State Roundup, August 7, 2018

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FLOREEN BRINGS IN 20,343 SIGNATURES: Montgomery County Council member Nancy Floreen on Monday delivered four boxes containing 20,343 signatures to the Montgomery County Board of Elections, hoping it’ll be enough to earn her a place in the county executive race, Bethany Rodgers of Bethesda Beat reports. About 7,200 of those names will have to stand up to scrutiny for the independent candidate to appear on the November ballot next to Democratic council member Marc Elrich and attorney Robin Ficker, the Republican nominee for county executive.

MD GOP & SEXY CAR BABES: The Republican National Committee’s link to the Maryland Republican Party’s Twitter account actually takes users to the page of Sexy Car Babes, a mix-up that occurred after the state party changed the name of its Twitter handle and didn’t tell the national group, Chase Cook reports in the Annapolis Gazette.

STATE LAUNCHES COMMUNITY SOLAR PROGRAM: Maryland has launched a pilot program that will allow anyone to power their home with solar panels — even if they are renters, condo-dwellers or live in the shade of trees, Scott Dance of the Sun reports. The General Assembly authorized the community solar pilot program in 2015. But not-in-my-backyard opposition and concerns about the loss of agricultural land have slowed progress.

STATE SEEKS HELP ON BAY RESTORATION: Two top Maryland officials issued a letter Monday to the operator of the Conowingo Dam asking for help restoring the Chesapeake Bay after the company released debris into the bay, reports Allen Etzler for the Frederick News-Post. Over the past several weeks, Maryland and Pennsylvania have experienced heavy rain, which resulted in Exelon Generation Co. opening more than 20 floodgates at the Conowingo Dam which caused massive amounts of debris and sediment to flow into the Chesapeake Bay.

SNAP TO CONTINUE AT FARMERS MARKETS: A series of stopgap measures will ensure Maryland farmers markets can continue accepting SNAP benefits for customers through at least February, Talia Richman of the Sun reports. Users of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program and farmers across the country have been in limbo since the vendor whose software is used by some markets to charge SNAP cards announced it would cease supporting the program on July 31

RESEARCH ON HOGAN: Following up on the Daily Record’s article about opposition research on Gov. Larry Hogan being published on the Democratic Governors Association website, DGA spokeswoman Melissa Miller said the association wanted voters to see its research firsthand, Ovetta Wiggins of the Post reports. It posted the report, which was done by Spiros Consulting, to its website, HoganBrokenPromises.com, on Wednesday. The document offers a deep dive into Hogan’s personal, professional and political life. “The DGA intends to hold Governor Hogan accountable for his record of breaking promises to Maryland,” Miller said in an email.

DEMS SEEK ADVANTAGE ON REDISTRICTING ISSUE: As the fall election approaches, Gov. Larry Hogan will continue to cast himself as a reformer on redistricting. But some Democrats believe the issue may work to their advantage in the gubernatorial campaign as progressive activists start to openly fret about the prospect of a Republican leading the redistricting process, if Hogan wins a second term. They hope that fear motivates Democrats to go to the polls and vote for Hogan’s challenger, former NAACP President Ben Jealous, writes Josh Kurtz for Maryland Matters.

RASKIN’s DEMOCRACY SUMMER: Rep. Jamie Raskin’s answer to the rough political climate is a little summer schooling. “It’s been a tough time in Washington for the last couple years, and these young people give me hope,” the Maryland Democrat said of his political fellowship for 16- to 22-year-olds, Democracy Summer. The law professor-turned-congressman started the program a decade ago to tap the energy of young Democrats. This year, he feels an “uprising” coming, writes Alex Gangitano for Roll Call.

SHERIFF’s DEPUTIES BACK REDMER: In his quest to become the first Republican Baltimore County executive in more than 20 years, GOP nominee Al Redmer Jr. has picked up an endorsement from the county sheriff’s deputies, Pamela Wood of the Sun reports. Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 25 endorsed Redmer in the county executive matchup against Democrat Johnny Olszewski Jr.

CARDIN FOE STUMBLES OVER HOGAN: When you’re an under-funded challenger running against a name-brand politician who has been in public service for more than half a century, it’s a good idea to make the most of the few free-media opportunities that come your way. That was not the playbook that Republican U.S. Senate candidate Tony Campbell was working from on Sunday, when he expressed irritation at Gov. Hogan during a TV interview, Bruce DePuyt of Maryland Matters writes.

CITY SEEKS TO STOP PRIVATIZED WATER SYSTEM: Baltimore City Council members concerned about lobbying efforts to privatize the city’s water supply unanimously approved legislation Monday that, if approved by voters, would make it illegal to sell or lease the water system, Luke Broadwater of the Sun reports. City Council President Jack Young waived council rules to allow for fast-tracked approval of a charter amendment that will go to voters on the November ballot.

CIRCUIT COURT ELECTIONS AMISS: Former Arundel County attorney David A. Plymyer, in an op-ed in Maryland Matters, writes that Democracy can be messy, but Maryland’s method of selecting circuit court judges is unnecessarily so. The process also is largely dysfunctional. The controversial, albeit successful, campaign run this year by Judge Mark Crooks of the Anne Arundel County Circuit Court is a case in point.

WaCo COMMISSIONERS FILE SIGNATURES: Dave McMillion of the Hagerstown Herald-Mail reports that Washington County Commissioner John F. Barr has gathered enough signatures to appear on the Nov. 6 general election ballot as an unaffiliated candidate, as he seeks re-election. Former commissioner Bill McKinley squeaked by with enough signatures in his attempt to get back into office, also as an unaffiliated candidate. But a third unaffiliated candidate for county commissioner, Matt Feiser, did not make a 5 p.m. deadline Monday for filing the required 1,042 signatures to be on the ballot.