State Roundup, September 14, 2017

U.S. Supreme Court won’t expedite Maryland Republicans’ suit claiming gerrymandering of 6th Congressional District; coalition to push for 50% renewable portfolio by 2030, with Del. Frick set to introduce measure; State Elections Board says there is no evidence of election tampering, but electronic balloting could be more secure; Washington County Republicans give Gov. Hogan, President Trump high marks; longtime Democratic operative Lierman joins Rep. Delaney’s campaign for president; College Park Council OKs voting for non-citizens; and Francis Scott Key monument is vandalized but city mayor says it will be cleaned, not removed.

Maryland State Board of Elections

Legislators consider improving Md. election security after hearing with state elections board

Legislators learned last week that Maryland’s electronic balloting system may need better security measures to protect voters’ information and that the lawmakers must be the ones to add those protections. The State Board of Elections told lawmakers Sept. 6 that they are powerless to make those changes, and that any security changes must directly come from the legislature.

State Roundup, September 13, 2017

Gov. Hogan has directed Attorney General Frosh to sue the Federal Aviation Administration over new flight patterns at BWI that have caused harsh noise complaints from residents; lawmakers hear from Baltimore city officials on soaring gun-related murder rate as they seek ways to reduce violence; Baltimore city also targets police recruitment, retainment; judge orders Chevy Chase to pay Purple Line advocacy group’s attorney fees in its public records search; when it comes to dealing with the District of Columbia, Maryland’s Republican Rep. Andy Harris has taken the lead; and Prince George’s board suggests ending generous travel allowance, vehicle usage for some officials.

State Roundup, September 12, 2017

Gov. Hogan reverses course on Metro funding, offers $500 million over four years if Virginia, D.C., feds do the same; Attorney Gen. Frosh joins three states in suing the Trump admin over ending DACA; Ocean City businesses concerned that they’ll lose summers workers if Trump administration cancels visa program; proposed funding bill for the EPA strips agency of enforcement power over Chesapeake Bay cleanup; Senate panel to hold marathon hearing today in Annapolis on Baltimore gun violence; Baltimore Council OKs weakened gun bill; state Sen. Conway says this will be her last campaign; and UB President Schmoke invites Ed Secty DeVos to speak, students protest.

Ocean City businesses fear losing 4,000 seasonal workers if J-1 visa program is cut

As the summer tourism season comes to a close in Ocean City, Maryland, many businesses fear they may soon lose much of their seasonal workforce if the Trump administration cancels the J-1 visa program. The White House may be considering reducing the J-1 visa exchange visitor program, which brings in more than 100,000 students from foreign countries to the U.S. each summer, often to work in tourist destinations like Ocean City

State Roundup, September 11, 2017

While Maryland has prepared for weather-related disasters, state officials still say massive storms live Irma could overwhelm emergency services; meanwhile, Maryland first-responders heed the call of FEMA; federal judge temporarily delays decision on stopping tree cutting along trail along Purple Line route; the road to getting the Purple Line has been anything but straight; activist DeMarco to return to Annapolis eyeing expansion of state’s Renewable Portfolio Standard; U.S. Sen. Cardin says he’s optimistic about a possible bipartisan health care bill; and, among a wide and talented field, former Gov. O’Malley, others not ready to back candidate for governor to challenge incumbent Hogan.

Gavel by FaderUri

Rascovar: The truth about truth in sentencing

Gov. Larry Hogan can’t make up his mind. Last year he was a gung-ho advocate of “soft-on-criminals” reforms aimed at cutting Maryland’s prison population by 1,000 and putting more resources into helping low-level offenders avoid a life of crime. This time, though, Hogan is sporting his “tough on criminals” campaign button, calling for “truth-in-sentencing” as part of a crime-fighting package he’ll introduce in the next legislative session. 

State Roundup, September 8, 2017

Gov. Hogan dedicates ICC to Gov. Bob Ehrlich; criticizes Congress over failure to reform U.S. immigration policy; dreamers from around Maryland begin mobilizing to resist, fight DACA repeal; Hogan defends rapid start to Purple Line construction; Pennsylvania lags in efforts to clean up Chesapeake Bay; state’s interim insurance chief is upbeat on Health Exchange despite major setback on the national scene; Maryland State Fair officials say post-Labor Day school start boosted attendance; and Del. Mary Washington to challenge Joan Carter Conway for Senate seat.

Report highlights farm manure pollution flowing into Bay from 4 Pa. counties

With Pennsylvania lagging badly in helping to clean up the Chesapeake Bay, a new report by an environmental group highlights the role that intensive livestock farming plays in the state’s shortcoming. Four south-central Pennsylvania counties where animal manure is heavily used to fertilize crops “contribute disproportionately” to the nitrogen and phosphorus pollution fouling local waterways and the Chesapeake Bay, according to the report by the Environmental Integrity Project.

State Roundup, September 7, 2017

Board of Public Works cuts about $61 million from budget including to the Department of Health and college system; Treasurer Kopp takes BPW time to criticize Trump administration action against dreamers and state universities say they’ll do all they can to protect these students; state brewers panel bandy about idea of beer sales in grocery stores; Anne Arundel County says it will sue over-prescribing doctors, drug manufacturers in fight to curb opioid abuse; judge expected to make decision on latest Purple Line suit by Friday; Gov. Hogan urges Marylanders to ready for Irma; Hogan to name ICC after former Gov. Ehrlich; and Del. Sanchez to run for state Senate.