State Roundup, July 2, 2018

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DONATE TO THE CAPITAL FAMILIES: Normally after the legislative session and elections, MarylandReporter.com would send out a fundraising appeal. But we’re going to hold off on that till our matching grant drive in November and December. Instead MarylandReporter.com is donating $500 to the Capital Gazette Families Fund to benefit the families of the journalists murdered in their newsroom Thursday, and we’d like to encourage our readers to do the same. The fund was set up by tronc, the newspaper’s corporate owner, and all donations are being matched up to $1 million by the Michael and Jacky Ferro Family Foundation. The Merrill Family Foundation, created by the previous owners of The Capital, has already donated $100,000 to the fund. Please consider a donation to honor the work that journalists do every day.    

FIRST PERSON ACCOUNTS: Chase Cook of the Annapolis Capital puts together the first-person accounts of what happened inside his newsroom when a gunman shot his way in and killed five co-workers.

‘WE WON’T FORGET:’ The editorial board of the Annapolis Capital thanks the public for its outpouring of sympathy and grief following the murders, which it says it will never forget. The board also makes a point of saying: Here’s what else we won’t forget: Death threats and emails from people we don’t know celebrating our loss, or the people who called for one of our reporters to get fired because she got angry and cursed on national television after witnessing her friends getting shot. We won’t forget being called an enemy of the people. No, we won’t forget that. Because exposing evil, shining light on wrongs and fighting injustice is what we do.

ON RAMOS: In an analysis for Salon.com, writer Paul Rosenberg writes that Capital Gazette murder suspect Jarrod Ramos expressed sympathy to the political thought touted by Anne Arundel Councilman Michael Petrouka and the League of the South. It begins by recounting the fact that Ramos had contacted writer Jonathan Hutson in March 2015, taunting him about his role in alerting law enforcement and thwarting a potential mass killer who threatened schoolchildren and Jews in far-away Montana.

RAMOS’s LAWSUITS: Rachel Baye and Mary Rose Madden of WYPR-FM give a more detailed summation of the lawsuits Jarrod Ramos brought against the Capital Gazette and, over time, just about everyone connected with the harassment charges brought against him, and to which he pled guilty.

‘WE MUST VOTE BETTER:’ Capital Gazette reporter Selene San Felice, who survived the shooting, writes in an op-ed for the Annapolis Capital, “I watched John McNamara die. I had to step over Wendi Winters to escape. I said ‘f—‘ on CNN. If you’re upset about the expletive and not that someone killed almost every editor at The Capital — five people who were deeply loved and irreplaceable — you are not an American. If your help ends at thoughts and prayers, I don’t want them. What I want is action. I’m not just talking to the president, or our governor, or our elected officials. I’m talking to every single person in this nation. We must do better. We must vote better. We must push for legislation so that this doesn’t feel normal.”

RESPECT THE PROFESSION: In an op-ed for the Post, former Capital Gazette editor Tom Marquardt writes that President Trump isn’t responsible for the Annapolis tragedy any more than the Second Amendment is. But he and his supporters seem to have forgotten that the Constitution that gives them the right to bear arms is the same document that safeguards the right to free speech. You cannot honor one amendment without honoring the other 26. Those dedicated Capital Gazette journalists, like others before them and surely others after them, fought for free speech at all costs, including death. It’s not prayers their survivors and co-workers need; it’s respect for what reporters and editors do every day.

THE FEAR JOURNALISTS LIVE WITH: In an op-ed for the Carroll County Times, editor Wayne Carter writes about the fear that every journalist experiences sometime during their career – being the target of an angry subject of a story.

GUN LAWS & RAMOS: Although Maryland has some of the most restrictive gun laws in the country, none could have prevented the massacre of five people in the Capital newsroom Thursday, policymakers said. The weapon used in the attack has been described by police as a pump-action shotgun. While “long guns” like shotguns and rifles are less tightly regulated than handguns, a purchaser nonetheless must undergo a criminal background check to buy one from a dealer, as Jarrod Ramos did. But Ramos was never convicted of a crime serious enough to bar such a purchase, writes Scott Dance in the Sun.

DEATH PENALTY & RAMOS: Barry Rascovar of the Political Maryland blog writes that Ben Jealous lead the effort to eliminate the death penalty in Maryland and finally succeeded in 2013. However, now he is running for governor and the most severe penalty that Capital Gazette murder suspect Jarrod Ramos could receive is life without parole. Will this now become a campaign issue? he asks.

BAY CRAB NUMBERS DROP: The blue crab population in the Chesapeake Bay declined by nearly one-fifth for the second year in a row, with the male population hitting a trigger point that has lead to discussions over management, according to a new report. The Salisbury Daily Times reports that experts say the overall stock remains healthy and decline is not cause for immediate concern, but that they are closely watching the numbers.

MINIMUM WAGE RISES: Maryland’s minimum wage is going up, the AP is reporting. The new $10.10 an hour wage went into effect Sunday. It’s the last of the phased-in increases that were set by Maryland lawmakers in 2014. The first increase from $7.25 to $8 took place in 2015. It increased three times after that, to $8.25 in July 2015, to $8.75 in July 2016 and $9.25 last July.

‘TECTONIC SHIFT’ IN STATE SENATE: Last Tuesday’s primary election was “a tectonic shift,” Sen. Cheryl Kagan, D-Montgomery, said afterwards. “It’s the kind of thing that doesn’t happen overnight — except that it happened overnight.” She is referring to the loss by a number of trusted allies of and committee chairs appointed by Senate President Mike Miller. That seismic shift included the loss of most of Miller’s remaining leadership team. Still in place are only one of four major committee chairs and two vice chairs, writes Bryan Sears for the Daily Record.

TRULY SORRY FOR THE GLITCH: Motor Vehicle Administrator Christine Nizer issued another apology Thursday for the computer glitch that failed to update voter registration for thousands of Maryland residents, Tamela Baker of the Hagerstown Herald Mail writes in her Political Notebook column. “On Tuesday, MVA, in cooperation with the state Board of Elections, identified additional voters who could be impacted by the same computer-programming error as previously announced,” she said in a statement Thursday.

NO ELECTION ADS IN GOOGLE: Google stopped accepting state and local election ads in Maryland Friday as a result of a new law passed by the General Assembly that requires disclosure of who is paying for political advertising and how much is being spent, Michael Dresser of the Sun reports.

BIDEN JOINS JEALOUS: Former Vice President Joe Biden joined Maryland Democrats Saturday night at Camden Yards to rally support for Ben Jealous as he mounts his campaign against Republican Gov. Larry Hogan, just four days after winning his party’s contested primary, Doug Donovan of the Sun reports.

WILL JEALOUS HURT DEMOCRATIC PARTY? The day after Ben Jealous won Maryland’s Democratic nomination for governor, he appeared on a left-leaning MSNBC talk show and was asked the question roiling establishment Democrats: Was he so liberal that he will help a Republican win? Break apart the Democratic Party? Jealous largely dodged the premise of the question, Erin Cox and Luke Broadwater of the Sun report.

SORE LOSERS: Two Republican candidates for county executive who lost their primaries on Tuesday refused to concede, and you won’t be surprised to learn who they are: Pat McDonough in Baltimore County and Kirby DeLauter in Frederick County, writes Brian Griffiths for Red Maryland.

RUTHERFORD RANKED NO. 5 FOR LT. GOVs.: Newsmax rates Boyd Rutherford No. 5 among the Top 10 lieutenant governors in the United States, writing that he has worked to make government more effective and said he saw himself as someone who would “make the trains run on time.”

MO CO DEMS ‘KISS & MAKE UP:’ Montgomery County Democrats held their traditional “Kiss and Make Up” unity party Thursday night at a ballroom in Bethesda, a chance to salve any lingering rancor from the primary before attention turns to November’s general election, reports Jennifer Barrios for the Post. But this time, there was unfinished business — namely, who will be the next presumptive county executive in the liberal county, which hasn’t elected a Republican to the top post since the 1970s.

MO CO ED BOARD TO BE ALL-WOMEN: The exact composition of Montgomery County’s next Board of Education won’t be known until the November election. But this week’s primary made one thing clear: For the first time in its history, the board will be composed only of women. Seven candidates, two of them incumbents, were nominated for four seats that are on the November ballot. They are all women, Teo Armus of the Post reports.

ASIAN-AMERICANS IN MO CO SEEK HOLIDAY SCHOOL BREAK: A group of students and parents in Montgomery County – home to more than 40% of the state’s Asian-American population—say it’s high time the school system acknowledged Lunar New Year, one of their culture’s most significant holidays. The push comes as Montgomery County Public Schools officials are trying to learn more about which holidays are most important to families across the system.