State Roundup, January 19, 2018

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It was billed as a "press conference" on redistricting, but it was more like an anti-gerrymandering rally, where reporters were outnumbered 5-1 by clapping supporters of the governor's plan. Governor's office photo.

HOGAN SIGNS ON TO GERRYMANDERING CASE: Gov. Larry Hogan announced Thursday that he would sign on to a nonpartisan friend-of-the-court brief filed in a gerrymandering case now before the U.S. Supreme Court that challenges Maryland’s congressional districts as redrawn and approved in 2011, Bill Zorzi of Maryland Matters writes.

THE AMAZON STORY: Amazon dashed the Baltimore region’s hopes of landing the plum prize of its second headquarters and tens of thousands of new jobs, as the online retail giant excluded the city from its list of finalists announced Thursday, reports Pamela Wood in the Sun. But Maryland remained in the chase, with Montgomery County making the list of 20 finalists, and state officials quickly began assembling an incentive package to help the Washington suburb land Amazon.

SCHOOL SECURITY FUNDING: Gov. Larry Hogan’s fiscal 2019 budget proposal includes $2 million for security enhancements at schools and child-care centers, a response to an increase in hate crimes in recent years, writes Rachel Siegel for the Post. If the funds are approved by the Maryland General Assembly, institutions perceived to be vulnerable to hate crimes or attacks would be able to apply for grants to upgrade facilities, hire security guards and teach safety training.

NEED FOR SHARED PARENTING: Dr. Ned Holstein, of the National Parents Organization, in an opinion piece for Maryland Reporter, writes that the chance to brighten the lives of children through reform of custody laws has rightly become a major issue in Maryland. “When our society first liberalized divorce laws many decades ago, he writes, we rationalized the exciting new options for adults with the soothing illusion that a divorce is difficult for the children, but that they soon adjust smoothly. While this is true for many children, research makes it crystal clear that millions of other children suffer deeply, mostly those who do not have shared parenting,” says Holstein.

ADULT DENTAL CARE: Del. Mike McKay vowed this week to keep fighting to get adult dental care included in Maryland’s Medicaid program even though no money was set aside for it in the proposed state budget, reports Tamela Baker in the Hagerstown Herald-Mail. “I was a little disappointed,” said McKay, R-Washington-Allegany. “We had put in a lot effort into trying to get it into the budget, understanding that it had been a very, very heavy lift.”

FELONY ASSAULT: A Maryland state delegate has proposed boosting the penalty for assaulting a transit operator, a growing problem for Metro and other transit agencies. The bill, introduced by Del. Angela M. Angel (D-Prince George’s), would make it a second-degree felony to intentionally cause physical injury to a transit operator, punishable by up to 15 years in prison and a $5,000 fine, Martine Powers of the Post reports..

ADDICTION TREATMENTS & POLITICAL AGENDAS: Former state Del. Matt Mossburg, a recovering opioid addict and drug policy adviser, writes, in an opinion piece for the Washington Examiner that a partisan drug fight swirled in the background last year amid other developments in the nation’s opioid crisis. It’s an unfortunate development whose continuation in 2018 should be watched closely. And it has to do with which drugs are effective in helping addicts recover. Beware of agenda-driven politicians, professors, and reporters recommending one specific treatment drug.

ADDICTION TREATMENTS & RESEARCH: In response to a Jan. 2 column Mossburg wrote for Maryland Matters, Ellen Weber of Legal Action Center and Dr. Anika Alvanzo of the American Society of Addiction Medicine counter his arguments about Maryland’s methods for treating addiction, writing that Maryland’s response to the opioid epidemic – unlike Mossburg’s prescription has been aligned with decades of research into how best to treat the disease of addiction.

ARUNDEL DELEGATION MEETING: The Anne Arundel County Delegation has requested extra seating for today’s delegation meeting thanks to three special guests. County Executive Steve Schuh, Annapolis Mayor Gavin Buckley and county police Chief Timothy Altomare are scheduled to make presentations to the county delegation starting at 8:30 a.m. It will be held in Room 142 of the Lowe House Office Building, Chase Cook reports in the Annapolis Capital.

ON DEL. TURNER: Kate Magill of the Howard County Times profiles the career of retiring state Del. Frank Turner, who has served for 23 years in the House of Delegates, the first African American from Howard County. Turner also publicly endorsed a possible successor, Howard County Council member Jen Terrasa, as well as Rushern Baker for governor.

**THERE’S NO OFF-SEASON FOR MARYLAND’S LIVESTOCK FARMERS: Taking care of livestock is a year-round business for Maryland farmers Benson and Jamie Tiralla. Farmer’s markets may be closed, but when winter hits, the Tirallas are just as busy. Farmers across the state are maintaining their farms and preparing for the coming season in order to keep this $8.25 billion industry thriving. Here’s the Tiralla’s story. SPONSORED CONTENT***

ORGANIC FARMING ALONG THE CHESAPEAKE: Organic agriculture is the fastest growing sector of the food industry in the United States, and its footprint in the Chesapeake Bay watershed is growing in kind, reports the Bay Journal’s Whitney Pipken in MarylandReporter.com. The brand of agriculture that eschews the use of pesticides, herbicides, antibiotics and genetically engineered ingredients now makes up 20% of Perdue Farms’ poultry production on the Delmarva Peninsula, where the company is headquartered. s

EXEC BRANCH POSITIONS: Bill Zorzi of Maryland Matters writes that Maryland government needs to fill more than 2,600 positions in its executive branch agencies – nearly half of them in the Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services – at a cost of more than $96 million.

HOGAN HAS LESIONS REMOVED: A morning procedure in a doctor’s office had Gov. Larry Hogan looking a little different during an afternoon news conference. Bryan Sears of the Daily Record reports that Hogan sported three small, flesh-colored bandages on his forehead during a redistricting reform news conference Thursday. The bandages were the result of a minor procedure Thursday morning to remove what was described as three small skin lesions at a dermatologist’s office.

HOGAN’s FILLED COFFERS: Josh Kurtz of Maryland Matters reports on the fund-raising efforts by Gov. Larry Hogan compared to the pack of Democratic hopefuls. Hogan is outpacing his rivals, with a total of more than $9 million on hand compared to their combined total of $7 million. Kevin Kamenetz leads the Democratic pack with $2 million, but Rushern Baker still leads in the polls.

McDONOUGH & DONALD: John Lee of WYPR-FM reports on Pat McDonough, the state delegate and conservative curmudgeon who is running for the Republican nomination for Baltimore County executive. McDonough has been nicknamed the Donald Trump of Baltimore County. But in an interview with WYPR, McDonough said if he wins he will emulate a different Donald, former Baltimore City mayor and Gov. William Donald Schaefer

SMALL BUCKS IN GOP COMMITTEES’ COFFERS: As races continue to take shape around Maryland, Brian Griffiths of Red Maryland looks at the coffers of the county Republican Central Committees to discover some interesting numbers, not all of them promising for what is in store for Maryland’s Republican candidates.

FUNDRAISING RACE FOR COUNTY EXECUTIVES: Maryland Matters compiled a snapshot of fund-raising for the races for county executive throughout the state.

IN PRINCE GEORGE’s: Bruce DePuyt writes in Maryland Matters about Angela Alsobrooks astounding lead in fundraising for her run for the Democratic nomination for Prince George’s County executive against the likes of veteran politicians Rep. Donna Edwards and state Sen. Anthony Muse.

IN MONTGOMERY COUNTY: Bruce DePuyt of Maryland Matters writes that while County Councilman Roger Berliner (D) has amassed the largest war chest of any of the six Democrats hoping to succeed Ike Leggett (D) as Montgomery County executive, the source of his funding is already giving rivals ammunition to use against him. Berliner’s filing statement is awash in large contributions from people with ties to the real estate community and regional business interests.

MO CO COUNCIL AT-LARGE FUND-RAISING: Louis Peck of Bethesda Beat writes that reports filed with the Maryland Board of Elections, that with a little more than five months to go until the June 26 primary, a half-dozen Democratic contenders in the crowded race for Montgomery County Council at large have amassed campaign treasuries exceeding six figures—with a seventh candidate not far behind.

MO CO CANDIDATES LIST: Here is MarylandReporter.com’s updated list of candidates for local, state and federal office in Montgomery County as best as we could determine as of Jan. 15, 2018. The list includes over 150 candidates already, at least 33 (including 30 Democrats) just for the four at-large seats on the Montgomery County Council. There are changes for the 6th Congressional District, and more candidates have announced or filed for the state legislature.

FEDERAL SHUTDOWN: A government shutdown appeared likely after Congress deadlocked over a proposed four-week stopgap spending bill to keep federal offices open past Friday’s deadline. Lisa Mascaro and Jean Mirabella of the Sun write that the threat of a federal shutdown today looms large in Maryland, where about 300,000 residents work for the federal government — at the massive Social Security Administration headquarters in Woodlawn, multiple Veterans Administration facilities and agencies ranging from the Department of Defense to the National Institutes of Health.