State Roundup, October 5, 2017

Print More

UM RECEIVES YUGE DONATION: Talia Richman of the Sun reports that the University of Maryland, College Park announced Wednesday it has received a $219 million donation from the A. James & Alice B. Clark Foundation, the largest gift in the state flagship university’s history. The money will be used to provide more scholarships, build new spaces for student collaboration, add endowed faculty chair positions and develop other programs the college leadership characterized as “historic in scope and transformational in impact.”

SPEAKER RYAN TO TOUT TAX PLAN TO SHORE: House Speaker Paul Ryan will visit an Eastern Shore factory today as part of a tour to sell the Republican tax proposal, reports John Fritze for the Sun. Ryan will visit Dixon Valve & Coupling Co. in Chestertown, located in Rep. Andy Harris’s district. The house coupling manufacturer sells its products globally, and the company would likely benefit from the tax plan’s proposal to lower the top corporate rate to 20% from 35%.

31% WOULD GET TAX HIKE: About 31% of Maryland households would pay a higher tax bill and roughly two-thirds would receive a tax cut under a proposal announced by President Donald Trump and Republican leaders in Congress, according to an analysis released Wednesday. The study, by the left-leaning Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy, found 30.5% of Marylanders would face an immediate increase — the largest share in the nation — due mostly to the proposal to eliminate the frequently claimed state and local tax deduction, John Fritze reports for the Sun.

BAY ACIDIFICATION: For 10 days across recent summers, researchers have found that as oceans around the world absorb carbon dioxide and acidify, the changes are likely to come faster to the nation’s largest estuary, the Chesapeake Bay, reports Scott Dance in the Sun. Scientists have long studied the slow and steady acidification of the open oceans — and its negative effects. Acidifying waters can kill coral, disrupt oyster reproduction, dissolve snail shells like nails in a can of bubbly Coke.

KAGAN SAYS STATE OUT OF COMPLIANCE: A Montgomery County Democrat says the Hogan administration has failed to comply with a 2016 law requiring state websites to offer translations in Spanish and Chinese. Sen. Cheryl Kagan, the bill sponsor, said less than 40% of the state websites are in full compliance more than a year after the law was signed by Gov. Larry Hogan (R). “It’s appalling,” Kagan said.

CONTROL OVER TRANSIT CONTRACTS: State transportation officials said they are taking more direct control of contracting within the Maryland Transit Administration after the discovery of dozens of contracts that lacked formal approval or instances in which vendors were paid for services for which there was no contract, reports Bryan Sears in the Daily Record.

APPEAL ON STATE’s PRICE-GOUGING LAW: A group of prescription drug manufacturers challenging Maryland’s price gouging law are appealing a federal judge’s ruling that allowed the law to go into effect Sunday, Heather Cobun of the Daily Record reports. The Association for Accessible Medicines alleged the law is vague and violates the dormant Commerce Clause.

ANNAPOLIS VIGIL: Annapolis came together to honor the victims of Sunday night’s mass shooting in Las Vegas at a vigil in downtown Annapolis on Wednesday night. About 50 people gathered at Lawyer’s Mall and held a moment of silence for the lives lost. And 12 speakers, including Eve Hurwitz, a Democratic candidate for the Maryland Senate District 33 seat, gave their thoughts on the tragedy and gun-control actions they want the government to take, Selene San Felice of the Annapolis Capital reports.

HANOVER RESIDENT RUNS FOR STATE SENATE: Hanover resident Hubert Owens wants to compete against the “big boy” politicians, which is why he moved to Maryland two years ago and has now filed to run in the state Senate District 32 race of the 2018 election. The 38-year-old medically retired Army veteran is a Republican running in a district long held by Democrats since 1975. If he were to win, he would be the first black Republican state senator in District 32, reports Chase Cook in the Annapolis Capital.

CONGRESS CANDIDATE TALKS ESCAPE FROM ADDICTION: Former Del. Matt Mossburg, who is running for Congress from the 6th District, writes in Maryland Matters from personal experience about opioid – pain killer – addiction and new approaches to preventing it that President Trump’s Commission on Drug Abuse and the Opioid Crisis is looking into.

McDONOUGH SAYS REDMER SHOULD RESIGN: Del. Pat McDonough, a candidate for Baltimore County executive, is introducing legislation to the Maryland General Assembly calling for opponent Al Redmer to resign from his post as Maryland Insurance Commissioner during his campaign, Morgan Eichensehr reports in the Baltimore Business Journal.

ALSOBROOKS-EDWARDS RACE: The 2018 Democratic primary for Prince George’s County executive will be a tight race between State’s Attorney Angela Alsobrooks and former U.S. Rep. Donna Edwards, a month-old poll suggests – assuming Edwards enters the contest, Josh Kurtz of Maryland Matters writes. Both women are very popular with the electorate, and the primary will probably be decided by voters who like them both, the survey found.

BLAIR LIKELY TO RUN FOR MO CO EXEC: David Blair, a wealthy health care executive who has been the source of rampant political speculation in recent weeks, told Josh Kurtz of Maryland Matters Wednesday that he is “likely” to run for Montgomery County executive in 2018, and anticipates making a formal announcement “within the next month or so.”

IRS PULLS TAX-EXEMPT STATUS OF PEROUTKA ORG: The IRS has revoked the tax-exempt status of the Institute on the Constitution, an organization founded by Anne Arundel County Councilman Michael Peroutka to teach his ideas on government, Chase Cook of the Annapolis Capital reports. The Millersville Republican created the institute in 2004 — the same year as Peroutka’s Constitution Party campaign for president — to spread his interpretation of the U.S. Constitution, which he bases on his Christian faith.

HAGERSTOWN RX POT FIRM GETS OK: A medical marijuana grower in Hagerstown could start cultivating this month, Mike Lewis reports in the Hagerstown Herald Mail. Kind Therapeutics’ announcement came Wednesday, after the Maryland Medical Cannabis Commission approved licenses for Kinds’ growing and processing facility on Tuesday.

FILLING FOOD DESERTS: Hopkins’ Dr. Ryan D. Lang writes about bringing food and cooking education to the residents of Baltimore City’s food deserts and the important impact it makes on the lives and health of those residents.