State Roundup, September 29, 2016

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RX POT FIRM SEEKS TO JOIN LAWSUIT: A company that was denied a preliminary license to grow medical marijuana in Maryland is seeking to join a lawsuit challenging how regulators authorized 15 growers for the potentially lucrative industry. Maryland Cultivation and Processing was one of two prospective growers that submitted one of the 15 highest-ranking applications but was rejected, Fenit Nirappil reports for the Post.


With Montgomery County Del. Ben Kramer, far left, County Executive Ike Leggett and Noah Leotta’s parents, Gov. Larry Hogan earlier this month dedicated a portion of state Route 97 to Officer Noah Leotta, slain by a drunk driver last year. A law that goes into effect Saturday is named for the officer and requires ignition interlock devices on cars driven by those convicted of drunk driving.

LAWS GO INTO EFFECT OCT. 1: This Saturday, many of the laws passed during this year’s General Assembly session go into effect, according to a story in Some key new laws Oct. 1 include measures to: require ignition interlocks for drunk driving and increase penalties for killing people while driving drunk; make drivers carry cards showing current insurance coverage; and reform asset forfeiture by police, among others.

PUGH WANTS STRONGER POLICE REVIEW LAW: State Sen. Catherine E. Pugh, the Democratic nominee for Baltimore mayor, says she wants the General Assembly to strengthen a law that allows civilians to serve on panels that hear cases against police officers accused of misconduct. Luke Broadwater of the Sun reports that the law, which takes effect Oct. 1, allows civilians to join the internal police trial boards for the first time, if police unions agree.

MANAGING STATE DEBT: State government would borrow less than $1 billion under a proposal recommended Wednesday by a state fiscal committee, writes Bryan Sears in the Daily Record. The five-member Capital Debt Affordability Committee voted 4-1 to approve a recommendation to hold the amount of new state debt that would be issued in the coming fiscal year 2018 state budget to the levels of the current year — a plan favored by Gov. Larry Hogan.

10 MD SCHOOLS EARN FED BLUE RIBBONS: Six public and four private schools in Maryland were named Blue Ribbon Schools by the U.S. Department of Education on Wednesday. The program identifies public and private elementary, middle and high schools with high-achieving students in reading and mathematics, and those that have made improvements in closing the achievement gap. Fewer than 8,500 schools nationwide have earned the distinction, reports the Sun’s Jessica Anderson.

EXPENSIVE LOTTERY CONTRACT DEFENDED: The AP’s Brian Witte, in a story in the Daily Record, reports that Maryland’s lottery director is defending the agency’s recommendation to choose the most expensive of three contract proposals for a new lottery central system, writing in an internal email to lottery staff last week that the “technical” criteria of the $262 million contract over eight years “is vastly more important” than the cost differences when compared to overall lottery sales.

TANEY’S LEGACY: In writing about the upcoming decision over the bust of Roger Brooke Taney, the editorial board for the Frederick News Post writes about Taney’s legacy and complicated past outside of the infamous Dred Scott Decision.

WA CO SCHOOLS TACKLE CALENDAR: The calendar committee for Washington County Public Schools will begin meeting today to discuss the creation of calendars for the next two school years with a new challenge: Gov. Larry Hogan’s order that schools start after Labor Day and end by June 15. Julie Greene of the Hagerstown Herald Mail writes that Schools Superintendent Clayton Wilcox said this week that school system officials have no intention of filing for a waiver of the timeline that Hogan set in his executive order.

TRUMP STAND BENEFITS HOGAN: Fraser Smith of WYPR-FM and Mileah Kromer, head of the Goucher Poll, talk about how Gov. Larry Hogan’s non-endorsement of GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump has left him in good standing in Maryland.

ANTI-SZELIGA AD: A Maryland gun-control group began airing radio ads Tuesday criticizing Senate candidate Kathy Szeliga (R) for not supporting fingerprint-based licensing for handgun purchases, something her opponent, Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D), has long promoted, writes Josh Hicks in the Post. The commercials from Marylanders to Prevent Gun Violence are scheduled to run during peak commute times through Friday. An audio file of the ad tops the story.

MD REPS SPLIT ON OVERRIDE: Congress moved quickly Wednesday to override President Barack Obama’s veto of a measure allowing victims of the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks to sue Saudi Arabia — handing Obama the first such rebuke of his presidency. Though support for the measure was both overwhelming and bipartisan, the decision split Maryland’s congressional delegation. Three members — Rep. Elijah Cummings, Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger and Rep. Donna Edwards — all voted to sustain Obama’s veto, John Fritze reports in the Sun.