State Roundup, September 2, 2015

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BODY CAM RECORDINGS: A Maryland commission created to set guidelines for police departments that use body cameras plans to ask the state General Assembly to consider restricting public access to police body camera recordings because of privacy concerns, Ovetta Wiggins reports for the Post. The commission said it will send a letter to the state legislature suggesting that it consider amending the Maryland Public Information Act as a way to protect the privacy of people whose images and words are captured by body cameras.

KILL JUVIE JAIL PLAN? With dozens of beds open at Baltimore’s juvenile detention center, a key lawmaker said Tuesday that the state should re-examine whether it needs to build a new $30 million jail for young offenders charged as adults, writes Luke Broadwater for the Sun. “The number of juveniles detained is moving down,” said Del. Keith Haynes, a Baltimore Democrat who chairs a House Appropriations subcommittee on public safety. “The question is: Do we really need another facility? It’s something we might want to revisit.”

PROBE SOUGHT INTO LEAD PAINT SETTLEMENT BUYOUTS: Rep. Chris Van Hollen on Tuesday called for a Justice Department investigation into the practice of companies that buy lawsuit settlements of lead-poisoning victims in Baltimore for cents on the dollar. State officials are looking into the businesses, which swap guaranteed regular payments over years for much smaller one-time payouts up front, writes John Fritze for the Sun. Van Hollen, of Montgomery County, drafted a letter with Rep. Louise M. Slaughter of New York calling for the probe. Van Hollen is a candidate for the Senate seat that will be left vacant in 2017 by retiring Sen. Barbara  Mikulski.

ON KEN HOLT: Friends and associates of embattled housing Secretary Ken Holt said the statement that has gotten him into so much hot water — and for which Holt’s office quickly apologized — doesn’t reflect the man they know: a person with a long record of public service, who adopted an orphan from Russia, called for the creation of a Negro Leagues baseball museum during one of his political campaigns and helped raise money to preserve Ford’s Asbury Lodge, a Civil War-era African American safe house in Baltimore County. Josh Hicks writes about Holt for the Post.

GROWING POT IN BA CO: The sponsor of a Baltimore County measure that would impose zoning limitations on medical marijuana dispensaries and growing facilities said she will soften part of the bill that met with stiff criticism from supporters of the state program, Bryan Sears writes for the Daily Record.

MARYLAND’S SAFETY NET: Benjamin Orr of the Maryland Center on Economic Policy writes that a recent Cato Institute publication, The Work Versus Welfare Trade-Off: Europe, reported on by MarylandReporter.com this week, promotes a seriously misleading message. The insinuation that Marylanders would rather receive public assistance than work is not only insulting, but factually incorrect. The reality is that the safety net provides many Maryland families with support at critical moments, particularly when they aren’t paid enough to meet the cost of necessities.

HOGAN ALMOST THROUGH CHEMO: Gov. Larry Hogan is two-thirds finished with his cancer treatment he said Tuesday. The 59-year-old Republican announced on his Facebook page that September will be recognized as Blood Cancer Awareness Month in Maryland and posted a picture of himself and First Lady Yumi Hogan at the University of Maryland Greenbaum Cancer Center, Colin Campbell writes in the Sun.

Hogan Yumi September 1

From Larry Hogan’s Facebook page: “Very happy to be leaving the hospital and heading back to Annapolis! After 3 minor surgical procedures, 3 spinal taps and 20 chemo sessions of 24 hours each, I am now two thirds done with my treatment, with just two months to go. Prognosis is great and I’m feeling strong. Some of the brave kids battling cancer gave me my new favorite hat. It says “Cancer fears ME!”

FREDDIE GRAY HEARINGS: Sheila Kast of WYPR-FM reports that hearings in the trial of six Baltimore police officers charged in the death of Freddie Gray begin today. Mayor Rawlings-Blake said that city officials know that an unpopular ruling by the judge could be a flashpoint for protests, and the city is preparing for that possibility. The pre-trial motions will be argued before Circuit Court Judge Barry Williams in two sessions – today and on Thursday, Sept. 10.

SCHOOL ABSENCE AFFECTS ACHIEVEMENT: The nation’s large and persistent education achievement gaps are rooted in a largely hidden crisis of chronic absenteeism from school, especially among low-income and minority children, according to a new report that compiles recent research on school attendance. Emma Brown writes the story in the Washington Post.

REMEMBERING MANDEL: Columnist Richard Cohen remembers Gov. Marvin Mandel as he covered him 40 years as a young reporter for the Washington Post.

SAME-SEX PARENTHOOD IN A DIVORCE: Lauren Kirkwood of the Daily Record reports on a legal case in Washington County that tests the rights of same-sex parents in a divorce. Courts can still deny visitation to the non-biological parent while allowing that person “third party status.”

CUMMINGS TO SUPPORT IRAN DEAL: John Fritze of the Sun writes that Rep. Elijah E. Cummings said Tuesday he will support the controversial nuclear agreement with Iran brokered by the Obama administration and other world leaders, arguing that a rejection of the deal would “likely cause more harm to the United States, American interests, and our allies.”

MIKULSKI, CARDIN STILL CONSIDERING DEAL: There are fewer than a dozen U.S. senators who have not yet said whether they will support or oppose President Obama’s landmark nuclear agreement with Iraq. Two of them are from Maryland. But while Sen. Barbara Mikulski has been close-mouthed about her thinking,  Ben Cardin is very much deliberating in the public eye, Rachel Weiner writes in the Post.

O’MALLEYS AND THE FURNITURE: In Dan Rodricks new blog at the Sun, he writes: “About the O’Malleys and that “junk furniture” from the governor’s mansion: What happens when the rest of us leave a job? Do we get to buy the computer we’ve been using, or take the office chair we sat in? How about the couch in the outer office? Who even thinks to do this?”

Moving van at Government House

A moving van at Government House in January as O’Malleys were leaving.

CLINTON EMAIL PRAISED O’MALLEY: Buried in the latest disclosure dump of State Hillary Clinton’s private emails is a fascinating back-and-forth the former Secretary of State had with Sen. Barbara Mikulski in which the two Democrats discuss then Gov. Martin O’Malley. In an April 2010 email, Clinton asks “How’s our friend, Martin, doing? I know he has a rematch when he should be reelected by acclamation for steering the ship of state so well. Pls give him my best wishes.”

NEW MAYORAL CANDIDATE: Mike Maraziti, the owner of One-Eyed Mike’s bar in Fells Point, filed this week to run for mayor of Baltimore, writes Luke Broadwater for the Sun. Maraziti is president of the Fells Point Main Street business association. He is the sixth Democrat to formally enter the race in a field that includes incumbent Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake and former Mayor Sheila Dixon.

FREDERICK OKS BIZ TAX CREDIT: A tax credit that could last up to 10 years for new and expanding manufacturing businesses in Frederick County received approval from a majority of the Frederick County Council late Tuesday. In a 5-2 vote, the governing body passed a commercial and industrial tax credit, which would be available to manufacturing, fabricating and assembly businesses currently in or looking to move to Frederick County that invest at least $5 million and create 25 full-time jobs, Paige Jones writes in the Frederick News Post.

HOWARD SETS UP FUND FOR TRAFFICKING VICTIMS: Howard County Executive Allan Kittleman signed an executive order Friday morning to create a fund assisting victims of human trafficking and reinforce the police department’s efforts to crack down on the crime. Assets seized through the arrest of criminals involved with human trafficking will be used to create the fund, reports Andrew Michaels for the Howard County Times.