State Roundup, March 28, 2017

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SENATE PASSES FRACKING BAN: A Maryland bill that bans hydraulic fracturing cleared its final hurdle Monday night when the Senate approved the measure with a 35-to-10 vote, Ovetta Wiggins and Josh Hicks write in the Post.  The legislation now heads to Gov. Larry Hogan’s desk, who has pledged to sign it.

SCHOOL FUNDING: The General Assembly’s budget leaders agreed Monday to accept Gov. Larry Hogan’s offer of $28 million to help the Baltimore school system and others around the state where enrollment has declined, abandoning a proposal to bail out the districts without his assistance, Michael Dresser and Erin Cox of the Sun report.

SESSIONS CALLS OUT MARYLAND: Attorney General Jeff Sessions said Monday that the Trump administration is seeking to withhold $4.1 billion from cities and counties that limit cooperation with immigration authorities, and he called on state lawmakers in Annapolis to oppose pending legislation on the issue, John Fritze of the Sun reports. “Maryland is talking about a state law to make the state a sanctuary state,” Sessions told reporters at the White House. “I would plead with the people of Maryland to understand that this makes the State of Maryland more at risk for violence and crime — that it’s not good policy.”

BUTTER UP TRUMP: In a column for MarylandReporter.com, Michael Collins writes that Maryland’s elected Democrats at all levels seem to be unified in their outspoken denunciations of President Trump.  They may want to consider, however, that their actions will have consequences.Today, Maryland ranks third in the nation in federal spending, and brings in about 50% more per capita than the national average. Even though Congress has the power of the purse, the executive has enormous discretion.

Kim Oldham

BIPARTISAN ENDORSEMENT FOR HOWARD STATE’S ATTORNEY: Howard County Deputy State’s Attorney Kim Yon Oldham plans to announce Tuesday she’s running for the top job. A press release says she will be endorsed by incumbent State’s Attorney Dario Broccolino, a Democrat, and by Republican County Executive Allan Kittleman. Oldham is a Republican. “I can’t think of anyone better qualified to be State’s Attorney,” Broccolino said.  “If she were my opponent, I would vote for her.” Broccolino was elected twice with no opposition.

SLOW DRIVER PENALTY: Ava-joye Burnett of WJZ-TV reports that a new bill in Annapolis would fine drivers if they’re going too slow on a highway. While there is concern this would encourage aggressive driving, others are all for the change.

HEALTH CARE DOLLARS: Rep. Andy Harris, part of the conservative Freedom Caucus that helped tank President Donald Trump’s health care legislation, said Monday that Republicans only needed a little more time to reach an agreement and that the House should return to the issue later this year, reports John Fritze of the Sun.

BAIL REFORM: Marc Steiner of WEAA-FM addresses one of the most contentious issues in the Maryland legislature, bail reform, with Dayvon Love, of Leaders of a Beautiful Struggle, and Caryn York, of the Job Opportunities Task Force. The segment is about 18 minutes long.

PAYDAY LENDERS: In this 18-minute segment, Marc Steiner of WEAA-FM  looks at legislation to curtail payday lenders, speaking with Marceline White, of the Maryland Consumer Rights Coalition, and Robin McKinney,  of the Maryland Creating Assets, Savings & Hope Campaign.

BILLS THAT LIVE: As the session starts winding up, Bryan Sears of the Daily Record looks at the status of important bills to watch in the General Assembly, writing that every year, about 3,000 bills start out  either in the House of Delegates or the Senate with all the hopes and dreams of baby sea turtles rushing to ocean shortly after they hatch. The vast majority get picked off by seagull-like predators lurking in and around the State House.

THIS & THAT: Josh Kurtz of Maryland Matters writes about potential gubernatorial candidates Jim Shea and Rushern Baker and a slew of fund-raisers that will be coming up.

ROSENSTEIN VOTE DELAYED: Maryland U.S. Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein, nominated to be deputy attorney general, will have to wait at least another week before receiving a vote in the Senate Judiciary Committee after Democrats forced a delay Monday.

CORDISH IN WHITE HOUSE: Former Baltimore developer Reed Cordish will have a hand in overseeing a new White House office to overhaul government functions using ideas from the business sector, the administration announced Monday. John Fritze writes in the Sun that the effort, which will be led by Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner, will “focus on implementing policies and scaling proven private-sector models to spur job creation and innovation,” the president said in a statement.