State Roundup, October 10, 2017

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Drone footage from 2015 shows Baltimore’s Wheelabrator incinerator smokestack towering over the waterfront. (YouTube, Exploring with Purkz via Baltimore Brew.)

POWER PLANT REVERSAL A CHALLENGE TO MARYLAND: President Trump’s administration plan to repeal former President Obama’s plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from power plants could challenge Maryland leaders’ efforts to reduce the amount of air pollution that blows into the state from upwind, reports Scott Dance in the Sun. Last month, Maryland sued EPA for failing to apply stricter pollution controls to dozens of power plants in Indiana, Kentucky, Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia. The decision is not expected to change much for power plants within Maryland, though.

SOLUTION WITHOUT A PROBLEM: In an editorial for the Sun, the editorial board opines that members of the Baltimore County Council who want the legislature to add a level of privacy protection to police body cam footage are seeking a solution to a problem that doesn’t exist. Truth is that Maryland (and Baltimore County, in particular) is not suffering from the over-disclosure of police body camera footage. Quite the opposite. Existing law provides police and prosecutors with broad discretion to withhold records, and they have been exercising it.

WRESTLING WITH SCHOOL CALENDARS: School systems across Maryland are looking at stark choices as they draw up calendars for next school year. Donna St. George writes in the Post that spring break could be shortened; time off on the Jewish holidays could be in jeopardy; extra days of instruction could fall away.

LEGAL HOUSING DISCRIMINATION: In an op-ed for the Post state Sen. William Smith writes that under Maryland law, landlords and property owners can discriminate against an individual on the basis of his or her source of income, including money from any lawful employment and any government assistance. Several Maryland jurisdictions have worked to right this and Smith writes, he has introduced legislation that prohibits landlords and other property owners from discriminating against people seeking housing based on their source of income.

CRIME VICTIMS AID: The Governor’s Office on Crime Control and Prevention announced $241,287 in funds designed to benefit crime victims served by two Frederick County groups for the current fiscal year, writes Jeremy Arias for the Frederick News Post. The news came as part of a larger announcement of nearly $5 million for 57 agencies and 27 organizations statewide.

ANTI-PURPLE LINE GROUP SEEKS TOWN FUNDS: Town of Chevy Chase residents can weigh in Thursday evening on whether the town should donate $50,000 to the trail group Friends of the Capital Crescent Trail, reports Andrew Metcalf in Bethesda Beat. The group is requesting the money to help defray legal costs piling up from its ongoing federal lawsuits to try to stop the Purple Line light-rail project, according to the request sent to the council.

MO CO’s $15 MINIMUM WAGE: Rachel Siegel of the Post reports that a key legislative committee in Montgomery County agreed Monday to extend the timeline for businesses to adopt a $15 minimum wage, the latest attempt to enact a law that would be the first of its kind for a U.S. suburban jurisdiction.

DEL. SIMONAIRE WON’T SEEK 2nd TERM: Del. Meagan Simonaire announced Monday that she would not be seeking re-election, reversing a February announcement that she would run for a second term, reports Chase Cook in the Annapolis Capital. The decision came Monday after Simonaire grappled with increased responsibilities and opportunities at her full-time job, the delegate said in a statement she released. The Pasadena Republican will finish her term, which ends in 2018.

BA CO EXEC RACE CRUCIAL TO HOGAN RUN: The Baltimore County executive’s race could play a critical role in deciding whether Gov. Larry Hogan becomes just the second Republican governor to ever be re-elected in Maryland, Bryan Sears reports in the Daily Record. Hogan has decided to endorse Maryland Insurance Commissioner and former Del. Al Redmer over Del. Patrick McDonough. Mileah Kromer, a political science professor at Goucher College and director of the Goucher Poll, said the decision is likely a reflection of Hogan’s re-election strategy: “He can’t win without Baltimore County particularly if the more progressive base of Prince George’s and Montgomery counties are going to be more fired up this cycle.”

HOGAN’s PURSE & THE DGA WHITE HATS: Josh Kurtz of Maryland Matters predicts that regardless of how the Democratic field for governor shakes out, Gov. Larry Hogan’s financial advantage in the general election will be impenetrable. But for a few reasons, this does not bother certain Democratic strategists all that much. They figure the Democratic Governors Association, eager to oust a sharp-elbowed Republican governor in a blue state, will make up a substantial amount of the deficit. That may be fantasy.

HOEBER MAY RUN FOR CONGRESS AGAIN: Brian Griffiths of Red Maryland blogs that multiple sources have confirmed that Amie Hoeber is staffing up for a 2nd run for Congress in the 6th Congressional District. Sources say that veteran Maryland Republican Paul Ellington will be running the campaign. Experienced Montgomery County activist Dan McHugh, president of the Montgomery County Young Republicans, has also been hired.

BA CO CHARTER CHANGES: There are concerns that legislation is being rushed through the Baltimore County Council. A commission that is studying the county charter is expected to recommend that bills before the council have more time for debate. WYPR’s John Lee joins Nathan Sterner to talk about the work of the Charter Review Commission.