State Roundup, September 27, 2018

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REVENUE ESTIMATE INCREASES BY $732M: Maryland has increased its estimate of the revenue it will receive this year and next by $732 million, funding that would put the state budget on a sound footing for the General Assembly’s 2019 session, Michael Dresser of the Sun reports. The projection for the budget year ending June 30 of $18.1 billion in revenue, which the state Board of Revenue Estimates approved this week, represents a 4.1% increase over the previous estimate.

NEW GUN LAWS TAKE EFFECT: New gun-control laws are taking effect in Maryland next week, and some state lawmakers already are talking about strengthening them in the next legislative session after high-profile shootings in the state. An Associated Press review of firearms-related legislation shows many other state legislatures mostly fell back into predictable and partisan patterns after mass shootings in Las Vegas and Parkland, Fla.

STRIDES IN CLEAN ENERGY: In a commentary for MarylandReporter, clean energy advocates I. Katherine Magruder, Liz Burdock and David Murray write that National Clean Energy Week, happening now, provides a good opportunity to shine a light on our state’s significant achievements. The growth of Maryland’s clean energy sector is creating well-paying job opportunities, increasing the resiliency of our grid and facilitating rate stability – and improving our air quality, which benefits human and environmental health.

36 REPUBLICANS EARN TOP BIZ MARKS: Thirty-six members of the Maryland General Assembly – all Republicans – have voted in lockstep with small business interests over the past four years, according to a newly released scorecard from the National Federation of Independent Business, writes Josh Kurtz for Maryland Matters. The NFIB Maryland chapter scored state lawmakers on their votes on 15 key bills over the four-year legislative term, including elimination of the so-called Rain Tax, business tax incentives and earned sick leave.

EARLY VOTING INFO: Maryland residents can go online to elections.maryland.gov until 9 p.m. Oct. 16 to register to vote, update their voting information or change their party affiliation. Early voting will run 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 25, through Thursday, Nov. 1. The General Election will be held from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 6. Maryland Matters lists all of Maryland’s early voting centers for the 2018 General Election.

DISTRICT 9 SENATE RACE MATTERS TO DEMS: It’s well known that state Senate Democrats are playing defense this election cycle, trying to keep Republicans from flipping the five seats they need to deny Democrats a veto-proof majority if Gov. Larry Hogan (R) wins a second term. But there are at least a couple of districts where Democrats are on offense – particularly if a national blue wave washes over the state. Kaanita Iyer writes about the District 9 race for Maryland Matters.

MO CO EXEC DEBATE: In a debate before a roomful of Realtors Wednesday, Montgomery County executive candidate Nancy M. Floreen (I) cast herself as a stronger advocate for the business community than her November opponents, accusing her main rival of wanting to rehash “old issues” and engage in “paralysis by analysis,” Bruce DePuyt reports in the Maryland Matters.

REDMER TOUTS PUBLIC SAFETY UNIONS SUPPORT: Republican Al Redmer Jr. on Wednesday touted support for his bid to become Baltimore County executive from unions that represent the county’s police officers and firefighters, writes Pamela Wood in the Sun. Flanked by dozens of supporters wearing yellow “emergency services for Redmer” shirts, Redmer said he would take politics out of the county’s police and fire departments and invest in technology and training for officers and firefighters.

PUBLIC FINANCING BILL IN PG: The Post’s Rachel Chason reports that a bill to create a public financing system for local political races in Prince George’s County advanced this week during a dramatic council meeting that was abruptly adjourned by Chair ­Dannielle M. Glaros and then restarted after one of her colleagues was elected temporary chair.

STATE LAWMAKERS SEEK POLICE PROBE OF KAVANAUGH CLAIMS: Several Maryland lawmakers representing Montgomery County are calling on local law enforcement officials to investigate the sexual assault allegations against Supreme Court nominee Brett M. Kavanaugh, arguing the state’s statute of limitations may not apply to some allegations, Ovetta Wiggins and Dan Morse of the Post report.

ROSENSTEIN IN BALTIMORE: All eyes in Washington this week have been on Rod J. Rosenstein, the deputy attorney general and former U.S. attorney for Maryland whose job hangs in limbo ahead of a meeting with President Donald J. Trump. Sarah Meehan of the Sun writes about what you need to know about Rosenstein’s work in D.C. and his history in Baltimore.

POLICE STILL HIGHEST PAID CITY WORKERS: Once again, most of Baltimore’s highest paid employees are police officers, Luke Broadwater of the Sun reports. Overtime expenses in fiscal year 2018 meant that 40 of the 50 highest-paid city employees work for the Baltimore Police Department — including seven of the top 10.

  • “Floreen, if she wants to win, should hit back since he has taken money from PACs and political clubs.”
    Except he hasn’t.
    How much more misleading information are you going to spit out here

    • lenlazarick

      Really? None of the multiple unions and progressive groups who endorsed him gave him money or spent money in his behalf ?

      • Nope. Believe what you want, both the campaign and the progressive groups meticulously followed the public financing laws.
        I know I’m a biased source and you might not be inclined to take *my* word for it, but my firsthand experience is this: I was a volunteer with Progressive Maryland and then I was a volunteer with Elrich. I opted not to volunteer/canvass with PM once I got more associated with the Elrich campaign, even though that was not required. I organized an event for Elrich last spring, and had asked one board member of PM to help out, and he said he could attend and donate as an individual but the group itself could not spend its money nor could they be associated with the fundraiser. Only individuals could.
        Furthermore, and while I speak for myself and not Elrich or the campaign, other people in a similar position as me feel similarly, we have mixed feelings about the Progressive Maryland-funded ads against David Blair. At first, I agreed with their points, but then found them loosely substantiated as they only relied on one source. Some people thought the ads helped Elrich, others thought they backfired and helped David Blair. I’m not sure. Elrich is against negative campaigning.
        As for union or progressive group-funded PACs, they are independent expenditures, which are legal. Not every supporter or volunteer for Elrich favors their presence, but some have taken that initiative up on their own given Nancy’s unlimited PAC financing. Elrich’s campaign is emphatically NOT associated with any PAC expenditure, and even those who are unpaid but in the public eye associated with the campaign, such as myself, have opted out of association with any PAC.

        • lenlazarick

          You are probably right about the direct contributions to the campaign, but I don’t see how the law or Marc himself could prevent independent expenditures from these groups.