State Roundup, August 12, 2016

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TRANSIT SPENDING CLASH RE-IGNITED: A bitter fight between Gov. Larry Hogan and the Democratic leaders of the General Assembly — over a law governing how billions of state dollars will be spent on transportation projects — is flaring anew. Michael Dresser of the Sun writes that Hogan vehemently opposes the law, which creates a scoring system that could help determine which projects receive state funding. But the Republican administration had been pushing it into effect more quickly than lawmakers intended.

CREDIT DING FOR MARYLAND: Michael Dresser of the Sun reports that Gov. Larry Hogan’s decision to withhold $25 million that would have helped local governments pay education costs is not helping the credit of Baltimore and most of Maryland’s 23 counties. Moody’s, one of the nation’s three large bond rating agencies, said Thursday that the governor’s refusal to spend the money the General Assembly allocated for teachers pensions and aging schools is a “credit negative” for 21 counties and the city.

KEEPING POT RX FUNDS SAFE: With state regulators next week revealing the recipients of the first round of licenses for growing and processing medical marijuana, one big question remains: Where does the money go? Anamika Roy of the Daily Record reports that the federal government is still at odds with the 25 states and the District of Columbia where medical marijuana is legal, leaving banks at a loss for clear regulations that would let them offer services to those businesses.

Ravens Phelps

The Baltimore Ravens and the Carolina Panthers took a pause in their preseason game Thursday night to watch Michael Phelps win another gold medal in the 200 meter butterfly. The Ravens won 22-19. From the Ravens Facebook page.

REPUBLICAN GOV, DEM LEGISLATURE: By comparison to Illinois, Maryland looks pretty good on spending and taxes. Here’s Post columnist George Will’s take on the budget problems that continue to face the nation’s fifth largest state.

CELEBRATING NATIONAL WATER TRAIL: As the National Park Service celebrates its centennial this year, we are also celebrating the 10th anniversary of a national park we have right here in our collective backyard: the Captain John Smith Chesapeake National Historic Trail. In an article for MarylandReporter.com, Joel Dunn of the Bay Journal writes that, winding through much of the Chesapeake region, the nation’s first all-water national historic trail is as beautiful, and as precious to our nation, as its more famous sisters around the nation — the Grand Canyon, the Adirondacks, Yellowstone, etc.

RECORD LOTTERY SALES: Jeff Barker of the Sun writes that the Maryland Lottery today reported record sales during the 2016 fiscal year, buoyed by the increased popularity of scratch-off tickets and a $1.6 billion jackpot that revived a slumping Powerball game. Lottery ticket sales rose to $1.9 billion in the year ending June 30, topping the previous record of $1.8 billion in the 2012 fiscal year. Sales were up 8.2% over the previous year.

AA GETS $18M FROM CASINO: Revenue from the Maryland Live casino will fund about $18 million in grants this year to Anne Arundel County government and about a dozen local organizations, Amanda Yeager writes in the Annapolis Capital. The money comes as a result of directives in state law that allowed casinos in Maryland.

BALTIMORE POLICE MISHANDLED RAPE CASES: After a Baltimore woman reported her rape to police, the prosecutor on the case shared his thoughts with an officer. “I am not excited about charging it,” the unnamed official wrote in an email. “This victim seems like a conniving little whore.” “Lmao!” the officer wrote back. “I feel the same.” Danielle Paquette of the Post reports that the Justice Department unearthed the exchange in a sprawling Aug. 10 report on the Baltimore Police Department, which found rampant discrimination against black residents, a tendency to use excessive force and a rash of illegal arrests.

ROUNDTABLE ON DOJ REPORT: Marc Steiner of WEAA-FM holds a roundtable discussion on the Department of Justice report that documents Baltimore police routinely using excessive force and violating the constitutional rights of Baltimore residents.

FREDERICK EXEC GARDNER SPEAKS: In a continuing series called “Focus on the Counties,” Tom Hall of WYPR-FM speaks Frederick County Executive Jan Gardner, who is overseeing the fifth fast-growing county in the State of Maryland.

MD TO MOVE DSS OFFICE: The state of Maryland plans to move its Department of Social Services office out of downtown Frederick, a shift county lawmakers hoped to avoid, Danielle Gaines writes in the Frederick News-Post. The office will stay in its current location for the next nine months, while the state finalizes a lease for a new location in North Frederick.

SENATE RACE: Here’s a commentary on the U.S. Senate race between Democrat Chris Van Hollen and Republican Kathy Szeliga from the conservative website Townhall.

PRES RACE TO REMEMBER: Tamela Baker of the Hagerstown Herald Mail interviews U.S. Congress candidates John Delaney, the Democratic incumbent, and his Republican rival Anne Hoeber on what makes this presidential race — and those candidates’ supporters — so unusual.

CLINTON ON DOJ REPORT: Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign said Thursday that the Justice Department’s report on racial disparities in Baltimore policing underscores the need for federal action to overhaul local law enforcement, writes John Fritze in the Sun.  “These findings should serve to reinforce what we already know: we must act,” Clinton senior policy adviser Maya Harris said in a statement.

VATZ ON TRUMP: Professor Richard Vatz, in an op-ed for the Sun, writes about the rhetoric that makes — or breaks — Donald Trump’s presidential campaign.