August 12, 2015

State Roundup, Wednesday, August 12, 2015

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I have some good news and some great news. The good news is I just finished my fifth straight day of 24-hour chemo. The great news is I'm officially half-way through my treatment, having finished round three of six! This week I spent a lot of time visiting other patients in the cancer ward, hearing their stories of strength and resilience in the face of adversity. Their perseverance, positivity, and faith inspires me beyond words." (From Larry Hogan's Facebook Page)

Gov. Larry Hogan and wife Yumi as he leaves hospital Tuesday. On his Facebook page, he said. “I have some good news and some great news. The good news is I just finished my fifth straight day of 24-hour chemo. The great news is I’m officially half-way through my treatment, having finished round three of six! This week I spent a lot of time visiting other patients in the cancer ward, hearing their stories of strength and resilience in the face of adversity. Their perseverance, positivity, and faith inspires me beyond words.”

MILLIONS IN TRANSIT FUNDS UNUSED: The state’s top legislative analyst said Tuesday that hundreds of millions of Maryland transportation fund dollars are sitting unused after the cancellation of the $2.9 billion Red Line — prompting Baltimore lawmakers to call on the Hogan administration to earmark that funding for the city, Luke Broadwater of the Sun is reporting. “If there is money that is not dedicated, there are possibilities for projects in Baltimore,” said Del. Maggie McIntosh, a Baltimore Democrat and the budget chief in the House of Delegates.

HOGAN MIDWAY IN CHEMO TREATMENT: Michael Dresser reports in the Sun that Gov. Larry Hogan left the University of Maryland hospital Tuesday after a stay that brought him to the midway point of his chemotherapy treatment. 

REDISTRICTING REFORM’S FUTURE: WYPR’s Fraser Smith and Karen Hosler discuss Gov. Larry Hogan’s plan for a redistricting commission for Maryland that will reform the system and attempt to put a halt to gerrymandering and U.S. Rep. Chris Van Hollen’s effort to create one on a national level.

IMMIGRATION REFORM: To complement the excellent series on human trafficking in MarylandReporter.com last week, two important labor trafficking “enablers” are worth considering:  first, relatively easy migrant access to U.S. work permits; second, the strong appetite of American employers for unauthorized migrants who have them. Attorney Richard Douglas writes in MarylandReporter.com that over the years, and with good intentions, Congress created a cornucopia of work permit options for persons who enter the U.S. unlawfully.  Ironically, in practice the availability of these permits actually enables human trafficking.

DNA & INVESTIGATORY RIGHTS: Police who receive a person’s DNA sample voluntarily during a criminal investigation may use that sample to investigate other crimes unless the person has expressly told them not to, a sharply divided Maryland Court of Appeals ruled Tuesday. Steve Lash of the Daily Record reports that the state’s top court said such broad use of a person’s DNA does not violate the federal Constitution’s Fourth Amendment prohibition on unreasonable searches

JUDGESHIP HOPEFULS: Three judges and two attorneys have applied for the seat on Maryland’s top court after it was advertised for a second a time. Prince George’s County Circuit Judge Krystal Quinn Alves and attorneys Richard J. Douglas and Michael J. Winkelman beat the application deadline of 4:30 p.m. Tuesday for the vacancy on the Court of Appeals. They join Court of Special Appeals Judge Michele D. Hotten and Sean D. Wallace, a Prince George’s County Circuit Court judge, who initially submitted their applications last month. But because they were the only applicants then, the seat was re-advertised based on Gov. Larry Hogan’s executive order calling for at least three applicants for each judicial vacancy, Steve Lash reports for the Daily Record.

THE GREAT MACO MIGRATION: County officials will obey an almost biological mandate to travel to Ocean City today for the annual Maryland Association of Counties convention — a four-day beach trip where sand mixes with public policy and state politics, writes Bryan Sears for the Daily Record. The meeting will also feature closing remarks from either Gov. Larry Hogan or Lt. Gov. Boyd Rutherford — the first for either since attending last year’s conference as candidates.

MURTHY LEADS CHAMBER: There is an energy in Sheela Murthy’s voice as she talks about her new post as chairman of the board of directors of the Maryland Chamber of Commerce. After all, it took her years to get to this point. And she is only the second female in the chamber’s 40-year history to hold the position and the first woman of color to do so. Kate Alexander profiles her for the Daily Record.

AQUEDUCT FUNDING: Maryland’s chief fiscal officer called plans to restore the Conococheague Creek Aqueduct “one of the best projects in the state” during a visit Tuesday to the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Historical Park, CJ Lovelace reports for the Hagerstown Herald Mail. “I would be cautiously optimistic about this,” state Comptroller Peter Franchot said of the potential that the Maryland Board of Public Work’s would approve a portion of funding toward the approximately $8 million project.

8th DISTRICT RACE: Trying to set himself apart in the crowded race for the Democratic nomination in the 8th Congressional District, Del. Kumar Barve Monday frequently cited his long experience in public office and his emphasis on economic issues during an appearance before a group of local Democrats in Silver Spring, writes Louis Peck for Bethesda Beat.

GAO EMPLOYEES INDICTED: Five employees with the U.S. Government Accountability Office underreported their income or reported having no income at all in order to fraudulently obtain reduced-price school lunches for their children, a prosecutor said Tuesday.  The employees were indicted on charges of theft, fraud and filing false applications, according to Prince George’s County State’s Attorney Angela Alsobrooks. Among those indicted is a member of the county Board of Education, according to an AP report in the Easton Star Democrat.

PRYING OPEN FEDERAL INFO DOORS: Fifty-three journalism and open government groups have called on President Barack Obama – yet again – to stop practices in federal agencies that prevent important information from getting to the public. The national organizations sent a letter to Obama Monday urging changes to policies that constrict information flow to the public, including prohibiting journalists from communicating with staff without going through public information offices, requiring government PIOs to vet interview questions and monitoring interviews between journalists and sources, according to the Society for Professional Journalists.