July 16, 2015

State Roundup, July 16, 2015

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PUBLIC SAFETY JOBS CUT: More than five dozen current employees of the state Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services could lose their jobs as part of a consolidation plan that will be considered today by the Board of Public Works, writes Bryan Sears for the Daily Record. The proposal calls for the elimination of 63 human resource positions — nearly half of 139 total positions including contract and temporary employees — and would save the department $3 million.

REBEL PLATES RECALL: The Maryland Attorney General’s office says legislative action isn’t necessary for the state to recall license plates bearing the Confederate battle flag, writes Talia Richman in the Sun. “It is my view that there is no constitutional or statutory obstacle to exclusion of the Confederate battle flag or recall of existing plates,” Assistant Attorney General Kathryn M. Rowe wrote in an opinion addressed to Sen. Jamie Raskin and Del. David Moon.

BOOST FOR THE CHESAPEAKE: A three-judge panel of the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has given its blessing to the Environmental Protection Agency’s plan to control pollution levels in the Chesapeake Bay. This is a well-needed victory for the Chesapeake Bay, which has been assaulted by agriculture, development and other forces, and which without a serious effort will continue to decline, opines the Frederick News Post editorial board.

MONTGOMERY COUNTY LEADERS MAY PUSH EXPRESS LANES: If Virginia transportation officials recommend extending Capital Beltway express lanes into Maryland, they’ll “very likely” have the support of some Montgomery County leaders writes Aaron Kraut in Bethesda Beat. The Virginia Department of Transportation Wednesday released a study of various Potomac River crossings, including the Beltway over the American Legion Bridge and into Maryland.

HOGAN’S CHEMO: Gov. Larry Hogan said Wednesday that his doctors have said he has responded so well to his first round of chemotherapy that they are going to “ratchet” up the treatment starting Sunday, Ovetta Wiggins reports for the Post.

POLITICAL CRAB FEST: Len Lazarick of MarylandReporter.com offers up a photo gallery from the Tawes Crab Feast, the annual political schmoose-fest that draws many to the Eastern Shore. This year of course saw fewer candidates.

4th DISTRICT MONEY RACE: Second-quarter numbers show a tightening money race among seven candidates vying to succeed Rep. Donna F. Edwards (D-Md.) as the 2016 Democratic Party nominee in the 4th Congressional District, Arelis Hernandez for the Post reports.

8th DISTRICT MONEY RACE: Del. Kumar P. Barve, the chairman of the Environment and Transportation Committee, will report raising about $225,000 in his bid for Maryland’s 8th Congressional District, the campaign said Wednesday. Barve, who is seeking the seat that will be left vacant by Rep. Chris Van Hollen, will report having about $229,000 on hand.

EDWARDS BLASTS VAN HOLLEN ON IRAN: U.S. Rep. Donna F. Edwards on Wednesday criticized her opponent in Maryland’s Senate race, Rep. Chris Van Hollen, for “holding his finger to the air” rather than coming out in support of a nuclear agreement with Iran negotiated by the Obama administration, John Fritze writes in the Sun.

O’MALLEY RAISES $2M: Martin O’Malley will report raising $2 million during the first month of his long-shot bid for the Democratic presidential nomination, his campaign said Wednesday. The figure puts the former Maryland governor significantly behind former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, both of whom are also out polling O’Malley in early presidential primary states, John Fritze reports in the Sun.

HOGAN ENDORSES CHRISTIE: The burgeoning bromance between Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie continues. On Wednesday, Hogan gave his friend and fellow blue-state Republican governor his “enthusiastic” support in his bid for the GOP nomination for president, Ovetta Wiggins of the Post reports.

Christie Hogan 7-15-2015

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and Gov. Larry Hogan at the Double T dinner in Annapolis Wednesday (From Hogan’s Facebook page.)

CUTS TO MO CO SALARIES SUGGESTED: Bill Turque of the Post writes that Montgomery County Council President George Leventhal, unhappy with some of County Executive Ike Leggett’s proposed budget cuts, used his weekly news conference Monday to suggest that the county might save a few dollars by offering more modest salaries to department heads and other senior administrators. Sixteen top officials make more than $200,000, headed by chief administrative officer Timothy Firestine ($298,023). That’s comparable to D.C. City Administrator Rashad Young ($295,000) but far ahead of peers in Prince George’s and Baltimore counties.

CASINO DONATES TO CITY RECOVERY: The Horseshoe Casino Baltimore has donated $50,000 to a fund dedicated to helping city businesses damaged by April’s riots recover, reports Adam Bednar for the Daily Record. The Baltimore Business Recovery Fund, which is overseen by the Baltimore Development Corp., had been struggling to raise money. When the fund was launched in May the corporation announced a goal of raising $15 million. As of last week, $300,000 had been pledged to the fund and a little over $200,000 had been received. The corporation had made six loans worth about $142,000.