State Roundup, January 3, 2017

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BUDGET CONCERNS RISE: Concerns over budget deficits driven by hundreds of millions in lower-than-expected revenues has some lawmakers and Gov. Larry Hogan hoping this is the year the General Assembly will consider reforms to mandated state spending, reports Bryan Sears for the Daily Record. Lawmakers and the first-term governor will enter their third session together in about a week. Staring them in the face will be revenue shortfalls approaching $1 billion stretching from the current year through fiscal 2019.

WHAT TO EXPECT IN 2017 LEGISLATURE: In a column for MarylandReporter.com, Michael Collins writes that “the legislative session starts next week and I suspect it will be ugly. The legislature has a fairly comfortable pattern.  Year one focuses on getting the budget done and acclimating new members.  Year two is tax increases.  Year three is a mixture of taxes and spending, and year four is a spending blowout in order to get re-elected. Gov. Larry Hogan threw a wrench in that well-oiled machine and Democrats are miffed. They will go to extreme lengths to portray Hogan’s election as an aberration and make him a one-term governor.”

UM MEDICAL RESEARCHES ZIKA: Scientists from the University of Maryland School of Medicine have identified seven proteins in the Zika virus that could be to blame for the birth defects linked to the pathogen, reports Andrea K. McDaniels in the Sun.  The researchers are among scores around the world trying to develop a vaccine and other treatments for the virus, which causes neurological problems in children and adults. To do this, they are trying to understand how the virus works.

VAN HOLLEN TO BE SWORN IN: Chris Van Hollen will be sworn in as Maryland’s new U.S. senator today, according to an AP report at WBAL-AM. The Democrat will be sworn in with other members of the new Congress. Van Hollen, who served seven terms in the House, won the seat that opened from the departure of Barbara Mikulski, who retired after serving 30 years in the Senate.

IMMIGRATION STATUS PROTECTION IN HOWARD: Two Howard County Council members have sponsored a bill that would prevent police and sheriff’s deputies from inquiring about someone’s immigration status — unless they were investigating a crime that had been committed, Kate Ryan reports at WTOP-AM.

FREDERICK GOV’T SALARIES LAG: Frederick County has the seventh-highest population in Maryland — and its county government salaries follow that trend with many of them fitting near the seventh-highest mark. The county government, for example, has the seventh-highest number of full-time employees in the state, according to a new report released by the Maryland Association of Counties. But, reports Danielle Gaines for the Frederick News Post, the salaries of Frederick County Executive Jan Gardner and the Frederick County Council lag behind their peers in Maryland.

PG’s BAKER ON 2016: In an article for the Prince George’s Sentinel, Emily Blackner talks with Prince George’s County Executive Rushern Baker on the county’s accomplishments during 2016 and what it took to get there, from the MGM National Harbor opening to the approval of a new regional medical center. “It’s been a really good year. We’re checking the boxes on a lot of things that we wanted to achieve,” he said. “I think what we’ve learned this year is that the fiscal choices we’ve made, and the investments, are paying off.”

NONPROFIT CEOs LIVE IN MO CO: Doug Tallman of Bethesda Beat writes that nine of the 10 highest-paid nonprofit CEOS in Maryland are located in Montgomery County. He lists their names, salaries and revenues, and credits the Washington Business Journal for the information.