State Roundup, October 2, 2018

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HEALTH INSURANCE IMPERILED: Roughly 3.5 million Marylanders could lose their health insurance or face higher premiums due to their age, gender or a pre-existing condition because the Trump administration has decided not to enforce provisions of the federal law known as Obamacare, a new congressional report has found, Andrea K. McDaniels reports in the Sun.

DRUG AFFORDABIITY PANEL PUSHED: A coalition of progressive health advocates late last month called on all candidates for governor and the Maryland General Assembly to support their proposal to create a Prescription Drug Affordability Board. The announcement came just a day after Ben Jealous, the Democratic gubernatorial candidate, showed his support for the campaign and announced his own plan to reduce drug prices. Both proposals essentially look to create a watchdog to oversee prescription drug prices and ensure there are no surprise price increases, Harrison Cann reports for CNS. Amelia Chassé, communications director for Gov. Hogan, said the governor plans on working with DeMarco on legislation this coming year.

TARGET TO STRENGTHEN FIREARMS LAW: Maryland lawmakers say a new law that went into effect Monday may need to be strengthened to address concerns about juveniles who have access to firearms, Bryan Sears reports in the Daily Record. Democratic legislators and gun-control advocates gathered in the state capital hours after new laws had taken effect, including a “red flag” law that enables families and law enforcement agencies to petition the court to temporarily take guns from owners who pose a risk to themselves or others.

GREEN JUSTICE PROGRAMS IN JAIL: Workforce development and restorative justice programs help busy public works departments or stormwater managers get their work done while teaching participants valuable work skills., Donna Morelli of the Bay Journal writes in MarylandReporter.com. As communities strive to create more green spaces while reducing polluted stormwater by installing green infrastructure, the need for trained employees will grow.

TRAFFICKED VICTIMS ADVOCATE: Gov. Larry Hogan has named the state’s first anti-human trafficking director. Hogan announced Monday that Laurie Culkin will be an advocate on behalf of human trafficking victims, the AP is reporting.

COMMUNITY COLLEGE CREDITS: In a commentary for Maryland Matters, Michael Raup, former student consultant to the Commission on Innovation and Excellence in Education, addresses an issue between community colleges and state universities: Credits from the community colleges don’t always transfer into university, costing students time and money.

OBAMA BACKS JEALOUS: Former President Barack Obama is backing Maryland gubernatorial candidate Ben Jealous in his second round of endorsements for Democratic candidates. Jealous, who will face Republican Gov. Larry Hogan in the general election, was among four Maryland candidates Obama endorsed Monday, Sarah Meehan of the Sun writes. The others are Susan Turnbull, who is running with Jealous for lieutenant governor; House of Delegates candidate Courtney Watson, of Howard County; and House Speaker Michael Busch.

JEALOUS TOUTS TRANSIT PLAN: Democratic gubernatorial candidate Ben Jealous told a crowd of roughly 50 people gathered in front of Montgomery Blair High School in Silver Spring on Sunday that come November, he would institute a “21st century transportation plan,” Dan Schere reports in Bethesda Beat.

HOGAN CAN USE APPLE LOGO: A Montgomery County judge ruled Monday that Gov. Larry Hogan can continue using an apple logo in his reelection campaign materials, delivering at least a temporary victory to the Republican governor in his latest spat with the state’s teachers union, Erin Cox reports in the Post.

ON TURNBULL & RUTHERFORD: In a profile of the gubernatorial running mates, Rachel Chason of the Post writes that Susan Turnbull has put 16,000 miles on her Prius since she was recruited by Democrat Ben Jealous to help him unseat Gov. Larry Hogan (R). Lt. Gov. Boyd Rutherford attended seven events — in a row — on a recent Friday and hits the campaign trail every weekend. Turnbull is an energetic campaigner who has helped form connections between Jealous and the Democratic establishment, while Rutherford is a low-key policy wonk and steady advocate for Hogan’s policies.

ANTI-CANDIDATE ADS IN DISTRICT 30: In the state Senate race for District 30, Danielle Ohl writes in the Annapolis Capital, the Maryland Democratic Senate Caucus Committee sent out fliers condemning Republican candidate and former Del. Ron George for getting caught in an undercover sting investigating jewelers buying stolen jewelry. The Maryland Republican Party responded with a digital campaign on its website chastising Democratic candidate Sarah Elfreth for a texting and driving citation that went unpaid. Elfreth and George said they did not have prior knowledge of the ads run on their behalf. But they both had something to say about the other.

42nd DISTRICT FORUMS: A debate Friday night between candidates running for seats in Towson’s 42nd legislative district drew a crowd, heated discussions on education and housing policies, and promises to work toward new area high schools. The two-part debate began with District 42 Senate seat candidates Republican Chris West and Democrat Robbie Leonard, and ended with District 42A House candidates Republican Steve McIntire and Democratic incumbent Stephen Lafferty, Libby Solomon writes in the Towson Times.

EX-SHERIFF MOSIES INTO TOWN TO STUMP FOR MATORY: In his political notebook, Josh Kurtz kicks off with the fact that former Milwaukee County Sheriff David A. Clarke, a vocal law-and-order politician famous for his cowboy hats and full-throated support of President Trump, will be the headliner Friday evening at a fundraiser for Liz Matory, the Republican challenging eight-term U.S. Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger (D). He also writes about the importance of Obama’s endorsements.

DEVELOPMENT KEY IN MO CO EXEC DEBATE: Development was the central focus of a debate Monday night in the heated Montgomery County executive’s race, with Democrat Marc Elrich saying the populous county already has most of the roads it needs and independent Nancy Floreen stressing the importance of boosting private investment and economic development, Jennifer Barrios of the Post reports.

FREDERICK CANDIDATES’ FORUM: Around 50 people attended the Brunswick City Park building Monday night to hear from candidates for Frederick County executive, along with County Council District 1 and At-Large candidates in next month’s election. The candidates discussed a variety of topics, ranging from economic development in Brunswick to how elected county officials will deal with increasingly congested roads countywide, reports Steve Bohnel for the Frederick News Post.

HOWARD OKS DEMOLITION: A majority of the five-member Howard County Council voted in favor of funding a controversial plan to remove 19 buildings in historic Ellicott City, an area that suffered a deadly flood in 2016 and another this year, reports Erin Logan for the Howard County Times. The five-year plan would demolish 10 buildings on lower Main Street to widen the channel for the Tiber River, two buildings from the middle of Main Street to widen the Hudson River bend and seven residential buildings on the western side of the historic district.

$17M CITY HALL CLEANUP: The Pugh administration is embarking on a $17 million project to clean and shore up the nearly 150-year-old domed City Hall building’s exterior over the next decade after an engineering study revealed the stonework was deteriorating rapidly and needed immediate restoration, Yvonne Wenger of the Sun reports.

WHEELCHAIR USERS SUE STADIUM AUTHORITY: Three people who say their wheelchairs, on multiple occasions, have become briefly trapped in a lift at Camden Yards have sued the Baltimore Orioles and the Maryland Stadium Authority, saying the 26-year-old ballpark has never complied with the Americans with Disabilities Act, reports Fern Shen in Baltimore Brew.