State Roundup, August 27, 2018

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DEL. ANDERSON STRIPPED OF LEADERSHIP: Erin Cox of the Post reports that veteran state Del. Curtis S. Anderson (D-Baltimore City), who had been deputy majority whip and who has been accused of sexual misconduct, will be stripped of his leadership positions and sent to one-on-one anti-harassment training. Anderson was the subject of an ethics probe into an alleged “pattern” of misconduct that included an allegation of sexual assault from 14 years ago and complaints from at least two current legislators and a former staff member about unwanted comments and a kiss.

NON-DISCLOSURE PACTS: Gov. Larry Hogan in May signed into law the Disclosing Sexual Harassment in the Workplace Act of 2018. The measure prevents employers from asking employees to waive their future rights to come forward with sexual harassment complaints, Michelle Smith of the AP writes in an article about this movement nationwide.

OFFENDERWATCH REGISTRY: Dan Dearth of the Hagerstown Herald-Mail reports that a new technology will allow Maryland law-enforcement agencies to more efficiently share information about sex offenders when they move to a new address. Last week, Maryland became the 17th state to join the OffenderWatch sex-offender registry network through a statewide contract.

COST OF KIRWAN REFORMS UNKNOWN: How much it will cost to expand pre-kindergarten to most 3- and 4-year-olds in Maryland or to substantially raise teacher salaries have become heated arguments in the race for governor. But, reports Len Lazarick for Maryland Reporter, the state Commission on Innovation and Excellence in Education that is supposed to be determining the price tags for these and other big public school changes appears to be months away from decisions on revising funding formulas that was the basic charge of the commission.

HOW MILLER HOLDS ON: The country’s longest-serving Senate president is facing an upheaval, one that could topple politicians less savvy and less dominating than Mike Miller. The surging progressive wing of the Maryland Democratic Party defeated most of his lieutenants in the June primary and nominated gubernatorial candidate Ben Jealous, a former NAACP president whose liberal agenda threatens to drive a wedge through Miller’s carefully calibrated chamber. Yet political insiders say Miller’s perch atop the chamber he has led since Ronald Reagan was president is secure. His tenure offers a master class in diplomacy, adaptation and the cultivation of political power, write Erin Cox and Ovetta Wiggins in the Post.

HOGAN WINNING MONEY, MESSAGE RACES: For nearly a week, Republican Gov. Larry Hogan has been saturating the state with at least $1 million in television ads touting his claims that he has made Maryland a more affordable place to live. Democratic challenger Ben Jealous disagrees. But he apparently can’t afford to counter the barrage. The candidates will have to reveal their fiscal hands this week as campaign finance reports are due Tuesday. Hogan and Lt. Gov. Boyd Rutherford reported more than $9.3 million on hand before the June 26 primary. Jealous and his running mate, Susan Turnbull, had less than $400,000, writes Michael Dresser for the Sun.

GETTING TOO LATE FOR JEALOUS? Columnist Frank DiFilippo, writing for Maryland Matters, opines that there comes a point in every campaign where nothing can be done to alter its outcome and all that’s left is to sit back and watch it happen. The race for governor of Maryland may not have reached precisely that halting point yet, but it’s getting mighty close. Recovery time is closing in on Democrat Ben Jealous while the incumbent Republican, Larry Hogan, toddles along on his merry way.

BLUE MARYLAND NOT YET PURPLE: Is deep blue Maryland becoming a purple state? Afterall it looks like Maryland might re-elect a Republican governor. Josh Kurtz of Maryland Matters attempts to find an answer to that question as bullish Maryland Republicans are hoping that Hogan’s popularity lifts GOP candidates up and down the ballot. Is it time to start thinking of Maryland as a purple state, or one that is on the cusp of becoming purple? On the last question, opinions differ. If you take the long view, the answer is emphatically no.

TRONE’s HEALTH QUESTIONED: A weekend whisper about David Trone’s physical appearance and his noticeable absence on the campaign trail is now audibly louder after several Maryland Democrats – and even some of Trone’s own supporters – this week have expressed genuine concern and alarm that the 6th Congressional District Democratic nominee’s health may be on the decline, Ryan Miner of A Miner Detail blog writes.

PAT McDONOUGH MEDIA MOGUL? Del. Pat McDonough is leaving the House of Delegates when his term expires in January. Could his new career involve ownership of a local paper — perhaps even more? Bryan Sears for the Daily Record reports that some lawmakers attending last week’s Maryland Association of Counties meeting in Ocean City said McDonough called them and offered print advertising space and described himself as the new owner of The East County Times. The community weekly, which serves readers on the east side of Baltimore County including Essex, Middle River, Dundalk, Perry Hall and White Marsh, paper serves a large portion of his legislative district.

REDMER TAUNTS OLSZEWSKI: Al Redmer Jr., the Republican nominee for Baltimore County executive, on Friday called on his opponent, Johnny Olszewski Jr., to declare whether he supports his Democratic Party’s nominee for governor, Ben Jealous, Pamela Wood reports in the Sun. Redmer’s call came after the Sun reported Thursday that Jealous’ Twitter account “liked” a profanity-laced, anti-police tweet. The Jealous campaign said it was an accident by a staffer and removed the “like” on Tuesday.

SEN. McCAIN TO BE BURIED AT NAVAL ACADEMY: Sen. John McCain, who died Saturday of brain cancer, will be buried at the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis. The former presidential candidate and prisoner of war graduated from the academy in 1958, and is one if its most distinguished alums, reports Ellen Fishel of the Sun. Details about services were not immediately available. The Naval Academy on Saturday said it was mourning McCain’s death. “His life of service to our country is a legacy that will continue to be revered,” the academy wrote on Twitter.

MARYLAND HONORS McCAIN: Meghan Pryce of the Sun writes that Gov. Larry Hogan has ordered the Maryland State Flag to be lowered to half-staff in honor of the late Sen. John McCain. According to the Secretary of State’s website, the Maryland State Flag will return to full-staff at sunset on the interment date. The U.S. Flag was to return to full-staff at sunset Sunday.

REACTION TO SEN. McCAIN’s DEATH: Maryland Matters compiled reaction from some Maryland politicians on hearing the news of the death of U.S. Sen. John McCain of Arizona. Sen. Ben Cardin said, “His death is a great loss for this country, his state and, above all, his family and friends.”

McCAIN, FROM A REPORTER: Baltimore Sun reporter Jeff Barker writes a personal account of his encounters with Sen. John McCain when he was Washington reporter for the Arizona Republic. “He was complicated, puzzling even. He used to sit near Rep. Morris K. Udall’s hospital bed and softly talk or read newspaper articles to the former Democratic presidential candidate after Udall’s Parkinson’s disease had reached an advanced stage. … But he once told me that Udall naturally possessed something McCain had to continually strive for — grace.”

ELLICOTT CITY COULD LOSE HISTORIC DESIGNATION: A strongly worded statement by Preservation Maryland has cautioned that razing 10 historic buildings on Main Street in Ellicott City could lead to a de-listing of the area from the National Register of Historic Places, Melody Simmons of the Baltimore Business Journal.

DANCE TO BE RELEASED FROM JAIL: Former Baltimore County schools Superintendent Dallas Dance is scheduled to be released from a Virginia jail today, after serving four months of his six-month sentence, reports Liz Bowie for the Sun. Dance was convicted of four counts of perjury and sentenced April 20 in Baltimore County Circuit Court. Judge Kathleen G. Cox agreed to allow Dance to serve his sentence in Henrico County, near Richmond, after his attorneys requested the transfer. Dance moved back to the Richmond area, where his son and parents live, shortly after he left his superintendent job last summer.