State Roundup, September 30, 2015

Print More

DEMS URGE HOGAN TO PROTECT PLANNED PARENTHOOD: The national debate over Planned Parenthood funding spread to Maryland on Tuesday as Democratic lawmakers rallied in Baltimore and issued a letter urging Gov. Larry Hogan to commit to continued funding for the organization, Josh Hicks of the Post reports. The Baltimore demonstration was one of more than 200 “National Pink Out Day” events to take place at Planned Parenthood centers across the country in an effort to push back against hard-line conservatives who insist that Congress should defund the organization or else shut down the federal government.

Dels. David Moon, Montgomery, and Shelly Hettleman, Baltimore County, were among the Democratic legislators supporting Planned Parenthood at a Baltimore rally Tuesday. Photo from Moon's Facebook page.

Dels. David Moon, Montgomery, and Shelly Hettleman, Baltimore County, were among the Democratic legislators supporting Planned Parenthood at a Baltimore rally Tuesday. Photo from Moon’s Facebook page.

$15M FOR TRAILS: Michael Dresser of the Sun reports that bicycle and pedestrian trails will be the primary beneficiaries of $14.9 million in grants by the Maryland Department of Transportation, Gov. Larry Hogan announced Tuesday. The 63 grants will go to counties, municipalities and nonprofit groups for projects extending from Western Maryland to the Eastern Shore. The largest grants, totaling $7 million, will go to the C&O Canal Aqueduct at Williamsport in Washington County.

  • Washington County officials had hoped that the state would come through with funding for the approximately $8 million C&O project, which includes restoring and rewatering the aqueduct that last carried canal boats over the creek at Williamsport’s Cushwa Basin in the late 1920s. Kevin D. Brandt, superintendent of the C&O Canal park, said Tuesday evening that he was “just ecstatic” about the news, and town officials are sharing in his excitement, CJ Lovelace reports for the Hagerstown Herald Mail.

TAX REFUND EXCITEMENT: Fraser Smith and Karen Hosler, of the WYPR news team, discuss the reactions of Gov. Larry Hogan and Comptroller Peter Franchot to a Supreme Court decision that could lead to tax refunds for 55,000 Marylanders.

CANNABIS AS INDUSTRY: Bob Morgan, the former statewide project coordinator of the Illinois Medical Cannabis Pilot Program, provides an overview of the nation’s developing medical cannabis industry in this video chat with Center Maryland.

DIVORCE RULES EASED FOR SOME: When spouses in Maryland agree to split up and amicably hammer out a separation agreement, state law still makes them wait a year to file for divorce. That will change Thursday — at least for some couples — when a new law eliminates the waiting period for those without minor children who mutually consent to divorce and agree on a property split, the Sun’s Michael Dresser writes.

HIGHEST MEDIAN INCOME: According to 24/7WallSt.com, Maryland has the highest median household income in the country, with a typical earning more than $73,000 last year. The cost of living in Maryland, however, was also one of the highest in the country, with goods and services costing an average of 10.9% more than across the country. High median incomes and a low poverty rate — the second lowest in the country last year — demonstrate how Maryland has one of the most equitable income distributions in the country.

8 MD SCHOOLS EARN BLUE RIBBONS: Eight Maryland schools — six public and two parochial — were named 2015 National Blue Ribbon Schools on Tuesday by the U.S. Department of Education. The designation given to the most successful schools in the country went to schools in Anne Arundel, Baltimore, Harford, Frederick and Washington counties,  Liz Bowie reports in the Sun.

EBERLY ON GERRYMANDERING: Todd Eberly had been invited to speak before the redistricting commission last night. MarylandReporter.com runs his prepared remarks, in which he said in part that a critique of Maryland’s gerrymandered districts should not be viewed as an attack on the Democratic Party. “It’s not. It is an attack on a process that encourages both parties to substitute their needs and their agenda for those of the people and the voters.”

FROSH WEIGHS IN ON APPORTIONMENT: Maryland Attorney General Brian E. Frosh has joined 20 colleagues in urging the Supreme Court to uphold the practice of states apportioning their legislative districts based on total population and not just on those residents eligible to vote, Steve Lash reports in the Daily Record.

VAN HOLLEN CLAIMS STATE PROGRESSIVES: Rep. Chris Van Hollen said Tuesday that his campaign for Senate is capturing support from progressive Democrats — particularly those who vote in Maryland — despite his opponent’s effort to count the party’s liberal base as her own, writes John Fritze for the Sun.

DUTCH TO SEEK RE-ELECTION: U.S. Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger said Tuesday he will run for reelection rather than seek the Democratic nomination for Senate in Maryland, all but assuring his party will not have a Baltimore-based candidate in the race for Sen. Barbara Mikulski’s seat next year, John Fritze reports in the Sun.

***Len Lazarick of MarylandReporter.com will be on the C4 radio talk show on WBAL radio, 1090 AM, at 10 a.m. today, Wednesday, discussing the race for U.S. Senate.*** 

MAYORS’ CONFERENCE: Nearly 40 mayors from across the country will gather in Baltimore this weekend for the U.S. Conference of Mayors leadership meeting to discuss areas the 2016 presidential candidates should prioritize, Yvonne Wenger of the Sun is reporting. Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, president of the conference, will lead discussions that also will include economic development, community policing and the spike in homicides many cities saw over the summer.