Rascovar: Hogan dodges Trump bullet; thoughts on fracking, Pugh

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan can thank his lucky stars the bitter and intractable Republican disputes in Washington sabotaged plans to do away with the nation’s current healthcare plan, the Affordable Care Act. Passage of the Trumpcare alternative – imposing horrific added costs on older Americans, endangering Medicare funding and removing healthcare coverage for 14 million citizens next year – would have had cataclysmic effects in Maryland and placed Hogan on an untenable political hot seat.

State Roundup, March 24, 2017

The Maryland Senate OK’s its revised version of the $43.5 billion budget; Democrats, Bay advocates blast Gov. Hogan for silence on Trump administration cuts to Bay program but Hogan staff say he supports Bay; Hogan ups funding to police, colleges but not for Baltimore City schools; Senate OKs redistricting reform that kicks in if others states do so; state may add medical marijuana growing licenses; bill to limit authorities from asking about immigrant status to go before Senate panel; state OKs Arundel hospital for first open heart surgery program; Hogan steps away from earlier criticism of Montgomery County officials over school rape as protesters rally against federal Ed Secretary DeVos; O’Malley must testify on congressional redistricting; and Venable attorney considers run for governor.

Dems blast Hogan’s silence on Bay cleanup cuts; administration fires back

Democrats in Annapolis Thursday railed against Republican Gov. Larry Hogan for not doing enough to protect the Chesapeake Bay under the Trump administration’s proposed cuts to the Bay cleanup plan and under a new EPA administrator historically hostile to environmental regulations. The administration fires back with sarcasm over partisan politics and past Democratic cuts to Bay restoration.

State Roundup, March 23, 2017

Gov. Hogan meets with Trump administration cabinet secretaries to push for health care, transportation and housing priorities; Hogan’s plan for redistricting reform falls in Senate; fracking ban continues to advance while bill to compensate landowners for loss of mineral rights dies; cash bail reform effort fails; Senate zeroes out acting Planning secretary’s salary after Hogan withdraws her nomination; Senate votes to restrict suspensions of pre-K through Grade 2 pupils; and Montgomery official blasts Hogan over claim county isn’t cooperating in rape probe.

Opinion: Baltimore’s ‘most elegant’ new community not fit for a fish

It has been his joy and anguish through the last five decades to keep track of little Dipping Pond Run, a rare and trouty tributary of Baltimore’s central drainage way, the Jones Falls, says environmental writer Tom Horton. He details the fate of brook trout and other trout that might be wiped out by development.

Opinion: Opioid epidemic requires treatment for addicts

The opioids addiction epidemic sweeping this country is staggering. It’s a travesty, and it doesn’t discriminate. It affects us all. A big part of dealing with this overwhelming issue is to support and encourage people addicted to opioids to seek professional medical help on their path to recovery.

State Roundup, March 22, 2017

Late breaking: Gov. Hogan numbers are down in new Post poll; Gov. Hogan’s independent redistricting reform bill gets booted by Dems in favor of “neighbor-dependent” bill that relies on other state’s action; Senate OKs weakened version of bail reform; Hogan attempt to limit amount of painkillers doctors can prescribe turned back; Hogan says jurisdictions should aid immigration enforcement; and Hogan, Trump administration weigh in on Rockville teen’s rape by undocumented teens.

Relief for toll road penalties put on hold, Senate chairman says

A Senate bill to address “predatory” toll penalties, technical problems with transponders and poor customer service at E-ZPass will die in the Senate Finance Committee this session, its chairman said Tuesday, along with a watered down House version that delegates supported unanimously on Monday. Instead, Senate Finance Committee Chair Thomas “Mac” Middleton said he is holding off legislation for a year to give the Maryland Transportation Authority time to improve customer service and pursue new contracts with vendors to operate Maryland’s toll system.

Opinion: It’s great to be a gangster in Maryland!

Open borders. Marijuana. Relaxed rules on bail, lifer parole, and criminal sentencing. Anti-police legislators. It’s great to be a gangster in Maryland! Aspirations to make Maryland a sanctuary for undocumented migrants are getting rave reviews from the “maras” and the transnational human trafficking cartels which smuggle men, women, and children into our state.