State Roundup, August 31, 2018

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WHO ELSE HAS MORE CASH THAN JEALOUS? Without counting his running mate’s fundraising, Democratic gubernatorial candidate Ben Jealous has about $265,000 on hand — less cash on hand than several county-level candidates, led by Republican County Executives Steve Schuh of Anne Arundel County and Allan Kittleman of Howard County. Democrats Steuart Pittman and Calvin Ball are challenging Schuh and Kittleman for their respective seats this fall, Hallie Miller of the Sun reports.

WHERE THE MONEY COMES FROM: Gov. Larry Hogan’s campaign received 6,246 contributions during the past two months, with 5,920 — about 94% — coming from Marylanders. His average contribution was $355. The incumbent governor received 40 $6,000 donations, the maximum amount allowable by Maryland law per election cycle. Jealous’s campaign received 14,750 contributions with 2,461 — about 17% — coming from Marylanders. He received more contributions from California with 2,817 than Maryland. The average contribution to Jealous was more than eight times smaller at $43, Luke Broadwater of the Sun reports.

GUBERNATORIAL DEBATE DEBACLE: Gov. Larry Hogan and Democratic challenger Ben Jealous are locked in a six-week standoff over debate logistics, reports Erin Cox in the Post. That has put potential hosts of the events in an awkward position: Saying there is no time left to wait, they have started to plan debates without the candidates having agreed to face each other.

SSA UNION RESTRICTIONS LIFTED: Jeff Barker of the Sun reports that unions representing thousands of Social Security Administration employees said Thursday that the agency is lifting rules that restricted the unions’ ability to advocate for members in the workplace. The rules had been issued by President Donald Trump in three executive orders May 25.

PROBLEMS WITH MTA: After last winter’s nearly four-week shutdown highlighted safety concerns and maintenance problems with the system, the MTA asked the American Public Transportation Association to review its operations, writes Pamela Wood in the Sun. The review, released Thursday, found numerous problems with the state transit agency and its approach to track inspections and maintenance, including poor communication, lack of expertise, insufficient use of technology and the failure to follow industry standards.

CASINO FUNDS FOR EDUCATION: Led by the Maryland State Education Association, educators and advocates from around the state gathered in Towson on Thursday to call on Marylanders to vote for a constitutional amendment that would reserve casino funds for public schools, Libby Solomon of the Towson Times reports.

STATE REVENUES BEAT ESTIMATES: Comptroller Peter Franchot recently released the final closeout numbers for fiscal year 2018, which were heavily influenced by strong capital-gains tax revenues as well as tax policy uncertainty and shifts in consumer finances, reports the Calvert Recorder from a press release. Revenues came in 2%, or $339 million, ahead of estimates to help the state of Maryland finish the fiscal year with an unassigned general fund balance of $504 million.

LIFE SENTENCES FOR JUVIES: Maryland’s highest court has upheld life sentences for juveniles, the AP is reporting. The Court of Appeals ruled 4-3 that Maryland law provides a juvenile offender serving a life sentence with a “meaningful opportunity” to obtain release based on demonstrated maturity and rehabilitation. In its ruling Wednesday, the court cited state law, parole commission regulations and an executive order by Gov. Larry Hogan.

COURT AFFIRMS PSC OVERSEES SOLAR PROJECT: Maryland’s Court of Special Appeals has affirmed a local court decision that the Maryland Public Service Commission is the regulatory agency for a proposed large solar project in the Cearfoss area, Julie Greene of the Hagerstown Herald-Mail reports. Perennial Solar LLC, a subsidiary of Radnor, Pa.-based Community Energy Solar, wants to build a solar-energy generating system on about 86 acres near the Cearfoss circle.

WOMEN PROTEST ARUNDEL RESOLUTION: A row of women wearing pink shirts stood in the hot sun Thursday and called on the Anne Arundel County Council to vote against an abortion resolution drafted by chairman Michael Peroutka and supported by County Executive Steve Schuh, reports Chase Cook for the Annapolis Capital. Resolution 30-18 requires the county to recognize the humanity and rights of preborn children.It also instructs the county’s health officer to report annually on abortions in the county, as well as gather data on the emotional, physiological and physical impact of the procedures.

MO CO COUNCIL VICTOR’s COFFERS: Andrew Friedson of Bethesda raised and spent about $370,000 on his way to victory in this year’s eight-person Democratic primary for the District 1 Montgomery County Council seat, according to reports filed this week with the State Board of Elections, Louis Peck of Bethesda Beat writes.

KROMER ON CENTER MARYLAND: In this wind-blown video for Center Maryland, KO Public Affairs’s Damian O’Doherty gets a behind-the-scenes story from Professor Mileah Kromer about Goucher College’s experiential learning environment through the lens of her student-centered administration of The Goucher Poll. The video page also has links to previous interviews with top state newsmakers, such as Senate President Mike Miller.