DELANEY JOINS GOP ON REFUGEE VOTE: Rep. John Delaney was among 47 Democrats to join with almost all House Republicans, including Rep. Andy Harris, Thursday in blocking further admissions of Syrian refugees into the United States pending tougher vetting, CNS’s Sharadha Kalyanam reports in MarylandReporter.com. The restrictions, in a bill called the American Security Against Foreign Enemies Act, passed on a 287-137 vote, despite a veto threat from President Barack Obama. Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger, D-Timonium, was recovering from surgery and was one of only eight representatives who did not vote.
- In a MarylandReporter.com column, Len Lazarick writes that Gov. Hogan’s statement on Syrian refugees seemed much more of a Goldilocks policy statement ― not too hot, not too cold, not too big, not too small. He wasn’t closing the door, he just wanted to look through the peephole before he opened it.
- The House bill would require leaders of the nation’s security apparatus — the heads of the Department of Homeland Security and the FBI and the director of national intelligence — to certify that each candidate for resettlement poses no security threat. The administration said the current screening process is already rigorous and takes up to 24 months, Lisa Mascaro and Ian Duncan write in the Sun.
- In a commentary for MarylandReporter.com, Richard Douglas, a Republican U.S. Senate candidate in Maryland and formerly chief counsel of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, is suggesting that Congress retake control of the Visa Waiver Program legislatively and designate Naval Station Guantanamo Bay as a temporary transit and vetting site for Syrians hoping to come to the United States.
- Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson said Thursday that blocking potential terrorists posing as Syrian refugees from entering the U.S. is akin to handling a rabid dog. At a campaign stop in Alabama, Carson, a former neurosurgeon from Baltimore, said halting Syrian resettlement in the U.S. doesn’t mean America lacks compassion, the AP’s Bill Barrow reports in the Frederick News Post.
PROTEST OF HOGAN POSITION: Rema Rahman of the Annapolis Capital reports that a Harwood resident is organizing a protest today urging Gov. Larry Hogan to reconsider a request to keep Syrian refugees out of Maryland. A rally is scheduled from 4 to 6 p.m. on Lawyer’s Mall in Annapolis, according to a Facebook page that shows about 100 people interested in attending.
NO WALK IN THE WOODS: WYPR’s senior news analyst Fraser Smith takes a walk in the woods and thinks about the dangers refugees face on their journeys.
BARVE HIGHLIGHTS IMMIGRANT PAST: Amid the furor over refugees set off by last week’s attacks in Paris, state Del. Kumar Barve has made his Indian immigrant grandfather’s struggle with racism and xenophobia part of his own story in a new ad for the Democratic primary for Maryland’s 8th Congressional District, Bill Turque reports in the Post.
FROSH PROBES LEAD POISON SETTLEMENT BUYOUTS: Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh has launched an investigation into the practices of companies that buy structured legal settlements from lead poisoning victims — paying them less than the settlements would provide, Alison Knezevich reports in the Sun. Court filings this week in Baltimore and Montgomery County circuit courts show that the attorney general’s Consumer Protection Division is looking into whether companies involved in the sale of structured settlements have violated the state Consumer Protection Act.
MUM ON POT DETAILS: Groups handling the surprisingly high 882 applications to legally grow, process or sell medical marijuana in Maryland have reason to be hazy with details, said a leader at the Towson University program charged with reviewing submissions for the state. “We just don’t want anybody at this point feeling that we’re giving someone an advantage by sharing information,” said Daraius Irani, chief economist of the Regional Economic Studies Institute, which is overseeing evaluations and rankings of applications to do business under Maryland’s fledgling medical marijuana program, Rick Seltzer writes for the Baltimore Business Journal.
LOTTERY CHIEF GROWS MANAGEMENT: Six months after being named the director of the Maryland Lottery and Gaming Control Agency, Gordon Medenica announced Thursday he is expanding his senior management team. Bryan Sears of the Daily Record writes that the two newly created positions — chief operating officer and chief marketing officer — are part of a number of personnel changes Medenica said will more closely align the agency with its core missions: growing lottery sales and opening the state’s sixth and final casino.
DECLASSIFYING CHICKEN POOP: A group has organized a petition drive to declassify chicken manure as a renewable energy source in Maryland. Food and Water Watch, a consumer advocacy group, says the state categorizes burning animal waste and trash with its top-tier renewable energy sources, such as wind and solar power, which receive incentives. The petitioners believe incinerating poultry poop can be as hazardous to the environment as burning coal, Elisha Sauers reports in the Annapolis Capital.
HOGAN’S GOOD NEWS: Post political pundit Chris Cillizza on Tuesday sent out warm and fuzzies after a day of stories on the terrorism and bloodshed in Paris, focussing on Gov. Larry Hogan’s good news of his cancer remission.
EYEING LOWER SHORE ECONOMY: Less government but more infrastructure. Those contradictory themes reigned as a group primarily consisting of economic development specialists and elected officials outlined their priorities Thursday for improving the Lower Shore’s economy, writes Jeremy Cox for the Salisbury Daily Times. For their part, no one at the gathering, hosted by the Maryland Economic Development Association, said it would be easy.
GARDNER PRESENTS LEGISLATIVE PACKAGE: Frederick County Executive Jan Gardner presented a package of legislative considerations to the county’s General Assembly delegation at a meeting at Winchester Hall on Thursday, Danielle Gaines reports in the Frederick News Post. Gardner said she was proud of the package, which addressed issues ranging from school construction funding to changes to the county’s small-business tax credit. All but one item, which was a late addition, received a level of support from the County Council, Gardner said.
EDWARDS, VAN HOLLEN LOVE BALTIMORE: The two Democrats running for the U.S. Senate in Maryland are from the Washington suburbs, but they are suddenly popping up all over Baltimore City, John Fritze reports for the Sun. Reps. Donna F. Edwards of Prince George’s County and Chris Van Hollen of Montgomery County have appeared more frequently in the Democrat-rich Baltimore region in recent weeks than in any other part of the state — underscoring its battleground status in one of the nation’s most closely watched primary contests.
LEGGETT OPPOSES END TO MO CO LIQUOR SYSTEM: Montgomery County Executive Ike Leggett made his first public appearance in more than two weeks to vehemently oppose efforts by state representatives that could end the county’s alcohol monopoly, Andrew Metcalf writes in Bethesda Beat.