State Roundup, December 13, 2016

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Sen. Mikulski nominates her good friend Hillary Clinton for president. WMAR screenshot

Sen. Mikulski nominates her good friend Hillary Clinton for president. WMAR screenshot

ON SEN. MIKULSKI: In a long paean filled with photos, Paul Schwartzman of the Post profiles the life and times of Sen. Barbara Mikulski, who is leaving the U.S. Senate as the longest serving woman in congressional history. The firebrand and fighter started out her long political life in the late 1960s fighting a plan to build a highway through Baltimore neighborhoods.

NORTHROP LOAN: Maryland lawmakers are poised to approve a $20 million forgivable loan to aerospace giant Northrop Grumman, the largest deal of its kind in state history, Erin Cox reports in the Sun. compromise with Gov. Larry Hogan, is scheduled to vote Tuesday on whether to award the loan in exchange for Northrop’s promise to retain 10,000 jobs in Maryland and invest $100 million in facilities here. If the company meets those provisions, the loan will not have to be repaid.

FIXING STATE BUDGET DEFICITS: The Sun editorial page says Maryland needs some permanent fixes to its continuing budget deficits due to lower than expected revenues, spending mandates and uncertainty over federal employment under President Trump.

BAIL REFORM: Marc Steiner of WEAA-FM begins his countdown to his annual Annapolis Summit focusing on bail reform, which will be a major issue in the 2017 Maryland General Assembly. He speaks with Doug Colbert, law professor at the University of Maryland Carey School of Law,  and bail bondsman Mark Adams, head of the Maryland Bail Agents Association, who did a recent study on failure-to-appear rates. The 14th annual Annapolis Summit will take place from 7:30 to 10:30 a.m. Wednesday, Jan. 11, at the Governor Calvert House in Annapolis.

SHARED PARENTING: A new survey of Maryland voters reveals overwhelming support for shared parenting following divorce, opines Robert Franklin in an op-ed in MarylandReporter.com. Studies on children’s welfare tell us that when children maintain full relationships with both parents, they do better emotionally and psychologically. Despite the studies and the support, Maryland law on child custody is among the worst in the nation.

RULES FOR SCHOOL BUS DRIVERS: The state has specific requirements for those who want to drive school business in Maryland, and local jurisdictions can go by those requirements or add to them, writes Colin Campbell for the Sun. Baltimore County, for instance, mandates 40 hours of classroom training and 20 hours of behind-the-wheel instruction — more than the state requires.

MORE FUNDS SOUGHT FOR BAY: U.S. Sen. Ben Cardin and Sen.-elect Chris Van Hollen are asking the federal government to reallocate unspent conservation dollars to states in the Chesapeake Bay watershed. Cardin and Van Hollen, both Maryland Democrats, are among the members of Congress who signed onto letters that say farmers in the region need financial help to reduce runoff pollution, writes Megan Brockett for the Annapolis Capital.

CARET’s COMPENSATION: Maryland university regents scrapped a performance bonus for the system chancellor that was criticized by lawmakers, but also restructured Chancellor Robert L. Caret’s compensation so the he can take home just as much money. Fenit Nirappil of the Post writes that the University System of Maryland Board of Regents on Friday approved the compensation changes for Caret, who has a base salary of $630,000 in addition to a personal driver and free housing at the Hidden Waters mansion.

FUELING GAMBLING ADDICTION: In a column for the Post, Petula Dvorak writes about what a casino is like at 4 a.m., and the growth in gambling addiction. “States expand gambling in the hope that they’ll mimic the successes of early adopting states,” said a recent report by the Rockefeller Institute of Government. What is actually expanding is gambling addiction. That 4 a.m. crowd. Two years ago, only about 200 people were on the Maryland addict watch list. Today, that list is more than 1,200 strong.

THE PUGH LETTER: Mark Reutter of Baltimore Brew writes about the letter that new Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh wrote to President-elect Donald Trump. Pugh praises Trump for his insight into the value of infrastructure improvements and offers Baltimore “as the perfect place to target” such investment. You can call up a copy of the two-page letter as well.

HEAD OF POLICE CHIEF GROUP RESIGNS: The executive director of the Maryland Chiefs of Police Association resigned Monday after the group learned he had been charged with soliciting a prostitute, who in fact was an undercover police officer, Justin Fenton of the Sun reports. Larry Harmel, 71, a former state trooper and the head of the Maryland Transportation Authority Police for seven years, was charged by summons Dec. 8 in connection with a sting in Southeast Baltimore that took place on Oct. 12, court records show.

JIMMY’s EATERY SOLD: Jimmy’s Restaurant, a local culinary landmark at the foot of Broadway in Fells Point that has attracted politicians, celebrities, athletes and everyday folks to its lunch counter since 1946, is about to change hands, Melody Simmons of the Baltimore Business Journal writes. Owner Nick Filipidis said Monday he has signed a contract to sell the restaurant and hopes to close on the deal by the end of the month.

LANDMARK LEAD PAINT LITIGATOR RETIRES: Veteran lead paint litigator Saul E. Kerpelman, whose Baltimore law firm has handled more than 4,000 childhood lead poisoning cases since he founded the firm almost three decades ago, retired Friday from the active practice of law, Lauren Kirkwood of the Daily Record reports.

MELANIA TRUMP IN COURT: Melania Trump, the wife of President-elect Donald Trump, was in Rockville Monday morning to attend a scheduling hearing in Montgomery County Circuit Court in a defamation lawsuit she filed against a British tabloid and a Clarksburg blogger, Andrew Metcalf reports for Bethesda Beat.

MO CO WENT BIG FOR CLINTON: Montgomery County delivered Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton about 21% of the votes she tallied in Maryland, according to the statewide vote canvas completed by the Maryland State Board of Elections on Friday. Doug Tallman of Bethesda Beat reports that the county racked up about 14,000 more votes for Clinton than the No. 2 jurisdiction, Prince George’s County.