State Roundup, May 9, 2017

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HOGAN VETOES REDISTRICTING BILL: Gov. Larry Hogan on Monday vetoed a bill passed by the General Assembly that he said would block true redistricting reform in Maryland, reports Luke Broadwater for the Sun.

BAY IS HEALTHIER: Maryland environmental scientists gave the Chesapeake Bay a “C” for overall health in 2016, with improved fish populations and water conditions contributing to the second-highest grade the ecosystem has received in 30 years of scoring, Josh Hicks of the Post writes.

FIXING RX POT PROBLEMS: In a column for MarylandReporter, Michael Collins takes a close look at Maryland’s botched medical marijuana system that has been rife with problems from its inception. State lawmakers had a chance to repair some of those problems but failed to do so in the last session. And the latest discovery — that the overseeing commission may have violated state procurement law, is overpaying for consulting services but has not paid its bills — is just making matters worse.

TACKLING OPIOID ABUSE: A regional summit of local governments to address opioid abuse is taking place in Maryland, according to the AP. The Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments is holding its Regional Opioid and Substance Abuse Summit in Linthicum Heights today.

WA CO GOES TO COURT OVER HUGE SOLAR FARM: A date of June 8 has been set for oral arguments for a case in which Washington County government is appealing a court decision to allow the Maryland Public Service Commission to be the sole regulatory agency for large solar projects in the county. Julie Greene of the Hagerstown Herald-Mail reports that the case stems from a proposed solar array on about 86 acres of farmland. Nearby residents are opposed to the project, claiming that the 42,000-panel array would destroy their rural view and pose safety risks. The county wants to protect local zoning authority over such solar projects.

MADALENO’s RUN: Montgomery County State Sen. Richard Madaleno said Sunday he will run for governor, becoming the second official candidate in what’s expected to be a large field of Democrats trying to unseat popular Republican Gov. Larry Hogan, reports Andrew Metcalf for Bethesda Beat.

CAMPAIGNING ON HOME TURF: Two likely Democratic candidates for governor – Prince George’s County Executive Rushern Baker and state Sen. Rich Madaleno – have addressed friendly, home-based audiences in recent days, and what they said reveals a lot about the campaigns they plan to wage, writes Josh Kurtz for Maryland Matters.

ALSTON PLEADS FOR LAW LICENSE: Though having bar counsel’s support for her reinstatement, disbarred former Del. Tiffany T. Alston will submit additional papers to the Maryland Court of Appeals explaining why it should restore her law license despite having been found guilty of theft and misconduct in office, her attorney told the state’s top court Monday. Steve Lash of the Daily Record reports on what happened in court.

HARRIS ON HEALTH CARE ACT: Jeff Salkin of Direct Connection on MPT interviews U.S. Rep. Andy Harris on the House passage of the American Health Care Act. During this 18-minute interview, Harris tells Salkin, “It’s going to bring down premiums and that couldn’t come at a better time now that Carefirst has requested a 58.8% increase in the most popular Obamacare plan in Maryland.”

PRINCE GEORGE’s RACES: Maryland’s Democratic primary is more than a year away, but candidates are starting to emerge for two new at-large council seats and other offices in deep-blue Prince George’s County, Arelis Hernandez of the Post writes.

FREE SPEECH ON CAMPUS: The denial of a speaking engagement to conservative commentator Ann Coulter at the University of California at Berkeley is getting a lot of coverage right now, but it’s nothing new, writes Towson University Professor Richard Vatz in a Sun op-ed. For many decades, there has been a stunning — and manifestly appalling — general prejudice against conservatives in higher education, evidenced by curtailments on their academic freedom and freedom of speech.

***MarylandReporter.com editor Len Lazarick will be discussing redistricting reform at 9:30 a.m. Tuesday with Sheilah Kast on WYPR-FM 88.1***