State Roundup, January 26, 2016

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MILLER PREDICTS BUDGET BATTLE: Maryland Senate President Mike Miller said he expects a battle to ensue over Gov. Larry Hogan’s $42.3 billion budget proposal this session, writes Ovetta Wiggins in the Post. “I predict we’ll be here the last day arguing over the budget,” Miller told the Senate on Monday night. Hogan released his budget proposal to legislative leaders last week. Fiscal analysts are scheduled to give a briefing on the budget to lawmakers on Tuesday.

MORE JUDGE SPOTS SOUGHT: After two years without any additional judges, the Maryland Judiciary is hopeful that some of the most bogged-down jurisdictions will see additions to their ranks in the next fiscal year, reports Heather Cobun for the Daily Record. Two bills cross-filed in the General Assembly propose to add 11 circuit court judges and two district court judges as a part of the multi-year plan the Judiciary was asked to implement in 2011.

GOV’T INACTION RULED A ‘TAKING:’ Maryland property owners can seek compensation from the state when the value of their land declines due to the government’s failure to act to protect it as required by statute, the state’s top court has ruled. Steve Lash of the Daily Record reports that such governmental inaction is the practical equivalent to the government lawfully and affirmatively condemning a person’s property for a public purpose, such as the construction of a needed hospital or road, the Court of Appeals said in its 4-3 decision.

PLOWING POLITICS: Few issues are able to rile an electorate or strike fear in elected leaders like snow removal, reports Doug Donovan for the Sun. Elections have been lost after failed plowing efforts, accusations are routinely hurled about rich neighborhoods getting cleared first, and elected officials sometimes sound alarms over perceived political slights.Howard County Executive Howard Kittleman said Lt. Gov. Boyd Rutherford was needed in Annapolis to help manage the statewide storm response, and so he made an exception to his rule about not extending plowing preferences to elected officials.

DGS SAVES DAY FOR LAWMAKERS: Monday was no snow-day for the General Assembly — and for the workers of the Department of General Services who made sure the sidewalks were clean and sanded to allow the lawmakers safe passage into their Annapolis offices and around State House, write Michael Dresser and Pamela Wood for the Sun.

IMPACT OF SNOWSTORM: Elisha Sauers of the Annapolis Capital reports that, with efforts ongoing to dig out of the weekend’s massive snowstorm, officials estimate its impact on the area could total millions of dollars. State and local governments are racking up costs to pay crews overtime wages, bring in additional help to plow roads and douse sidewalks and roads with salt. The private sector, with most stores closed and limited customer access, has lost potential sales.

POLLING SICK LEAVE SUPPORT: Support for a proposal to require businesses in Maryland to provide paid sick leave to employees drops precipitously when coupled with questions about possible impacts to jobs and benefits, according to a poll conducted by opponents of the effort, reports Bryan Sears for the Daily Record.

2018 RACE FOR GOVERNOR: Josh Kurtz of Center Maryland writes about the bevy of potential gubernatorial hopefuls that seem to be dancing around Annapolis, many with substantial war chests. Included in the list are U.S. Rep. John Delaney, U.S. Labor Secretary Tom Perez and of course Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz and Prince George’s County Executive Rushern Baker.

IRETON TO CHALLENGE HARRIS: A former mayor of Salisbury is expected to launch an uphill campaign for Congress on Tuesday, hoping to unseat incumbent Rep. Andy Harris, the state’s only Republican in Washington. James P. Ireton, a Democrat who led the Eastern Shore’s largest city from 2009 to 2015 and who currently serves on the Salisbury City Council, has scheduled an event in Crisfield to announce his decision, John Fritze reports for the Sun.

TRONE CONSIDERS RUN FOR CONGRESS: David Trone, a co-owner of Bethesda-based Total Wine & More, is seriously considering a run for the Democratic nomination in the 8th Congressional District, and is expected to announce a decision later this week, Louis Peck reports for Bethesda Beat.

  • The entry of Trone, a multi-millionaire and major Democratic donor who lives in Potomac, would seriously scramble the race for the seat being vacated by Rep. Chris Van Hollen, who is running for the U.S. Senate, writes Bill Turque in the Post. Trone could easily self-fund a campaign against the seven contenders in the April 26 Democratic primary.

PLASTER RUNS FOR CONGRESS: Mark Plaster is running for Congress in an attempt to unseat John Sarbanes, whom he calls a career politician. Plaster, a former emergency room physician and head of a publishing house, has been traveling around the 3rd District to introduce himself to voters. Len Lazarick writes about him for MarylandReporter.com.

FEAR & LOATHING IN THE GOP: Laslo Boyd in a column for MarylandReporter.com writes that Republican presidential hopefuls and front-runners Donald Trump and Ted Cruz set off alarm bells on both ends of the political spectrum.  Establishment Republicans fear that having either of them as the party’s presidential candidate will have dire consequences for candidates up and down the ticket.  Democrats hope for that outcome but fear the impact on cherished programs to say nothing of future Supreme Court appointees if either Trump or Cruz should manage to win the presidency.

BIRTHDAYS: Happy Birthday to Dels. Nic Kipke and Haven Shoemaker, and belated HBD to Rep. Andy Harris on Monday.