State Roundup, November 1, 2016

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EARLY VOTERS UP: Marylanders shattered the state’s early-voting record Monday after more than 500,000 people cast ballots in five days. And there are still three days left in this year’s early-voting period, Yvonne Wenger of the Sun reports.

CURBING VOTER INTIMIDATION: Although there have been no reports of voter suppression in the state, Sen. Ben Cardin held a news conference with state Attorney General Brian E. Frosh, Prince George’s County State’s Attorney Angela Alsobrooks and advocacy groups, encouraging voters to be vigilant and to alert officials of any such incidents, reports Arelis Hernandez and Bill Turque in the Post.

ADVICE ON SETTING BAIL: Maryland’s chief District Court judge has issued “cautionary advice” for judges and commissioners on setting bail, after an opinion by Maryland’s attorney general said the state’s system of holding defendants because they can’t afford bail likely would be found unconstitutional, reports Justin Fenton for the Sun.  The letter instructs judges to impose the “least onerous” conditions on a defendant if the judge determines the person can’t be released on his own recognizance.

3rd RX POT APPLICANT SUES: A third losing applicant for a coveted medical marijuana license has sued the Maryland Medical Cannabis Commission, this one arguing the regulators illegally ignored racial diversity when selecting applicants, reports Erin Cox for the Sun.

POLLUTERS PROBE REPORTS DELAYED: The Sun’s Scott Dance reports that state environmental regulators expect to be months late with reports detailing how actively they investigate polluters — a sign, some lawmakers say, that Maryland may not have enough resources to enforce laws intended to protect the Chesapeake Bay and public health.

SCHOOL FUNDING, ED EXCELLENCE: The just-started Commission on Innovation and Excellence in Education has been described as largely about rejiggering school funding in Maryland, but commission chair Brit Kirwan told members Monday that, “Our charge is much, much broader than money. Equally important is how we spend the money.” Len Lazarick writes that Kirwan added, “We want Maryland to have the best schools for our children.”

AA CIRCUIT COURT NOMINEES: An attorney for Gov. Larry Hogan, a former Anne Arundel County deputy state’s attorney and two magistrates are among the candidates being considered for a new judge’s seat on the Circuit Court. Another nominee would be the first African-American woman to serve on the Circuit Court in Anne Arundel if she is appointed, reports Amanda Yeager for the Annapolis Capital.

HARRIS POISED TO RISE IN HOUSE: Rep. Andy Harris wants House Republicans to use an upcoming debt-ceiling deadline to force more fiscal restraint. And for the first time in his congressional career, the Baltimore County lawmaker could have considerable influence to make it happen. Harris, in his third term in the House, is running to be chairman of the Republican Study Committee, a 173-member caucus that has worked since the 1970s to pull the House of Representatives to the right on fiscal and social issues, John Fritze reports for the Sun.

VAN HOLLEN IN A GOOD PLACE: It’s a good time to be Rep. Chris Van Hollen. His party is narrowly ahead in the race for the White House, he’s the heavy favorite to replace retiring Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski (D-Md.), and — no matter which way the balance of power in the upper chamber falls — he stands to benefit, writes Jenna Portnoy for the Post.

GREEN MAYOR CANDIDATE MAKES WAVES: Green Party Baltimore City mayoral candidate Joshua Harris, who has already put forth a 23-page economic development plan that includes the creation of a public bank in Baltimore, plans this week to release proposals to address the city’s transportation and housing problems, Luke Broadwater of the Sun writes.

GANSLER, SACH BLAST COMEY: Doug Gansler and Stephen Sachs, two former Maryland attorneys general, have added their names to a letter arguing the FBI’s bombshell decision to look into new emails that may involve Hillary Clinton is “unacceptable” and a “serious mistake,” John Fritze of the Sun reports.