State Roundup, July 29, 2016

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Photo on home page: Maryland Democrats met former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani at a Philadelphia cigar bar. From left, House Majority Leader Talmadge Branch, Tabb Bishop, Giuliani, Del. Jay Walker and Todd Turner. From Gerry Evans Facebook page

$107M FOR SCHOOL CONSTRUCTION: The Board of Public Works approved $106.6 million worth of contracts Wednesday under a $1 billion plan to rebuild or replace aging Baltimore schools — but not before grilling system officials about their management of state money, Michael Dresser of the Sun reports. The five contracts comprise the second round of work authorized by the board under the system’s 21st Century Schools project, which aims to upgrade the city’s crumbling school buildings, the oldest in Maryland. The project is in its second year of construction work.

STATE TO STUDY GAMBLING ADDICTION: The state wants to know whether the rapid expansion of casinos in the past five years has led to an increase in problem gamblers. Jeff Barker of the Sun reports that, with five Maryland casinos and a sixth on the way, state-funded researchers said this week that they are preparing a survey to gauge how many people cannot control their gambling impulses in such a casino-rich region. The survey will take place next year, after the $1.3 billion MGM National Harbor — scheduled to open in December — has been operating for six months.

PRELIMINARY RX POT LICENSEES: The preliminary winners of lucrative licenses to grow and process medical marijuana in Maryland will be announced Aug. 15, more than a week after a state commission selects the highest-ranked applications, writes Erin Cox for the Sun. Maryland’s medical cannabis commission is scheduled to publicly review and recommend the highest-ranked applications Aug. 5. But since all identifying information about the applicants has been redacted, applicants and the public will not know the identity of the preliminary winners until 10 days later.

OYSTER HABITAT EFFORT: Teamwork from Maryland environmentalists — from elementary schoolers to nonprofit workers — could result in new oyster habitat, and consequently cleaner water, for the Chesapeake Bay, Christina Jedra reports for the Annapolis Capital. Maryland Coastal Conservation Association members and partners dumped 70 concrete reef balls into the bay on Thursday, the first deployment for the organization’s Living Reef Action Campaign.

TWO NAMED TO TRANSPORT AUTHORITY: Gov. Larry Hogan has appointed William H. Cox Jr., of Bel Air and John F. Von Paris of Upper Falls to serve as the newest board members of the Maryland Transportation Authority, which operates the state’s toll bridges and tunnels, the Aegis is reporting.

MIKULSKI URGES WOMEN TO BACK CLINTON: Sen. Barbara Mikulski told voters Thursday that Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton had spent much of her career focused on women’s issues, and urged women voters to return the favor this fall and “suit up” on her behalf, writes John Fritze in the Sun. Maryland, a state often overlooked in national politics, has been heavily represented in the Wells Fargo Center this week.

MARYLAND’S MILLENNIAL DEMS: CNS’s Jess Nocera and Andrea Cwieka report in MarylandReporter.com that despite their lack of years, millennial Maryland Democratic delegates said they brought a lot to the table at their party’s convention and will play an important role in the November election. With millennials making up approximately one-quarter of the American population, there has been a focus on the group during this year’s Democratic primary contest. And the youngest members of the Maryland delegation think the party is reaching out to them.

HEADED TO PHILLY TO CELEBRATE: Arelis Hernandez of the Post writes about a group of Marylanders that headed to Philadelphia for Maryland Day, a chance to reflect on the historic presidency of Barack Obama and possibility of a second one should Hillary Clinton be elected. The trip was organized by the state Democratic Party and Prince George’s County Executive Rushern Baker.

***Seeking motivated individuals to proctor assessment sessions with 4th- and 8th-grade students in schools for the National Assessment of Educational Progress. Must be available to work January 30 –March 10, 2017. Paid training, paid time and mileage reimbursement for local driving, and weekly paychecks. This is a part-time, temporary position. To apply, visit our website at www.westat.com/CAREERS and select “Search Field Positions.” Search for your state, find the NAEP Assessment Administrator position, and select the “apply to job” button. For more information email NAEPrecruit@westat.com or call 1-888-237-8036.***

CLINTON DELIVERS: Professor Richard Vatz breaks down Hillary Clinton’s nomination acceptance speech in this piece for MarylandReporter.com. But it wasn’t so much what this conservative commentator had to say about Clinton that was interesting as what it says about his own political views at this juncture in this race: He agrees with Clinton that Donald Trump is unfit to be president.

  • Maryland delegates for both Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton said they felt optimistic and united coming out of the Democratic National Convention that closed Thursday night, report Andrea Cwieka and Jess Nocera for Capital News Service in MarylandReporter.com.  After a nomination acceptance speech from Clinton that made her the first woman to head a major political party’s ticket, many from the Maryland delegation emerged from the balloons and confetti saying they felt uplifted.

MO’M SAYS DNC IN BAG FOR CLINTON: Former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley admitted Thursday night that the Democratic National Committee and Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz did not help his campaign in the way they boosted Hillary Clinton. Anna Giaritelli reports in the Washington Examiner that the former Democratic candidate was up against Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for the nomination. But instead of giving the three main candidates a fair shake, O’Malley said the DNC acted in ways to help Clinton win the nomination.

CITY CONSIDERS $15 MINIMUM WAGE: A  divided Baltimore City Council will decide next month whether to increase the minimum wage in the city to $15 an hour, which would be the highest in the state. The council’s labor committee voted 4-0 Thursday to send the bill to the 15-member council, where President  Jack Young has pledged to scale back the proposed increase, Andrew Dunn reports for the Sun.