A compromise on illegal gun possession in Baltimore: Treat minimum sentences like an emergency public health measure

To try to control the rapid growth in gun violence and get guns of the street, Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh and Police Commissioner Kevin Davis are pushing a new city ordinance that would impose a one-year minimum sentence for carrying an illegal firearm in Baltimore. But a sunset provision could make the measure more palatable, writes Nate Loewentheil.

State Roundup, July 24, 2017

Plans for off-shore wind farm being met with opposition from Ocean City and Rep. Harris; communities slated for medical marijuana dispensaries begin to resist their placement; state’s corrections officers seek higher wages; gun advocates take Maryland assault weapon ban to Supreme Court; with anti-flu nasal spray deemed ineffective, counties grapple with flu shots for public school students; former Michelle Obama policy director says she’s mulling a run for governor; Arundel Councilman Grasso is running, for something; Del. Kipke injured in dog attack; Del. McKay won’t seek second term, decides to run for Register of Wills after officerholder indicted; and Montgomery County political activist Jonathan Shurberg dies at 54.

Government House

Rascovar: Democrats crowd governor’s race

Given Republican Gov. Larry Hogan’s widespread popularity, it is difficult to grasp why so many Democrats are jumping into the race for chief executive of Maryland. The June 26 Democratic primary – 11 months from now – looks like it will be so chock full of candidates that it may be impossible to predict the winner.

State Roundup, July 21, 2017

Hogan administration plans to sue EPA over its failure to curb smokestack emissions in neighboring states that pollute Maryland’s air; Mississippi congressman’s provision imperils Maryland’s emerging big blue catfish industry; Prince George’s school chief grilled by county legislators as state BOE looks for audit firm to probe claims of grade inflation; U.S. Rep. Delaney hold public forum on problems with Veterans Administration; month after surgery, U.S. Rep. Cummings to return to D.C. for recess session; Allegany register of wills indicted for misconduct, felony theft after grand jury probe; Montgomery councilman returns with modified bill on $15 an hour minimum wage; and Lazarick series “Columbia at 50” earns Best of Baltimore plaudits.

Controlling the big, tasty and invasive wild blue catfish

People may not learn to love blue catfish in the Chesapeake Bay, but perhaps they will learn to love them on their plate. A draft report from a task force that spent more than a year looking for ways to deal with the large, voracious — and rapidly expanding — blue catfish population acknowledges that the invasive species has likely become a permanent resident of the Bay, and says action is needed to prevent “irreversible” harm to the ecosystem.

State Roundup, July 20, 2017

An appeals court reinstates environmental OK of Purple Line project, clearing way for its construction; transportation planning board to look into building a new Potomac River bridge despite opposition from Maryland; Gov. Hogan criticizes Senate Prez Miller on ethics in hospital-health secretary dispute; crabs and politics take center stage at annual Tawes fest, although not every would-be gubernatorial candidate showed up; President Trump takes time to criticize Asst. Atty. Gen. Rosenstein and Baltimore and snub the NAACP.

Photo Gallery: Hot and steamy under big tent at Tawes crab feast

The Ringling Brothers circus closed earlier this year, and it looked like lobbyist Bruce Bereano had bought one of their tents as the longtime Annapolis influencer hosted the biggest gathering at the annual J. Millard Tawes Clam Bake and Crab Feast in Crisfield Wednesday. Here’s a gallery of photos from the hot and steamy event.

State Roundup, July 19, 2017

Gov. Hogan joins 10 other governors in urging Congress to reject efforts to repeal ACA, find solutions with gubernatorial input into shoring up insurance markets; acting Planning Secretary Peters, a cancer survivor, to lose health coverage; state school board may have found loophole in Gov. Hogan’s post-Labor Day school start mandate; Maya Rockeymoore confirms she is considering run for governor; Del. Waldstreicher to seek Sen. Madaleno’s seat as former U.S. Rep. Edwards ponders run for governor; and Sen. Kagan may run for Montgomery County executive.

Collins: Time for the state prosecutor to get involved?

Two intertwined issues exploded last week in what some consider a constitutional crisis, but this dispute is a bit overblown. The showdown was initially between Gov. Larry Hogan and the legislature over whether or not Dennis Schrader could be paid after being appointed acting secretary of health. The plot thickened, however, when it was revealed that Schrader’s nomination was pulled before a vote because Senate President Mike Miller allegedly attempted to secure an unethical—possibly illegal—quid pro quo as the cost of confirmation.