State Roundup, March 29, 2016

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HAMMERING OUT BUDGET DETAILS: General Assembly negotiators have agreed on the final details of the $42.3 billion state budget that includes extra aid for Baltimore City schools and no new taxes. A conference committee approved a budget Monday that largely follows the outlines of the spending plan submitted by Gov. Larry Hogan in January, writes Erin Cox and Michael Dresser in the Sun.

  • The Maryland Senate is expected to finalize the operating budget today, after a few senators hammered out a compromise with member of the House of Delegates on scholarship help for private school students, writes Ovetta Wiggins in the Post. The House could also vote on the budget bill today, meaning it would pass almost two weeks before the end of the 90-day legislative session.

SENATE OKs INTERLOCK LAW: The Maryland Senate on Monday overwhelmingly approved Noah’s Law, which expands the use of ignition interlocks for drunk drivers. The 45-0 vote came without debate, Pamela Wood reports for the Sun.

PSC NOMINEE GRILLED: Gov. Larry Hogan’s embattled nominee to the commission that regulates Maryland utilities told senators Monday night that he had done nothing wrong in discussing agency business with administration officials but pledged he would show greater independence in the future, reports Michael Dresser in the Sun.

PAY PARITY: The House voted to expand Maryland’s laws on pay parity among men and women a week and a half ago, but two Anne Arundel delegates have taken to social media to continue the debate, using Facebook posts to heap “shame” upon each other, reports Amanda Yeager for the Annapolis Capital.

PARENT ADVOCATES: Parents of children with special education needs lobbied the General Assembly earlier this year for a bill that would require parents to sign off on major changes to their children’s education plan, such as ending special education services and program placement. The bill was later amended to propose a work group to make recommendations about parental consent requirements in special education, Cindy Huang reports in the Annapolis Capital.

TRANSIT PROJECT PRIORITIES: Lawmakers and transportation advocates say they are confused by a Maryland Department of Transportation document that appears to signal an interest in creating a scoring system for statewide projects just weeks after the Hogan administration opposed legislation that would create such a program, Bryan Sears of the Daily Record writes.

STOP THE GERRYMANDER: The editorial board of the Post takes Maryland’s Democratic legislators to task for ignoring the wishes of the people when it comes to ending gerrymandering writing that — with two weeks remaining in Maryland’s three-month legislative session — Democratic lawmakers in Annapolis have stopped just short of extending a Bronx cheer to Gov. Larry Hogan’s proposal for nonpartisan redistricting reform. These self-interested elected lawmakers treat redistricting exclusively as an incumbent-protection racket.

BAKER URGES HOGAN ON HOSPITAL: Prince George’s County Executive Rushern Baker received the guarantee he was looking for last week from the Maryland General Assembly for funding a new teaching hospital in Largo. Now he’s trying to put pressure on Gov. Larry Hogan to sign the legislation, reports Tina Reed in the Baltimore Business Journal.

AA ED BOARD NOMINEES: The Anne Arundel School Board Nominating Commission recommended five candidates to Gov. Larry Hogan Monday for the District 33 seat on the Anne Arundel County Board of Education, Cindy Huang writes for the Annapolis Capital. (Anne Arundel is one of only four counties for which the governor still appoints the entire school board.)

VOTER REGISTRATION DEADLINE: The Hagerstown Herald Mail writes that Maryland voters are being reminded that April 5 is the deadline to register to vote in advance of the state’s April 26 primary elections. Voters also looking to change party affiliation, update their address and request an alternate polling place for the election must make those changes by 9 p.m. on deadline day, according to a Maryland State Board of Elections news release.

BACKING VAN HOLLEN, CRACKING AT EDWARDS: Former Del. Heather Mizeur, who also ran for governor, writes, in an op-ed in the Sun that it is the inglorious and gritty side of governing — assisting the individuals they are elected to serve — that is the most important responsibility of the job. On the constituent services scorecard, there is a huge difference between the candidates seeking to replace U.S Senator Barbara Mikulski, and Chris Van Hollen wins by a landslide. She goes on the outline the failures of Donna Edwards on the same score.

VAN HOLLEN-EDWARDS DEBATE: Scathing editorial aside, WJZ hosted a debate Monday between Edwards and Van Hollen. Scroll down to click on video links of the various topics they discussed. Of course, you will have to tolerate the obligatory ad at the beginning of each segment. Scroll down far enough and you’ll see them address Edwards lack of constituent services.

ENDORSEMENT, ACTION IN THE 8th: Louis Peck of Bethesda Beat outlines which movers and shakers are backing which 8th District Congressional candidates. The many U.S. House and Senate members within the district makes toting up these endorsements more interesting.

JAWANDO ON AIR: Will Jawando’s campaign for the District 8 congressional seat will start airing a 30-second ad this week in which the former U.S. Education Department official describes his upbringing in Silver Spring and ties to President Obama, Aaron Kraut writes for Bethesda Beat. The ad is embedded in the story.

PENA-MELNYK ON AIR: Del. Joseline Peña-Melnyk (D-Prince George’s) released her first television advertisement Monday, becoming the third candidate to take to the airwaves in the Democratic primary race to represent Maryland’s 4th Congressional District, Arelis Hernandez reports for the Post.