State Roundup, August 14, 2017

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POLS, PEOPLE PROTEST RACISM: Gov. Larry Hogan issued a statement on his official Facebook page Sunday expressing his condolences to the victims of a terrorist attack at a protest in Charlottesville Saturday, the Sun is reporting. The Republican governor wrote: “The First Lady and I are heartbroken over the deaths of two Virginia State Troopers and the innocent bystander, and all those injured as a result of the violence in Charlottesville this weekend. Hate and bigotry only lead to violence and death, and there is no place for it our society. Maryland stands in solidarity with our friends and neighbors in Virginia, today and always.” Other lawmakers also expressed their sorrow.

RX POT GROWERS’ DEADLINE: Maryland’s beleaguered medical marijuana industry faces a critical deadline today, when companies the state has selected to grow the plant are required to be operational. Those that are not ready risk losing their lucrative licenses, reports Erin Cox for the Sun.

OYSTER DEBATE: In Annapolis, politicians, scientists, environmentalists and watermen debate the effectiveness of what has been called the largest oyster restoration project on Earth, Alex Mann of the Annapolis Capital writes. Driving the debate are Maryland’s watermen, professional fishermen who are the living legacy of generations who have worked the Chesapeake Bay. Backed by Gov. Larry Hogan, they are questioning the validity of sanctuaries and want them opened to harvesting that would support their businesses and families.

JUST RIGHT FUND MANAGEMENT: The state’s retirement agency pays out more in benefits each year than it takes in from employee contributions and state and local governments. In good years, that gap is closed by investment income. In bad years, the agency withdraws funds from its $49 billion in assets. While some may criticize the caution state fund managers take in their investments, its a formula that works, opines Barry Rascovar for MarylandReporter.

HOGAN TARGETS VIOLENT OFFENDERS: Gov. Larry Hogan says he plans to meet with Baltimore judges, prosecutors and politicians to discuss why more violent offenders aren’t being held in jail longer. The governor called it “outrageous” that 60% of gun offenders convicted in Baltimore have more than half their sentences suspended — a frequent complaint of the police department, writes Luke Broadwater for the Sun.

BOOSTING VOTER TURNOUT: With Maryland’s governorship and General Assembly seats at stake in the 2018 election, the state’s Democratic and Republican parties are both testing new approaches to outreach and working more vigorously than in the past to boost turnout in their favor, writes Josh Hicks for the Post.

MD-DC-VA TRIO TO MEET ON METRO: The District’s mayor and the governors of Virginia and Maryland will meet Aug. 28 to discuss Metro amid hopes that they will start to narrow the wide gap that separates them over how to fund the transit system, Robert McCartney of the Post reports. Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D), Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan (R) and District Mayor Muriel E. Bowser (D) will hold their first regional summit on Metro in 10 months and may discuss other issues as well, officials said.

MOVE ON STATE CENTER: In urging the state to move forward with the State Center project, the editorial board for the Sun opines that the current State Center buildings are money pits that cost the state far more in maintenance than modern buildings would. Every year without replacing them means millions of taxpayer dollars wasted, the Sun says.

DISSENT IN TOP COURT: In an article for the Daily Record, Steve Lash writes that attorneys arguing before Maryland’s top court should heed the adage that you cannot convince everyone every time, even though the Court of Appeals has been in agreement in an overwhelming percentage of its cases. Since the beginning of 2016, the high court has rendered a dissenting opinion in almost 25% of its non-attorney grievance cases. The dissent rate of less than one-in-four strikes law professor Byron L. Warnken as a “pretty realistic rate.”

VIGNARAJAH DEFENDS SELF: Maryland gubernatorial candidate Krishanti Vignarajah maintained on a radio show Friday that she is eligible to run, despite having voted multiple times in Washington, D.C., while also registered to vote in Maryland, Andrew Metcalf reports in Bethesda Beat.

VIGNARAJAH RUN CRITICIZED: Several Democratic political aides have come out anonymously to criticize Krishanti Vignarajah, who has said she intend to make a formal announcement for governor in September, according to Ryan Miner of A Miner Detail blog. One said, “She has a nonexistent political base. Rich Madaleno is going to crush her in Montgomery County and Kevin Kamenetz is going to wipe the floor with her in Baltimore County. It’s going to be ugly for her.”

JEALOUS ENDORSED BY WORKING FAMILIES: Ben Jealous picked up an endorsement Friday from Maryland Working Families, a statewide progressive group, in his 2018 bid for Maryland governor, Ovetta Wiggins of the Post reports. The support from the grass-roots group is the third endorsement the former president of the NAACP has received from a progressive organization since he launched his campaign at the end of May.

DELANEY, MANNO SPEAK: Ryan Miner of A Miner Detail blog interviewed presidential candidate U.S. Rep. John Delaney on his weekly Sunday online talk show about his decision to run for president in 2020. Miner asked Delaney about his reaction to the events that unfolded in Charlottesville this past weekend. During the second half of the show, Miner interviewed state Sen. Roger Manno, a Democratic candidate for Maryland’s 6th Congressional District, about his priorities for the district and what he hopes to accomplish as a member of Congress.

BARTLETT RUNS FOR DELEGATE: Sandy Bartlett has volunteered for a lot of campaigns in her nearly eight years on Anne Arundel County’s Democratic Central Committee. Now, she’s preparing to launch one of her own, Amanda Yeager of the Annapolis Capital reports. Bartlett, an intellectual property lawyer and professor from Maryland City, filed for a seat in the House of Delegates’ 32nd district in late June.

MO CO COUNCIL RACE: The field for Bethesda-based Montgomery County Council District 1 is continuing to grow, Andrew Metcalf reports for Bethesda Beat. On Friday, Democrat Andrew Friedson, a Bethesda resident and senior adviser to Maryland Comptroller Peter Franchot, announced he will pursue the seat, which incumbent Roger Berliner must vacate due to term limits in 2018.

CHAIN MAIL FLAG REVISITED: Rachel Siegel of the Post follows up on a Cecil Whig story Roundup referenced last week about Brian Galloway, a North East resident who is creating the Maryland flag out of aluminum chain mail.