State Roundup, July 11, 2016

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OFFICIALS REACT TO DALLAS: Sun reporters gathered reaction from Maryland officials on the shooting deaths of five police officers and the wounding of seven others in Dallas, where a protest about recent police shootings elsewhere was being held Thursday.

  • Here’s Hogan’s full statement from Josh Hicks of the Post.
  • In MarylandReporter.com, Del. Cheryl Glenn, chair of the Legislative Black Caucus, writes: “We cannot allow these deplorable acts to define our relationship with the men and women charged to protect us. The vast majority of law enforcement officers are good cops – a few bad apples, a few disconnected officers, do not define all police everywhere.”

PUGH ON DALLAS, POLICE SHOOTINGS: Sen. Catherine Pugh, the Democratic nominee for mayor of Baltimore City, spoke about last week’s events in Dallas, Baton Rouge and near Minneapolis.  She tells Jeff Salkin of Maryland Public Television’s State Circle program, “…we want our communities to respect the police but we need the police to respect the communities as well.”

ACTIVIST McKESSON ARRESTED: Prominent Black Lives Matter activist DeRay McKesson was released Sunday after a night in jail following his arrest in Baton Rouge while protesting the police killing of a black man. McKesson, 31, had waged an unsuccessful campaign for mayor this spring, and now works for the Baltimore public schools as interim chief of human capital, responsible for staffing and dealing with reform, according to an AP report in the Frederick News Post.

NEW DRIVERS LICENSES: Beginning today, you’ll have to wait a little longer to get your hands on a new Maryland driver’s license, Tamela Baker reports in the Hagerstown Herald Mail. Because of security enhancements being added to all driver’s licenses, learner’s permits and state identification cards issued or renewed after this week, the cards will be mailed to applicants within a week to 10 days of application rather than being distributed at MVA offices.But if you’re in a hurry, MVA will also offer a next-day delivery option through the postal service.

‘DE FACTO’ PARENTS GET RIGHTS: In a followup to an earlier AP story, Fenit Nirappil reports that Maryland’s highest court ruled that family-court judges can consider whether a person is a “de facto” parent in custody and visitation cases. Advocates say Maryland was one of few states that considered such parents strangers in the eyes of the law.

DESPITE OPPOSITION, SYRIANS MOVE IN: Dozens of Syrian refugees were settled in Maryland and Virginia in June, part of a sharp nationwide increase as the U.S. government scrambles to meet its goal of admitting 10,000 refugees in fiscal 2016, reports Fenit Nirappil for the Post. The surge has come despite opposition from more than half of the nation’s governors, including Maryland’s Larry Hogan (R), all of whom say they are not satisfied with the federal government’s assurances that refugees are carefully vetted and screened.

HEADED TO INTERNATIONAL AIR SHOW: Lt. Gov. Boyd Rutherford is leading a delegation of Maryland companies to the Farnborough International Air Show. The show begins today in Hampshire, England. It is one of the largest aerospace and defense trade shows in the world, according to an AP story at WTOP-AM.

AID TO AT-RISK TEENS DELAYED: A decision to delay the release of $1.8 million in state funds intended to pay for services to at-risk teens has resulted in layoffs at two centers, reports Bryan Sears for the Daily Record. Advocates say the eight centers serving more than 2,500 teens receiving counseling and suicide prevention and substance assessments in Anne Arundel, Baltimore and Prince George’s counties were targeted because of a misinterpretation of data that suggests those organizations were underperforming.

HOGANS TAKE FARM ED TOUR: Acres of corn stood behind George Mayo, executive director of the Maryland Agricultural Education Foundation, as he guided Gov. Larry Hogan and first lady Yumi Hogan around the nonprofit foundation’s Harford County home near Havre de Grace. The Hogans spent nearly an hour touring offices at the Agricultural Center and three trailers that the foundation takes to schools and community events throughout the state so students can learn about the science behind raising crops, livestock and aquaculture, David Anderson writes in the Aegis.

LOCAL GOP SPLIT OVER HOGAN ON TRUMP: As Republicans across the country try to coalesce behind their controversial presidential nominee next week, Gov. Larry Hogan won’t be among them, write Erin Cox and Michael Dresser in the Sun. Some deride the Republican governor for his repudiation of Trump. Some forgive him. Some agree with him. Others are baffled that he couldn’t stay quiet.

THE ISSUE IS RASCOVAR: Rick Williams, in a column for MarylandReporter.com, criticizes columnist Barry Rascovar who tends to criticize Gov. Larry Hogan. Williams writes: “It’s Rascovar that’s at it again, not Hogan. Talk about your ‘phony story line’ and ‘hot air lacking factual back-up.’ That’s your Democrat columnist for sure.” Len Lazarick responds by suggesting that more conservative voices should step up to the plate to write about state government and politics.

POT RESEARCH PROMISE, WITH CAVEAT: A Wicomico County based company hoping to grow medical marijuana in Maryland has promised $20 million to support cannabis research, writes Daniel Leaderman for the Daily Record. That’s assuming, of course, that the company is granted the license it’s applied for — state regulators are expected to approve the first applications later this summer.

RX POT IN CARROLL A QUESTION: The debate over medical marijuana in Maryland is over: After an initial law passed in 2013 and subsequent updates were made in both 2014 and 2015, the state legislature and both recent occupants of the governor’s mansion have made it clear that they expect medical cannabis to be made available to qualifying patients throughout the state. Exactly what that distribution looks like in Carroll County, however, is still somewhat undecided, John Kelvey of the Carroll County Times reports.

WALDEN, MAYORAL CANDIDATE, TO UNDERGO CANCER TREATMENT: Alan Walden, the Republican nominee for Baltimore mayor, said Saturday he has been diagnosed with bladder cancer and will undergo surgery next week. He vowed to continue on with the campaign, reports Luke Broadwater for the Sun.

AA COUNCIL TERM LIMITS QUESTIONED: Anne Arundel County Council members are considering whether two terms is enough time in office. Amanda Yeager of the Annapolis Capital reports that 24 years after voters imposed term limits on the council, a new charter amendment introduced by Councilman Pete Smith would increase that limit from two terms to three — extending the potential tenure of a council member from eight years to 12. Smith, a Severn Democrat, says an additional term would build institutional knowledge on the council, benefiting constituents.

ENLARGING PG COUNCIL: Adding at-large seats to the Prince George’s County Council is not the only change to the charter legislators are considering for a ballot referendum next November, Arelis Hernandez reports in the Post. Lawmakers will hold a public hearing today to discuss enlarging the council as well as a second proposal that would require both the executive and legislative branches to seek legal counsel outside of the government when there is a conflict between them.

JIM KEAT: OPEN GOVERNMENT ADVOCATE: Barry Rascovar, in a personal column for MarylandReporter.com, writes about Jim Keat, the late Sun editor who worked tirelessly to make sure that government was open to journalists and citizens alike.

THE POWER OF CITIZEN VIDEO: While we still strongly disagree with some of the hidden camera techniques used by Project Veritas, its founder James O’Keefe makes some important and provocative points in a commentary on the transformative power of live-stream video. He writes: “The Facebook Live video of the shooting of Philando Castile in Minnesota and the live streaming of images of bullets ricocheting off building columns in Dallas were all caught on camera by ordinary citizens with cameras. We are witnessing new technologies which are transforming the way we perceive the reality around us. Journalism is changing more than ever now. … But what makes us pause is how devastatingly effective the video can be; video that was taken by a courageous woman in Minnesota.” You can read the whole commentary here.