State Roundup, October 3, 2017

Print More

The Maryland and U.S. flag at the World Trade Center in Baltimore.

MD POLS REACTION TO VEGAS SHOOTING: As news of the mass shooting in Las Vegas, Marylanders turned to Twitter to express concern and offer prayers for the victims, reports Jessica Anderson for the Sun. “Our thoughts and prayers are with all those affected by the senseless tragedy in Las Vegas,” Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh said in a statement Monday. Other officials, including Gov. Larry Hogan, Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger, Speaker of the House Michael Busch expressed concerns for the victims and their families.

HOGAN SENDS GUARD TO PR: Gov. Larry Hogan is making national guard resources available to help Puerto Rico in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria, according to the AP. The governor’s directive on Friday came after conversations with the Governor of Puerto Rico, Ricardo Rossello, and other communications between staff-level officials.

FEDS GIVE MD CHARTER SCHOOL FUNDS: The U.S. Department of Education plans to provide Maryland with $17.2 million over five years to support and grow the state’s charter schools. The federal grant will enable the state to increase the number of charter schools across Maryland, and strengthen those that are already up and running. The money will be used to promote professional development among charter schools, create an advisory group to oversee policy changes and publish performance reports, as well as to implement other national best practices, reports Talia Richman in the Sun.

PUBLIC FUNDS FOR PRIVATE SCHOOLS: Del. Eric Luedtke, in an op-ed for MarylandReporter, opines that Del. Trent Kittleman and Gov. Larry Hogan argue in favor of private school vouchers like the BOOST scholarship program that Gov. Hogan fought for. Programs like these send taxpayer dollars to private schools and are premised on the idea that private schools will do a better job than public ones. The evidence simply doesn’t bear this out.

FRANCHOT TARGETS 2 SCHOOLS: When Maryland’s Board of Public Works meets on Oct. 18 to review school construction projects, Comptroller Peter Franchot plans to grill Baltimore County officials on the state of the aging Lansdowne and Dulaney high school buildings, Libby Solomon reports in the Arbutus Times. “Lansdowne and Dulaney are two schools that I’ll ask some questions about,” Franchot said. “Because frankly, it is an embarrassment, and a disgrace, and a stain upon Baltimore County that Dulaney and Lansdowne have become, essentially, (physically) unsafe schools for teachers and students to be educated in.”

FREDERICK LOOKS TO TRANSIT FUNDING: Frederick County leaders have a lot of things they’d like to see from the state in transportation, but restoring money for road projects to levels seen before the recession nearly a decade ago is one of the most pressing. County and municipal elected officials made their case to an assembly of leaders from state transportation agencies in a discussion of transportation priorities Monday night, Ryan Marshall of the Frederick News Post reports.

UPDATED MONTGOMERY CANDIDATES: We updated the list of candidates for local, state and federal office in Montgomery County on Monday, Oct. 2, 2017. This week we added six new candidates and one candidate has withdrawn.

3rd REPUBLICAN FILES FOR DELANEY’s SEAT: A relative newcomer to Maryland politics filed paperwork yesterday with the Maryland State Board of Elections, becoming the third Republican candidate this cycle to file for Maryland’s 6th Congressional District, writes Ryan Miner in his A Miner Detail blog. Bradley Rohrs, 34, of Germantown has filed for the seat being vacated by Rep. John Delaney (D-Potomac), who is running for president of the United States.

SUPREMES REFUSE TO HEAR STATE APPEAL: The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday declined Maryland’s request that the justices review the state high court’s decision that the pungent smell of raw, unsmoked marijuana emanating from car during a traffic stop does not in itself enable police officers to frisk a passenger for weapons. Steve Lash of the Daily Record reports that, with its refusal to hear the state’s appeal, the Supreme Court let stand without comment the Maryland Court of Appeals’ overturning a man’s conviction and nine-month prison sentence for possessing 70 grams of marijuana.

POLLS & PREDICTIONS: Goucher pollster Mileah Kromer responds to political pundit Barry Rascovar’s column concerning the latest Goucher poll, in which he indicates that it is meaningless in trying to predict the gubernatorial race. Kromer agrees, but defends the poll, writing in Maryland Reporter that, “Polls can tell you the current state of a race or opinion toward a policy or elected officials during the time the survey is fielded, but can’t tell you what the public will be thinking in the future. The purpose of our poll was to find out where Democratic voters are at now—in mid-September—not to say where they will be in June 2018.”

GET MONEY OUT: Doug Miller of Get Money Out–Maryland writes, in Maryland Matters, that his organization has been working to add Maryland to the five that have already called for a constitutional amendment convention aimed at affirming the power of our individual votes and eradicating the “corporations are people, money equals speech” doctrine.

TOP SALARY FOR B’MORE’s IT CHIEF: Baltimore’s new information technology boss is being paid $250,000 a year — a bigger salary than the mayor, the police chief or the health commissioner — as he leads the city’s efforts to update its aging computer systems, reports Ian Duncan in the Sun.

ANNAPOLIS GOV’T RESTRUCTURING: Legislation changing the structure of Annapolis city government just weeks before the Annapolis election could fail if the City Council proposes changes during the committee process, one of the sponsors said last week. Alderman Ross Arnett said Thursday that legislation shifting control of the city attorney, the clerk and their staffs from the mayor to the city manager would need an amendment to clarify several points, a likelihood that would require at least one more public hearing, Danielle Ohl of the Capital reports.