State Roundup, January 6, 2017

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KITTLEMAN WOULD VETO SANCTUARY BILL: Howard County Executive Allan Kittleman, a Republican, said that he would veto a proposal by two Democratic council members that would make Howard County a sanctuary jurisdiction for undocumented immigrants, reports Fatimah Waseem for the Howard County Times.

MANUFACTURING BOOST: Gov. Larry Hogan on Thursday announced a jobs initiative that includes tax incentives for manufacturers and millions of dollars for training and educational programs to prepare people for careers in technology. The tax measure, which Hogan (R) plans to introduce for the upcoming legislative session, would allow a 10-year state-tax exemption for new manufacturing businesses in high-unemployment areas such as Baltimore, and parts of Western Maryland and the Eastern Shore, reports Josh Hicks in the Post.

BAIL REFORM: Former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder joined Maryland’s top attorney and judges Thursday in urging the state’s highest court to adopt new rules designed to prevent people who have been arrested from languishing in jail because they are unable to afford bail, reports Justin Fenton for the Sun. The Court of Appeals put off voting on a change until February, after a hearing that stretched more than six hours and included testimony from dozens of people.

  • Antonia Hylton of HBO’s VICE News Tonight reports on the debate over Maryland’s bail bond system, including interview with Attorney General Brian Frosh the president of East Coast Bail Bonds and one Marylander who is struggling to repay her friends and family for the bail they raised to get her out of jail.  You can view that 6-minute segment.

LIFE FOR JUVIES GETS A HEARING: Activists, former prisoners and prisoners’ family members packed a federal courtroom in Baltimore Wednesday to hear lawyers make the case for why the state needs to overhaul a system they say results in de facto life sentences without parole for people convicted of a crime when they were juveniles. Three current prisoners, all in their 50s and wearing blue jumpsuits, were also present. Louie Krauss reports the story for Baltimore Brew.

RENEWABLE ENERGY: The sponsors of legislation that would increase the amount of energy Maryland utility customers get from renewable sources called Thursday on the General Assembly to override Gov. Larry Hogan’s veto of that bill, reports Michael Dresser in the Sun. The legislature could consider overturning Hogan’s veto as early as next week, when lawmakers gather in Annapolis for their annual 90-day session.

  • Advocates hope the override will be taken up in the first week of the 2017 session and say they believe the legislature has the votes to overturn Hogan’s actions even with vacancies in the House and a senator who may not be present for session, reports Bryan Sears for the Daily Record. “Overriding this veto is so critically important, and the No. 1 reason is jobs,” said Andrew Gown, eastern states policy director for the American Wind Energy Association.
  • Rachel Baye of WYPR-FM reports that Gov. Hogan vetoed the bill last spring. He said the increase on ratepayers’ electric bills amounts to a multi-million-dollar tax, a point the Republican executive repeated at a press conference on Tuesday. “This is actually a sunshine tax,” he said. “It’s charging people every month on their bill to force people to buy expensive solar and wind energy.”

FEDERAL ED MANDATE: For more than a year, the Maryland Department of Education has been developing a plan to meet the requirements of the federal Every Student Succeeds Act, writes CJ Lovelace in the Hagerstown Herald Mail. State education officials say it has been a welcomed process as the new mandate, which replaces No Child Left Behind, provides more flexibility for states and school districts to design their own measures of achievement, and decide independently how to turn around struggling schools.

BAY GETS HIGHER MARK: The Chesapeake Bay Foundation gave its namesake estuary a C-minus in a report card released Thursday, the highest mark since the organization began grading water quality and wildlife abundance in 1998. Scott Dance reports in the Sun that nine of 13 indicators the foundation tracks — including blue crab and rockfish abundance, underwater grass growth and levels of nitrogen and phosphorus pollution — improved last year from 2014, the bi-annual report found.

CARROLL REPS OPTIMISTIC: Three members of the Carroll County delegation to the Maryland General Assembly met with business and community leaders Thursday morning to discuss potential impacts of the upcoming 2017 legislative session on the business community. Each expressed optimism that Republican down-ballot wins across the country, along with the election of Donald Trump and the leadership of Gov. Larry Hogan, could lead to more conservative legislation in majority-Democrat Maryland, John Kelvey reports for the Carroll County Times.

BUILDING A STRONG ECONOMY: In response to Dee Hodges’ commentary on Wednesday, Benjamin Orr of the Maryland Center on Economic Policy writes in MarylandReporter.com that giving more tax breaks to those at the top won’t create the good jobs Maryland needs. At the same time, it would undermine our future by making it harder for the state to invest in the things that do build a strong economy – like our schools, roads, emergency services, and health care.

HOUGH RAFFLING AR-15: A state senator from Frederick County says his re-election campaign is raffling off an AR-15 semi-automatic rifle. Republican Michael Hough announced the raffle in a statement Tuesday. He says the rifle complies with Maryland firearm laws. The prize includes 250 rounds of ammunition, reports the AP in the Daily Record. Hough says he’s a strong defender of what he calls “God-given” Second Amendment rights for law-abiding citizens.

FOUR CHARGED IN LIQUOR BOARD CONSPIRACY: Four people were charged in federal court in connection with what prosecutors said was a long-running conspiracy that paid off a Maryland state lawmaker and officials with the Prince George’s County liquor board, Lynh Bui, Ann E. Marimow and Arelis R. Hernández report in the Post. Two people with the liquor board and two business owners in the county are accused of conspiring to influence public officials, and the investigation included undercover FBI agents, wiretaps and an envelope of cash stashed in a car’s glove compartment.

ARUNDEL TO TEST MORE RAPE KITS: Anne Arundel County police say they will begin testing more of the rape kits collected as evidence in reported sexual assaults, a move that aligns with the recommendations of a Maryland Attorney General’s report released this week. Megan Brockett of the Annapolis Capital writes that the department will start sending nearly all rape kits to its lab for screening, with the exception of kits from victims who ask the department not to do so, Capt. Herbert H. Hasenpusch said Thursday.

BALTIMORE CO. CHARTER: WYPR-FM’s Fraser Smith and John Lee talk about the upcoming review of Baltimore County’s charter and what that could mean for county residents, which was approved by voters to occur every 10 years.

HOGAN & TRUMP: WYPR-FM’s Fraser Smith and Andy Green, of the Baltimore Sun’s editorial board, talk about how Gov. Larry Hogan is reacting to the incoming administration of President-elect Donald Trump. Green says he believes Hogan hopes that Trump will affect his success in Maryland as little as possible.

RASKIN ON ELECTORAL COLLEGE: John Fritze of the Sun writes that freshman Rep. Jamie Raskin threw cold water on the idea of challenging President-elect Donald Trump’s victory when Congress meets today to formally tally Electoral College votes, saying he doesn’t see a path for success. “It’s very hard thing to prove that an election would have turned out differently than it did, and the law requires a challenge from both the House and the Senate, and I’m not seeing that happen,” he said in a statement to the Sun.

CORRECTION: Thursday’s Roundup picked up an item from the Afro which said Boyd Rutherford is the second African American lieutenant governor, but he is actually the third African American LG in a row. We failed to catch the Afro’s error which they later corrected. We try to correct errors that we notice from the summaries that we publish, but we don’t take responsibility for the accuracy of everything in every story we link to in the daily roundup.