State Roundup, December 9, 2016

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STUDY URGES BOOST IN ED BUCKS: Maryland should spend $2.9 billion more on public education and revamp the formula used to calculate how much is spent on each school district, according to a two-year study by a national consulting firm. Liz Bowie and Michael Dresser report in the Sun that the 620-page report was presented to a state commission Thursday as the panel prepared to spend a year deliberating over the details of the complex funding formula. The General Assembly is expected to base any change to Maryland’s school funding laws on the study’s recommendations.

ONLINE GUN LICENSING: Those wishing to purchase a firearm from a dealer will be able to apply for a license online come the new year, Heather Mongilio writes in the Carroll County Times. The application to buy a regulated firearm will be electronic starting Jan. 1. Applicants will still have to provide the same information as they did on Form 77R, which is currently filled out by hand, but applicants are now required to use a credit or debit card for the $10 fee, according to a news release from Maryland State Police.

AA LEADS ON NEW JOBS: Anne Arundel County leads the state’s biggest jurisdictions in creation of new jobs, with 4,000 more people joining the workforce between June 2015 and June 2016, a new study shows. That 1.5% growth in employment topped Maryland’s seven most populated counties and Baltimore City, but still only matched the national average, according to a U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics report released this week, Phil Davis writes in the Annapolis Capital.

HOGAN IFFY ON TRUMP INTERACTION: Gov. Larry Hogan said Wednesday that he plans to go to the Army-Navy football game Saturday in Baltimore but does not think he will have an opportunity to discuss the state’s needs with President-elect Donald Trump, who is also scheduled to attend the game, Ovetta Wiggins of the Post reports.  “I’m not sure if I’ll get a chance,” Hogan (R) said when asked about the future commander in chief’s upcoming visit. “If the opportunity presents itself, I will certainly welcome him to the state, as I would with any president.”

TRANSIT SCORING DELAYED: A legislative committee has placed a hold on proposed regulations for a program requiring the scoring and ranking of state-funded local transportation projects, Bryan Sears writes in the Daily Record.  The Joint Committee on Administrative, Executive and Legislative Review placed the hold on the two-pages of regulations Dec. 6 following a hearing in mid-November.

RENEWABLE ENERGY UNDER TRUMP: The Marc Steiner Show on WEAA-FM discusses renewable energy in Maryland under a Trump administration. Can Maryland become a hub for renewable energy and can the nation continue to progress toward renewable energy after Trump takes office? The issues are discussed with  Daphne Wysham, director of the Climate and Energy Program at the Center for Sustainable Economy; and Janet Redman, U.S. Policy director with Oil Change International and Associate Fellow with the Climate Policy Program at the Institute for Policy Studies in Washington, D.C.

House Speaker Michael Busch speaks at Tuesday's inauguration of Mayor Catherine Pugh. From a Baltimore City YouTube video

House Speaker Michael Busch speaks at Tuesday’s inauguration of Mayor Catherine Pugh. From a Baltimore City YouTube video

BUSCH ILLNESS NOT LIFE-THREATENING: House Speaker Michael Busch said Thursday that he has been treated for a non-life-threatening illness that resulted in visible weight loss in the last couple of months, Bryan Sears reports for the Daily Record.  Busch, an Anne Arundel Democrat, responded to questions about his health following an appearance at the inaugural of Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh.

GBC URGES MORE HIRING THOSE LEAVING PRISON: The Greater Baltimore Committee released a report Thursday recommending businesses and government be more open to hiring ex-offenders and provide more resources for those exiting jail, Morgan Eichensehr reports in the Baltimore Business Journal.

LEGGETT JOINS CALL TO TRUMP: Montgomery County Executive Ike Leggett is one of 18 municipal government officials from across the United States who are urging President-elect Donald Trump to continue a program created by the Obama administration that shielded the children of undocumented immigrants from deportation, Doug Tallman reports for Bethesda Beat.

FREDERICK DELEGATION CHANGES LEADERS: Frederick County’s General Assembly delegation voted along party lines for a change in leadership, though few people were on hand to hear the discussion, Danielle Gaines writes in the Frederick News Post. It took place Saturday morning, just before the start of the delegation’s annual public hearing at Winchester Hall, and some might have thought that that portion of the meeting was closed.

KAMENETZ TO HEAD MACo: Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz was elected president of the Maryland Association of Counties on Thursday, Pamela Wood reports for the Sun. Kamenetz, a Democrat, was elected during the association’s winter conference in Cambridge. MACo presidents typically serve as a spokesperson for issues affecting county government and often testifies on behalf of county leaders during the Maryland General Assembly session.

SMITH PICKED OVER MOON: Will Smith, a former Obama administration official who was elected to the Maryland House of Delegates two years ago, was chosen Wednesday night to succeed U.S. Rep.-elect Jamie Raskin as the next state senator from Silver Spring/Takoma Park-based District 20, writes Louis Peck in Bethesda Beat.

FEDERAL BAN UPHELD: A federal law banning the unlicensed intrastate sale of guns neither violates the constitutional right to keep and bear arms nor exceeds Congress’s authority to regulate interstate commerce, a U.S. appeals court ruled this week in affirming the conviction of a Montgomery County man, Steve Lash reports in the Daily Record.

NEW CITY COUNCIL CONDEMNS TRUMP LANGUAGE: In its first official act Thursday, the Baltimore City Council voted unanimously to condemn statements made by Donald J. Trump, days before the president-elect is expected to visit the city. The resolution formally opposes Trump’s “divisive and scapegoating rhetoric, rooted in hate and prejudice,” a measure political scientists say flies in the face of new Mayor Catherine Pugh’s goal of persuading the next president to funnel federal investment to the cash-strapped city, writes Yvonne Wenger in the Sun.

MGM OPENS WITH GLITZ: The $1.4 billion MGM National Harbor, Maryland’s sixth and most expensive casino, opened Thursday with Las Vegas-style flair and the company chairman’s prediction that residents of Baltimore — about 45 miles away — “are going to come and check us out,” Jeff Barker of the Sun writes.

STATE BARS EVERGREEN HEALTH SALES: The Maryland Insurance Administration barred Evergreen Health from selling health insurance policies for individuals until federal and state regulators decide whether to allow the cooperative to convert to a for-profit insurer and receive a much-needed cash infusion, Sarah Gantz of the Sun writes.

CARSON SAYS HE WON’T KILL SAFETY NET: Donald Trump’s pick for secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development says he doesn’t plan to dismantle social safety-net programs. Dr. Ben Carson spoke Thursday night at Yale University, his alma mater, Pat Eaton-Robb of the AP reports in the Sun. He told an audience made up mostly of Yale students that the suggestion he wants to end housing programs that help the poor are “a bunch of crap.”