to approve its proposal to cut $3 million from the budget of the Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services by reducing its human resources staff. A state employee union leader said Tuesday that it may be a sign of more cuts to come.

FOLLOW THE MONEY: Josh Kurtz of Center Maryland follows the money that lobbyists make in Annapolis, writing that “If nothing else, the Maryland lobbying class – along with the political class – has become more professionalized than it once was, and is feasting on the financial opportunities. Now, more than ever, you’ve got to follow the money to figure out what’s going on in Maryland politics – at a time when media coverage of the State House is more limited than it’s ever been.”

REGULATING REGULATIONS: The editorial board of the Frederick News Post opines that so far in his young administration, Gov. Larry Hogan has launched his Regulatory Reform Commission, which was created to help free business from what Hogan termed “nonsensical, out-of-control” regulations. The goal is to examine every state regulation, with an eye to improving or eliminating them when possible. If this committee operates openly and fairly, we support its mission. It can’t do any harm to revisit these regulations and take a fresh look at them. Things change, and regulations shouldn’t be left on the books without periodic reviews of their necessity, appropriateness and impact.

SMOKIN’ CASINOS: Maryland could be leaving additional casino revenue on the table because of a statewide ban on indoor smoking, according to one state delegate. Bryan Sears of the Daily Record reports that Del. Jay Walker, D-Montgomery County, said he believes the Maryland Lottery and Gaming Control Agency should undertake a study to determine if Maryland casinos, and in turn the state, could see an increase in revenues by allowing smoking inside the state’s five operating casinos and MGM National Harbor in his home county when it opens.

DELEGATE ARRESTED: Del. Ariana Kelly of Bethesda was arrested June 27 in Bethesda on charges of indecent exposure and trespass and is scheduled to appear in district court in Rockville on Aug. 13, according to MarylandReporter.com. “This arises from a personal family matter,” said attorney Luiz Simmons, a former delegate representing Kelly. “We’re aggressively disputing the allegation.”

Ramirez Tarlau

Del. Jimmy Tarlau, D-Prince George’s, right, seen here with Sen. Victor Ramirez, held a fundraiser Tuesday night that included appearances by two Prince George’s delegates running for the 4th Congressional District, Joseline Pena-Melnyk and Dereck Davis, one of three House committee chairs who came to the event.

4th DISTRICT FUNDRAISING: Democrat Del. Dereck Davis will report raising $188,000 in his bid for Maryland’s 4th Congressional District, his campaign said Tuesday. Davis, the powerful chair of the state’s House Economic Matters Committee, announced he would run for the seat on April 15, two weeks into the second quarter. The campaign will report having $168,000 on hand, John Fritze of the Sun is writing.

8th DISTRICT FUNDRAISING: Former Obama administration official and Capitol Hill aide Will Jawando, who is running in Maryland’s 8th Congressional District, will report raising more than $112,000 in the second quarter, his campaign said Tuesday. Jawando will report having $97,000 on hand at the end of the quarter, John Fritze writes in the Sun.

O’MALLEY ON DEPORTATION: John Fritze of the Sun reports that Democratic presidential candidate Martin O’Malley said Tuesday he would significantly expand the use of executive action to defer the deportation of millions of immigrants in the country illegally. In the latest of a series of detailed policy papers from his campaign, the former Maryland governor said he would expand President Barack Obama’s controversial deferred action program to “all individuals” covered by a sweeping and bipartisan immigration bill approved by the Senate in 2013.

GAMING BUCKS FOR EDUCATION: The Prince George’s County Council voted unanimously Tuesday to reserve half of all taxes from gaming revenue generated by the billion-dollar MGM casino for public schools, libraries and community colleges, reports Arelis Hernandez of the Post. Lawmakers introduced the measure in response to a proposal by County Executive Rushern Baker to raise property taxes by double-digits to generate new funding for schools. The council rejected the plan after a public outcry and raised taxes by a third of his original request.