State Roundup, December 15, 2017

While Arundel judge orders state to pay two appointees of Gov. Hogan, Attorney General’s office files an appeal; aide to Sen. Mike Miller named to replace Warren Deschenaux as head of legislative services; polluting Baltimore trash incinerator also given state subsidies from program to promote green energy; two environmental groups say Exelon could help clean waterways and still make a profit by changing how it generates electricity; 12 more dispensaries get OK to sell medical marijuana even as supplies remain low; and differences seen as slight during Democratic gubernatorial candidates forum.

Environmental groups say Conowingo Dam owner can afford to help restore Bay

Exelon Corp. could help restore the lower Susquehanna River and Chesapeake Bay by changing the way it generates electricity at Conowingo Dam, and still make a “healthy” profit, a pair of environmental groups reported this month. The Chesapeake Bay Foundation and The Nature Conservancy released a study they jointly commissioned that finds that the Chicago-based energy company could easily afford to mitigate the impacts Conowingo is having on downriver fish habitat and water quality.

State Roundup, December 14, 2017

Gov. Larry Hogan seeks to expand tax credit program for job-creating businesses beyond the manufacturing sector; whistleblower says Johns Hopkins Hospital System has been violating revenue agreement with state by favoring out-of-state patients; judges who order inmates into mental health treatment ask lawmakers to clarify acceptable wait times; Hogan to seek non-partisan redistricting process again; crime takes center stage in political arena; two environmental groups announce their General Assembly endorsements; two Libertarians join U.S. House race hoping to unseat incumbents Brown and Hoyer; and Hogan calls fellow Republican Roy Moore’s loss in Alabama no surprise.

Think tank gives Maryland mixed report card on budget practices

In public debates about the budgetary soundness of state government finances, it can be hard to separate real insights from political posturing and cloudy media reporting. The legendary former Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker founded the Volcker Alliance in 2013 with the aim of enhancing government responsiveness by improving how governments work. In its report, Truth and Integrity in State Budgeting: What is the Reality? the Volcker Alliance paints a mixed picture for Maryland, and represents an opportunity for the state to make real improvements in areas considered as weaknesses.

State Roundup, December 13, 2017

Legislative Policy Committee OKs updates to tracking harassment complaints against state lawmakers; Gov. Hogan urges Congress to continue federal child health care insurance; state extends ACA enrollment period by a week; Prince George’s NAACP asks Hogan to intervene on over school grades controversy, seek to pull County Exec Baker’s authority over superintendent; Washington County Commissioners seeks state caution over TransCanada pipeline; Harford sheriff pushes legislation to allow person to be armed in church; matching funds for state campaign is just enough for one, and it’s already been claimed; and Montgomery County sues opioid drug makers and distributors.

Md. public campaign finance fund too small to help multiple candidates for governor

There is enough money in the state public campaign fund for one candidate and one election in the 2018 gubernatorial election, according to the state campaign finance director. Sen. Rich Madaleno, D-Montgomery, who is running for governor recently claimed it. “You can fully fund one candidate for either the general election or the primary, but not both,” said Maryland Candidacy and Campaign Finance Director Jared DeMarinis of the pending 2018 elections.

Reducing crime in Baltimore, block by block

Confronting the most violent criminals in Baltimore is vital, but the homicides and shootings are only the most extreme expression of a much broader wave of crime gripping the city. To address this broader challenge, Baltimore City and the state of Maryland should begin working together to empower grassroots, citizen-led solutions to crime and violence, tapping into the creativity of our citizenry to implement solutions at the family, block and neighborhood level., writes Nate Loewentheil in this commentary.

State Roundup, December 12, 2017

General Assembly to begin tracking sexual harassment complaints against lawmakers, staff; Del. Morhaim, relating concerns from small business constituents, says override of Gov. Hogan’s sick leave bill veto may be delayed; state asks judge to vacate her decision on disparities in college offerings; opioid deaths on the rise in Anne Arundel County; Hogan says his action on Baltimore City crime should not be taken as a criticism of how mayor, police are going their jobs; Montgomery County Council expected to take up issue of deportation protection of long-time residents; and U.S. Attorney General Sessions in Baltimore to address international gangs, immigration enforcement.

State Roundup, December 11, 2017

Supreme Court to hear Maryland’s gerrymandering case; state housing department plans energy efficiency upgrades to 14,000 low-income residences; Maryland lawmakers cautious, optimistic on resolution to FB headquarters stalemate; Mongtomery schools continue to seek calendar flexibility from the state; Del. Frush won’t seek re-election to co-chair panel for gubernatorial candidate Baker; six Montgomery County exec candidates appear before multi-ethnic minority forum: All are white and one causes a kerfuffle; Arundel Dems seek Council Chair Peroutka’s resignation; and Marylanders weigh in on President Trump’s Jerusalem declaration.