State Roundup, May 27, 2016

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MARYLAND STILL AAA: State Treasurer Nancy Kopp announced Thursday that Maryland has retained its triple-A bond rating from all three rating agencies for a $1 billion bond sale scheduled for June 8. The commentaries were fairly routine, with all three reports noting Maryland’s higher than average debt, but strong economy and prudent fiscal management. The agencies as usual also focus on the state’s high pension liabilities, along with its efforts to control pension costs and add to assets of the pension funds. (MarylandReporter.com)

Tawes Crabs and cakeCRABS WIN OVER TRUMP: While some prominent Maryland Republicans are headed west to Cleveland this July for the GOP national convention, others — including popular first-term Gov. Larry Hogan — are likely headed east. To the Eastern Shore. Hogan, who has made clear his dislike for presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, is among scores of Maryland politicos expected at the J. Millard Tawes Crab and Clam Bake, an annual schmooze-feast in a tiny town in Somerset County, Ovetta Wiggins of the Post is reporting.

BRUSH WITH LAW, TAINTED FUTURE: Tina Rosenberg, in an opinion piece for the New York Times, writes that in the United States, only those who are convicted of the most serious crimes get life sentences. But everyone who enters the criminal justice system can be marked for life. Even the briefest minor interaction with the justice system can leave someone with a criminal record — and a permanent barrier to a job, housing, education or an occupational license. Using Maryland as an example, she delves into what havoc can be wreaked when someone has even the briefest brief brush with the law.

ARCADE GAME RULES: A new set of proposed rules meant to regulate some arcade games in the state is meeting with the approval of distributors of the machines even though some say a 49-month battle has caused a loss of jobs and businesses, writes Bryan Sears in the Daily Record. The approval of the industry potentially clears the way for the Maryland Lottery and Gaming Control Commission to begin the lengthy process of finalizing the regulations that have been under consideration since 2012.

WELCOME CENTERS REOPENED: Gov. Larry Hogan is announcing the reopening of tourist welcome centers in far western Maryland and the Eastern Shore that the previous administration closed six years ago for budget reasons, the AP is reporting at WMAR-TV.

BDC ACKNOWLEDGES OPEN MEETINGS ERROR: Mark Reutter of Baltimore Brew is reporting that the Baltimore Development Corporation acknowledged its violation of the state’s Open Meetings Act,  stated that it will indeed comply with it, then closed Thursday’s meeting twice.

DEFENSE ATTY. ON DEFAMATION SUIT: Robert Lang of WBAL-AM interviews attorney Michael Glass on the defamation lawsuit he filed against city Prosecutor Marilyn Mosby on behalf of two city police officers who have been charged in Freddie Gray’s death.

PUGH TAKES PRIVATE JET TO VEGAS: When Baltimore’s Democratic mayoral nominee Catherine Pugh visited Las Vegas last weekend, she didn’t fly Southwest. She hopped a ride there and back on the private jet of a Maryland businessman and campaign donor. Pugh said she paid $650 for the trip on the private jet, similar to the cost of a commercial round-trip flight on Southwest Airlines, the dominant carrier at BWI Marshall Airport. She said she will list the trip on her next ethics disclosure form, Michael Dresser reports for the Sun.

SCANDAL IN PRINCESS ANNE: In a long piece for the Salisbury Daily Times, Deborah Gates details the friction between two Princess Anne town commissioners that has turned into charges of extortion against one, who is also barred from being near the other under a protective order. That means he can’t even go to town meetings. He also faces 35 years in prison and/or $35,000 in fines if found guilty of four extortion or theft-related charges.

LOH ADDRESSES CAMPUS POLICE INCIDENT: University of Maryland, College Park President Wallace Loh said in a campus-wide email Thursday that a recent incident in which campus police are accused of using excessive force against black students underscores the need for creating a “culture of inclusive excellence, where everyone feels a sense of belonging and security.” Carrie Wells of the Sun reports that university police used pepper spray to break up a party Saturday morning of mostly black students at an off-campus student housing complex. Police said they were responding to a report of fighting and that they were told a student had a baseball bat.