RENEWABLES VETO OVERRIDE BEGINS: The House of Delegates on Tuesday took the first step to reverse Gov. Larry Hogan’s veto of a renewable energy bill, voting 88-51 to overturn it. The state Senate plans to vote Thursday. To override a governor’s veto, three-fifths of the Senate must join the House in voting to do so, Pamela Wood of the Sun reports.
- The legislation, sponsored by Del. C. William Frick (D-Montgomery), would require Maryland to buy 25% of its energy from renewable-energy sources, such as wind and solar, by 2020, accelerating existing standards that call for 20% renewable energy by 2022. House Democrats argued Tuesday that the measure would help combat air pollution and climate change while creating green jobs and protecting public health, Josh Hicks reports in the Post.
- Supporters of the bill said Hogan’s objections to the legislation are disingenuous and compared it to the governor labeling the stormwater management fee as “the rain tax.” Under the increased standard in the bill, electricity suppliers would comply by purchasing a percentage of renewable energy credits proportional to its share of Maryland’s total electricity sales. Hogan called the bill a $100 million tax on electricity ratepayers, Bryan Sears writes in the Daily Record.
- Republicans and business advocates said that the cost — estimated by a nonpartisan analysis to be between 48 cents and $1.45 more per month — was too great for energy consumers to bear, writes Brad Kroner for the Cecil Whig. When Hogan vetoed the bill, he wrote that consumers shouldn’t be faced with the burden of higher energy costs.
DEFENDING AGAINST TRUMP: In a challenge to Gov. Larry Hogan, General Assembly Democrats unveiled a package of initiatives Tuesday they billed as a defense of Marylanders’ rights against the actions of President Donald J. Trump. The measures include expanding the authority of Maryland’s attorney general to take legal action against federal government actions without receiving the governor’s permission, Michael Dresser of the Sun is reporting.
- Democrats said they plan to introduce the Maryland Defense Act, providing $3 million in the budget for Attorney General Brian E. Frosh (D) to protect Marylanders from “harmful” federal efforts. Frosh did not give specifics but said his office would fight policies it felt would damage health care, civil rights, the environment or consumer protections, Ovetta Wiggins and Josh Hicks of the Post report.
- Rachel Baye of WYPR-FM reports that one bill would make Maryland a sanctuary state for immigrants without legal status. Sen. Victor Ramirez, the bill’s sponsor, calls it the “Maryland Trust Act.” The Prince George’s County Democrat said the goal is to ensure that immigrants continue to trust their local police.
- A resolution in the package would withdraw Maryland from all previous calls for a U.S. constitutional convention on several topics, Jacob Taylor reports for Capital News Service in MarylandReporter.com. A constitutional convention can be used to amend the Constitution if the legislatures of two-thirds of the states call for one; any amendments would still have to be ratified by three-fourths of the states.
- Hogan spokeswoman declined to comment directly on any of the bills or resolutions, writes Bryan Sears in the Daily Record. “The governor and our legislative agenda will remain focused on Maryland. They should do the same,” said Amelia Chassé, a Hogan spokeswoman.
HOGAN NEEDS TO SPEAK UP: Del. Eric Ludtke, in an op-ed for the Sun, opines that among all the Marylanders voicing their opposition to the anti-immigration actions taken by the Trump administration — which saw a 5-year-old Maryland resident and U.S. citizen being detained while his mother waited anxiously for him, one voice is missing: Gov. Larry Hogan’s. Hogan, he writes, issued a mealy-mouthed statement that was transparently an attempt to avoid taking a position.
STATE OF THE STATE TODAY: Gov. Larry Hogan is set to give his third State of the State speech today at noon. The Republican governor is scheduled to deliver the speech in the House of Delegates before members of the General Assembly, which is controlled by Democrats, the AP is reporting.
LEANING AGAINST RECREATIONAL POT: Tamela Baker of the Hagerstown Herald-Mail reports that while the bills aren’t even available yet, Washington County lawmakers say they are already inclined to oppose proposals to legalize and tax marijuana. Sen. Richard Madaleno Jr., D-Montgomery, said Monday that he plans to introduce legislation to regulate and tax marijuana, allowing use by adults 21 and over. It would still be illegal to consume marijuana in public or to drive under its influence, according to the measure.
ABUSERS, GUNS & BACKGROUND CHECKS: Maryland lawmakers will push for gun control bills that aim to ensure background checks for private long gun sales and strengthen the process through which convicted domestic abusers surrender firearms. The pair of soon-to-be-introduced bills will join more than a dozen gun-related bills already filed in Annapolis this year, reports Danielle Gaines in the Frederick News-Post.
UM STUDENTS SEEK FRACKING BAN: With the state of Maryland’s fracking ban almost expired, University of Maryland MaryPIRG members are building a coalition of partners to garner support to propose legislation that would permanently ban fracking in this state, reports Natalie Schwartz writes in the Diamondback.
CAMERAS ON SENATE FLOOR: Steve Lash of the Daily Record writes that traditional Maryland Senate ways came into conflict with modern pocket-camera technology Monday night when the chamber’s longtime president admonished a Daily Record reporter who used an iPhone to record floor proceedings. President Mike Miller, having seen Bryan Sears record a speech by Sen. Paul Pinsky, told the reporter from the rostrum of a longstanding rule requiring media to get permission to take video from the press area.
LONG PROFILE OF HOGAN: The February issue of Washingtonian magazine has a big, flattering 5,200-word profile of Gov. Larry Hogan by senior writer Luke Mullion. “Larry Hogan Is Having a Grand Old Time as Maryland’s Governor,” says the headline on a spread that leads with a two-page photo. “He navigated an urban crisis, beat cancer, and became America’s second-most popular governor—as a Republican in a blue state. And Democrats have no idea how to respond,” reads the subhead. There’s not a lot new in this piece for longtime Hogan watchers, but there are a few juicy quotes, including the best one from the gov himself in a readout. “I’m this little punk, sitting in my boxers, typing on Facebook, and O’Malley decides to go toe to toe with me.”
TRUMP TO TAP ROSENSTEIN: President Donald J. Trump will nominate Maryland U.S. Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein to be deputy attorney general, the White House said Tuesday. John Fritze of the Sun reports that Rosenstein, appointed as the state’s top federal prosecutor by Republican President George W. Bush in 2005, is the longest-serving U.S. attorney in the country. He has earned praise from both sides of the aisle in the role, despite working in a heavily Democratic state.
CUMMINGS-TRUMP MEETING ‘IN WORKS:’ White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer on Tuesday reiterated President Trump’s intention to meet with Rep. Elijah E. Cummings about the cost of prescription drugs. The Baltimore congressman had used two national television appearances — on programs Trump frequently watches — to call for the meeting about the rising price of medication. The president called Cummings last week to extend an invitation to meet, John Fritze of the Sun writes.
CITY, DOJ IN COURT: Kevin Rector, writing in the Sun, reports that officials from Baltimore and the U.S. Department of Justice are due in federal court this morning to answer questions about their recent agreement over radical reforms to the city’s troubled police department. The scheduled hearing comes amid significant confusion and an internal shakeup at the federal agency itself, where President Donald J. Trump fired Acting Attorney General Sally Yates on Monday and Senate Democrats delayed a vote on Sen. Jeff Sessions, Trump’s nominee to fill the position, on Tuesday.