State Roundup, February 2, 2016

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O’MALLEY OUT AFTER IOWA: Former Gov. Martin O’Malley announced the suspension of his presidential campaign Monday night, following a dismal showing in the Iowa caucuses that effectively ended his long-simmering White House ambitions, writes John Wagner in the Post.

DEM LEADERS ADDRESS PAY GAP, COLLEGE DEBT: Democratic leaders of the Maryland General Assembly announced Monday three policy proposals they believe will benefit the middle class, whether in the classroom, at the office or during their golden years, writes Elisha Sauers in the Capital Gazette. House Speaker Michael  Busch and Senate President Mike Miller, along with key sponsors, presented their agenda at a news conference to address gender pay gap, college student debt and retirement savings.

CRUSADE FOR MENTAL HEALTH REFORM: Fenit Nirappil of the Post writes about Vontasha Simms, who borrowed a car Monday to drive the 45 minutes from her home in Waldorf  to Annapolis hoping to talk to state lawmakers about mental-health reform legislation bearing the name of her dead grandson. She had never been to the State House complex before, and didn’t recognize House Speaker Michael Busch  or top aides to Senate President Mike Miller as they walked past her outside.

OF MICHIGAN & MARYLAND: In an interesting comparison, Josh Kurtz of Center Maryland asks: What does the drinking water crisis in Flint, Mich., have to do with Maryland?  While there is plenty of blame to go around for the grievous contamination of Flint’s water supply, it happened on the watch of a businessman governor, Rick Snyder (R) – who was swept into office promising to scale back taxes and regulations, run government like a business, and do everything in his power to boost business interests in the state.

GIVING MO CO KIDS, LEGAL ALIENS THE VOTE: The Montgomery County House Delegation Education committee approved a proposal that could allow legal aliens and 16- and 17-year-old students to vote in local school board elections. Del. David Moon, a Takoma Park Democrat and sponsor of MC 25-16, said that with Montgomery County’s rise of legal immigrants, non-citizen parents should have the right to vote in county school board elections, writes Christine Stoddard for MarylandReporter.com.

APPEALING TO EMOTION: Laslo Boyd, writing in MarylandReporter.com, asks: How many times have you heard someone describe an action or policy they oppose as comparable to the Holocaust?  How many times have you heard a political opponent characterized as similar to Hitler?  We are in an era of political figures engaging in speech that is extreme and inflammatory.  Those who do so often defend their language as not giving into “political correctness,” but what they really demonstrate is their own lack of appreciation of the original evil and a naked appeal to emotion rather than reason.

CUMMINGS HASN’T FILED – FOR ANY SEAT: For a couple of hours Monday, the long wait to see whether Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) would run for Senate seemed to be over. The Maryland State Board of Elections website listed Cummings as a candidate for reelection to his current seat in Congress, which would mean he had chosen not to run for the Democratic nomination to succeed longtime U.S. Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski. But, elections officials and Cummings’ spokesman said that the website was wrong, report Julie Zauzmer and Rachel Weiner  for the Post.

VAN HOLLEN LEADS IN MONEY RACE: Fourth quarter fundraising totals for Rep. Chris Van Hollen’s (D-Md.) topped $1 million in the hotly contested primary race against his House colleague Rep. Donna F. Edwards (D-Md.) to succeed retiring U.S. Sen. Barbara  Mikulski (D-Md.) in the U.S. Senate, Arelis Hernandez of the Post writes.

MATTHEWS, RASKIN  … AND TRONE: Former Marriott executive Kathleen Matthews and state Sen. Jamie Raskin (D-Montgomery) continue to hold, for the moment at least, a commanding financial advantage over five other opponents in the race for the Democratic nomination in Maryland’s Congressional District 8, Bill Turque reports in the Post.

IVEY LEADS IN 4th DISTRICT FUNDING: The leading fundraiser in the tight Democratic race for Maryland’s 4th Congressional District did not show any signs of relinquishing his margin with the latest quarterly report. Arelis Hernandez of the Post reports that Glenn F. Ivey, the former two-term Prince George’s County state’s attorney, raised nearly $200,000 in the last three months of 2015, according to the campaign.

TURNER DROPS 4th DISTRICT RACE: Prince George’s politician Ingrid Turner is dropping out of the crowded race for the 4th Congressional District to run instead for a judgeship in the County Circuit Court, report Arelis Hernandez in the Post.

STOKES PROPOSES 50% TAX CUT FOR CITY: Baltimore City mayoral candidate Carl Stokes wants to dramatically cut Baltimore’s property taxes, revive the city’s old practice of selling vacant homes for $1 and withhold tax-increment-financing subsidies from developers unless they agree to donate to newly created “community benefits” funds, writes Luke Broadwater for the Sun.

GLADDEN BACKS WARNOCK: State Sen. Lisa A. Gladden will endorse David L. Warnock for mayor today, saying Baltimore City needs a change and “he’s the change we need,” report Michael Dresser in the Sun.Gladden, who represents Northwest Baltimore, plans to appear with Warnock by the Thurgood Marshall memorial on Lawyers Mall in Annapolis to announce her support for the venture capitalist and philanthropist in his bid to succeed Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake.

LEGGETT CONSIDERS LIQUOR SYSTEM PRIVATIZATION: Montgomery County Executive Ike Leggett says he would be willing to develop options to privatize the Department of Liquor Control so that a state bill to end Montgomery County’s alcohol monopoly could be considered in the 2017 General Assembly session, Andrew Metcalf reports for Bethesda Beat.