State Roundup, January 12, 2018

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Lawyer’s Mall at the State House is suddenly treeless and spouting steam as the Department of General Services tries to fix the steam pipe that ran under a dozen flowering crab apple trees. photo.

HOUSE OVERRIDES SICK LEAVE VETO: Maryland’s House of Delegates rejected two of Gov. Larry Hogan’s vetoes Thursday, voting to enact legislation that would require businesses to provide paid sick leave and prohibit public and private colleges and universities from including questions about criminal history on student applications write Ovetta Wiggins and Josh Hicks in the Post.

#METOO: In a column for the Sun, Andrew Green writes about the long history of power exertion and harassment of women in Annapolis, what he saw first hand as a reporter there and what changes might be in the offing.

BILL TO END PARENTAL RIGHTS: Perennially introduced but annually ill-fated legislation to enable courts to strip parental rights from a mother or father who conceived the child through non-consensual intercourse received an unusually early hearing this General Assembly session and with broad support – giving sponsors hope that this could be the year it finally becomes law, Steve Lash reports for the Daily Record.

FORCED ADDICTION TREATMENT: House Minority Leader Nic Kipke plans to reintroduce legislation giving some parents the power to force their adult children into treatment for opioid addiction, writes Chase Cook in the Capital Gazette. Rejected last year after critics questioned whether it was constitutional, the legislation would give parents the power to seek involuntary admission to medical facilities if an adult child still relies on the parent’s health insurance or is dependent in some other way.

PUBLIC SAFETY ISN’T THE ISSUE: In an op-ed in the Sun, brewery owner Cindy Mullikin opines that sadly, over the last month the political discourse in Annapolis from those opposed to changing Maryland’s antiquated and anti-competitive laws (laws that prevent the growth of Maryland breweries) have hidden behind the veil of public safety. In essence, they have turned to binary rhetoric in order to protect the status quo: They say advocating for a stronger brewery industry in Maryland means advocating against public safety. This rhetoric is a distraction.

FROSH LEADS RESISTANCE: Attorney General Brian E. Frosh (D) is a mild-mannered guy, but with Republicans fully in charge of Congress and controlling a majority of governorships, Frosh and his fellow Democratic attorneys general are at the vanguard of the “resistance” to President Trump and his administration, writes Josh Kurtz for Maryland Matters. This phenomenon was on vivid display in Annapolis on Thursday, as Frosh and legislative leaders held a hearing on the Trump administration’s plans to repeal the Clean Power Plan, President Obama’s signature initiative to reduce greenhouse gas emissions at power plants.

KAMENETZ SHUNS HOGAN SCHOOL PROBE: Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz is dismissing Gov. Hogan’s call for an independent investigator general to root out corruption and mismanagement in Maryland schools. Hogan and Kamenetz have been feuding for years over schools, John Lee of WYPR-FM reports. So no surprise that in an election year, when Kamenetz is running for Hogan’s job, the beat would go on. Kamenetz said the governor is being irresponsible.

***THIS CAUSES MORE THAN JUST TRAFFIC ACCIDENTS IN MARYLAND EACH YEAR: It’s Maryland’s deer population. About 36,000 motor vehicle accidents involve deer in Maryland every year. And, those accidents have an average cost of $4,000 to $6,000 each, for a total cost of about $180 million dollars annually. What cost do deer have on farms? You’d be surprised. Read one farmer’s account. SPONSORED CONTENT***

HOGAN POLLS HIGH: Gov. Larry Hogan remains broadly popular at the start of his fourth year in office and holds commanding leads over the three top Democrats vying to challenge him in November, according to a statewide poll released Wednesday, write Josh Hicks and Scott Clement in the Post. The survey by Gonzales Research and Media Services shows Hogan’s approval rating at about 71% among likely voters in 2018, which many analysts expect to be a wave election year for Democrats across the country because of controversies surrounding President Trump.

ANNAPOLIS SUMMIT: Marc Steiner holds his 15th Annual Annapolis Summit, starting off with a 30-minute conversation with Gov. Larry Hogan, which you can hear here. The second part is an hour-long conversation with Senate President Mike Miller and House Speaker Michael Busch.

OAKS PLEADS NOT GUILTY: State Sen. Nathaniel T. Oaks pleaded not guilty Thursday in U.S. District Court in Baltimore to obstruction of justice, the tenth charge he faces in what federal prosecutors say is part of an ongoing investigation into possible corruption in the General Assembly and Baltimore City Council, writes William Zorzi in Maryland Matters.

18 INDICTED IN JESSUP RING: On Thursday, Gov. Larry Hogan announced 18 new indictments after a year-long investigation into a wide-spread smuggling ring at the Jessup Correctional Institute, reports Joy Lambert on Fox 45 News. According to the indictments cell phones, drugs and weapons were all brought into the Jessup Correctional Institute. Hogan said the ring involved six inmates, 10 outside facilitators and two veteran correctional officers.

BAY BAROMETER LOOKING UP: The wintry weather may have been frightful, but the latest Bay Barometer is pointing in a generally positive direction, Tim Wheeler of the Bay Journal writes in The annual report released by the federal-state Chesapeake Bay Program trumpeted continued gains in the long-running effort to restore the estuary, with new highs reached last year in fish passage, water quality and blue crab and underwater grass abundance.

DISTRICT 18 SENATE: David Lublin of the Seventh State blog writes a well-researched commentary about the District 18 Senate race between Del. Jeff Waldstreicher and perennial candidate Dana Beyer, saying Waldstreicher offered to run on a slate with Beyer if she would run for a House seat. Both are hoping to replace Sen. Rich Madaleno who is running for governor.

APPALLED BY TRUMP COMMENTS: Several Maryland lawmakers and Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh said they are appalled by President Donald Trump’s recent comments in the Oval Office, in which he reportedly said immigrants from Haiti, El Salvador and African nations come “from shithole countries” and questioned why they should be welcomed in by the United States.

PROTESTERS ARRESTED AT HOYER’s OFFICE: Capitol Police arrested seven people Thursday who held a sit-in at House Democratic whip Steny Hoyer’s office, officials said. Talia Richman of the Sun reports that the protesters were demanding to meet with the Southern Maryland lawmaker about the humanitarian crisis in Yemen.