State Roundup, November 23, 2016

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coolahan-signCOOLAHAN HONORED: A section of Southwestern Boulevard in Halethorpe was dedicated Tuesday to the memory of Sen. John Coolahan, who grew up there and represented the area in both the House of Delegates and State Senate. He served as a district court judge and died in 2012. “If he felt that something needed to be said, he said it,” said Sen. Ed Kasemeyer, who helped arrange the dedication. Coolahan’s nickname was the Lion of Halethorpe for his roar on the Senate floor.

FEDS ASKED TO SPEED POLICE TALKS: John Fritze of the Sun reports that six Democrats in Maryland’s congressional delegation called on the Obama administration and Baltimore City officials to speed up their negotiations on overhauling police practices in the city, citing “growing concern from the community” about the pace of the talks. In a letter to U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch and Baltimore officials that was made public on Tuesday, the lawmakers questioned what they described as a delay in the effort to address the widespread civil rights violations by city police alleged by the U.S. Department of Justice.

MIDDLETON, NICE & FROZEN: On a brisk day in Newburg, Gov. Larry Hogan made a huge announcement regarding the replacement of an aging and some say dangerous Gov. Harry W. Nice Bridge. None, however, may have felt the chill more than Sen. Thomas M. “Mac” Middleton who was frozen out of participating in Hogan’s event; that cold shoulder appears related to a vetoed bill from earlier in the year, reports Bryan Sears of the Daily Record.

HOGAN, DC METRO CHAIR TUSSLE: The back-and-forth between a DC Metro official and Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan over the funding of the struggling subway system took another turn during a Tuesday morning radio interview, writes Bryan Sears in the Daily Record. Hogan, during an interview on WMAL in Washington, criticized Metro Board chairman Jack Evans for saying Hogan was intentionally failing to financially support the system and accused the Republican first-term governor of having political motivations. “I think Jack must have been drinking heavy that day, maybe smoking something,” Hogan said during the Mornings on the Mall show.

RAISING DEM INFLUENCE IN CONGRESS: Capital News Service is reporting in the Frederick News Post that despite the return of Republican majorities in both houses of Congress in January, Maryland’s Democrats still plan to find ways of influencing policy debates and legislation. In fact, even with some new faces in the Maryland congressional delegation, it is in roughly the same position it was in before the Nov. 8 election, with one major difference: Republican Donald Trump will replace Democrat Barack Obama in the White House.

VAN HOLLEN’S TOUGH JOB: Fraser Smith and Karen Hosler, of the WYPR reporting team, talk about newly elected Sen. Chris Van Hollen’s difficult assignment, cobbling together a Democratic majority in the Senate by 2018.

OUTSIDE CONTRIBUTIONS: Katishi Maake of the Capital News Service, in an article appearing in MarylandReporter.com, writes that two of Maryland’s recently re-elected Democratic congressmen raised the majority of their individual contributions from out-of-state donors, with House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer, an incumbent representing the 5th District, garnering the largest proportion. Incumbents such as longtime Rep. Hoyer, D-Mechanicsville, and John Delaney, D-Potomac, faced little opposition during the primary election.

OT PAY RULE CHANGE ON ICE: A Texas judge ruled Tuesday to put the brakes on federal rules that would have expanded overtime pay to more than 4 million workers, beginning Dec. 1, reports Jonnelle Marte for the Post. A rule from the Department of Labor that was supposed to take effect next week would have made overtime pay available to full-time salaried employees earning up to $47,476 a year, more than doubling the current threshold of $23,660 a year.

THREE DAYS LEFT TO VOTE: Please vote today, tomorrow and Friday for MarylandReporter.com as the “most informative” website in the Baltimore Sun’s annual Mobbies contest. You don’t have to be a citizen, you don’t have to be 18, you don’t have to be from Maryland. Sounds like an ideal contest for 2016, don’t you think? Please stuff the ballot box. Vote here. Early and often.

MO CO PESTICIDE BAN: Six Montgomery County lawn care companies and a D.C. trade association have gone to court to challenge the county’s ban of cosmetic pesticides on private lawns. They allege that the county overstepped its authority because the state and Environmental Protection Agency already test, regulate and license pesticides, Bill Turque reports in the Post

DANCE DEFENDED: Some parents and students fought back against criticism of Baltimore County schools Superintendent Dallas Dance at the school board meeting Tuesday night, saying that he was right to show concern for students who might be fearful the day after the election, reports Liz Bowie for the Sun. Dance came under criticism for a retweet he made on election night that asked educators to reach out to students who may have felt maligned during the U.S. presidential campaign.

CARSON FOR HUD: President-elect Donald Trump said Tuesday he is considering Ben Carson to lead the Department of Housing and Urban Development, a departure from previous speculation that the retired Johns Hopkins neurosurgeon would fit best in a health policy job, John Fritze of the Sun writes. “I am seriously considering Dr. Ben Carson as the head of HUD,” Trump said in a tweet Tuesday. “I’ve gotten to know him well — he’s a greatly talented person who loves people!”