State Roundup, July 25, 2018

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FARMERS KEEP EYE ON GENERAL ELECTION: Like every other segment of the population, Cecil County’s farmers are keeping an eye on the upcoming general elections and what the results will mean for the agricultural industry. “What has happened in the Maryland primary will bring a tendency for negative ag bills in the state,” said Colby Ferguson, representing the Maryland Farm Bureau. At the Cecil County Fair, there were discussions on soil, compost, state and federal legislation and the legislators themselves, Jane Bellmyer of the Cecil Whig reports.

STUDY FINDS BUDGET A BARRIER TO MINORITIES: Maryland’s state budget inherently presents barriers to prosperity for people of color and has done so for years, according to a report issued Tuesday by a liberal think tank. Josh Kurtz of Maryland Matters writes that on a range of basic government services – health care, education and transportation – the state budget shortchanges minority communities and makes it more difficult for African-American and Latino families to succeed, the study found.

FROSH FOE PRESSES FOR DEBATE: When it comes to the office of attorney general, Maryland Republicans have not always put up much of a fight. This year feels different. Not only does former Allegany County Assistant State’s Attorney Craig Wolf have his litany of complaints against incumbent Brian E. Frosh (D) down to crisp, bite-sized nuggets, he’s also the sort of man who is willing to press his opponent for a commitment to debate, as Wolf did after spotting Frosh at the usually laid-back Tawes Crab and Clam Bake in Crisfield last week, Bruce DePuyt of Maryland Matters writes.

RESTARTING STATE CENTER: The editorial board for the Sun opines that if Gov. Larry Hogan wants Baltimoreans to stop criticizing him for killing State Center, he needs to pledge in no uncertain terms that, whoever builds it, the state agencies will remain. His Democratic opponent, Ben Jealous, has promised to rebuild State Center, and he says step one would be to drop the state’s lawsuit against Ekistics. That’s certainly a good start.

SCHOOLS BRACE FOR STATEWIDE RANKING: Like a chef bracing for a critic’s review in the Times, Maryland schools join districts across the nation in preparing for the implementation of new state accountability plans beginning with the start of the school year this fall. All Maryland schools will be subject to a statewide ranking system — five stars to the best schools, one star to the worst, reports Emma Kerr in the Frederick News Post. Amid a state-level partisan clash and a shifting emphasis away from test scores alone, Frederick County Public Schools is bracing for change.

NEW STATE ED BOARD CHIEF NAMED: A former Washington County Board of Education member will be the next president of the state school board, CJ Lovelace of the Hagerstown Herald Mail writes that the Maryland State Board of Education on Tuesday unanimously elected Justin Hartings as the board’s next president.

LOVE BEATS PAUL IN DISTRICT 16 DELEGATE RACE: The Montgomery County Board of Elections confirmed Sara Love’s narrow victory over Samir Paul in the District 16 delegate race in recount results released Saturday, Dan Friedell of WTOP is reporting. Paul, a teacher at the county’s Blair High School, petitioned for the recount after Love won the initial election on June 26 by a mere eight votes. Love maintained her advantage and even added four votes to win by a 12-vote margin in the recount.

B’MORE POLICE UNION LAYS BLAME: Baltimore’s police union on Tuesday blamed the department’s millions in overruns for overtime spending on the “mismanagement” of police brass and “ineptitude” of city politicians, Luke Broadwater of the Sun reports.

LAWSUIT MOVES FORWARD AGAINST KUSHNER COS: A potential class-action lawsuit against the property management companies owned by Jared Kushner’s family will proceed after a Baltimore judge preserved most of the claims. Baltimore City Circuit Judge Barry Williams dismissed July 18 a breach of contract claim that was duplicative but denied the defense motion for five other counts, including alleged violations of Maryland laws on late fees for rent and debt collection, Heather Cobun of the Daily Record reports.

COUNCIL DELAYS VOTE ON CAPITAL GAZETTE FUNDER: The Annapolis City Council delayed voting Monday night on waiving $32,000 in costs for a benefit concert to raise funds for the families of those killed at the Capital Gazette after one alderman said he felt the council was rushing a vote concerning taxpayer funding, Annie Linskey and Phil Davis report for the Annapolis Capital.