State Roundup, July 13, 2018

State lawmakers grill MVA, Board of Elections over glitch that impacted 72,000 people attempting to register to vote; retired state workers rally over pending elimination of prescription drug coverage; Gov. Hogan’s real estate business, in a trust, continues to thrive; Republican Governors Association launches negative ad campaign against Hogan’s Democratic rival for governor Ben Jealous; as recount begins in Baltimore County executive race, in Montgomery County, David Blair considers asking for one as well; prosecutors ask judge to sentence former Sen. Oaks to five years; U.S. Senate passes resolution honoring Capital Gazette murder victims; Howard County Exec Kittleman gets police union backing that eluded him four years ago; and Muslim group accepts Hagerstown mayor’s apology, while encouraging him to meet with members.

State Roundup, July 12, 2018

Gov. Hogan backs former foe Ron George for state Senate as Republicans “Drive for Five” to get critical 19 votes in Senate to block veto overrides; Nancy Floreen jumps into Montgomery County exec race as independent to offer alternative to “flawed extremes;” Comptroller Franchot says sports betting issue should wait till new session starts instead of allowing “lame duck” lawmakers to handle it; U.S. Congress pauses to honor slain Capital Gazette employees as plans get under way for memorial, press freedom festival; with Liz Walsh winning by a whisper, Howard County Council to have all new members; and Hagerstown mayor rethinks labeling London mayor a “terrorist,” apologizes.

State Roundup, July 11, 2018

The recount in Democratic primary for Baltimore County executive will begin Thursday; former state Sen. Oaks asks judge for 18-month prison sentence as opposed to eight to 10 years recommended; GOP opponent to Comptroller Franchot files ethics complaint over his embossed medallions; U.S. Rep. Hoyer released from hospital after bout with pneumonia; Hagerstown Mayor Bruchey labels London’s Muslim mayor a “terrorist;” Maryland falls six spots to No. 31 in latest business friendly state ranking; and in Baltimore County school news: embattled interim Super Verletta White gets a one-year contract and board candidate Peter Beilenson drops out of race to take job in California.

Franchot opponent claims ethics violation over comptroller coins

Comptroller Peter Franchot’s little known Republican opponent, Anjali Reed Phukan, said she plans to file an ethics complaint this week against the three-term incumbent for passing out embossed medallions that bear the authority line of his campaign committee. Franchot has been passing out the coins to thousands of people for at least five years, reviving a tradition started by the late Comptroller Louie Goldstein.

State Roundup, July 10, 2018

President Trump picks conservative Marylander Brett Kavanaugh, a appellate judge, to serve on the Supreme Court as Democrats begin to find fault; Montgomery business leaders look to potential independent candidate Nancy Floreen instead of progressive Dem Marc Elrich as Montgomery County exec hopeful to back, but Dems see problem with splitting their votes between the two; Jim Brochin to file for recount in Baltimore County exec race; recounts expected in other tight races in Howard, Anne Arundel and Montgomery counties; extensive repairs to Lawyers Mall means Thurgood Marshall statue will have to be moved; and slain journalist Wendi Winters charged shooter, saving others’ lives.

State Roundup, July 9, 2018

With 9 vote lead, Del. Olszewski declared winner in Baltimore County executive race; state Sen. Brochin plans to seek a recount; in Montgomery County exec race, Marc Elrich wins by 80 votes; HoCo Council incumbent loses by 2 votes; African American establishment cautiously optimistic on Progressive’s Ben Jealous’ chances to beat Gov. Hogan; Hogan releases three years of tax returns, which show he made $2.4 million, most from real estate business; elections board, MVA agree on exact number of voters with errors in registration; state investigating complaint by ex-employees of pesticide use at medical marijuana grower; as waters rise, Smith Islanders rely on government-built jetties, God to protect their homes; Del. Washington claims victory over Sen. Carter Conway; and Schuh-Pittman race for Arundel County executive hits the ground running.

Amid rising waters, Smith Island puts faith in jetties, God

Only on Smith Island would someone get choked up about a jetty, a constructed wall of stones that functions like a bulwark against waves and water currents. Since 2015, federal, state and local sources have invested about $18.3 million in three separate projects on and around Smith Island, adding about two miles of reconstructed shoreline, several acres of newly planted salt marshes and hundreds of feet of jetties to preserve the island that is slipping away into the Chesapeake Bay.

State Roundup, July 6, 2018

With provisional, absentee ballots still uncounted, gap closes in Elrich-Blair race for Montgomery executive; Howard County Council incumbent now only four votes ahead; transportation group says state’s BaltimoreLink bus service falls short of state plans for reliable service; special session on sports betting more likely; despite President Trump’s announcement rescinding Obama era order on race, UM to continue commitment to diverse student population; newsrooms around the country observe moment of silence in honor of slain Capital Gazette staffers; and the brother of a candidate for House of Delegates is arrested after threatening her.

Opinion: The death penalty should be revived

All sides in the debate over capital punishment claim to “know,” as one of my correspondents claimed, that death penalty is or is not a deterrent.  For it to be a deterrent for capital crime, murderers would have to think that they might be caught and that the venue in which they are caught will effect the ultimate punishment.  Further, they need to be convinced that such a penalty is not infinitely delayable.  In states that it takes a decade or more from conviction to execution and/or those in which capital punishment is rare to nonexistent, there can be no deterrent from the death penalty.