State Roundup, September 30, 2016

Howard exec calls for sheriff’s impeachment;Emails shed light on Del. Morhaim’s work with pot panel and private business; 2nd medical marijuana firm files lawsuit; new law will allow a bit more freedom to high school journalists, but not everyone is happy about it; cybersecurity firm finds weaknesses in state online absentee ballot system; legislature itself seen as impediment to help the wrongly convicted; it might be early, but county exec hopefuls line up in Baltimore County; and the late Helen Bentley was a fine art-glass collector.

Bay Bridge

How about a third Bay bridge from Baltimore Co. into Kent Co.?

Gov. Larry Hogan last month announced yet another study of a third span across the Chesapeake Bay. The study is expected to cost $5 million and take up to four years. Its goal is to determine the appropriate site for a third span and how to pay for it.
Gov. Hogan’s announcement came with the current Bay Bridge in the background. The setting suggests that the third lane will be built at the current Sandy Point site. Maryland would be well served, however, by building the next bay crossing from Baltimore County to Kent County.

State Roundup, September 29, 2016

Another medical marijuana company seeks to challenge state regulators over licensing; Sen. Pugh wants General Assembly to strengthen law to allow civilians on police conduct panels; state works to hold state debt to current levels; U.S. Department of Ed names 10 Maryland schools as Blue Ribbons schools; lottery chief defends opting for most expensive contract; Washington County schools won’t seek waiver to Hogan exec order; new ad goes after Kathy Szeliga on gun stand; and Obama veto override splits Maryland House delegation.

State House at Sunset. Photo by

Slew of new Md. laws take effect Saturday: drunk driving, police conduct, equal pay

This Saturday, many of the laws passed during this year’s General Assembly session go into effect. Some key new laws Oct. 1 include measures to : require ignition interlocks for drunk driving and increase penalties for killing people while driving drunk; to
make drivers carry cards showing current insurance coverage; to expand protections for equal pay for equal work and employees discussing their salaries; to improve public oversight of the police; to encourage more reporting of child abuse and neglect; and
withhold tax refunds for people with outstanding arrest warrants;. Other new laws deal with solar hookups, pesticides that kill bees, freedom of the press for students, and gambling on card games and mahjong at home (no kidding).

State Roundup, September 28, 2016

The state school board considers streamlining decision to grant waivers to local boards seeking to opt out of Gov. Hogan’s later school start executive order; proposed fracking rules would ban drilling in three watersheds, within 1,000 feet of private well; in latest PARCC scores, some counties see gains; new drinking and driving laws taking effect Oct. 1; dispute over lottery contract could end up before legislative panel; Baltimore mayoral candidates hold forum; Arundel councilmen challenge fed’s request for jail use; and Prince George’s councilwoman targets vending machine food for reform.

prescription drugs

Md. health group wants legislation to attack high cost of prescription drugs

With EpiPens and other prescription drugs rising in cost, families who desperately need them but do not have health insurance coverage are bearing a huge financial burden, according to community advocates. The Maryland Citizens’ Health Initiative, a coalition of more than 1,200 religious, labor, business and policy groups seeking affordable health care, wants the state legislature to address that financial burden by overhauling some of the laws governing drug pricing.

State Roundup, September 27, 2016

Maryland environmental officials propose new rules on fracking; state’s graduating seniors score lower on SAT than any in 20 years; Gov. Hogan continues to get high marks from public while fracking opinions less one-sided; state lawmakers concerned over report that police decide too many rape cases are unfounded; Maryland women urged to seek office; McDonough, Ruppersberger debate over debates; Clinton given edge over Trump in last night’s 90-minute presidential debate; and Arundel County exec asks public to weigh in on county schools transgender policy.


Lazarick and Vatz on the debate: Few minds changed about candidates we know pretty well

Who won the debate? What right does the media have to decide an encounter where the scoring is vague and the goal posts are movable? The more important question : Whose minds were changed by the debate? Very few, probably, writes Len Lazarick. Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton were much as we’ve come to know them over more than a year of campaigning, and years in the public eye. Professor Rick Vatz gives the win to Hillary by a nose, with too many missed opportunities for Trump.

State Roundup, September 26, 2016

Del. Morhaim is subject to ethics probe for dual roles in medical marijuana legislation, pot business; new Goucher poll finds little support for executive orders but much for later school start; poll also finds Gov. Hogan continues to ride a wave of support; meanwhile, opinions against fracking moderate; Prince George’s County Exec Baker gets a tattoo honoring his wife, who suffers from Alzheimer’s; U.S. Rep. Edwards was all thumbs with tweets; all eyes on tonight’s presidential debate and boost it could give to down-ballot candidates; Hoeber, Delaney go on the attack in new ads; and candidate erects stinking campaign signs.