State Roundup, June 29, 2017

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NEW LAWS TAKE EFFECT: Dozens of new state laws will take effect on Saturday, including measures to increase opioid education programs for young people and increase the barrel limit for craft breweries. Staff and wire services for the Frederick News Post report that other measures taking effect would provide state money for Planned Parenthood if federal funding is cut off, and would extend tax credits to emergency responders.

REFORMING CRAFT BREW LAWS: Jeff Neiburg of the Salisbury Daily Times writes about the continuing struggles of Maryland’s craft brew businesses as Comptroller Peter Franchot works with his Reform on Tap Task Force. As Maryland gets ready to put new restrictions on it, Virginia is poised to lure the businesses away from the state.

DEM CHAIR CRITICAL OF HOGAN ON HEALTH CARE: Gov. Larry Hogan (R) has criticized his party’s latest plan for replacing the Affordable Care Act. But the head of the Maryland Democratic Party says he should do more. Josh Hicks of the Post writes that Kathleen Matthews said during a conference call with reporters on Wednesday that Hogan has shown a “lack of leadership” on the issue and was “acting more like a politician than a true governor who cares about the healthcare of hundreds of thousands of constituents.”

  • “We’re concerned because this really would cause a state of emergency to Marylander’s health care,” Matthews said. “I think it’s clear that repealing the Affordable Care Act and replacing it with Trump-care would be devastating to Marylanders.” The Senate Bill calls for deep cuts to Medicaid that could potentially result in millions of moderate and low-income insurance consumers losing their coverage, reports Bryan Sears for the Daily Record.

KILLING ZERO-WASTE LANDFILLS: Gov. Larry Hogan (R) has rescinded the zero-waste landfill rules that his predecessor, Democrat Martin O’Malley, put in place during his final days in office, Josh Hicks of the Post reports.

STATE SCHOOL ASSESSMENT: The editorial board for the Sun gives the state Board of Education’s new school ranking system a  thumbs up, with a “needs improvement” in some areas, writing that “if we were to rank Maryland’s proposed new school grading system based on improvement, it would get five stars for sure — though that’s mainly a reflection of how terrible the old No Child Left Behind-based system was. If we were ranking it on its own merits, the results would be mixed.”

MARYLAND DIVIDED ON FRACKING & THE ECONOMY: In Part 2 of Maryland Divided in MarylandReporter, CNS’s J.F. Meils reports that Allegany and Garrett, the state’s two westernmost counties, tend to be lumped together as “Mountain Maryland,” their problems similar, their prospects equally muddled. But the two counties’ economic issues — and their approaches to solving them — differ starkly. One relied on big employers who paid good salaries, then left the county in despair. The other relied on natural resources to power its economy, a legacy it intends to continue.

RX POT SHOP IN SILVER SPRING: The cat is out of the bag on the location of Silver Spring’s future medical marijuana shop, Bethany Rodgers of Bethesda Beat writes.  Representatives of Green Thumb Industries, the company that has secured a state license to establish a shop in Silver Spring, confirmed Wednesday that they’re moving into the former home of the Banner Glass shop.

KAMENETZ SOUNDS LIKE GUBERNATORIAL CANDIDATE: Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz, who is term-limited, hasn’t officially said what he’ll be running for in 2018, but he is asking donors for help hitting his quarterly fundraising goals. Most observers believe he will enter the Democratic Party gubernatorial primary and seek to challenge first-term Republican Gov. Larry Hogan, Bryan Sears reports in the Daily Record. A fundraising letter did little to dissuade anyone of those notions, though a spokesman for Kamenetz’s campaign said there was no news to be had just now.

Screenshot taken from Del. Frick’s website.

FRICK PLANS RUN FOR CONGRESS: Ryan Miner of the Miner Detail blog writes that Maryland House Majority Leader Bill Frick says he is “getting ready to run for Congress.” The 42-year-old Maryland delegate released a campaign email blast today using the title, “our future.”  A delegate  since 2007, Frick, a Democrat, is hoping to succeed Rep. John Delaney (MD-6) should Delaney decide to pursue higher political office in 2018.

ELFRETH SEEKS SEN. ASTLE’s SEAT:  If you’ve been around Maryland Democratic politics for the last several years – especially Young Democratic circles and women’s groups – you know Sarah Elfreth. If you’ve worked the State House during a recent legislative session, you’ve probably seen Elfreth there, writes Josh Kurtz for Maryland Matters. Now Elfreth, 28, is about to take the next step in her political journey: Today, she’s filing paperwork to become a candidate for Astle’s District 30 Senate seat. A formal event to launch her candidacy will take place in mid-July.

CARSON ON LEAD ABATEMENT: Dr. Ben Carson, secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development, will make lead abatement a central theme of several appearances in Baltimore today — the latest stop in a listening tour he launched after taking office, reports John Fritze for the Sun.

3 FOR MATCHING CAMPAIGN FUNDS: It appears being an incumbent can be an asset when it comes to collecting the small-dollar contributions required for participation in Montgomery County’s new public election financing system, reports Andrew Metcalf for Bethesda Beat. Over the past two days, Democratic County Council members Marc Elrich, George Leventhal and Hans Riemer each announced they’ve received the minimum amount of small-dollar contributions from county residents required to qualify for matching contributions under the new system.

TEACHER RUNS FOR AA COUNCIL: A teacher from Annapolis is the first candidate to file in the 2018 race for the Anne Arundel County Council’s sixth district seat. Lisa Brannigan Rodvien, a Democrat, officially launched her candidacy about a week ago with a kickoff party June 17 and a visit to the Board of Elections June 21. Councilman Chris Trumbauer, an Annapolis Democrat who represents District 6, cannot run for re-election due to term limits, Amanda Yeager of the Annapolis Capital writes.

ANNAPOLIS MAYOR CANDIDATES FORUM: What benchmarks would Annapolis’ new mayor use to measure their success years from now? This question and others were posed to four candidates Wednesday night at a mayoral forum, the second of the election season and the first to feature all four candidates. Rachael Pacella of the Annapolis Capital reports.