State Roundup, April 5, 2016

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BILLS SIGNED: Gov. Larry Hogan signed the first three bills of this legislative session Monday — two praised by environmentalists and one that helps the survivors of a Harford County sheriff’s deputy who was killed this year, reports Erin Cox for the Sun.

  • The legislation, which takes effect immediately, raises the maximum age for receiving survivor benefits from 18 to 26, write Ovetta Wiggins and Josh Hicks in the Post. Senate President Mike Miller was visibly moved by the sight of ­slain deputy Pat Dailey’s sons. “We saw these two young men,” Miller said, before stopping.Unable to finish his sentence, he motioned to Hogan to continue.
  • Maryland is required to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 40% by 2030 after Gov. Larry Hogan signed legislation Monday morning, Christina Jedra of the Annapolis Capital reports. The Greenhouse Gas Reduction Act boosts existing emissions reduction rules passed in 2009. The governor’s signature commits the state to one of the strongest climate goals in the country, according to the Chesapeake Climate Action Network.
Hogan Miller Busch open space bill signing

Bipartisan bill signing: Gov. Larry Hogan, along with Senate President Mike Miller and House Speaker Michael Busch, signs bill restoring funds to Program Open Space surrounded by Democratic legislators, environmentalists and administration officials.

POLICING BILL HITS SNAG: A bill that would overhaul Maryland’s policing standards and disciplinary procedures hit a serious snag in the Senate Monday night, putting the legislation at risk with less than a week left in the General Assembly session, the Sun’s Michael Dresser reports.

INVESTOR TAX CREDIT: To the disappointment of Maryland’s startup community, the Angel Investor Tax Credit Bill is still in committee in both the House and the Senate and is likely to stay there as the 2016 session ends next week, Anamika Roy of the Daily Record reports. House bill sponsor Del. Brooke Lierman declined to comment on the record about the bill’s fate last week.

HOMEBUYER HELP: Several Eastern Shore lawmakers are pushing a compromise they say will help first-time homeowners absorb the cost of state-mandated fire sprinkler systems — and help restart new home construction in the region, Jeremy Cox for the Salisbury Daily Times reports. Bipartisan bills in the state House and Senate would create a tax credit of up to $2,000 for homebuyers required to install the systems.

AID TO BALTIMORE CITY: The General Assembly approved a temporary fix Monday to a problem that has contributed to Baltimore City schools losing $50 million in state funding over the past two years. On paper, Baltimore’s wealth appears to be growing at a rate faster than anywhere else in the state, a circumstance that would normally mean the city could take on a greater share of education costs, Michael Dresser and Erin Cox are reporting for the Sun.

AERIAL ASSESSMENTS SHOT DOWN: Amanda Yeager of the Annapolis Capital reports that Anne Arundel County’s property tax base could expand by more than $168 million in the span of three years if assessors are allowed to use aerial photographs to inspect homes and businesses. But General Assembly lawmakers this session appear to have shot down an attempt by the Department of Assessments and Taxation to use the photos for assessments in counties across Maryland, citing concerns about privacy and rising taxes.

JUSTICE REFORM: The House of Delegates approved a broad overhaul of Maryland’s criminal justice system Monday, setting up negotiations with the state Senate over a version it passed last month, the Sun’s Michael Dresser writes.

PENDING ISSUES: Lawmakers have just one week left to send bills to Gov. Larry Hogan. And unlike in past years, they can spend the final days focused on legislation with the $42 billion budget already approved and behind them. Fenit Nirappil of the Post writes about the seven issues to keep an eye on before the session adjourns April 11.

STATE STINGY ON PURPLE LINE SAVINGS: Some Montgomery County Council members Monday expressed frustration with the state for failing to share cost savings on the Purple Line with the county, Andrew Metcalf of Bethesda Beat is reporting.

FOR FANTASY SPORTS: In an op-ed for Center Maryland, former Del. John Olszewski Jr. tackles fantasy sporting gambling, an issue that has come before the General Assembly this year, and urges lawmakers to continue to make it safe, fair and legal for adults to play.

REJECT THIS NOMINEE: The editorial board for the Sun opines that one of Gov. Larry Hogan’s nominees to the Handgun Permit Review Board — a Montgomery County businessman — needs to be rejected by the Senate.

CLINTON’S MARYLAND TEAM: Adam Parkhomenko, the political operative who founded the Ready for Hillary super PAC, will lead Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign in Maryland, writes John Fritze in the Sun. Clinton’s campaign also announced that Quincey Gamble, a veteran political operative and Baltimore native, will serve as a senior adviser to the campaign.

ON JOEL RUBIN: Joel Rubin calls Jan. 27, 2015, the best and worst day of his State Department career. writes Bill Turque in the Post. He spent nearly three hours before the House Select Committee on Benghazi, answering questions from angry Republicans “It really made me recognize that you have to be in the fight,” he said. Now he is running for his party’s nomination to succeed outgoing Rep. Chris Van Hollen, hoping to use his years as an organizer, advocate and diplomat to advance the Democratic agenda in a Republican-controlled House.

EDWARDS AIRS AD: Rep. Donna Edwards’ campaign for Senate is pushing back on criticism from rival Rep. Chris Van Hollen about constituent services in her congressional office, telling the story of a voter who reached out for help in a new web video, John Fritze writes in the Sun.

RACIAL DIVIDE: The Democratic Senate race remains very much up for grabs three weeks before the primary, with voters sharply divided along racial lines, write Rachel Weiner and Scott Clement in the Post. Among all likely Democratic primary voters, Edwards leads Van Hollen by a statistically insignificant 44% to 40%. But likely black voters favor Edwards by a nearly 3-to-1 margin. More than twice as many white voters support Van Hollen as back Edwards.

DIXON PICKS UP SLEW OF ENDORSEMENTS: Sheila Dixon picked up 30 endorsements from elected officials, community leaders and unions Monday as she seeks to return to the mayor’s office. Among those endorsing Dixon at her Charles North campaign headquarters was state Del. Antonio Hayes and City Council members Mary Pat Clarke, Helen Holton and Ed Reisinger. Four unions and 18 community leaders joined in the endorsement, reports Luke Broadwater for the Sun.