HOWARD SHERIFF TO RETIRE: Howard County elected officials of both parties are mightily relieved that Democrat Sheriff Jim Fitzgerald finally succumbed to intense political pressure from all sides and all levels and has agreed to retire, Len Lazarick reports for MarylandReporter.com.
- Brian Witte of the AP, in a story in the Sun, reports that Gov. Larry Hogan believes Howard County Sheriff James Fitzgerald should resign.The Republican governor said Tuesday he was “very disturbed” by comments noted in a yearlong investigation into Fitzgerald by the Howard County Office of Human Rights.
- The governor joins other elected officials who have called for Sheriff James F. Fitzgerald (D) to step aside, writes the Post’s Ovetta Wiggins. “I’m very disturbed by the comments,” Hogan said. “I do believe he should resign. I share the opinions of many of the people who think he should resign.”
- Fitzgerald could leave office by the end of the week under an agreement announced by the chairman of the Howard County Council, writes Bryan Sears in the Daily Record.
- Here’s the video report from WBAL TV which broke the original story on the report. And the story from WJZ TV.
SCHOOL START WAIVER DIFFICULT: Gov. Larry Hogan issued a second executive order Tuesday that makes it difficult for school systems to avoid starting school after Labor Day by seeking a waiver, Liz Bowie and Carrie Wells of the Sun report.
- The new rules, released more than a month after Hogan’s mandate, take much of the decision-making power out of the hands of the Maryland State Board of Education and come as school districts across the state scurry to approve their 2017-18 calendars, Ovetta Wiggins and Donna St. George of the Post report.
- The Baltimore County School Board is reviewing next year’s calendar, including a start-date option that completely ignores a mandate from Gov. Larry Hogan. At a board meeting Tuesday night, parents learned a public hearing on the issue will begin at the next meeting Oct. 25, Keith Daniels reports for WBFF-TV..
CASH BAIL LEGALITY QUESTIONED: Maryland’s top legal officer has concluded that the state’s system of holding defendants in jail because they can’t afford to pay cash bail likely would be found unconstitutional. In a letter sent Tuesday to five House of Delegates members who sought his opinion, Attorney General Brian E. Frosh told them that judges and court commissioners must take into account the accused’s ability to pay before setting bail. He said that if bail is out of reach for a defendant, the courts would find that unlawful, Michael Dresser and Justin Fenton report in the Sun.
- State lawmakers have argued that the current system, which leaves defendants in jail for months awaiting trial, is discriminatory and unfair. If the state was to do away with the cash bail system, Maryland would join a handful of other states, including Kentucky and New Jersey, that have enacted pretrial detention reform, Ovetta Wiggins of the Post reports.
REGIONWIDE TRANSIT SYSTEM SOUGHT: State and local elected officials from the Baltimore and Washington metro areas are calling for a transit network that would connect their respective regions. The policy makers joined activists at a press conference Tuesday morning in front of Baltimore’s Penn Station, gearing up for a political fight that could last through the spring’s General Assembly session, Rachel Baye reports for WYPR-FM.
TRANSIT FUNDING DELAY IN MOCO: Montgomery County state lawmakers are pushing back against a funding delay that has stalled design of the Corridor Cities Transitway—the transportation project that is the county’s second highest priority. Andrew Metcalf of Bethesda Beat writes that the lawmakers sent a letter last week to Gov. Larry Hogan warning him about the negative repercussions caused by delaying the funding for the bus rapid transit project that is anticipated to be one of the county’s largest drivers of future economic development.
HOGAN NAMES CHIEF OF STAFF: Gov. Larry Hogan announced Tuesday a cabinet secretary will become his chief of staff after the current one leaves the job later this month. Hogan appointed Sam Malhotra, secretary of the Department of Human Resources, to take over the top staff job on Oct. 26, reports Erin Cox in the Sun.
HOGAN CALLS TRUMP ‘DISGRACEFUL:’ Gov. Larry Hogan said Tuesday that he hasn’t decided who he will write-in when he votes for president, but he knows it won’t be Donald Trump, reports Meredith Newman for the Sun. Asked by a reporter about Trump’s comments in a 2005 video, in which he described grabbing women by the genitals and kissing them without their consent, Hogan called them “disgraceful and outrageous.”
HOGAN ENDORSES PLASTER: Gov. Larry Hogan on Tuesday endorsed Mark Plaster, a fellow Republican and businessman, in his underdog battle to oust four-term Rep. John Sarbanes (D) in the state’s 3rd Congressional District, Ovetta Wiggins of the Post reports.
DELANEY-HOEBER RACE: Karen Hosler of WYPR-FM reports on the congressional race between incumbent John Delaney, a Democrat, and Republican Amie Hoeber. Neither candidate lives in the district they are running to represent.
LEGGETT WON’T SEEK 4th TERM: Montgomery County Executive Isiah Leggett, the son of a sawmill laborer who rose from the Jim Crow South to become a Howard University law professor and chairman of the Maryland Democratic Party, said Tuesday he will not seek a fourth term, Bill Turque writes in the Post.
- Doug Tallman of Bethesda Beat quotes Leggett: “I’m not running again. Period. I have to think about my family and other things I want to do.”
MO CO TERM LIMIT QUESTION REMAINS ON BALLOT: The Maryland Court of Appeals has declined to hear a case challenging the validity of petitions collected to place a term limits proposition on Montgomery County’s Nov. 8 ballot, writes Bill Turque in the Post. Friday’s order by the state’s highest court exhausts the legal remedies available to opponents of Question B. The proposed charter amendment would limit the county executive and members of the County Council to three four-year terms.
CITY BOARD VIOLATED OPEN MEETING LAW: The Baltimore city school board violated the Maryland Open Meeting Compliance Act in the case of two closed-door meetings when it decided to replace former schools CEO Gregory Thornton, a state board has ruled. Marnell Cooper, chair of the city school board, announced the decision issued by Maryland Open Meeting Compliance Board on Tuesday night, reports the Sun’s Erica Green. He said the Oct. 6 opinion, spurred by a citizen complaint, found that two of six meetings in question were not properly announced or documented.
GOP AT TOP OF BALLOT: Alan Walden, Baltimore’s Republican nominee for mayor, is hoping his top billing on the election ballot will help inch him a little closer to his Democratic competition when voters arrive at the polls in November. Walden’s coveted ballot position — which he thinks should get him a couple of thousand votes — is thanks to a little known 45-year-old law that gives the position to members of the governor’s party, Yvonne Wenger writes in the Sun.
DIXON FILES AS WRITE-IN FOR MAYOR: Kenneth Burns of WYPR-FM reports that former Baltimore Mayor Sheila Dixon announced she will try to get her job back as a write in candidate for the general election. Dixon filed the paperwork Tuesday before a news conference. She acknowledged her newly revived campaign is going to be challenging.
- Dixon registered as a write-in candidate for mayor Tuesday, setting up an unconventional general election rematch with her Democratic primary opponent, state Sen. Catherine Pugh, Luke Broadwater of the Sun writes.