In competitive MoCo council race, Democrat turns to crowdfunding; two Republicans already filed

A Democratic candidate seeking public campaign financing in Montgomery’s most competitive County Council District said he will use Crowdpac, an Internet-based crowdfunding platform that draws donors from across the country, to raise money for his campaign. Montgomery’s public campaign finance laws prohibit candidates from accepting campaign contributions from PACs or organized political committees. Fundraising through Crowdpac, however, is permitted, according to the State Board of Elections.

Delaney strikes bipartisan tone in victory speech

Democratic Rep. John Delaney struck a bipartisan tone Tuesday evening as he thanked volunteers, supporters and family for helping him win a third term in Maryland’s 6th Congressional District. Delaney handily defeated Republican candidate Amie Hoeber 55% to 41%. Delaney spent $1.4 million on the race, and Hoeber spent close to $1 million, plus independent spending by a super PAC funded by her husband.

Montgomery County had primary elections problems, too

A decision by Montgomery County to re-scan misplaced absentee ballots and recertify the April 26 primary election results without any public oversight, following advice from state election officials, is now raising concerns about how the process was handled. Voting advocates are concerned that Montgomery changed and then officially recertified election results for the April 26 primary election — without notifying all members of the local board responsible for certifying elections, or going through a public process.

School systems must choose more standardized tests in the fall

Maryland public school systems will weigh this summer whether to add more standardized testing for 11th grade students in an effort to conform to a new state law that kicks in during the 2015-2016 academic year.

They face a choice of whether to add two Common Core-aligned tests to assess college and career readiness, or use scores from one of several already established college entrance exams like the SAT. It’s also possible students who take a college placement exam could be exempt from taking PARCC in school systems who elect to use it.

Legislators call for more diversity, standardized training for police

Lawmakers charged with making policy recommendations following the police custody death of Baltimore resident Freddie Gray peppered state officials responsible for police hiring and training standards with questions about racial diversity at their first work session Monday.

“Obviously we’re missing something in the racial and ethnic diversity training on top of the excessive force training,” remarked Sen. Joan Carter Conway, D, Baltimore City.

Maryland State Board of Elections

Election board member calls for more openness about campaign finance investigations

The ranking Republican on the Maryland State Board of Elections is calling for more transparency when staff investigates campaign finance violations that have the potential to be referred to the State Prosecutor’s Office.

In March state election staff cleared former Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown’s campaign for alleged campaign finance coordination during the 2014 gubernatorial primary election, but board members are still waiting for written documentation that supports the finding.