State Roundup, April 27, 2018

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HOGAN TOUTS ARUNDEL’s SAFE STATIONS PROGRAM: Gov. Larry Hogan dropped by a Brooklyn Park firehouse Thursday to celebrate a year-old Anne Arundel County program that turns fire stations into 24/7 safe spaces for addicts to take their first steps toward recovery, writes Michael Dresser in the Sun. “We want to roll it out to other counties, and we will help them with funding,” Hogan said. The Hogan administration had directed $287,000 to Anne Arundel’s Safe Stations program for its startup year.

FRANCHOT EYES 2019 BREW FIGHT: An unsuccessful attempt to unfetter the state’s craft brewing industry will return to Annapolis in 2019 “with more bells and whistles,” if Comptroller Peter Franchot has his way. Franchot made the promise Thursday to bring back his top priority next year while sitting next to Gov. Larry Hogan, who said if he wins re-election in November, he will redraw the electoral map in a way that may make Democrats regret killing his attempts at reform over the last three years, Bryan Sears writes in the Daily Record.

BAY GRASSES SURGE: The Chesapeake’s underwater grasses — critical havens for everything from blue crabs to waterfowl — surged to a new record high last year, surpassing 100,000 acres for the first time in recent history, reports Karl Blankenship for the Bay Journal. The article appears in MarylandReporter.

WORKER HEALTH & SAFETY: With Gov. Larry Hogan’s focus on putting Marylanders to work and ensuring our state is “open for business,” worker health and safety should be a top priority. But when it comes to protecting the health and safety of the 2.5 million workers across our state, the main cop on the beat, the Maryland Occupational Safety and Health division, is exhibiting lackluster performance, opines Katherine Tracy of the Center for Progressive Reform in an op-ed for the Sun.

OAKS NAME ORDERED OFF BALLOT: Reconsidering his earlier decision, an Anne Arundel County Circuit judge Thursday ordered the Maryland State Board of Elections to remove the name of former state Sen. Nathaniel T. Oaks from the June 26 Democratic primary ballot for the 41st District, reports William Zorzi in Maryland Matters.

DEM GOV CANDIDATES INDISTINQUISHABLE? The seven Democratic contenders for the party’s nomination for governor struggled mightily to distinguish themselves from the herd at a forum in Baltimore on Thursday night. None obviously succeeded, reports Michael Dresser for the Sun.

ON KAMENETZ: John Lee of WYPR-FM profiles gubernatorial candidate and Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz, one of two of the candidates who has executive governmental experience in this crowded Democratic primary. Lee speaks with people who knew Kamenetz early on, including former County Executive Ted Venetoulis.

HOUSE REPUBLICANS PULLS HOGAN CO. INTO CAMPAIGN ATTACK: Republicans in the House of Delegates, aided by Anne Arundel County Executive Steve Schuh (R), are continuing their campaign assault on a fellow Republican, Anne Arundel Councilman Jerry Walker – who hopes to join them in the House next year. This time, they have, indirectly, dragged Gov. Larry Hogan’s real estate company into the controversy, reports Josh Kurtz in Maryland Matters.

POLICE UNION BACKS ALMOND: Baltimore County’s police officers are supporting Democrat Vicki Almond in the race for county executive, Pamela Wood of the Sun reports. Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 4 announced Thursday that the union will back the county councilwoman, saying she has strong leadership qualities and has supported police.

38 CANDIDATES, FOUR SEATS: Four at-large seats are open on the Montgomery County Council. And 38 candidates … yes, 38 candidates … are vying for those seats in the county’s June 26 primary. The good news is that voters won’t be lacking for choices. But even for a well-educated electorate, it can’t help but feel intimidating going into the ballot box this summer. How can voters tackle a field this crowded? Bruce DePuyt of Maryland Matters speaks with WTOP-AM about the race.

FEDS TOLD TO RESTORE PREGNANCY PREVENTION GRANT: A federal judge has ordered the Trump administration to restore $5 million in grant funding to two Baltimore-based teen pregnancy prevention programs, saying the government’s decision to withhold the money was “arbitrary and capricious,” reports Ian Duncan for the Sun.

TRI-COUNTY FORUM: Nearly 200 people attended a forum yesterday hosted by the Howard County Chamber of Commerce and featuring Howard County Executive Allan Kittleman, Montgomery County Executive Ike Leggett and Anne Arundel County Executive Steve Schuh. Montgomery County’s bid to lure tech mammoth Amazon’s second headquarters dominated the conversation, writes Kate Magill of the Howard County Times.

HOYER TRIED TO PRESSURE CANDIDATE TO DROP RACE: A Colorado congressional candidate said Thursday he secretly recorded a conversation with Rep. Steny Hoyer of Southern Maryland in which the No. 2 Democrat in the House tried to pressure him into leaving the Democratic primary race in favor of the national party’s chosen candidate, Jeff Barker reports in the Sun. Levi Tillemann said he carefully considered whether to take the unusual steps of recording a conversation with Hoyer last December in a Denver hotel — and then releasing the smartphone audio to the media.