State Roundup, September 28, 2018

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HOGAN CALLS FOR KAVANAUGH PROBE: A spokeswoman for Maryland governor says he believes a full investigation is needed into allegations of sexual assault against U.S. Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh. Amelia Chasse, Gov. Larry Hogan’s spokeswoman, said Thursday that “the governor believes there needs to be a full investigation before the process moves forward,” the AP is reporting.

IN NEW POLL, HOGAN LEADS BY 15 POINTS: Republican Gov. Larry Hogan leads Democratic challenger Ben Jealous by 15 percentage points with six weeks left to go in the race, according to a new poll released Thursday, Luke Broadwater of the Sun reports. The survey, conducted Monday through Wednesday by Mason-Dixon Polling & Strategy, showed Hogan with 52% of the vote compared with 37% for Jealous. The polling firm described Hogan’s lead as “comfortable.”

RESHAPING MARYLAND’s HIGHEST COURT: In an op-ed for the Sun, law Professor Doug Colbert opines that Maryland voters should be concerned with the effect that this year’s race between Gov. Larry Hogan and Democrat Ben Jealous will have on reshaping our state’s highest court, the Court of Appeals, and therefore on Maryland’s future. The next governor will likely replace five of the court’s seven judges within the next term in office. While the affable Mr. Hogan is no Donald Trump, his appointees are unlikely to look out for the interests of all Marylanders, and they deserve our closest attention.

STATE SEEKS TO FIX BID ERROR REJECTIONS: State government officials say they are looking at ways to allow companies bidding on state contracts the ability to correct some minor bid errors that currently result in disqualification. On ongoing survey has found that at least 40% of state agencies have rejected bids in the last 12 months because of a failure to properly fill out required information on minority business enterprise participation, sometimes for just the lack of a simple signature.

REQUIRE MORE DEBATES: Andy Ellis, a Green Party candidate for the Maryland House of Delegates, opines in an op-ed in Maryland Matters that Maryland needs a state commission on political debate and a legislative requirement that every candidate appearing on the ballot, in a general or primary election, engage in at least two debates with all of their opponents.

NATHAN-PULLIAM HONORED: Sen. Shirley Nathan-Pulliam, D-Baltimore city, will be honored with the Sen. John Heinz III Award at the 2018 National Adult Day Services Association’s national conference today, the Daily Record writes.

ELRICH, FLOREEN TANGLE: Marc Elrich, the Democratic nominee for Montgomery County executive, and his Democratic-turned-independent opponent, Nancy Floreen, tangled over issues ranging from efforts to attract Amazon’s second headquarters to plans to restructure county government at a debate Wednesday sponsored by the Greater Capital Area Association of Realtors, Louis Peck reports in Bethesda Beat.

FREDERICK RESIDENTS COMPLAIN ABOUT SHERIFF TRAINING: At the beginning of this week’s Frederick County Council meeting, a trio of Frederick County residents argued against the county’s 287(g) program, which provides training for sheriff’s deputies by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Steve Bonhel of the Frederick News-Post reports. Under the agreement, those deputies can then ask about immigration status for anyone booked at the Frederick County Adult Detention Center, and start deportation proceedings if deemed necessary. Those who spoke against the agreement said it is unfairly separating families, and is preventing those individuals from contributing to the community.

HO CO WORKS TOWARD ELLICOTT CITY SOLUTION: As Howard County works toward flood mitigation in Ellicott City, the Howard County Council on Monday is scheduled to vote on a bill that would allocate nearly $17 million toward a five-year flood control plan, Jay Reed of the Sun reports. The bills represent part of a larger $50 million package that would implement a massive flood mitigation effort. The package includes culvert projects, expansion of a channel for the Tiber River, creation of new open space along the Patuxent and the controversial proposal to purchase and raze 19 buildings, including 10 in the historic district.

HOUSING CHIEF TIES STATE CENTER TO PUBLIC HOUSING: Future redevelopment of State Center may include overhauling the nearby McCulloh Homes public housing, Adam Bednar of the Daily Record reports. Michael Braverman, director of Baltimore’s Department of Housing and Community Development, said the city is keen to package the redevelopments. Combining the nearby projects allows spreading the density of low-income units across the public housing site and the 28-acre state office complex property

AFTER AUDIT, PUGH ‘FIXER’ GETS NEW JOB: Kim Morton, Mayor Catherine Pugh’s chief of staff – a much-feared City Hall fixer whose job description and status have been murky in recent months – is  “transitioning” to become a deputy director at the Department of Public Works, officials confirm. This soft landing – the No. 2 spot in a department with the city’s biggest capital budget – is notable considering the infraction that ostensibly put her there: Morton was singled out (though not by name) in an audit released Wednesday for using a city credit card to make thousands of dollars of questionable purchases late last year, including nearly $24,000 to purchase and dry-clean coats for homeless people, Fern Shen and Mark Reutter of Baltimore Brew report.