State Roundup, March 16, 2016

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SCHOOL DONATION TAX CREDITS: The Maryland Senate gave preliminary approval Tuesday to a bill that would allow companies to get tax credits for making donations to private schools, reports Pamela Wood in the Sun. The Maryland Education Tax Credit would give businesses a tax credit for 60% of the contributions they make to private schools or certain programs at public schools, up to $200,000. The bill calls for the state to give out up to $15 million worth of tax credits each year.

HOUSE OKs INTERLOCK BILL: A very convicted drunk driver in Maryland would be required to get an ignition interlock system for at least six months under a bill passed unanimously Tuesday by the Maryland House of Delegates, Erin Cox reports for the Sun.

GUN BAN ON CAMPUSES: Maryland’s Democratic-controlled House edged closer on Tuesday to a potential standoff with Republican Gov. Larry Hogan by approving legislation that would ban guns at the state’s public colleges and universities, Josh Hicks of the Post writes.

TAX RELIEF PACKAGE? A nascent Senate proposal to cut taxes in Maryland is being met with cautious optimism by some lawmakers and Republican Gov. Larry Hogan, Bryan Sears writes for the Daily Record. The first hint of a possible tax cut came Monday night as state senators got their first look at how the Senate Budget and Taxation Committee amended Gov. Larry Hogan’s second budget proposal.

A LONELY, ONLY ONE: Legislators must know that their bill is in trouble when they are the only ones testifying. Such was the case Tuesday for Del. Glen Glass, R-Harford, who testified before the House Judiciary Committee on a measure that would expressly prohibit police from pulling over drivers solely because they are permitted to carry a handgun, writes Steve Lash for the Daily Record.

OPEN SPACE PRESERVATION: The House of Delegates is moving forward on a proposal by Gov. Larry Hogan to keep transfer tax funds collected during real estate transactions for their intended purpose — preserving open space, agricultural land and operating parks and state forests, writes Bryan Renbaum for MarylandReporter.com.

AIR LAND ASSESSMENTS: A Senate committee’s version of Gov. Larry Hogan’s budget would bar the state from using aircraft flights over people’s land to assess their value for property tax purposes, writes Michael Dresser for the Sun. Drone flights have led to higher assessments.

JUDGE PROCESS BILLS KILLED: Four proposals to reform the process of selecting Circuit Court judges were killed Monday when the Judiciary Committee issued unfavorable reports, according to MarylandReporter.com. This is the latest failed attempt over two decades to prevent recently appointed judges from being knocked off the bench by challengers.

HOGAN URGES ON BIZ LEADERS: Gov. Larry Hogan told 500 business leaders Tuesday to “contact your legislators and tell them to put aside the partisanship and to work together with us on our pro-business pro-jobs initiatives,” Len Lazarick of MarylandReporter.com writes.

POLICE ACCOUNTABILITY: Karsonya  Whitehead guests hosts Marc Steiner’s show on WEAA-FM to look at legislation in the Maryland legislature on police accountability with Dayvon Love of Leaders of a Beautiful Struggle.

HOGAN FIRM ON LIQUOR BOARD APPTS: Gov. Larry Hogan doesn’t plan to nominate new members to Baltimore’s liquor board, even as lawmakers push forward a plan that would require him to do so, reports Pamela Wood in the Sun. Three of Hogan’s appointees to the board are in technical limbo. Senators have said they won’t confirm them, but haven’t taken an official vote in the Executive Nominations Committee or in the full Senate.

SAME OLD SONG, DIFFERENT MEANING: Danielle Gaines of the Frederick News-Post writes that the Senate had its first look Tuesday morning at a bill — supported by the Senate Education, Health and Environmental Affairs Committee — to update Maryland’s state song. The amended bill would change the song to remove certain verses and add a verse by Middletown-born John T. White.

OBAMA KILLS ATLANTIC DRILLING: Scott Dance of the Sun reports that the Obama administration has pulled back its proposal to allow oil and gas drilling off the Atlantic coast, relieving Maryland politicians and environmental advocates who had lobbied against it but frustrating energy companies and leaders in Virginia and other states who had visions of a coastal economic boom.

EDWARDS CHALLENGES ‘BORN TO JOB:’ Rep. Donna Edwards wants her supporters to know that Maryland Senate President Mike Miller  thinks Rep. Chris Van Hollen was “born to the job.” “Born to the job?” she wrote Tuesday in a fundraising email. “The fact is, our country’s systems and institutions have largely been led by people who have always looked like that senior elected official, not like me. . . . I don’t believe anyone in this country was born to anything.” Rachel Weiner of the Post writes the story.

TRONE ATTACKS RASKIN: Democratic congressional hopeful David Trone has sharpened his critique of state Sen. Jamie B. Raskin (D-Montgomery), one of his primary rivals, calling the longtime lawmaker “a polarizing figure from the left” who would be unable to build coalitions with House Republicans, Bill Turque reports for the Post.