State Roundup, October 14, 2015

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Sonny Minnick

DEL. MINNICK DIES: Joseph J. “Sonny” Minnick, a retired restaurant owner who served in the Maryland House of Delegates and was a popular member of the Dundalk community, died of a blood disease Monday at Stella Maris Hospice in Timonium, Jacques Kelly and Fred Rasmussen report in the Sun. He was 82.

TIP OF THE ICEBERG: The editorial board for the Sun writes that perhaps the most troubling thing about the fiscal audit of the Maryland Health Benefits Exchange that legislative auditors released Friday is that the problems they found — violations of procurement policies for single-source and emergency contracts, failures to verify that the work it paid for was actually done, insufficient protections for consumers’ personal data and more — are likely just the tip of the iceberg.

RETIREMENT PLAN PROPOSALS: A legislative task force is looking at potential legislation that would create a system of retirement plans for employees of small businesses. The idea is not new, but legislators now hope that expected changes in federal regulations will open the door to creating a plan, possibly a multiple-employer 401(k) style plan or state-managed pension system, that won’t burden small businesses or run afoul of federal laws on employee retirement benefits, the Bryan Sears of the Daily Record reports.

MD CofC CONSIDERS SUPER-PAC: Hoping to increase its clout on Maryland’s political scene, the Maryland Chamber of Commerce is considering whether to launch its own super-PAC, Michael Dresser writes in the Sun.

O’MALLEY FAILS TO RISE TO TOP IN DEBATE: Hillary Clinton defended herself against criticism that she has been willing to shift positions for political expediency as several lesser-known challengers — including former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley — used the first Democratic presidential debate Tuesday to subtly question her commitment to progressive principles, John Fritze reports in the Sun.

From Larry Hogan's Facebook page: "Today I finished my final round of chemotherapy. Over the last four months, I've undergone 30 days of 24-hour chemo, plus 3 surgeries, 4 spinal taps, and countless scans. I would like to thank the entire team at the University of MD Medical Center Greenebaum Cancer Center for their incredible dedication and the amazing work they do to save lives every day. They have kept me ?#?HoganStrong? and I couldn't be more grateful for their expertise and support!"

From Larry Hogan’s Facebook page: “Today I finished my final round of chemotherapy. Over the last four months, I’ve undergone 30 days of 24-hour chemo, plus 3 surgeries, 4 spinal taps, and countless scans. I would like to thank the entire team at the University of MD Medical Center Greenebaum Cancer Center for their incredible dedication and the amazing work they do to save lives every day. They have kept me ?#?HoganStrong? and I couldn’t be more grateful for their expertise and support!”

UM HONORS PARREN MITCHELL: As the University of Maryland, College Park weighs whether to rename its football stadium — which now honors an influential but segregationist early campus president — the school is renaming an academic building for Maryland’s first African-American congressman. Pamela Wood of the Sun writes that the Art-Sociology Building will be renamed in November for the late Parren J. Mitchell, who successfully sued in 1950 to be admitted into the university’s graduate sociology program.

GREEN PARTY CANDIDATE SEEKS SENATE SEAT: Margaret Flowers asked the 10 or so people in the back room of 49 West Coffeehouse to introduce themselves Tuesday night. Earlier in the day, Flowers had filed a declaration of intent to run for the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by Barbara Mikulski. She was speaking to the Anne Arundel County chapter of the Green Party’s monthly meeting about seeking the Green Party nomination for the seat, Brandi Bottalico reports for the Annapolis Capital.

RASKIN SEEKS TO BE ‘TRANSFORMATIONAL:’ Appearing before a gathering of local Democratic Party activists, state Sen. Jamie Raskin of Takoma Park said Monday that he aspires to be a “transformational” figure if elected next year to represent the 8th Congressional District, Louis Peck of Bethesda Beat reports.

AA TOP COP AIRS POT CONCERNS: The Anne Arundel County police chief predicted drug dealers will take advantage of the amount of medical marijuana allowed under Maryland’s new law and public safety agencies have no way to stop them, reports Rema Rahman for the Annapolis Capital. That was one of many concerns raised by County Executive Steve Schuh’s administration when it testified before the County Council during a work session Tuesday in one of the first public debates over a bill that seeks to ban cannabis operations.

PAID SICK LEAVE PROPOSAL DIES: A proposal to mandate paid sick leave died in a Prince George’s County Council committee Tuesday after an emotional debate that pitted the needs of workers against what officials described as the county’s fragile economic health, Arelis Hernandez of the Post is reporting.

HUMAN TRAFFICKING IN MO CO: An ongoing analysis by the Washington-based Human Trafficking Pro Bono Legal Center of civil suits filed nationwide against alleged labor traffickers supports the notion that human trafficking is a significant problem here: While the overall number of such suits filed over the past decade is relatively small, nearly 4% of them mentioned individuals or locations in Montgomery County, Lou Peck writes in Bethesda magazine.