State Roundup, December 20, 2016

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Maryland's 10 Democratic electors are sworn in Monday, with Howard County's Courtney Watson, president of Maryland's Electoral College this year, on far left. Governor's Office photo

DESPITE PROTEST, TRUMP WINS ELECTORAL COLLEGE: Republican Donald Trump sealed the presidency Monday, winning the Electoral College in the face of nationwide protests urging electors to vote for other candidates. Few expected the protests to deprive Trump of the 270 votes he needed to clinch the election, Erin Cox of the Sun reports.

TIME FOR MAGLEV: In a commentary for MarylandReporter, Michael Collins said that, with a $27.8 million federal in hand to study the feasibility of a magnetic levitation train between Washington, D.C., and Baltimore, now seems to be the right time for Maryland to pursue building a Maglev train.

IMPACTING PURPLE LINE? The two transit agencies overseeing the Purple Line project on Friday dismissed concerns that Metro’s safety issues and decline in ridership would have a significant negative impact on the ridership of the Purple Line in their latest responses in the ongoing federal lawsuit that has stalled construction on the light-rail project, Andrew Metcalf of Bethesda Beat reports.

SCORING BILL PASSAGE: Bryan Sears of the Daily Record looks into the facts behind Gov. Larry Hogan’s statements accusing Democratic legislators of skipping important steps in passing a controversial transportation scoring bill that the General Assembly passed over his veto. Democrats have fired back that Hogan has a casual relationship with the truth and is taking after President-elect Donald Trump.

PAID SICK LEAVE: Gov. Larry Hogan plans to introduce a bill to the Maryland General Assembly requiring businesses to offer employees paid sick leave. If passed, Del. Mike McKay said the measure could take away the flexibility employers have to “take care” of employees when they need it most. “It’s the relationship that the employer and the employee has,” he said, “so if the small company gets mandated to offer this (sick leave), the employer is not going to have the flexibility to take care of people when they can.” Heather Wolford of the Cumberland Times News writes the story.

LIFE WITHOUT PAROLE: A federal appeals court decision striking down the life-without-parole sentence of a juvenile offender in Virginia has provided ammunition for Maryland civil-rights attorneys who claim 200 convicts are being held unconstitutionally under de facto life sentences without parole because the state’s governors have historically not granted parole to these lifers who committed their crimes in their youth, Steve Lash reports in the Daily Record.

DELEGATION PRAISES SCHOOL PARCC SCORES: As seventh- and eighth-grade orchestra students at Oklahoma Road Middle School played “Carol of the Bells” Monday morning, state Sen. Justin Ready and Dels. April Rose and Susan Krebs acknowledged strong Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers scores and presented Principal Erin Brilhart with a citation for the school’s outstanding  assessment scores, Emily Chappell of the Carroll County Times writes.

MSDE DENIES BEING SOURCE OF DATA BREACH: The Maryland State Department of Education says it was not the source of a data breach that exposed personal information of about 1,000 former Frederick County students, the AP is reporting in the Daily Record.The department released a statement Monday contradicting one that Frederick County Public Schools issued Sunday. The county statement said an investigation indicated the information may have been stolen from the state, citing an attack on the department’s computers.

VAN HOLLEN’s COMMITTEE ASSIGNMENTS: Sen.-elect Chris Van Hollen will sit on the Senate Banking, Agriculture and Budget committees, his office said Monday, in addition to his previously announced assignment to the Appropriations Committee. Van Hollen will also head the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee for the next election cycle, reports John Fritze for the Sun.

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BRYAN McINTIRE DIES: T. Bryan McIntire, a Republican who served four terms in the Baltimore County Council and was Carroll County state’s attorney from 1962 to 1970, died Friday at his Baltimore County home. He was 86, writes Jacques Kelly in the Sun. (Who will write the obits when Kelly and Fred Rasmussen are gone? Have they drafted their own obits? Both are at least in their 70s.)