State Roundup, May 24, 2016

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GUN CONTROL GROUP SEEKS SAY IN SENATE RACE: A Maryland advocacy group is seeking to inject gun control into the contest to replace retiring Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski, calling on congressional candidates to support a federal handgun licensing bill that was approved by state lawmakers three years ago. In a letter to House and Senate nominees, Marylanders to Prevent Gun Violence asked candidates on Monday to co-sponsor a bill that would encourage states to require handgun purchasers to obtain a license, including at gun shows. The Maryland General Assembly passed such a requirement in 2013, months after the elementary school massacre in Newtown, Conn., John Fritze reports for the Sun.

KEFALAS BACKS SZELGA: In an op-ed in the Sun, Chrys Kefalas endorses Del. Kathy Szeliga for U.S. Senate, saying that “over the past year, I had the opportunity to travel the state of Maryland as a candidate for U.S. Senate and hear the concerns of my fellow citizens. Their message was consistent that we cannot afford more of the same in Washington, D.C. … Rather than close doors and put up walls, we must welcome anyone who is willing to roll up their sleeves and join our fight. These are things I know Delegate Szeliga can do.”

STRENGTHENING EQUAL PAY LAW: Zenitha Prince of the Afro writes that Gov. Larry Hogan last week signed legislation that strengthens the state’s equal pay law. The bill increases transparency, shining a light on possible pay disparities by prohibiting businesses from penalizing employees who disclose or discuss their salary.

FINAL TALLY ON BALLOT SCREWUP: About 1,650 ballots cast in Baltimore’s primary election were handled improperly, a state review has found — prompting some to question the validity of the election results, reports Luke Broadwater in the Sun. The State Board of Elections concluded that 1,188 provisional ballots were inappropriately scanned into the vote tally on Election Day — without judges verifying that the voters were eligible — and 465 other provisional ballots were not considered.

NERO VERDICT & POLS OUT OF STATE: As the judgment came down in the trial of Baltimore Police Officer Edward Nero Monday, the leaders of the state of Maryland and the city of Baltimore were out of town at a convention in Las Vegas. Attending the International Council of Shopping Centers convention were Gov. Larry Hogan, Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, City Council President Jack Young, City Councilman Carl Stokes and state Sen. Catherine Pugh, who won the Democratic primary for mayor last month, Luke Broadwater and Erin Cox report for the Sun.

WHAT A LITTLE JUSTICE LOOKS LIKE: Len Lazarick of MarylandReporter.com writes that after reading Judge Barry Williams 25-page explanation of his not guilty verdicts in the trial of Baltimore Police Officer Edward Nero, it can easily be said that this is what a little justice looks like. Experienced African American defense attorneys who weighed in on the case — Dwight Pettit, Warren Brown, Del. Curt Anderson — found the judge’s decision sound, as did their white colleagues.

MOSBY’S DETRACTORS, ADMIRERS REACT: Steve Lash of the Daily Record writes that Officer Edward Nero’s acquittal has fueled detractors and admirers of Baltimore City State’s Attorney Marilyn J. Mosby – one year to the month after her impassioned but controversial speech pledging to “deliver justice for Freddie Gray.”

BDC VIOLATED STATE OPEN MEETINGS LAW: The Baltimore Development Corporation violated state law in March when it shut reporters out of two meetings about the Port Covington TIF financing package and failed to disclose its reasons for doing so, the Maryland Open Meetings Compliance Board ruled in a decision released Monday, Fern Shen of Baltimore Brew is reporting.

MUSLIM WOMEN TEST POLITICAL WATERS: A younger generation of Muslim American women is testing the political waters in the Maryland suburbs, urged on by ambitious men like Shukoor Ahmed and Hamza Khan, 28, a Democratic activist who chairs the Muslim Democratic Club of Montgomery County, Pamela Constable writes for the Post.

JUDGE HALTS ARUNDEL SBNC CHANGE: An Anne Arundel judge temporarily has halted a law to change the School Board Nominating Commission from taking effect June 1, Cindy Huang of the Annapolis Capital reports. Citing violation of separation of powers, Circuit Court Judge William C. Mulford II said Monday the General Assembly targeted the governor’s appointees by replacing them with representatives from local groups.

6 NOMINATED TO AA SCHOOL BOARD: The body that vets and recommends applicants for the Anne Arundel County Board of Education on Monday nominated six candidates for two seats that will open next year, over the objections of some members who said the vote was premature. The names will be passed on to Gov. Hogan, who will appoint one candidate for each open seat on the school board, Amanda Yeager reports for the Annapolis Capital.

CUMMINGS HEADS DEM PLATFORM PANEL: Baltimore Rep. Elijah E. Cummings will chair the committee charged with developing the Democratic Party’s platform ahead of its nominating convention in July — a role that could put him in the middle of policy disputes between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders, writes John Fritze for the Sun.