State Roundup, June 27, 2017

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RX POT LICENSE MAY BE DENIED: Maryland medical marijuana regulators took steps Monday to deny a license to one of the 15 companies picked to grow the drug, saying there was a “reasonable likelihood” the firm would not properly safeguard the medicine. In voting to tell MaryMed LLC that it would not receive a final license, the medical marijuana commission cited concerns about MaryMed LLC’s former parent company Vireo Health, which operates medical marijuana businesses in two other states. The commission also faulted MaryMed for not cooperating with Maryland investigators, Erin Cox reports in the Sun.

HOGAN PUSHES TO SUSTAIN VETO: Gov. Larry Hogan Monday called on Salisbury business leaders to pressure lawmakers to sustain his veto of the legislature’s paid sick leave bill, reports Bryan Sears of the Daily Record. Hogan delivered the speech to a lunch gathering of the city’s chamber of commerce. The remarks were in many ways identical to those he delivered during a June 6 business summit in Baltimore except that this time it was on the Eastern Shore in a Senate district where paid sick leave could become a campaign issue.

CRABBING LIMITATIONS URGED: Scott Dance of the Sun reports that Maryland crabs could be more scarce — and possibly more expensive — in the second half of the summer if state officials heed a call from scientists to limit harvests this fall. Biologists said Monday they are concerned about a decline in the Chesapeake Bay blue crab population over the past year — and in the number of juvenile crabs, in particular. Their worry comes despite data showing adult female crabs are at their most plentiful in a generation.

SCHOOL RATING SYSTEM: Every public school in Maryland will get an official rating starting next school year under a system the state school board plans to vote on this morning, Liz Bowie of the Sun writes. The rating system is expected to take into account a variety of factors — from student test scores and parent surveys to attendance rates and curriculum — that will allow parents and the general public to compare the relative quality of schools.

A REASON TO PROBE PG SCHOOLS: In an opinion piece for the Washington Times, Deborah Simmons opines that Maryland’s probe into whether Prince George’s County administrators, teachers and others changed students’ grades and credits to boost graduation rates is no small undertaking. Currently, fraud and corruption are the chief allegations. There’s no question that Gov. Larry Hogan has done the right thing by calling on the state Board of Education  for a two-prong investigation.

BUSINESSES UNITE ON METRO PLAN: We missed this story from last week’s Post, by Robert McCartney: The Washington region’s business community overcame months of internal differences Thursday and agreed on a plan to fix Metro by giving it dedicated funding and restructuring its board so it functions more like that of a private company.The group sent a letter to the area’s top political leaders, including Gov. Larry Hogan, outlining the proposal.

PURPLE LINE STAY UPHELD: A federal judge Monday said his court order holding up construction of Maryland’s Purple Line will remain in effect while the state continues to fight a lawsuit opposing the light-rail project, Katherine Shaver of the Post is reporting.

STATE CENTER DEVELOPMENTS: Adam Bednar of the Daily Record reports that the attorney for the developer of the troubled State Center redevelopment accused Gov. Larry Hogan of shopping the site to other builders, violating his client’s exclusive development rights.

BAD MEDICINE FOR MARYLAND: The editorial board of the Sun opines that, from a political standpoint, Gov. Larry Hogan’s swift statement of disapproval for the Senate’s Obamacare repeal-and-replace bill was remarkable. Mr. Hogan, a moderate Republican, opposed President Donald Trump in last year’s election but has sought assiduously to stay out of national politics ever since. From a governance standpoint, though, it was a no-brainer. The Senate health care bill would be a disaster for America’s health care system generally, but its effects would be even worse for Maryland.

HACKED HO CO WEBSITE BACK UP: Carrie Wells of the Sun writes that the Howard County government website that was hacked Sunday with messages supporting the Islamic State was  restored as of 9:45 a.m. Monday. The FBI field office in San Francisco is handling the investigation and referred comment to officials there.

A DERNOGA RUNS FOR DELEGATE: Matt Dernoga, the son of former Prince George’s County Councilmember Tom Dernoga (D) and a senior policy analyst for his father’s successor, Councilmember Mary Lehman (D), is running for a seat in the House of Delegates, writes Josh Kurtz for Maryland Matters.

LEVENTHAL IN MO CO EXEC RACE: Montgomery County Council member George Leventhal has formally entered the 2018 county executive’s race, promising a culture of customer service for all taxpayers and continued support for the poor, elderly, disabled and homeless in Maryland’s most populous locality, reports Bill Turque for the Post.

  • The Takoma Park resident, a Democrat, said during the kickoff event Saturday that he would advocate for transportation projects such as the light-rail Purple Line and work to address congestion on I-270. He vowed to fight for state education dollars to reduce overcrowding in county schools, and promote initiatives to support the homeless and make the county a more attractive place to do business, writes Andrew Metcalf for Bethesda Beat.

MATCHING ELECTION FUNDS: Ed Amatetti may become the first Republican to qualify for up $125,000 in matching county funds in the 2018 elections, reports Glynis Kazanjian for MarylandReporter. He is running for Montgomery County Council in District 2, the seat now held by Democrat Craig Rice, who is seeking reelection.

Johnny Olszewski Jr., pictured center, is expected to announce his run for the Democratic nomination for Baltimore County executive tonight. Photo from his Facebook page.

MUSE IN PG EXEC RACE: State Sen. C. Anthony Muse (D) on Monday became the first candidate in the race to succeed outgoing Prince George’s County Executive Rushern L. Baker, touring the Maryland suburb and promising to focus on core issues like schools, health care and economic development, Arelis Hernandez reports for the Post.

OLSZEWSKI IN BA CO EXEC RACE: The 2018 campaign for leadership of Baltimore County — Maryland’s third-most populous jurisdiction — gets underway today as Democrat Johnny Olszewski Jr. officially launches his bid for county executive, reports Pamela Wood in the Sun.

HARRIS CO-SPONSORS DOUGLASS BILL: If Congress approves a bill co-sponsored by Maryland Rep. Andy Harris, a commission will be created to organize activities commemorating the bicentennial of Douglass’ birth, writes Jeremy Cox for the Salisbury Daily Times. “Frederick Douglass is the father of the civil rights movement, and all Americans can benefit from studying his remarkable life,” Harris said in a statement.