State Roundup, October 31, 2017

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John McCain

McCAIN IN ANNAPOLIS: Rachael Pacella of the Annapolis Capital writes about U.S. Sen. John McCain’s speech to the Naval Academy in Annapolis. McCain said, “It’s time to wake up. I believe in America. We’re capable of better. I’ve seen it. We’re hopeful, compassionate people. … We have to fight against propaganda, and crackpot conspiracy theories.” He added, “We have to fight isolationism, protectionism and nativism. We have to defeat those who would worsen our divisions.” Then he said a line that drew applause from the audience before him: “We have to remind our sons and daughters that we became the most powerful nation on earth by tearing down walls, not building them.”

MO CO LIQUOR BILL: Del. Eric Luedtke announced Monday he’s planning to introduce a bill in the General Assembly next year to allow county-run alcohol stores to operate inside grocery stores in Montgomery County. He’s also planning to introduce a second bill that would let county-run stores sell cold beer, wine, soft drinks and growlers—something the 27 stores operated by the Department of Liquor Control are currently not permitted to do, reports Andrew Metcalf in Bethesda Beat.

METRO MONEY IN QUESTION: Several local elected officials said Monday that they don’t have the extra money Metro General Manager Paul J. Wiedefeld is asking them to contribute for his proposed budget for the coming fiscal year. Martine Powers reports for the Post. Rather than raise fares or further cut service, Wiedefeld’s proposed spending plan, released Monday, seeks a $136 million increase in capital contributions from the District, Maryland and Virginia for the fiscal year that begins July 1. Of that sum, $49 million would come from the District, $47 million would come from Maryland, and an additional $40 million would be split among jurisdictions in Northern Virginia.

HOGAN’s COMMITMENT TO ISRAEL: Dels. Sandy Rosenberg and Shelly Hettleman, in an op-ed for the Sun, write that Gov. Larry Hogan’s decision last week to issue an executive order blocking procurement contracts for companies engaged in a boycott of Israel emphatically affirms the state’s commitment to support the only real democracy in the Middle East and does so without violating the First Amendment rights of individual Marylanders.

BILL TO DENY RAPISTS’ PARENTAL RIGHTS: A Maryland bill that would allow women who become pregnant as a result of a rape to terminate their attackers’ parental rights has received key legislative support and, after nine years of failed attempts, appears likely to be approved next year, Ovetta Wiggins of the Post reports. (The Sun had a story in Monday’s roundup.)

STATE PROBES KUSHNER CO.: The Maryland Attorney General’s office is investigating the rental practices at Baltimore-area apartment complexes owned by the real estate company of senior White House adviser Jared Kushner, the company confirmed Monday, writes Doug Donovan in the Sun.“We have been working with the Maryland Attorney General’s Office to provide information in response to its request,” said Christine Taylor, a spokeswoman for the Kushner Cos. in New York City. “We are in compliance with all state and local laws.”

GOP CAUCUS TARGETS REPUBLICAN: Josh Kurtz of Maryland Matters writes about a strange occurrence in Annapolis. The Republican House Caucus Committee, which was established in 2016 to raise money to protect GOP incumbents in Annapolis and target Democratic-held seats, has paid for a mailing attacking a fellow Republican — Anne Arundel County Councilman Jerry Walker, who has clashed with Republicans, including Arundel County Executive Steve Schuh. Walker has announced his intention to run for a seat in the House of Delegates in District 33, putting him on a collision course with the district’s three Republican incumbent delegates, Michael Malone, Tony McConkey and Sid Saab, who plan to run on a ticket headed by state Sen. Ed Reilly.

REPLACING DEL. WILSON: The Washington County Republican Central Committee announced Monday it has begun accepting applications for the District 2B state delegate seat that soon will be vacated by Del. Brett Wilson, Dave McMillion of the Hagerstown Herald Mail reports. The committee will be working on an “aggressive” timetable because it wants the selected person to have several weeks to prepare for the Maryland General Assembly session that starts Jan. 1.

ROCKEYMOORE CUMMINGS GETS A BOOST: The Post’s Ovetta Wiggins writes that Emily’s List, a political action committee that pushes to elect Democratic female candidates who support abortion rights, plans to advise Maya Rockeymoore Cummings, who has never run for political office, and steer campaign contributions from its national network to her campaign for governor. PAC President Stephanie Schriock described Rockeymoore Cummings as a “progressive trailblazer” with “bold ideas and real-world experience.”

TUITION IDEA WITHOUT A PLAN: The editorial board for the Post doesn’t think too much of Democratic gubernatorial candidate Ben Jealous’ idea for free college tuition for all Marylanders, writing that making a two- or four-year higher education a free entitlement for “every Marylander,” as Mr. Jealous’s website promises, would blow a Chesapeake Bay-sized hole in the state budget. At a conservative guess, it would cost several hundred million dollars annually — real money, even measured against the state’s annual tax-supported budget of $17 billion.

GROVELING DEMS: A humiliating scene played out recently at the Maryland State Education Association’s fall convention in Ocean City, writes Barry Rascovar in his Political Maryland blog. Eight candidates for governor, all Democrats, went before the 73,000-member teacher union gathering and tried to out-grovel one another. By the time they were done, they had promised so much to elevate schooling and improve the lives of teachers you would think Maryland was home to the most magnanimous and well-healed citizens in the world, willing to accept giant tax increases to fund every wish of unionized educators.

HELPING MARYLAND’s DREAMERS: In a column for MarylandMatters, Rep. Steny Hoyer and Dr. Wallace Loh write about the 10,000 DREAMers that call Maryland home. They are friends and neighbors, students and colleagues. They serve in the military, care for the sick and elderly, and assist those recovering from natural disasters. These are young people whose parents brought them to this country at a young age, who only know the U.S. as home. They are every bit as American as the rest of us; many have no memories of living anywhere else.

MO CO COUNCIL CANDIDATE HAS INSIDER’s VIEW: Glynis Kazanjian of MarylandReporter writes that over 11 years, Neil Greenberger sat behind a desk at the Montgomery County Council Office Building in Rockville, talking about county policy and presenting the council’s side of the story as its legislative information officer. Now Greenberger is running for the council himself as an at-large candidate and he’s not pulling any punches when it comes to discussing how he thinks the council needs to shape up.

MoCo CANDIDATES: MarylandReporter.com continues to add candidates to its comprehensive list of Montgomery County campaigns updated every week.

CLINTON IN DUNDALK: Former President Bill Clinton charmed a crowd of about 100 people in Dundalk’s Turner Station community Monday as he celebrated playground signs that encourage parents and caregivers to talk to young children to build their vocabulary, reports Pamela Wood in the Sun.