State Roundup, September 10, 2015

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IMPROVING MARYLAND’S BIZ CLIMATE: Maryland is one of the few states in the mid-Atlantic to raise its corporate tax rate in the last 10 years, the head of the Greater Baltimore Committee said Wednesday, urging a drastic reduction he said would help change perception of the business climate. The proposal was one of several presented to the Augustine Commission, a 25-member group of business and political leaders that has been examining the state’s business climate since last year, Natalie Sherman reports in the Sun.

DROPPING SLAVE-OWNING LEGACY: Pamela Wood of the Sun reports that Democratic clubs in Maryland are considering changing the name of annual fundraising dinners amid a broader push to disavow the slave-owning legacies of presidents Thomas Jefferson and Andrew Jackson. Democratic organizations across the country have held “Jefferson-Jackson” dinners for years. But as the nation debates its past — and how to honor it — many are moving to erase the names of the party’s forefathers from the invitations.

OBAMA COMMEMORATES 9-11 AT FT MEADE: President Barack Obama plans to travel to Fort Meade on Friday to commemorate the 14th anniversary of the attacks of Sept. 11, John Fritze reports for the Sun. On Sept. 11, 2001, hijackers crashed commercial airliners into both towers of the World Trade Center in New York and the Pentagon in Virginia. A fourth hijacked plane, believed to have been headed for the White House or the Capitol in Washington, crashed in rural Western Pennsylvania.

NEW FISHERIES CHIEF: A top port official who once worked for the Maryland Department of Natural Resources has been tapped to be the state’s chief fisheries regulator, filling a key job that’s been vacant since a Hogan administration shakeup at DNR in May. David Blazer, deputy director of harbor development for the Maryland Port Administration, takes over Sept. 21 as director of fisheries, Timothy Wheeler reports in the Sun.

BUSCH AIDE LEAVES: Kristin Jones, longtime chief of staff to House Speaker Michael Busch (D), who also served as a top aide when he was chairman of the Economic Matters Committee, is leaving for a job at the University of Maryland Medical System, Josh Kurtz writes for Center Maryland. “It’ll be nice to immerse myself back into health policy,” Jones said in an interview. Jones will be replaced by Alexandra Hughes, the current deputy chief of staff.

PASSING THE BUCK: The editorial board of the Frederick News Post is urging local and state enforcement agencies to work together to find the culprit who has been putting dangerous objects intent on doing harm just below the surface of a multi-use trail in the Frederick watershed. The Frederick Police Department, Frederick County Sheriff’s Office and state-run Department of Natural Resources seem to be playing pass the buck on who’s responsible for tracking down and prosecuting one or more sick-minded people who seem intent on causing trail-users some very substantial lacerations, the board writes.

HOYER SUPPORTS DEAL: Rep. Steny Hoyer will support the pending nuclear agreement with Iran despite “serious concerns,” he said Wednesday, and he called for a congressional oversight commission to monitor the deal’s implementation, John Fritze writes for the Sun.

DEL. PARROTT DOES NOT: A dozen Washington County residents took a van to the nation’s capital Wednesday to participate in the “Stop the Iran Deal” rally. Among them were state Del. Neil Parrott, R-Washington, and Washington County Board of Commissioners’ President Terry Baker, a candidate for the 6th Congressional District seat in next year’s election, Tamela Baker reports for the Hagerstown Herald Mail. The rally not only reinforced their opposition to the deal, but left them with “more concern than before,” Parrott said.

EDWARDS FILES CANDIDACY CERTIFICATE: On Tuesday, Rep. Donna Edwards, who represents Maryland’s 4th District, took another important step in her campaign, filing her certificate of candidacy, and officially placing her name on the ballot as a candidate for the U.S. Senate. Both she and Rep. Chris Van Hollen  filed their statements of candidacy with the Federal Election Commission in March, but Edwards is the first to file her certificate of candidacy with the state of Maryland, which is not required until February, CNS’s Dylan Reffe reports in MarylandReporter.com.

O’MALLEY KEEPS FAITH: Martin O’Malley says he is guided through a tough campaign for the presidency by his faith in the political process here, one that tells him that if he just keeps going, he can win over enough Democrats between now and February to defy expectations and become a real factor in the nomination fight, writes John Wagner in the Post.

KRESESKI MEMORIALIZED: It was a sad reunion of sorts for many members of the Bob Ehrlich administration — some now part of Larry Hogan’s administration — as both governors bid farewell to Steve Kreseski, who died last month at 58. Hogan, 59, and Ehrlich, 57, eulogized Kreseski at a packed memorial Mass at St. Peter’s Catholic Church on Capitol Hill in Washington attended by more than 400, Len Lazarick reports for MarylandReporter.com.

MO CO PESTICIDES: Montgomery County’s debate over where and how to ban cosmetic lawn pesticides heats up again next week as Council President George Leventhal defends his far-reaching bill against a more narrowly drawn alternative, Bill Turque reports for the Post.

CROWDED RACE FOR MAYOR: Fraser Smith of WYPR-FM talks to the Sun’s Yvonne Wenger about the Baltimore City mayoral race.  So far, a number of candidates have announced their bids – former Mayor Sheila Dixon, Councilman Carl Stokes, state Sen. Catherine Pugh, as well as others and there’s chatter for more.  Will all these candidates benefit current Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake by cancelling each other out? Or will they challenge her record and create a pathway for a new mayor?