July 22, 2016

State Roundup, July 22, 2016

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Carved watermelons were among the dozens of locally grown products at the annual Buy Local Cookout at Government House. First lady Yumi Hogan was serving up beef bulgogi; there were beef with crab sliders, lamb sliders, softshell crabs, rockfish, salads,  fresh oysters,  crispy poor with cornbread. Maryland-made wine and beer.

Carved watermelons were among the dozens of locally grown products at the annual Buy Local Cookout at Government House. First lady Yumi Hogan was serving up beef bulgogi; there were beef with crab sliders, lamb sliders, softshell crabs, rockfish, salads, fresh oysters, crispy poor with cornbread. Maryland-made wine and beer.

WITH APPOINTMENT, MD GOP LOSES MAJOR FUND-RAISER: Gov. Larry Hogan’s recent appointment of Louis M. Pope to the University System of Maryland Board of Regents means the state GOP is losing one of its most prolific fundraisers. In nearly two decades as a party official, Pope says, he has helped to raise millions for the state party and GOP candidates, including for former governor Robert Ehrlich during each of his three gubernatorial runs, Fenit Nirappil reports in the Post.

SCHOOL CONSTRUCTION FUNDS FALL SHORT: Leaders of school systems from around the state say state aid for school construction is not keeping pace with costs and legislative mandates, reports Bryan Sears for the Daily Record. As school construction costs rise, local school officials say they are increasingly squeezed by state aid that has flatlined while at the same time they are being forced to pay for mandated higher wages, stormwater remediation efforts and other requirements placed on them by the General Assembly.

COURT RULES MPIA LIMITED: The Maryland Public Information Act prohibits the state comptroller from listing abandoned property in order of its value, as that information would disclose personal financial information regarding their owners, Maryland’s top court has unanimously ruled. Steve Lash of the Daily Record reports that the Court of Appeals’ decision was a defeat for Henry Immanuel, who seeks a listing from most-valuable to least-valuable properties to assist him in his business of helping reunite people with their lost goods.

STATE GETS $1.4M TO FIGHT ZIKA: As the showdown continues between the White House and Congress over money to help fight the Zika virus, the CDC is doing what it can to prevent an outbreak in the United States. Nearly $60 million in funding, distributed through CDC’s Epidemiology and Laboratory Capacity for Infectious Diseases Cooperative Agreement will be awarded to states and cities to support efforts to protect Americans from the virus. Maryland will be given $1.4 million to tackle the virus, reports Ava-joye Burnett for WJZ-TV.

PORT’S TUNNEL PROBLEM: Donald Fry, in a column for the Daily Record, writes about the Port of Baltimore and its ability to accept massive cargo ships, making it an major economic engine for Maryland. But there is one problem — a recent decision by federal transportation officials to deny funding for a proposed improvement that would expand the Howard Street Tunnel that provides vital rail cargo access for the port.

MD GOPers UPBEAT AFTER CONVENTION: CNS staff, writing in MarylandReporter.com, report that moments after GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump finished his speech at the Republican National Convention Thursday night, Maryland delegates reacted with universal praise and optimism about his chances against presumptive Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton. With torrents of red, white and blue balloons falling from the ceiling of the Quicken Loans Arena onto the cheering crowd, Joe Cluster, executive director of the Maryland Republican Party, said Trump’s speech will likely draw in undecided voters.

ON THE TRUMP SPEECHES: Towson Professor Richard Vatz, in a column for MarylandReporter.com, takes a look at the most important speeches delivered on the final night of the GOP convention — Donald Trump’s acceptance speech and his daughter Ivanka’s introduction of him. To say Trump’s speech had to overcome some convention-induced deficits — Melania’s lifting of speech excerpts from Michelle Obama, Ted Cruz’s self-serving non-endorsement of Trump — is simply to cite the ongoing story of his political life, Vatz writes.

SCHUH BASHES CRUZ: In assessing Ted Cruz’s refusal to endorse Donald Trump at Wednesday night’s GOP convention, Marylanders attending had a lot to say, writes Jessica Campisi, of CNS. The story appears in MarylandReporter.com. “It demonstrates what we already knew about Ted Cruz,” said Anne Arundel County Executive Steve Schuh. “He is self-centered and a self-promoting politician who is already scheming to set himself up for the next election by torpedoing Donald Trump.”

PEREZ ON VP SHORT LIST: The Democratic National Convention starts Monday in Philadelphia. At some point before that, Hillary Clinton is expected to pick her running mate and a man with Maryland ties is said to be on the short list. Tom Perez is the U.S. Department of Labor secretary and a former Maryland Department of Labor Licensing and Regulation secretary under then-Gov. Martin O’Malley, WBAL-TV’s George Lettis is reporting..

O’MALLEY TO SPEAK AT DEM CONFAB: Former presidential candidate and Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley will speak at the Democratic National Convention as the Clinton campaign seeks to portray a message of unity in Philadelphia, John Fritze writes in the Sun.

ELECTIONS DIRECTOR PROTESTED: A coalition of concerned citizens and ex-felons are calling for the dismissal of Baltimore City elections director Armstead Jones, claiming he tried to suppress certain votes during the primary election. None of the claims are new, and Jones has already addressed all of them, Dave Collins reports for WBAL-TV.

BUY LOCAL COOKOUT: Carved watermelons were among the dozens of locally grown products at the annual Buy Local Cookout at Government House Thursday evening. First lady Yumi Hogan was serving up beef bulgogi; there were beef with crab sliders, lamb sliders, softshell crabs, grilled rockfish, salads,  fresh oysters,  crispy poor with cornbread, fruit tarts and Maryland-made wine, beer and ice cream.

CORRECTION: Yesterday’s Roundup about the death of reporter Helen Thomas failed to notice that she died three years ago on July 20. We’re blaming Melania Trump’s speechwriter for the mistake.