State Roundup, September 19, 2016

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HOGAN EXEC ORDER MAY BE OVER-REACH: Maryland’s attorney general believes Gov. Larry Hogan may have exceeded his authority when he issued an executive order this month requiring all public schools to start after Labor Day and finish by June 15, Liz Bowie reports for the Sun. Several lawmakers had asked the attorney general’s office for a ruling after Hogan made his announcement on the Ocean City boardwalk last month. The governor declared that there would be a longer summer break, starting next year, for most school children in the state.

  • “I can not say unequivocally that the Labor Day executive order exceeds the Governor’s authority, but I believe it likely that a reviewing court, if presented with the issue, would conclude that it does,” Adam D. Snyder, a lawyer in the office of Attorney General Brian E. Frosh (D), wrote in a 24-page letter that was delivered Friday to state Sen. Paul G. Pinsky (D-Prince George’s County) and Del. Anne R. Kaiser (D-Montgomery). Ovetta Wiggins writes the story for the Post.
  • Brian Witte of the AP, in a story in the Daily Record, reports that Snyder wrote that Hogan’s order purports to direct state and local boards on the topic of the school calendar. That, Snyder found, likely falls within the power of the state education board’s authority over educational policy and public school administration. He wrote that Maryland’s highest court has found that power to be “comprehensive” and “exclusive.”

SZELIGA, VAN HOLLEN ATTACK: Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) has a 30-point lead over  Del. Kathy Szeliga (R-Baltimore County) in the race to succeed retiring Sen. Barbara Mikulski. He has twice as much cash in the bank and far broader name recognition after 13 years in Congress and a bruising primary in the spring that drew national attention. But that did not stop Szeliga, the minority whip in the House of Delegates, from challenging Van Hollen on Saturday for his lack of experience in the private sector and arguing that she is better suited to help the middle class, writes Josh Hicks for the Post.

  • In a year in which voters often have exhibited enthusiasm for political outsiders, Szeliga called Van Hollen a “career politician” no less than three times within a 60-second span during a press conference last week. “America does not need someone whose entire career has focused on being a politician. We need more business people, more citizen-style legislators,” Szeliga said later during an interview in her Baltimore campaign headquarters. If elected to the Senate, she vows to serve no more than two terms, Louis Peck reports for Bethesda Beat.
  • Szeliga was a few minutes into answering questions at a campaign event last week when the discussion took a sharp turn toward the summer of 2015, John Fritze of the Sun writes. “We’ve asked Chris Van Hollen to comment on whether he’s still supporting this Iran deal,” she told a few dozen Rotarians in Montgomery County, referring to her Democratic opponent. “We need to stand with our allies and stand up to our adversaries.”

GAS DRILLING RULES TO MISS DEADLINE: Scott Dance of the Sun reports that state environmental regulators say they will not adopt rules to govern gas drilling in Western Maryland by Oct. 1, missing a legal deadline one year out from the expiration of the statewide ban on the controversial practice known as fracking. While officials said regulations are still expected some time this fall, the delay means details of how the state would manage risks to groundwater and public health remain unclear as debate intensifies over whether and how safely hydraulic fracturing might occur in Maryland.

MD 11th IN DRUG LOBBYISTS: Brian Witte of the AP reports in the Post that Maryland ranks 11th among states for the average number of lobbyists each year working for makers of prescription painkillers and allied groups, when drug makers’ lobbying hires are ranked using a ratio factoring in all lobbyist registrations in each state, a joint investigation by the AP and the Center for Public Integrity has found. Nationwide, companies that make prescription opioid painkillers and allied groups have spent more than $880 million from 2006 through 2015 on campaign contributions and lobbying over the past decade as they worked to influence state and federal policies, the investigation found.

ELLICOTT CITY GETS FED DISASTER TAG: Ellicott City, which experienced in July one of the worst floods in Maryland’s history, has been declared a major disaster by the federal government, making it eligible to receive federal assistance to help for the costs of the response and recovery of the devastating flood that killed two people, displaced hundreds of residents and heavily damaged scores of buildings. Gov. Larry Hogan (R) said he was notified about the declaration on Friday, Ovetta Wiggins of the Post reports.

BIZ REGULATION BURDENS: Holden Wilen of the BBJ reports that a commission reviewing Maryland’s regulatory environment for business is expected to hand in its second report in December recommending repeals of “overly burdensome” regulations, chairman Abba David Poliakoff said Friday.

CARROLL AGENDA EYES BIZ REGS: Del. Susan Krebs and Sen. Justin Ready have indicated that Carroll County delegation members would be interested in considering taking up statewide legislation that would call for the elimination of language in the Maryland Building and Rehabilitation Code that mandates businesses that move into a new building to make updates to the space related to Americans With Disabilities Act requirements, Heather Norris reports in the Carroll County Times.

RIGGED SYSTEM: Columnist Barry Rascovar for MarylandReporter.com writes “Maybe Donald Trump is right: The system is rigged. For proof, look at how interest groups are feverishly trying to “rig” Maryland’s choice of authorized marijuana growers and processors, writes  The Black Legislative Caucus wants to “rig” the selection procedure so that people of color get their share (and more) of the lucrative payoff from legalized pot-growing, despite their lack of high rankings in the objective selection process.

HOGAN, FRANCHOT TOGETHER: Republican Gov. Larry Hogan and Democratic state Comptroller Peter Franchot will appear together Oct. 21 at a breakfast meeting sponsored by the Greater Bethesda Chamber of Commerce and Bethesda Magazine. Bethesda Beat is reporting that Louis Peck, the magazine’s political editor, will moderate the discussion on a wide range of topics, including Hogan’s recent controversial decision to shift the start date of all Maryland public schools to after Labor Day.

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First lady Yumi Hogan, Taesoo Kim, Julie Kim, Gov. Larry Hogan. From Hogan’s Facebook page.

GOVERNMENT HOUSE PARTIES: While the wedding of the governor’s daughter may have been one of the largest ever thrown at Government House, the mansion has played host to many notables, according to the Sun. Mark Twain visited the mansion. So have Queen Elizabeth and several sitting presidents. One of Maryland’s earliest governors threw so many huge, raucous parties between 1782 and 1785 that the events earned their own nickname — governor’s routs — and inspired poetry.

***Assessment Administrators: 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. WESTAT EOE***

RASKIN ANSWERS FALSE CLAIM: State Sen. Jamie Raskin (D-Montgomery) is accustomed to joking references about his home as “The People’s Republic of Takoma Park,” the suburban Maryland municipality known for its liberal politics and countercultural tradition. But, Bill Turque reports for the Post, at Saturday’s Germantown candidates’ forum, Raskin had to answer a less-friendly — and baseless — charge by his Republican opponent for Maryland’s 8th Congressional District seat that he’d been endorsed by the Communist Party USA.

A SCANDAL-FREE, ACTION-ORIENTED PROGRESSIVE: In an op-ed for the Salisbury Daily Times, retired teacher Geoff Smoot reflects on the many years Barbara Mikulski served in the U.S. Senate, writing that “Because of her pragmatic progressive actions, she served as a fighter from Maryland for making our democratic system work in spite of Republican and conservative obstinacy and obstruction. We also never saw a scandal or wrongdoing on her watch.”

TUSSLE OVER MO CO BOOZE BOARD: Emotions flared at the end of what could be Montgomery County’s Department of Liquor Control working group’s final meeting Thursday afternoon when a local labor leader got into an argument with a Chamber of Commerce president. Andrew Metcalf of Bethesda Beat reports that Jane Redicker, president of the Greater Silver Spring Chamber of Commerce, walked out of the room after she was continuously interrupted by Gino Renne, president of UFCW Local 1994 MCGEO, the local labor union that represents about 350 DLC employees.

  • Jarvis210

    Governor Hogan has a beautiful family…lets hope he has a beautiful soul and will clean up the scum that continues to infest Maryland’s courts. many homeowners CONTINUE to lose their homes, it is still going on, all based on fraud and lies … There is a double standard in this country where the little guy pays for his crimes while the hardened gold collared criminals are allowed to steal and pilfer without any consequences. The courts across the country are allowing forged and fabricated evidence to be used to steal homes in fraudulent foreclosures. Legal instruments authenticate ownership , but when banks resort to fabrication and forgery to create the illusion of ownership the entire system breaks down.
    Fannie Mae, in cahoots w/CORRUPT bank of america (or as they prefer in their falsified assignments: fka Countrywide), KNOWINGLY LIED to the District Attorneys about modifications in regards to their ponzi scheme loans , and instead underhandedly, bundled up the loans AGAIN, but not before forging owner’s signatures on DOT’s and adding falsified stamped “ta-da” endorsements, fabricated assignments and then handed them over to others, such as Ditech (FKA GreenTree), Everbank, etc, who then handed the fabricated documents over to their handy dandy substitute less than “trusty” trustee attorneys…. who skipped and STILL are skipping to the courthouses across the country and turning in their fabricated evidence to foreclose on countless more homeowners, who were NOTHING , but bamboozled from the start. But it’s ok because evil bank of america dished out anywhere from $300-$2000 per homeowner a few years ago as their hush hush punishment. Then the games began…lies about modifications, lies about trial payments, lies about lost modification applications….all to stall and then bundle them up again with the newfound forgeries and falsifications. But it’s ok because after Fannie Mae(hiding behind their handy dandy substitute trustees) kicks the defrauded homeowners to the curb, they’ll make up for it by selling the home to minorities or small time investors. Sorta like if a child molester rapes a child and then on the way home stops by the candy store to buy a gumball for a kid on the street. How pathetically evil! Anyone who believes the wall street bailout ended in 2008 is sadly and sorely mistaken.