State Roundup, June 23, 2017

Gov. Hogan joins centrists Republicans concerned about the effect of Obamacare rollback on Marylanders; gambling interests now push for legalized sports betting; state moves ahead with appealing judge’s decision on another Purple Line environmental study; state lawmakers now call for probe into claims that Prince George’s student grades were altered; attorney Shea joins race for democratic nomination for governor; U.S. Rep. Delaney delays decision on run for governor; and Anne Arundel signs inmate immigration screening pact with federal government.

Legalized sports betting being promoted for Maryland

Sports betting is the latest frontier for the expansion of legalized gambling in Maryland, panelists at the Maryland Live! casino Thursday made clear. It is crucial to “get the federal government out of the way” of sports gambling, said Geoff Freeman, president and CEO of the American Gaming Association, which sponsored the event touting the industry’s contribution to local jobs and nonprofits.

State Roundup, June 22, 2017

The Maryland Insurance Administration hears bids to hike health premiums, as Cigna pulls out of market; meanwhile a majority of red state voters oppose House health care overhaul; Comptroller Franchot questions land purchase, BPW delays action; Maryland slips in removing stormwater pollutants, but largely on track with Bay restoration efforts; Sen. John Astle announces run for Annapolis mayor; incumbent District 39 General Assembly slate causes tumult as it taps a newcomer; Frederick Sheriff Jenkins touts immigration enforcement to U.S. Attorney General Sessions; and Rockville City Council rejects immigration enforcement cooperation.

State Roundup, June 21, 2017

Rushern Baker to announce his run for the Democratic nomination for governor; organization calls on state insurance regulator to reject CareFirst’s 52% rate hike request; state medical examiner pins 47 of 56 OD deaths in Arundel on fentanyl derivative; new Arundel Safe Station program helping addicts; GOP attempts to roll back Obamacare runs headlong into opioid crisis; planned Frederick convention hotel, funded in part with state funds, looked at as a boon and a boondoggle; District 39 slate ruffles feathers and Del. West to seek Sen. Brochin’s seat; and as Baltimore City seeks federal pilot programs it fails to get one addressing violence.

Term limits create opportunities for women to run for Montgomery County Council

Only one of the two women currently serving on Montgomery’s nine-member County Council — Nancy Navarro — is up for re-election next year when four incumbents must vacate their seats because of new term limits. This leaves plenty of opportunity for new female candidates to fill those seats on what has historically been a council dominated by men. So far, three women are running for council seats, and at least two others are considering it. The list is likely to grow longer.

State Roundup, June 20, 2017

Supreme Court’s decision to take on Wisconsin gerrymandering case could impact Maryland; as opioid crisis rises, Maryland schools will begin teaching addressing heroin crisis, starting with elementary schoolers; MTA rolls out new BaltimoreLink bus service to praise and criticism; Prince George’s school board members ask state to probe grades, graduation rates; more hot air on Paris climate accord; Comptroller Franchot to get a beer named after him; Del. Aumann to step down, won’t run for Sen. Brochin’s seat; and Arundel County Councilman Peroutka denounces secessionists’ racists statements.

Collins: Hot air on the Paris climate agreement

There has been a lot of noise from Democratic office holders and candidates that they will uphold the Paris Agreement on climate change. They also demand to know if Gov. Larry Hogan and other Maryland Republicans will do likewise. Such progressives think it is a great strategy to label Republicans as climate and science “deniers.” Republicans should not take the bait.

State Roundup, June 19, 2017

Maryland ranks 16th in well-being in latest Kids Count data; National Harbor boosts casino revenue; Sen. Oaks say he’ll stay in state Senate as he fights fraud charges; potential Dem rival to Gov. Hogan asks for ridership data on overhauled bus system; Baltimore City runs low on OD reversal drug; state environment secretary to head regional air quality board; Maryland congressmen continue to push Hogan on Paris pact; Maryland legislators propose Metro board overhaul; Del. McCray poll says he could upset Sen. McFadden; David Trone may be readying for congressional race; and ethics complaint filed against Washington County commissioners.

Rascovar: Judge shouldn’t play Humpty-Dumpty with Md. universities

It could be a cringe-worry moment when U.S. District Judge Catherine Blake finally rules on the lawsuit by black state universities demanding sweeping changes in Maryland’s public higher education system that benefit only their own campuses. In no way is Judge Blake qualified to disassemble Maryland’s well-regarded higher education network and then re-assemble the pieces in an entirely new way that miraculously makes historically black schools integrated and thriving learning institutions.