State Roundup, April 19, 2017

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DANCE QUITS BA CO SCHOOLS: Baltimore County Schools Superintendent Dallas Dance announced Tuesday that he will resign June 30, shocking the schools community and raising questions about its leadership during the final three years of his contract. During this tenure, he has been an energetic and charismatic leader of Maryland’s third-largest school system. He gave no reason for his decision, and he declined to be interviewed. He said through a spokesman that he does not have a new job but is considering offers, Alison Knezevich and Liz Bowie of the Sun report.

SPECIAL SESSION A MAYBE: Senate President Mike Miller said Tuesday that if a special session of the General Assembly is convened, the legislature should take up a bill that would strip parental rights from rapists. The likelihood of that special session is unclear. In the final hours of this year’s session, the five male lawmakers seeking a compromise failed to reach one after legislators also failed to pass a bill that would have let rape victims who become pregnant during the assault terminate parental rights of their alleged attackers, Erin Cox of the Sun reports.

SEX ASSAULT, OTHER BILLS SIGNED: Gov. Larry Hogan signed a series of new laws Tuesday designed to make it easier to prosecute rape cases, reports Erin Cox in the Sun. The most sweeping is a “no means no” measure that removes a centuries-old requirement that rape victims demonstrate they tried to physically resist their assailants.

GROUP THREATENS SUIT OVER VOTER LOGS: A conservative legal watchdog group said it will sue the state of Maryland unless it takes more aggressive action to remove ineligible voters from the registration rolls of Montgomery County, its largest jurisdiction, Bill Turque reports in the Post.

CAN A DEMOCRAT BEAT HOGAN? Yes, says former political strategist Laslo Boyd, as he lays out all the factors he thinks may make the Republican vulnerable to some Democrat. Boyd, in his blog From a Certain Point of View, goes beyond the conventional Democratic thinking, but details the headwinds Hogan faces.

CUMMINGS ON THE CIRCUS: In the episode of The Circus that aired Sunday, John Heilemann has a three and a half minute interview with Rep. Elijah Cummings. “People are scared,” says Cummings, and recounts some of his conversations with President Trump.

VAN HOLLEN DENIES CLAIM: Sen. Chris Van Hollen’s campaign on Tuesday denied allegations raised in a new a book about the 2016 presidential election that he urged unions to not aggressively turn out the state’s African American vote because it would help his Democratic primary opponent, the Sun’s John Fritze is reporting. The book, “Shattered: Inside Hillary Clinton’s Doomed Campaign,” suggests Van Hollen sought to put the brakes on union-centered black turnout efforts and that Clinton dismissed the idea.

HATE CRIME CHARGE IN POLITICAL SIGN ARSON: Two Baltimore-area women were charged with lighting a Trump sign on fire in Somerset County, officials said. Jessica Anderson of the Sun writes that Princess Anne police have charged the 19-year-olds with multiple offenses, including second-degree arson and committing a hate crime. “The intentional burning of these political signs, along with the beliefs, religious views and race of this political affiliation, directly coincides with the victim,” a Princess Anne police officer wrote in charging documents to support the hate crime charge.

COLUMBIA AND THE ARTS: In the 10th of his 12-part series celebrating the 50th anniversary of the planned town of Columbia, MarylandReporter.com editor Len Lazarick writes that Columbia founder Jim Rouse knew that arts and culture were an essential element of city life, and in Columbia he was building “a real city — not just a better suburb.” Rouse and his chief planners paid close attention to almost every detail of community life — stores and churches, bike paths and pools, schools and libraries, hospitals and colleges. The arts were no different.