State Roundup, May 11, 2017

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ROSENSTEIN IN SPOTLIGHT: Weeks after hailing Deputy Attorney General Rod J. Rosenstein as an “independent” prosecutor who would “stand up for the law,” Senate Democrats said Wednesday they had deep reservations about his impartiality, and no longer trusted him to oversee the FBI probe into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election, John Fritze of the Sun reports.

VA, MD DEMS FOR SPECIAL PROSECUTOR: Virginia and Maryland Democrats in Congress spoke with a unified voice Wednesday, calling for special prosecutor or independent commission to take over a Russia inquiry after the abrupt firing of FBI Director James B. Comey, reports Jenna Portnoy of the Post. Republicans? Not so much.

BPW OKs LOTTERY OVERHAUL: The Board of Public Works Wednesday approved a nearly $342 million contract to modernize the state’s lottery systems despite the objections of advocates concerned about a lack of diversity in the proposal and complaints from other bidders who previously challenged the contract, Bryan Sears of the Daily Record reports.

STATE LAGS IN MEDICATION AID FOR SENIORS: Maryland needs to do more to ensure access to prescription drugs and pain management for seniors, areas where it ranks last and second-to-last in the country. Tim Curtis of the Daily Record reports on a new report released Wednesday by United Health Foundation.

REDISTRICTING IN MARYLAND: Democrats were quick to jump on Republican Gov. Larry Hogan for vetoing their version of alleged redistricting reform on Monday. The state party accused Hogan of pushing “a partisan redistricting plan that would help himself and Donald Trump pick up more votes in 2018 and 2020.” But, writes Len Lazarick for MarylandReporter.com, the charge is inaccurate since the independent commission that Hogan wants to draw congressional and legislative districts doesn’t start operating until 2021, the year after the 2020 census provides new population figures.

  • The editorial board of the Sun swats down the Democrats’ phony redistricting reform, opining that Gov. Larry Hogan is absolutely right: Democratic lawmakers’ bill to reform Maryland’s redistricting process only if five other states do the same was nothing more than an effort to make the issue go away without actually doing anything. Letting it become law would have muddied the issue and diminished any pressure Democrats might feel to take the drawing of legislative and congressional district lines out of self-interested, partisan hands.

AA NEARS IMMIGRATION ENFORCEMENT PACTS: Anne Arundel officials are drawing closer to finalizing two agreements with the federal government that would give county jails a role to play in immigration enforcement. County Executive Steve Schuh’s administration has been in talks with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement for the past several months about participating in its 287(g) and intergovernmental service programs, Amanda Yeager of the Annapolis Capital reports..

BODY CAMS: The Howard County Police Department is finalizing an agreement with Axon, formerly known as Taser International, to equip 10 local police officers with body cameras as part of a pilot program, Fatimah Waseem reports for the Howard County Times.

MARC STEINER LEAVING AIRWAVES: Peabody Award-winning broadcaster Marc Steiner is leaving WEAA-FM (88.9) after nine years. Ending an overall run of 24 years on Baltimore radio, Steiner says his last day on air at the Morgan State University public radio station will be July 31, writes David Zurawik for the Sun.