State Roundup, September 14, 2017

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SUPREMES WON’T EXPEDITE GERRYMANDER CASE: The U.S. Supreme Court won’t hear a Maryland gerrymandering claim at the same time as a similar challenge from Wisconsin, Danielle Gaines of the Frederick News-Post reports. The court issued an order Wednesday denying the motion of Republican plaintiffs to have their case before the court at the same time as Democratic plaintiffs from Wisconsin.

HIGHER RENEWABLES GOAL: A coalition of environmentalists, clergy and solar and wind energy companies launched a campaign Wednesday calling for half of Maryland’s electricity to come from renewable sources, reports Scott Dance in the Sun. That would double a policy adopted last year requiring that renewable energy account for 25% of the state’s electricity portfolio by 2020. The new campaign is setting a target of 2030.

  • Del. C. William Frick (D-Montgomery), who sits on the House Economic Matters Committee, said he will sponsor legislation next year to reach the 50% level by 2030, and advocates say they are working to identify a potential sponsor in the Senate Finance Committee. But lawmakers say it seems unlikely such an ambitious plan would be approved in 2018, when every member of the General Assembly will be up for reelection, the Post’s Josh Hicks reports.

YOUTH EYED IN BALTIMORE VIOLENCE: Rachel Baye of WYPR-FM speaks with Nathan Sterner about the state Senate’s Judicial Proceedings Committee meeting Tuesday to examine record levels of violence in Baltimore — what’s causing it and how it can be stopped. Juvenile offenders were the focus, even though juvenile arrests were either flat or down. Many juveniles, however, were charged as adults.

MORE SECURITY FOR MD ELECTION SYSTEM: Josh Schmidt of Capital News Service reports that legislators learned last week that Maryland’s electronic balloting system may need better security measures to protect voters’ information and that the lawmakers must be the ones to add those protections. The State Board of Elections told lawmakers Sept. 6 that they are powerless to make those changes, and that any security changes must directly come from the legislature. The article appears in MarylandReporter.com.

WA CO GOP GIVES HOGAN, TRUMP HIGH MARKS: People attending a Washington County Republican Club picnic Wednesday afternoon gave Gov. Larry Hogan and President Donald Trump high marks for their terms so far, saying the two have made strides in boosting the economy, creating jobs and fighting crime, Dave McMillion of the Hagerstown Herald-Mail reports. More than 100 people signed up for tickets to the picnic at Dixon-Troxell American Legion Post 211.

LIERMAN JOINS DELANEY CAMP: Terry Lierman, a longtime Maryland political operative and close ally to former Gov. Martin O’Malley, will serve as a chairman of Rep. John Delaney’s presidential campaign, the congressman announced Wednesday. John Fritze of the Sun writes that Lierman, the former chair of the Maryland Democratic Party, had served as treasurer of O’Malley’s unsuccessful presidential bid last year — and was a vocal proponent of that campaign. It remains unclear whether O’Malley is planning to mount another run in 2020.

  • Jenna Portnoy of the Post reports that Lierman was chief of staff to House Minority Whip Steny H. Hoyer (D-Md.) when Hoyer was majority leader. “The last election has proven to all that elections have consequences. Congressman John Delaney is the candidate that is not the same old same old — rather he is a mix of new ideas, principles and caring,” Lierman said.

ON TOM PEREZ: In a lengthy profile of Democratic National Committee chair Tom Perez for Bethesda Magazine, Louis Peck kicks it off with: “A decade before he achieved prominence in national Democratic Party circles and became a frequent lightning rod for GOP legislators on Capitol Hill, Tom Perez’s closest political friend and ally was a Republican. It was 2002, and Perez had just been elected to the Montgomery County Council from Silver Spring/Takoma Park-based District 5 following an upset victory in the primary. On the council, he became close with veteran officeholder Howard Denis, the council’s only Republican. The pair soon became known as ‘the odd couple’ around the Council Office Building.”

COLLEGE PARK OKs NON-CITIZENS VOTE: College Park, with a population of 32,000, on Tuesday became the largest U.S. city to allow noncitizens to cast ballots in municipal elections after a divided City Council vote that reflected the nation’s heated and emotional debate over illegal immigration, reports Rachel Chason for the Post. Unlike most other states, Maryland allows towns and cities to decide for themselves who can vote in local elections. In recent years, Hyattsville, Mount Rainier, Takoma Park and several smaller towns have extended that privilege to noncitizens.

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KEY MONUMENT VANDALIZED: Mayor Catherine Pugh says she has no plans to remove the Francis Scott Key monument in Bolton Hill that was vandalized before dawn Wednesday and has directed art preservation experts to determine the cost of cleaning it, Colin Campbell and Sean Welsh of the Sun reports. Exactly 203 years after the Maryland attorney wrote the poem that would later become the national anthem, the city awoke to find the words “Racist Anthem” spray-painted on the Eutaw Place monument and red paint splashed on it. The third stanza of Key’s poem includes a reference accusing the British of encouraging American slaves to join the fight against their masters. The article is topped by a video of neighbors’ reactions to the vandalism.