State Roundup, November 16, 2015

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REPLENISH PUBLIC FINANCING FUND: A top aide to Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan is calling on political parties to assist in fundraising to replenish the state’s public campaign financing fund, which helped vault Hogan to victory in the heavily blue state. Adam Dubitsky, Hogan’s policy director, told attendees at a University of Maryland forum on money in politics on Thursday that Hogan’s publicly funded gubernatorial run showed a rare example of campaign-finance reform in action, Fenit Nirappil and Scott Clement report in the Post.

EXPAND DUI LOCKOUT SYSTEM: Drunken driving causes on average 7,884 crashes in Maryland each year, killing about 170 people. Anything the state can do to reduce that number is welcome, whether through prevention, which is preferable, or enforcement — or a combination of both, as in Gov. Larry Hogan’s proposal to expand the state’s ignition-interlock program, the editorial board for the Frederick News Post writes.

UM STARTS $1B FUND EFFORT: The University of Maryland has quietly started its next capital fundraising campaign with an eye on raising more than $1 billion. In a wide-ranging conversation with the Washington Business Journal, President Wallace Loh said he hopes to build on his recent success, raising more than the record-setting multiyear Great Expectations campaign in the next three years.

REBEL PLATE BAN TAKES EFFECT: But while the commander of the Maryland Sons of Confederate Veterans flies his flags freely at home, the flag displayed on his license plate has been banned effective Nov. 17. Maryland Attorney General Brian E. Frosh announced in mid-October that all Sons of Confederate Veterans license plates featuring the Confederate flag will be recalled per a federal judge’s ruling in October. The recall makes Maryland the third state to ban the license plates, Brittany Britto of CNS writes in the Cecil Whig.

PAROLE CHIEF RESIGNS: The AP is reporting in at WBFF-TV that the director of Maryland’s Division of Parole and Probation is resigning after eight months on the job. The Post reported that Judith Sachwald told employees in a Nov. 6 email she was returning to consulting work. Her clients will include the agency she’s leaving, according to another email obtained by the Post.

RX POT FIRMS IN WA CO: Among hundreds of applications submitted to the Maryland Medical Cannabis Commission for licenses, three companies have announced they plan to build medical marijuana cultivating facilities in Washington County, Don Aines reports for the Hagerstown Herald Mail. Two of those companies, GTI-Maryland LLC and Harvest LLC, have operations in other states. The third, Peake ReLeaf, is newly formed and has proposed an indoor cultivation facility in Hagerstown. All three are privately held.

ACLU INTRODUCES VIDEO APP: Civil liberties organizations say a new smartphone application introduced into the Baltimore region will help increase accountability for law enforcement in the wake of a number of high-profile national incidents, writes Bryan Sears for the Daily Record. The Mobile Justice smartphone app, offered free of charge by the American Civil Liberties Union, is meant to provide the public with a way of video recording and reporting police officers encounters with the public, according to Susan Goering, executive director of the organization’s Maryland chapter.

BA CO’s RAIN TAX: Fraser Smith and John Lee, of the WYPR news team, examine the Baltimore County Council’s effort to phase out the storm water management fee, otherwise known as the dreaded “rain tax.” About half the people who showed up at a recent hearing were homeowners who are for the tax.

BEAR THE BEARS: Department of Natural Resources officials are trying to train those who live in areas with bear populations to “get along with bears,” Pete Jayne of DNR said. “We tell them to be ‘bear aware’ and to make sure they’re not creating attractions.” Unsecured trash and food, even pet food and bird feeders, can attract them, he said. Tamela Baker reports the story for the Hagerstown Herald-Mail.

CARDIN CONDEMNS PARIS ATTACKS: Sen. Ben Cardin, the top-ranking Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, condemned the Paris terror attacks on Friday, and said that those responsible would be brought to justice, John Fritze of the Sun is reporting. “Too frequently of late, France has suffered at the hands of terrorists seeking to cause havoc and devastation in Paris and in other cities throughout the country,” the Maryland lawmaker said in a statement. “This barbarism will never defeat the French people and the perpetrators of these heinous acts will be brought to justice.”

‘CAREER LEADER’ ENTERS RACE FOR CONGRESS: Warren Christopher, a District 4 Democrat running for Congress, kicked off his campaign at an event in Severna Park last week. Christopher, an Army veteran from Alabama, told a room of two dozen supporters at American Legion Post 175 that Congress needs a fresh face, Christina Jedra reports in the Annapolis Capital. “I am not a career politician,” he said. “I am a career leader.”

ERVIN BACKS EDWARDS: Former Montgomery County Council President Valerie Ervin, who was briefly a candidate for Congress this year, announced Friday she is endorsing Rep. Donna F. Edwards’ campaign for Senate, John Fritze reports for the Sun.

HOYER DEFENDS, DOESN’T BACK VAN HOLLEN: Rep. Steny Hoyer is steering clear of the Senate primary in Maryland, but the longtime legislator said Friday he doesn’t buy some of the criticism being leveled at Rep. Chris Van Hollen. Van Hollen, of Montgomery County, is running against Rep. Donna Edwards of Prince George’s County for the seat. Edwards has frequently questioned Van Hollen’s progressive bona fides, and has suggested he is too cozy with the banking industry, reports John Fritze for the Sun.

Lobbyist Lisa Harris Jones, left, and Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake attended the Iowa debate according to Harris Jones' Facebook page.

Lobbyist Lisa Harris Jones, left, and Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake attended the Iowa debate according to Harris Jones’ Facebook page.

O’MALLEY COMES ON STRONGER: Former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley, whose presidential campaign has struggled to gain a foothold, offered an unusually aggressive pitch in the second Democratic debate on Saturday, repeatedly criticizing front-runner Hillary Clinton, John Fritze reports for the Sun. After a somber discussion of the terror attacks in Paris, the three candidates quickly drew distinctions over Wall Street regulation, the minimum wage and what role U.S. policy has played in allowing extremist groups like the Islamic State to grow.

LEGGETT CRITICAL OF PAY REPORT: A report last week showing high-ranking county government officials are among the highest paid in the country spurred a highly critical response from normally even-tempered Montgomery County Executive Ike Leggett, Aaron Kraut reports for Bethesda Beat.

MO CO COUNCIL AGAINST LIQUOR CHANGES: Eight of the nine Montgomery County Council members sent a letter to members of the county’s General Assembly delegation Thursday expressing opposition to proposed state legislative efforts aimed at eliminating the county’s alcohol monopoly. The letter comes about two weeks after Maryland Comptroller Peter Franchot and Del. Bill Frick revealed separate proposals aimed at allowing private companies to compete directly with the Montgomery County Department of Liquor Control, Andrew Metcalf reports for Bethesda Beat.

NEW ENTRY INTO CITY MAYOR’S RACE: Luke Broadwater of the Sun reports that Joshua S. Harris, a community organizer and co-founder of Hollins Creative Placemaking, entered the race to become Baltimore’s next mayor on Sunday.

TRUMPED UP MAYORAL CANDIDATES: In an opinion piece for MarylandReporter.com, political commentator Barry Rascovar writes, “Let’s call it the ‘Trump Effect’ or the ‘Trump-Carson Effect.’ … In the campaign for mayor of Charm City – a dubious honor these days – there’s a veritable stampede of unqualified “outsiders” running to become the most powerful elected insider. They’re betting on the same public discontent that has rocketed an unqualified, mouthy billionaire developer, Donald Trump, and an unqualified retired pediatric neurosurgeon, Ben Carson, to the lead in early Republican presidential polls.”