July 28, 2015

State Roundup, July 28, 2015

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POT GROWING PROPOSED IN WA CO: State legislators from Washington County had mixed views when medical marijuana was approved for Maryland. Now that a medical marijuana-growing operation has been proposed near Hagerstown, their views are still mixed, reports Tamela Baker for the Hagerstown Herald-Mail. Some see medical marijuana as similar to other pharmaceuticals produced to provide relief to patients with chronic or debilitating illness, while others worry that its legalization — and cultivation — could lead to approval of recreational use, despite federal law that prohibits both.

HOGAN TO CHAIR ECON PANEL: Gov. Larry Hogan was named chairman of the economic development and commerce committee of the National Governors Association, his first national appointment since his election in November, reports Ovetta Wiggins in the Post. Hogan said in a statement, “I look forward to chairing the NGA Economic Development and Commerce Committee and working with my fellow governors to ensure that federal policies are in line with local priorities and are helping states do the important work of creating jobs and promoting economic growth.”

FEDS’ PART IN BAY CLEANUP: Leslie Middleton of the Bay Journal writes in MarylandReporter.com that the federal government is one of the Chesapeake Bay watershed’s largest landowners and manages an area roughly the size of Delaware’s portion of the Chesapeake Bay watershed, or 5.4% of the entire basin. The land and facilities it controls share little in common except that they are all under federal management and their owners, like all landowners, have a responsibility to reduce their pollution to meet the Chesapeake Bay Total Maximum Daily Load. Whether the feds are meeting that obligation, and exactly what it is they are doing, has not been an easy question to answer. But the answer is important for symbolic as well as practical reasons.

YUMI HOGAN HOSTS KOREAN DELEGATION: Members of a South Korean delegation raised gold-rimmed crystal glasses filled with chardonnay at the Maryland governor’s mansion in Annapolis on Sunday and shouted “we hah yeo!” They were toasting the “han kuk sah we,” the son-in-law of South Korea, better known in these parts as Gov. Larry Hogan, writes Ovetta Wiggins for the Post.

Korean delegation 7-26-2015

South Korean delegation toasts at Government House Sunday. (Office of the Governor)

UBER LAW NEEDS CLARIFICATION: A new law meant to regulate and tax ride-sharing services like Uber and Lyft will need to be clarified when legislators reconvene in Annapolis in January, reports Bryan Sears for the Daily Record. Sen. Mac Middleton, chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, said Monday that changes to the new law will be needed to clear up some vagaries and contradictions identified by the Office of the Comptroller as new regulations were being drafted.

CAMERAS ON FISHING BOATS: Cameras on fishing boats are a technology required for highly migratory species, such as tuna, swordfish, sharks and billfish. They were installed to verify what fishermen are reporting when it comes to things such as discarding dead fish are accurate. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the cameras are triggered when gear is being hauled back, and the cameras are placed strategically on boats to record the footage of gear being retrieved and fish being caught. But many fishermen find the cameras highly intrusive, according to an AP report in the Daily Record.

WHOSE CRABS ARE THEY REALLY? Last week, Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe attacked the state of Maryland. Not with guns or tanks or machinery, but with words — words targeting the most precious of state creatures: Maryland blue crabs. “You know, Maryland talks about its crabs. If anyone from Maryland is listening, I want to make this perfectly clear,” he said in a radio interview. “All the crabs are born here in Virginia and they end up, because of the current, being taken [to Maryland]. So really, they should be Virginia crabs.”  But does that make them Virginia crabs? asks Darcy Costello in the Sun.

ON TALBOT BOYS PART II:  In another in the series of Chesapeake Spy video discussions on the Talbot Boys statue, Richard Potter of the NAACP Easton Chapter, talks about the Talbot Boys statue. If one were looking for examples of a new generation taking on leadership roles in Talbot County, Potter would be a good place to start. Dirck Bartlett, Talbot County councilmember, weighs in on the Talbot Boys statue and the addresses the history of the Frederick Douglass statue as well.

VAN HOLLEN AS ‘OVERDOG:’ In his final column before taking a hiatus until Aug. 18, Josh Kurtz of Center Maryland discusses U.S. Rep. Chris Van Hollen’s campaign for U.S. Senate and the benefit that his one-time underdog status gave him. Now that he is the “overdog,” how will that play against rival U.S. Rep. Donna Edwards, who may not have Van Hollen’s money, but she can’t be counted out.

O’MALLEY BATS AT CLINTON ON WALL ST.: Democratic presidential candidate Martin O’Malley  took a swipe at front runner Hillary Clinton on Monday for her “closeness” with Wall Street, offering one of his most direct attacks on that issue so far, writes John Fritze for the Sun. “My proposals go a lot further than Secretary Clinton’s,” O’Malley told a New Hampshire radio station, WKXL, in an interview that was recorded Sunday but aired Monday. “Her closeness with big banks on Wall Street is sincere, it’s heart-felt, it’s long established and well known,” O’Malley said of Clinton. “I don’t have those ties. I am independent of those big  banks on Wall Street.”

O’MALLEY CONVERSION ON CRIMINAL JUSTICE: Sun columnist Dan Rodricks is dubious about Martin O’Malley’s sudden conversion to criminal justice reform and drug treatment, given his long tough-on-crime stance as mayor and governor.

SILVER SPRING REPAIRS FAILING: Metro has told Montgomery County officials that some of the recent repairs to the Silver Spring Transit Center are showing “signs of degradation,” and it is asking the county for $15 million to cover future maintenance and repair, writes Bill Turque of the Post.