State Roundup, October 30, 2015

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JOBLESS INSURANCE TAX TO DROP: Some businesses in Maryland will pay less in unemployment insurance taxes next year because fewer people are applying for unemployment benefits, state officials said Thursday. Gov. Larry Hogan announced that the state’s Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund has grown by $125 million since January, Ovetta Wiggins reports in the Post.

HOGAN FOR PRES? Larry Hogan for president? That’s what blogger Rebekah Swieringa suggested this week in a post on her Red Millennial blog, offering six reasons why she thinks Maryland’s Republican governor — a first-time office holder in office less than a year — should eventually consider a White House run. Hogan scoffed at the notion, Ovetta Wiggins writes in the Post.

RAISE ANTE ON CUTTING EMISSIONS: Assured that Maryland is on track to significantly reducing its climate-altering pollution, a broad-based state commission called Thursday for the state to raise the ante by pledging to slash greenhouse gas emissions 40% by 2030, Tim Wheeler of the Sun is reporting.

REVAMPING MO CO LIQUOR CONTROL: When the Maryland General Assembly convenes early next year, state Comptroller Peter Franchot—a long-time critic of Montgomery County’s public liquor control regime—plans to propose legislation designed to inject full-scale private sector competition into the current system, Louis Peck reports for Bethesda Beat.

EXPORT BOONS: Donald Fry, writing in Center Maryland, urges Maryland to go after export markets in an effort to spur growth and counterbalance the state’s reliance on federal government money.

EMILY’S LIST BACKS MATTHEWS: Kathleen Matthews, the former WJLA anchor and Marriott executive running for the 8th Congressional District, picked up the endorsement of Emily’s List on Thursday — marking the second Maryland race the influential group has entered, writes John Fritze for the Sun.

CUMMINGS’ COME-ON: In an opinion piece for the Daily Record, Fraser Smith wonders why U.S. Rep. Elijah Cummings is waiting to make an announcement — any announcement — on a potential run for Barbara Mikulski’s Senate seat. He’d win if he got in, but he also may be harming both Donna Edwards’ and Chris Van Hollen’s fund-raising abilities by his continued mulling.

TRUMP’S VICTORY? It would have been unthinkable a half year ago, an idea too frivolous to even mention a few short weeks ago. But the Republican candidate everyone insists they don’t take seriously is suddenly in a position to actually become — dare I say it? — the next president of the United States. But, writes former U.S. Rep. Helen Delich Bentley in Voice of Baltimore, there are a number of ifs before Donald Trump can become president.

GOP CIRCUS TV: Yikes! This is how Republicans are going to pick a presidential nominee? The Reality TV Circus – also known as the GOP presidential debates – continued in Colorado Wednesday night and it was rip-roaring fun to watch. Barry Rascovar, in his politicalmaryland blog, writes not that we learned very much about the candidates’ abilities to lead the nation. Heck, no one got to speak for more than 10 minutes during the two-hour performance.

BIG QUESTIONS FOR POLITICAL RISING STAR: Arelis Hernandez of the Post writes about the twists and turns, and questions in the life of political rising star Cory Sanders, who moved to College Park two years ago, organized a neighborhood association at his apartment complex after a man was gunned down in the parking garage; founded a Democratic Club; and was appointed to two City Council commissions.

EHRLICH JOINS AA OFFICE: The Anne Arundel State’s Attorney’s Office brought a little star power to its drug court program Thursday when former Maryland first lady Kendel Ehrlich was sworn in as an assistant state’s attorney, writes Tim Pratt for the Annapolis Capital. Ehrlich, the wife of former Gov. Robert Ehrlich, will start work Tuesday as head of the drug court program in District Court. The article is topped by a short interview with Ehrlich after she was sworn in.

ACLU LEOPOLD CASE BACK IN COURT: The three-year-long case by the American Civil Liberties Union against former County Executive John Leopold is headed back to where it started: Circuit Court, Rema Rahman of the Annapolis Capital is reporting. A pre-trial hearing has been scheduled for Dec. 2 before retired Judge Arthur Monty Ahalt. The case will likely be heard in the judge’s chambers and not in open court, an attorney in the case said.

GARDNER WATCHES & WAITS: Jen Fifield writes about Frederick County Executive Jan Gardner’s arm’s-length attitude with the County Council, even when her proposed legislation is at stake. Fifield writes in the Frederick News Post that Gardner prefers to watch the council proceedings from her computer, allowing the council to freely discuss without her interference. But it may not be helping her cause.

WARNOCK FOR MAYOR? Baltimore City’s already crowded mayoral race may get another businessperson in the mix. David Warnock, a philanthropist and co-founder of private equity firm Camden Partners, is confirming that he will announce on Tuesday whether he will or won’t run for mayor. There has been heavy speculation for months that he is running as a Democrat in the April 26 primary. But he won’t confirm whether the rumors are accurate, reports Joanna Sullivan for the Baltimore Business Journal.