State Roundup, July 14, 2016

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MORHAIM SEEKS REMOVAL OF RX POT BARRIERS: A leading architect of the state’s medical marijuana program urged representatives of the fledgling industry Wednesday to pressure health care providers and hospital administrators remove obstacles to making the drug available to patients writes Michael Dresser in the Sun. Del. Dan Morhaim, the longest-serving physician in the General Assembly, told about 200 people at the first statewide conference of the Maryland Cannabis Industry Association that they need to be aggressive advocates as their business approaches its first legal sales — probably next year.

UNION TARGETS PAROLE & PROBATION VACANCIES: Officials of  Maryland’s largest state employees union are expected to highlight what they say is a concerning number of vacancies within the state Division of Parole and Probation. Bryan Sears of the Daily Record. The union has scheduled a news conference for today in Baltimore to discuss what it calls a “severe staff shortages of  parole and probation agents and support staff and the lack of hiring” at the agency at a time when it is preparing for expected larger caseloads as the state implements changes spurred by the new Justice Reinvestment Act.

COURT FINDS NO VIOLATION: Steve Lash of the Daily Record reports that a Salisbury martial-arts instructor who engaged in sexually explicit telephone calls and emails with a 15-year-old female student outside of class did not violate a Maryland law prohibiting sexual exploitation of a minor by someone with temporary care, custody or supervision of the child, a divided Maryland top court ruled Tuesday.

52 GRANTS AWARDED FOR HERITAGE TOURISM: The Maryland Heritage Area Authority has awarded 52 matching grants totaling $2.69 million  to Maryland nonprofits, local jurisdictions and other heritage tourism organizations. Those include museums and historic preservation, natural resources, cultural and educational organizations, according to the Annapolis Capital.

LIFE ON THE EDGE: Tom Horton, journalist, teacher and expert on wildlife and the Chesapeake Bay, writes about a place where life abounds even in these precarious times of climate change, and takes the reader on a kayak journey to where water and land meet to see what is there.

NARAL BACKS VAN HOLLEN: Rep. Chris Van Hollen, the Democratic nominee seeking Maryland’s open Senate seat, picked up the endorsement Wednesday of NARAL Pro-Choice America — a predictable nod that nevertheless underscored the effort both candidates are making to connect with women, reports John Fritze in the Sun.

HAYDEN OK’d TO HEAD LIBRARY OF CONGRESS: The longtime leader of Baltimore’s public library system was confirmed by the Senate on Wednesday to head the Library of Congress despite concerns from some conservative lawmakers about her past position on a law intended to limit children’s access to pornography at schools and libraries, writes John Fritze in the Sun.

McKESSON MEETS WITH OBAMA: Activist and top executive in Baltimore City’s public schools DeRay McKesson was among those who met with President Barack Obama on Wednesday to discuss community policing and criminal justice, according to a report at WJZ-TV.

SPEAKING WITH SCHUH: In our occasional series Focus on the Counties for WYPR-FM, Tom Hall speaks with Anne Arundel County Executive Steven Schuh, who Schuh campaigned on a 5-point platform of economic, social and environmental reforms, including: cutting taxes; accelerating school construction and building smaller neighborhood schools; improving public safety systems; reforming county-government agencies to make them more responsive to residents; and cleaning up the county’s waterways.