State Roundup, March 7, 2017

Print More

TANEYS, SCOTTS UNITED: Ovetta Wiggins of the Post captures a pretty remarkable scene from Annapolis yesterday: A descendant of Justice Roger Brooke Taney and a descendent of the slave Dred Scott embraced on the State House grounds in front of the controversial Taney statue as both families push to erect a statue of Scott and Frederick Douglass.

BAIL REFORM BILLS: State lawmakers are considering at least a half dozen bills related to bail and pretrial release, and the House Judiciary Committee is expected to consider competing approaches to bail reform today, reports WYPR-FM’s Rachel Baye.

BREWING ALLIANCE: As Diageo pushes to open a Guinness brewery in Baltimore County, it has forged an alliance with Maryland’s local breweries, reports the Sun’s Pamela Wood. The English alcoholic beverage conglomerate and the Brewers Association of Maryland drafted legislation introduced in the General Assembly on Monday night that would give all production breweries in the state the ability to sell significantly more beer in their taprooms.

HOGAN APPOINTMENT DELAYED: A Maryland Senate committee on Monday grilled one of Gov. Larry Hogan’s nominees to the state Board of Education about his brushes with the law, his unpaid state taxes and his stance on school choice. “You didn’t pay your taxes to the state of Maryland; how can you take a position with the state of Maryland?” Senate President Mike Miller asked Brandon Cooper, a Hogan appointee from Prince George’s County. The Senate Executive Nominations Committee delayed action on Cooper’s nomination on Monday night, Ovetta Wiggins of the Post writes.

FUNDING STATE PENSIONS: A bill to pre-fund future pension and health insurance liabilities for state workers passed overwhelmingly in the House of Delegates last week in a 130-5 vote — and now waits in the Senate Budget and Tax Committee for a hearing. The bill, HB28, would require 50% of the general fund balance in excess of $10 million be split equally between the pension system and the Postretirement Health Benefits Trust Fund, up to $25 million for each fund, writes Daniel Menefee for MarylandReporter.com.

STATE CENTER DEVELOPER SEEKS HOGAN MEETING: The developer behind the embattled State Center redevelopment project has sent a letter to Gov. Larry Hogan asking him for a personal meeting, writes the Daily Record’s Adam Bednar.  The letter, signed by Caroline Moore, CEO of Ekistics LLC and co-managing member of State Center LLC, was scheduled to arrive on Monday. It argues that Hogan’s previous criticisms of the $1.5 billion proposal are contrary to a cost-benefit analysis provided to the state.

DONATION BAN FAILS: An effort to ban campaign contributions from developers in Baltimore County has failed in the General Assembly. Baltimore County’s state senators on Monday voted down a bill from Sen. Jim Brochin that would have banned developers, their agents and their immediate family members from giving money to candidates for the Baltimore County Council and county executive, Pamela Wood of the Sun writes.

PG LIQUOR BOARD APPOINTMENTS: The Senate on Monday night gave preliminary approval to a bill that would remove the governor from the process of appointing the members to the Prince George’s County Board of Liquor Commissioners, Ovetta Wiggins of the Post reports. The measure was proposed by the Prince George’s County Senate delegation after several liquor board officials were charged in a long-standing federal corruption investigation.

DRIVING WHILE HIGH: Paul Armentano of NORML writes, in an op-ed for MarylandReporter.com, that Maryland lawmakers are once again considering legislation to regulate the adult use and sale of marijuana to those age 21 or older. Nearly six in 10 residents support this reform, according to a February Goucher poll. But opponents charge that doing so could pose a risk to traffic safety. Such concerns are not altogether unfounded, but deserve to be placed in proper context.

RUNNING FOR GOVERNOR? A Baltimore tech entrepreneur and author is seriously considering running for governor this election cycle, according to multiple Democratic sources — and some say he has begun to talk to consultants and potential staffers about putting together a campaign, writes Josh Kurtz for Maryland Matters. Alec Ross is a 45-year-old distinguished senior fellow at Johns Hopkins University who worked for Hillary Clinton at the State Department and is the author of a highly-acclaimed book, “The Industries of the Future.”

HORSESHOE CASINO TAKE: The glow of Baltimore’s casino continues to dim before the glitter of the MGM National Harbor complex outside of Washington, writes Mark Reutter for Baltimore Brew. Although its revenues recovered somewhat from a precipitous fall in January, Horseshoe Casino still eked out historically low revenues in February, according to figures released today by the Maryland Lottery and Gaming Control Agency.

ON NEW MUSLIM BAN: Maryland lawmakers reacted to the Trump administration’s new immigrant travel ban, falling largely along party lines in their condemnation or applause of it, writes John Fritze in the Sun. Republican Rep. Andy Harris said, “This temporary pause in immigration from those six countries was long overdue [and will give] our law enforcement and Homeland Security officials adequate time to work to develop vetting measures that will protect us from terrorist infiltrators.”

CARSON ON IMMIGRANTS: Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson faced criticism for appearing to liken slaves to immigrants during one of his first addresses to his new employees on Monday. Carson began with a riff in which he encouraged HUD employees to “be nice” to one another as they met in elevators or hallways, John Fritze of the Sun reports.

BEEFED UP SECURITY AT JEWISH CENTERS: Making good on a promise he made at the Bender Jewish Community Center in Rockville on Friday, Montgomery County Executive Ike Leggett sent a $225,000 supplemental appropriation request to the County Council on Monday to help the Jewish community beef up security at its facilities in the county, Andrew Metcalf reports for Bethesda Beat.

ANALYZING PRINCE GEORGE’S: Data from the Prince George’s County government became easier to access this week after the county relaunched a website that gives the public the power to probe, download and search data sets about everything from building permits to crime, Arelis Hernandez of the Post writes.

TOWARD A $15 MINIMUM WAGE: Baltimore’s City Council, pushed by a group of freshmen members seeking dramatic changes, gave preliminary approval Monday to a bill to raise the city’s minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2022, Luke Broadwater writes in the Sun. That would be the highest minimum wage in the state of Maryland — nearly $5 an hour higher than in surrounding counties.

  • Bumpy Head

    What a great story about the Taney and Scott descendants coming together. It’s unfortunate that this event and others like it are part of our history but it’s great to see the families showing unity today. They are a positive example for everyone. There is one America…and we are all one people. I look forward to a time when that’s more reflected by the actions of all. Until then, we work together to overcome.