State Roundup, February 23, 2016

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SCHOOL SUPER BILL VOTE: The Maryland Senate is scheduled to vote today on a controversial bill that would give lawmakers a role in selecting the state school superintendent and has been denounced by Gov. Larry Hogan (R) as political meddling, Ovetta Wiggins reports for the Post.

POLICING LEGISLATION HEARING: Lawmakers will hear testimony today on a bill that would make major changes in how police officers are trained and overhaul the protections given to officers accused of misconduct. The bill includes 21 recommendations by the Public Safety and Policing Workgroup, a panel created by Senate President  Miller and House Speaker Michael  Busch after riots erupted in Baltimore last year over the police-custody death of Freddie Gray, Ovetta Wiggins of the Post is reporting.

RETIREMENT PLAN BILL: Legislation to require businesses to offer retirement plans to employees or push them into a state-managed plan will not be as wide-sweeping as once thought, writes Bryan Sears for the Daily Record. Sen. Douglas Peters said questions about how new federal regulations may affect the proposal have raised strong concerns about whether the state could become liable for losses in a state-managed plan.

ALCOHOL SALES AT COSTCO: Arguing the measure would help keep alcohol sales tax revenue in Maryland, District 18 Del. Al Carr has introduced a bill that would allow beer and wine sales at the Costco location in Wheaton, Aaron Kraut of Bethesda Beat reports.

MENTAL HEALTH CARE: In a column for MarylandReporter.com, Sen. Guy Guzzone and Del. Antonio Hayes write that as Marylanders, “when we need healthcare, we expect to receive it. Mental health and substance use disorders — considered together as behavioral health — are no exception, but access to service can be challenging or frustrating for more than 1 million Marylanders who live with a behavioral health disorder.”

GOUCHER POLL

HOGAN GETS HIGH MARKS: A fourth statewide poll in five months shows Gov. Larry Hogan with high approval ratings — 63% of Marylanders approve of the job he is doing. The new Goucher College poll also shows 61% of Marylanders feel the state is heading in the right direction, while 24% thinks the state is headed down the wrong track. But the telephone survey taken last week also shows that there is still a partisan divide on many issues that the Republican governor must navigate to maintain his popularity, writes Len Lazarick for MarylandReporter.com.

BUT NOT SO MUCH THE GOP: The poll results were less positive for Maryland’s Republican Party as a whole, with respondents favoring Democrats on several measures of trust and willingness to compromise. There are more than twice as many registered Democrats in Maryland as registered Republicans, writes Josh Hicks in the Post.

AND DEFINITELY NOT LAWMAKERS: Marylanders don’t think state lawmakers are doing their job as well as Gov. Larry Hogan is, according to the latest Goucher Poll. Of those who participated in the poll, conducted by Goucher College, 44% approve of the job being done by members of the General Assembly. The legislature is in the midst of its 90-day session in Annapolis, writes Pamela Wood in the Sun.

SUPPORT FOR POLICE BODY CAMS: A new statewide Goucher Poll finds that an overwhelming majority of Marylanders support requiring police to wear body cameras, writes Len Lazarick for Marylandreporter.com.

Hunters from the Eastern Shore were demonstrating several days last week, protesting a bill, HB692,that would require any sales of hunting rifles and shotguns to go through a licensed dealer

Hunters from the Eastern Shore were demonstrating several days last week, protesting a bill, HB692,that would require any sales of hunting rifles and shotguns to go through a licensed dealer

SHIELD FOR ABORTION PROVIDERS: Citing a history of violence against abortion providers, Maryland’s top court on Monday unanimously upheld the state’s refusal to disclose the names of administrators, owners and medical directors who have applied for licenses to open surgical facilities that perform abortions, Steve Lash is reporting in the Daily Record.

OBAMA CALL TO HOGAN CONFIRMED: President Barack Obama was apparently among the many well-wishers who called Gov. Larry Hogan after he was diagnosed with cancer last year. Hogan mentioned the gesture in passing Monday at the White House during the National Governors Association’s winter meeting, according to a transcript of the call, Erin Cox writes in the Sun.

LINCOLN-REAGAN SPEAKERS: The former governor of Pennsylvania and a national conservative blogger will be the keynote speakers at the annual Lincoln-Reagan Day, the major annual fundraiser for the Anne Arundel County Republican Party, writes Meredith Newman for the Annapolis Capital.

TRONES DONATE $15M TO ACLU: Just weeks before his surprise announcement in late January that he was running for the District 8 congressional seat, Total Wine & More co-owner David Trone and his wife, June, made one of the largest donations ever to the American Civil Liberties Union. But the $15 million gift, intended to promote reform of the criminal justice system, was more than simply another instance of generosity by a wealthy couple with an adopted pet cause. Their story goes back 30 years, to Trone’s early foray into business, reports Louis Peck in Bethesda Beat.

SKOLNICK RUNS IN 8th: Shelly Skolnick is running for the U.S. House of Representatives to push Congress to have a better federal budget. The self-described moderate Republican is seeking Maryland’s 8th District seat. He will face off against Dan Cox, Jeffrey W. Jones, Liz Matory and Aryeh Shudofsky in the GOP primary April 26, Kelsi Loos reports in the Frederick News Post.

MATTHEWS BACKS VAN HOLLEN: Democratic congressional candidate Kathleen Matthews, who has frequently talked about the importance of electing women to Congress, endorsed Rep. Chris Van Hollen in Maryland’s Senate race on Monday instead of his leading female opponent, John Fritze of the Sun writes.

  • Rachel Weiner of the Post writes that in her endorsement statement, Matthews notes that Van Hollen has been her congressman for 13 years and is known for strong constituent service in the district she hopes to represent. “As a progressive Democrat and advocate for women and working families, Chris has represented my views on many important issues,” Matthews said.

PAINTER RUNS IN 6th: Former Cumberland resident Harold Painter hopes current interest in business-oriented candidates like presidential contender Donald Trump will help him win election to the U.S. House of Representatives. “I support Trump because he’s saying let’s bring some business acumen into the government,” said Painter, a 6th District candidate, during an interview with  Greg Larry of the Cumberland Times-News on Monday.

MFUME ENDORSES CLINTON: Former U.S. Rep. and NAACP President and CEO Kweisi Mfume endorsed Hillary Clinton for president on Monday, Matthew Hay Brown reports in the Sun. Clinton is trying to shore up support among African American voters and others in the face of Bernie Sanders’ insurgent campaign.

NEUMAN HEADS TO BA CO: Cindy Huang of the Annapolis Capital reports that former Anne Arundel County Executive Laura Neuman is selling her Annapolis home to move to Baltimore County with her husband and two children. The move bars her from seeking public positions in Anne Arundel but opens up opportunities in Baltimore County. But Neuman said she’s moving to be closer to extended family and not for political reasons.

BALD EAGLES FOUND DEAD: Federal wildlife authorities and a group of nonprofit organizations are offering a $10,000 reward for information that leads to a conviction in the deaths of 13 bald eagles found Saturday on a Caroline County farm, Ian Duncan reports for the Sun. Fish and Wildlife Service spokeswoman Catherine Hibbard said it’s still not clear how the birds died or whether a crime was even committed.

  • Officials with the Maryland Natural Resources Police said they received a call around 2:30 p.m. Saturday from a man who said he was out looking for antlers that deer might have shed. The man came across what he initially thought was a dead turkey in a field on a farm in Caroline County. He discovered it was four dead bald eagles, Dana Hedgpeth and Julie Zauzmer report for the Post.
  • Sam D

    There seems to be an issue with the link under Policing Legislation Hearing. It links to a google document that requires permission to view.