State Roundup, October 22, 2015

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HOGAN TO ANNOUNCE BMORE TRANSIT PLAN: Gov. Larry Hogan will unveil his transit plans for Baltimore City at 10 a.m. this morning, months after angering advocates by cancelling a major light rail project and sending millions of transportation dollars elsewhere. Erin Cox of the Sun reports that Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake was briefed on the plan earlier this week and declined Hogan’s invitation to appear beside him in support of it, according to people with knowledge of the meeting. Hogan’s spokesman Matthew Clark said the plan is “something that we believe is going to be transformative to the city of Baltimore.”

PANEL PUSHES CHANGE TO POLICE RULE: Members of a legislative panel in Maryland have agreed that the group will recommend that the General Assembly reduce the amount of time police officers are given to receive representation before they cooperate with an investigation. Ovetta Wiggins of the Post writes that the sticking point is how much time should be given? Advocates have asked the group to do away with the “10-day rule,” arguing that it would be a step in repairing the relationship between the police and the community.

CAUCUS CRITERIA: A Maryland General Assembly ethics panel is weighing criteria for recognizing and allocating resources for official legislative caucuses. The issue of recognizing what makes a caucus is under consideration because of a new Latino caucus, which wants the same recognition as the black and the women’s caucuses, said Del. Bonnie Cullison, D-Montgomery. The Legislative Black Caucus of Maryland and the Women Legislators of Maryland have staff, office space and printing resources. The General Assembly supplements some of the costs for the caucuses, like benefits for the staff, Naomi Eide of CNS writes in MarylandReporter.com.

LESSONS IN REFORMS: Solutions to the redistricting problems in Maryland have never been an easy sell to the public at large, writes Len Lazarick as he assesses the history of reforms for MarylandReporter.com. Maryland’s Constitutional Convention of 1967 dealt with the same issues Gov. Larry Hogan’s Redistricting Reform Commission is grappling with. Maryland’s 1867 constitution was rewritten a hundred years later after a long-involved process by elected convention delegates much like the current General Assembly. But voters ultimately rejected the entire document, which had political opposition on many fronts, including its proposal for single-member delegate districts.

RUTHERFORD FILLS IN: Lt. Gov. Boyd Rutherford filled in for Gov. Larry Hogan as chair of the Board of Public Works for its second straight meeting Wednesday as the governor looked after his health, Michael Dresser of the Sun reports. Rutherford explained that Hogan had medical appointments. Hogan spokesman Matthew A. Clark explained that they were routine follow-ups after the governor completed a round of chemotherapy treatments last week.

MARYLAND CAPITALIZES ON FED GRANTS: According to an article by the Pew Charitable Trust’s Elaine Povich, with about $550 billion in federal grants going to state and local governments annually — funding everything from police equipment to wildlife management — the challenge for each state is to maximize its share of the federal money. Federal money makes up about one-third of state budgets. Some states have had more success than others at leveraging federal dollars, but all are trying to get better, according to organizations and study groups that monitor the grants. Maryland is considered so good at it that the state has a conference each year to pass on tips to others.

RESTRICTIONS AT GUN SHOW: The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission did not want to host the gun show that is expected to draw up to 2,000 firearms enthusiasts to Upper Marlboro on Saturday. Arelis Hernandez reports in the Post that attorneys for the organization concluded it had no choice. So it imposed safety restrictions that a spokesman for the National Rifle Association said are extremely rare — if not unheard of.

sauerbrey-dinner-ad_300x600FAST-GROWING COMPANIES: Of Inc. Magazine’s 5,000 fastest growing companies this year, 106 are based in Maryland, including numerous companies specializing in government contracting services. This year’s number is down slightly from the 120 companies that made the list last year, Anamika Roy reports for the Daily Record.

MONTGOMERY & ALABAMA: Laslo Boyd, in a column for Center Maryland, looks at voter suppression, voter ID laws and moves in the state of Alabama to close down DMV sites serving large minority populations and compares that situation with the recent kerfuffle in Montgomery County, where its Board of Elections attempted to move two early voting sites.

QUINN DROPS OUT OF GOP: Don Quinn, a 2014 state Senate candidate in District 30, resigned from the Republican Central Committee of Anne Arundel County and left the Republican party Tuesday, Brandi Bottalico reports for the Annapolis Capital. Quinn, who was elected to the committee in 2014, switched his party affiliation to Democrat.

VAN HOLLEN AIRS 2ND AD: U.S. Rep. Chris Van Hollen is airing the second television ad of his campaign for Senate in Maryland, a spot that focuses on his own record while preemptively pushing back on criticism from his opponent, John Fritze of the Sun writes. The article is topped by the video spot.

APPOINTEE DOESN’T EXPECT CONFIRMATION: With his confirmation still pending, Vincent G. “Woody” Spong expressed doubt Wednesday about the Maryland Senate approving his appointment to the Washington County Board of Commissioners in light of a recent allegation that he made an inappropriate comment to a female elected official. C.J. Lovelace of the Hagerstown Herald-Mail writes that Spong has met with state Sen. Andrew A. Serafini since a letter addressed to Spong from Washington County Board of Education President Donna Brightman went public Friday, alleging Spong had compared “facts” of the school board’s budget to “whores, using sexually-explicit images.”

SCHUH CONCERNED OVER ‘POT CITIES:’ Anne Arundel County Executive Steve Schuh brought his anti-marijuana message to south county Wednesday, calling cities here and abroad where pot is legal “a nightmare.” Rema Rahman of the Annapolis Capital reports that Schuh said, he’s been to cities where “marijuana culture has taken over” such as Boulder, Colo.; Amsterdam in Holland; and Kingston, Jamaica. “It’s not paradise on earth,” he said. “It’s a nightmare and I don’t want that for our county.”

GROUPS PROTEST COMMISSIONER: A coalition of advocacy groups will hold a news conference in Carroll today to ask the County Board of Commissioners to repudiate an opinion piece written by Commissioner Richard Rothschild, R-District 4, saying they believe it contains “irresponsible,” “hate-filled” and “un-American” rhetoric, Wiley Hayes reports for the Carroll County Times.