State Roundup, May 9, 2018

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STATEHOUSE HARASSMENT LAW: Republican Gov. Larry Hogan on Tuesday signed 213 bills passed by Maryland’s Democratic-dominated General Assembly, including several measures to enhance education, provide free community college and help victims of sexual assault or harassment. Thousands of Maryland students will get free community college under one bill. Under another, prosecutors may have an easier time convicting serial rapists, Erin Cox of the Sun reports.

  • Gov. Larry Hogan (R) and the Democratic leaders of Maryland’s General Assembly signed legislation Tuesday to overhaul sexual harassment policies in the Statehouse — although they did it with less fanfare than some of the women who pushed for reform would have liked. The legislation includes a requirement that an independent investigator handle harassment complaints involving statehouse employees. Neither Hogan, Senate President Mike Miller nor House Speaker Michael E. Busch mentioned the bill in their opening remarks during the signing ceremony, Rachel Chason of the Post reports.
  • The law, sponsored by Del. Ariana B. Kelly, D-Montgomery, was one of 216 bills signed by the governor that also included additional funding for public schools, an update to the state’s cyberbullying law, funding to make it easier for high school graduates to pay for community college educations, and a measure allowing the introduction of evidence of prior sexual predatory acts in criminal cases. Bryan Sears of he Daily Record reports that Kelly called the changes to how sexual misconduct allegations in the halls of the State House are investigated “a significant, profound policy change.”

CRAB CRISIS: As Maryland sinks further into its crab crisis with a shortage of seasonal immigrant labor to pick crabs for about half of the Eastern Shore crab houses, Sun columnist Dan Rodricks writes about the mindset that says without strict limits, American workers will be harmed by an influx of foreigners. “There was never much evidence to support that position. In fact, some important research shows just the opposite: Immigrants and seasonal workers are good for business; they don’t steal jobs from Americans, and they actually contribute to better incomes for workers already here.”

FROSH TO CONTINUE TRUMP SUITS: Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh and his Democratic counterparts in other states vowed to continue their legal actions against Trump administration policies despite the shocking resignation of one of the coalition’s leading litigators: former New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman. Schneiderman resigned Monday hours after several women were quoted in a New Yorker magazine article saying he had abused them during their relationships, a charge he has denied, Doug Donovan reports for the Sun.

TRI-PARTISAN TRIATHLON: Pundits often lament bipartisanship as a lost cause. And that might be true — but have they heard of tri-partisanship? Democratic Mayor Gavin Buckley and Anne Arundel County Executive Steve Schuh and Maryland Lt. Gov. Boyd Rutherford, both Republicans, will this summer compete together in the first Annapolis Sailor’s Triathlon, a feat of across-the-aisle cooperation and calisthenics. Schuh will swim, Rutherford will bike and Buckley will run, Danielle Ohl of the Annapolis Capital writes.

CARDIN BLASTS TRUMP’s IRAN MOVE: U.S. Sen. Ben Cardin, in an opinion piece for the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, writes, “President Trump’s decision to withdraw the United States from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, known as the Iran nuclear deal, is bad policy and calls into question America’s international credibility. Mr. Trump has now set the international community on a slippery slope, imperiling the national security interests of the United States and our allies, particularly Israel.”

BA CO SCHOOL BOARD RESUBMITS WHITE’s NAME: The Baltimore County school board voted Tuesday night to resubmit Verletta White as its choice to be the next superintendent, along with documents the board majority hopes will change the outcome. Maryland State Superintendent Karen Salmon took the unusual step last week of blocking the appointment of White, saying she was uncomfortable with White’s ethics violations. The board voted 8 to 4 to ask for the reconsideration, reports Liz Bowie for the Sun.

STATE’s ATTORNEY AD: Baltimore state’s attorney candidate Ivan Bates on Tuesday released an online campaign ad in which he says he never lost a murder case as a prosecutor. Bates, 49, and Thiru Vignarajah, 41, are competing to unseat Baltimore State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby, 38, in the Democratic primary election on June 26, Tim Prudente of the Sun reports.

ON THIRU VIGNARAJAH: Thiru Vignarajah’s campaign video as he runs for Baltimore City State’s Attorney sounds like the trailer for a summer blockbuster movie. The 42-year-old son of Sri Lankan immigrants is a Harvard-educated lawyer who clerked for a judge in the U.S. Court of Appeals in New York as well as for U.S. Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer. Dominque Maria Bonessi profiles the candidate for WYPR-FM.

ON MARILYN MOSBY: In her first months as Baltimore City State’s Attorney, Marilyn Mosby put away a reputed gang hit man, a member of the Black Guerilla Family and a serial sex offender. But then came the Freddie Gray case. WYPR-FM’s Dominque Maria Bonessi profiles the incumbent candidate.

ON IVAN BATES: Ivan Bates, the former prosecutor turned defense lawyer who wants to become a prosecutor again–the city’s top prosecutor–doesn’t have much good to say about Marilyn Mosby. Most recently he slammed her use of officers from the now disbanded Gun Trace Task Force trials. Dominque Maria Bonessi profiles Bates for WYPR-FM.

WA CO LOSES STUDENT DATA: Washington County Public Schools is trying to recover student data — including grades and attendance records — that was apparently not properly backed up and permanently lost following a minor fire that downed multiple servers more than a week ago, CJ Lovelace reports for the Hagerstown Herald Mail. Some servers were quickly restored, but the one supporting the district’s Synergy student system that stores student information — including attendance records, grades and schedules — has created the most challenges for technology staffers.

KOREAN-AMERICAN COMMUNITY ON U.S.-N. KOREA MEETING: President Donald Trump prepares to meet North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un, Koreans and Korean-Americans in Maryland are watching intently, writes Jonathan Pitts in the Sun. To Cecelia Chyu, a doctor of oriental medicine from Ellicott City, Kim’s polite manner during his visit to South Korea last month suggests he can be trusted when he says he’s committed to a nuclear-free Korean Peninsula. Samuel Ahn, a retired obstetrician from Westminster, is far more skeptical.