State Roundup, February 13, 2018

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TRUMP ADMIN TO PULL BACK ON MOVING FBI HQ: The Trump administration said Monday it plans to pull away from a proposal to build a new headquarters for the FBI in suburban Washington, dashing hopes that the project would be built in Maryland following years of planning and lobbying by state officials, John Fritze of the Sun reports.

TERMINATING RAPISTS’ PARENTAL RIGHTS: Maryland is set to join more than 40 other states Tuesday in allowing women who become pregnant as a result of a sexual assault to terminate their attacker’s parental rights, Ovetta Wiggins of the Post reports. Gov. Larry Hogan (R) is scheduled to sign the emergency bill at a ceremony in the morning; it will take effect immediately.

EMANCIPATION BILL: Legislation creating a path to emancipation for minors in Maryland has been introduced in the General Assembly, with sponsors hoping it will address some concerns raised about pending legislation to ban marriage for individuals younger than 18, writes Heather Cobun for the Daily Record.

REPEALING ADULTERY AS CRIME: When considering the potential consequences of adultery in Maryland, there’s one that’s often overlooked: the misdemeanor charge and $10 fine still on the books. Del. Kathleen M. Dumais Dumais introduced House Bill 267 to repeal the crime of adultery once and for all and did not expect to face major opposition until her committee voted last week, Heather Cobun of the Daily Record reports.

GUN ADVOCATES DEMONSTRATE: Hundreds of pro-2nd Amendment demonstrators marched near the Maryland State House on Monday night, one week after two members of the group were arrested by Maryland Capitol Police on charges that were later dropped. Bruce DePuyt of Maryland Matters writes that most of the protesters carried signs that read “more patriots than you have handcuffs,” a reference to the arrests last Monday of Kevin Hulbert and his brother Jeff, two leaders of the Patriot Picket, an organization that advocates against gun control laws.

STATE HOUSE MEAL TICKET: One of the more interesting factoids to come out of the General Assembly Compensation Commission report is that last year more than four out of five legislators (82%, 155 senators and delegates) took 100% of the daily per diem meal limit. This is a bit surprising since there are receptions and lobbyist-paid committee dinners virtually every night of the week, reports Len Lazarick. He also looks at the cost of lodging the legislators during the 90-day session and what they do during it.

NOT MUCH TO BALTIMORE CITY BILLS: More than a third of the Maryland General Assembly’s 90-day session has passed and thus far, there does not seem to be much of a legislative package from Baltimore City to discuss, reports William Zorzi for Maryland Matters. Baltimore legislators have introduced what could best be called a modest package of eight bills on behalf of Mayor Catherine E. Pugh (D), a former state senator, former state delegate and former city council member who completed her first full year as the city’s chief executive in December.

HOGAN IN BALTIMORE COUNTY: Gov. Larry Hogan and top aides took the capital to Baltimore County on Monday, holding a “regional cabinet meeting” and then fanning out to make dozens of stops across the county, Pamela Wood of the Sun reports. The governor said the day was intended to forge connections with county residents, but political analysts say it also served as a way to keep Hogan’s name in front of an important voting bloc.

HOGAN MUM ON FUNDS FOR DULANEY SCHOOL: Gov. Larry Hogan is making no commitments as to how much the state will kick in to help Baltimore County pay for a new Dulaney High School, despite concerns about the cost of the project, John Lee of WYPR-FM reports.

HOGAN COMMITTED TO FARMERS: In an op-ed for Maryland Matters, Agriculture Secretary Joe Bartenfelder, a lifelong farmer, writes that when “Gov. Larry Hogan took office in 2015, he promised Maryland’s agricultural community a seat at the table – and he has kept that promise. But recently, there has been some unfortunate misinformation spread about the Maryland Farms and Families Act that has sought to call into question the Hogan administration’s commitment to Maryland’s farming community. … I can affirm that our administration is 100 percent committed to this vital community, and would like to clarify some misconceptions about this program.”

MODERATES FADE FROM STATE HOUSE: Bryan Sears of the Daily Record writes that four years ago, Dels. Steve DeBoy and James Malone, announced they would not seek another term in office. The two had been part of a ticket with Sen. Ed Kasemeyer. In an interview, DeBoy told Patch.com that he felt it was becoming tougher to be a moderate in the House of Delegates. It seems those concerns have now filtered to the Senate, and Kasemeyer acknowledged the difficulty of being a moderate Democrat in an increasingly liberal chamber.

LEGISLATIVE PANEL ASKED TO DELAY OAKS ACTION: The acting U.S. attorney for Maryland is asking the General Assembly’s joint ethics committee to defer any possible action on Sen. Nathaniel Oaks until completion of his federal corruption trial, now scheduled to begin in April, after the legislature adjourns, writes William Zorzi for Maryland Matters.

TRONE GETS BAKER BACKING: David Trone, the Democratic businessman running in Maryland’s open 6th Congressional District, was endorsed Monday by Prince George’s County Executive Rushern L. Baker. Baker, who is running for the Democratic nomination for governor, first connected with Trone after he saw a television ad from his 2016 campaign that focused on Alzheimer’s disease and funding for the Bethesda-based National Institutes of Health. Baker’s wife suffers from the disease, as did Trone’s father.

BLAIR OPENS CAMPAIGN OFFICE: Montgomery County executive candidate David T. Blair on Sunday opened his campaign headquarters doors as an emboldened crowd of more than 200 mixed and mingled and admired the prime Rockville real estate, located adjacent to the bustling Pike and Rose neighborhood on Rockville Pike, Ryan Miner blogs for A Miner Detail.

ELRICH GETS PROGRESSIVE ENDORSEMENT: Progressive Maryland, an influential grassroots group, on Monday endorsed council member Marc Elrich (D-At Large) in the Montgomery County executive race, Rachel Chason of the Post writes. Elrich, who faces five Democratic opponents in the June 26 primary, is “a candidate with proven progressive legislative victories,” said Larry Stafford Jr., executive director of Progressive Maryland, which has more than 100,000 members and supporters in the state.

GRASSO GOES AFTER SCHUH: Chase Cook of the Annapolis Capital writes that Anne Arundel County Councilman John Grasso plans to reintroduce his previously defeated legislation freezing zoning changes in residential zones — because he thinks County Executive Steve Schuh doesn’t deserve credit for an idea Grasso had in June.

MO CO DEM CONFLICT POLICY: The Montgomery County Democratic Central Committee today is expected to discuss and vote on a conflict-of-interest policy designed to ensure that MCDCC members who seek public office do not use the party structure and its resources to their personal advantage, write Louis Peck and Andrew Metcalf for Bethesda Beat.