State Roundup, September 27, 2016

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NEW FRACKING RULES: Maryland environmental officials proposed new regulations Monday to govern the controversial gas-extraction method known as fracking, saying they expect to finalize the rules by the end of the year, writes Josh Hicks of the Post. State Environment Secretary Ben H. Grumbles called the guidelines “the most stringent and protective regulations in the country” for the drilling technique, technically called hydraulic fracturing.

LOWER SAT SCORES: Maryland’s graduating seniors scored lower as a group on the SAT than any class in the past 20 years and also scored below the national average, according to results being released Tuesday. But a top state education official downplayed the significance of the decline, Liz Bowie and Pamela Wood of the Sun report.

POLL ON HOGAN & FRACKING: Josh Hicks of the Post reports on the latest Goucher poll, writing that a majority of Marylanders support Gov. Larry Hogan’s executive order mandating a post-Labor Day start for public schools, according to a new statewide poll, but state residents are divided over the gas-extraction method known as fracking.

MO CO RAPE REPORTS: Andrew Metcalf of Bethesda Beat reports that several Montgomery County state delegates say they’re concerned about what they say is a lack of transparency from county police regarding reported rape cases classified as “unfounded” in the wake of an investigative report by BuzzFeed News. Montgomery County police officials disputed the accuracy of statistics in the BuzzFeed report and said they plan to meet with some delegates Oct. 3.

UMB, HEBREW  U. STRENGTHEN TIES: Gov. Larry Hogan, during a weeklong trade mission to Israel, says the University of Maryland, Baltimore is expanding ties with the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, according to an AP story in the Daily Record. Hogan said the “agreement will further strengthen the successful partnership between these world-class universities and help to advance research in Maryland, particularly in the study of military medicine.”

SPEAR HUNTING REGS: The Maryland Department of Natural Resources is proposing rules aimed at banning spear-hunting for big game, the AP is reporting in the Daily Record. The agency says in a statement it’s accepting public comments through Oct. 17 on a proposal to add regulatory language stating that only the weapons listed in the regulations may be used for deer and black bear hunting. Those weapons are bows and firearms, including a powerful new type of air gun that shoots full-sized arrows.

URGING WOMEN TO RUN: Erin Cox of the Sun reports that Maryland’s female politicians were shattering glass ceilings decades ago, putting the state in the vanguard of electing women to federal office. But now, as Hillary Clinton makes history as a major party’s first female presidential candidate, progress has stalled in a place that once led the way in political gender equality, and it appears to be falling behind. This year, the retirement of U.S. Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski has raised the prospect of Maryland sending an all-male delegation to Congress for the first time in 45 years. Connie Morella tops the story with a video on getting women to run.

MCDONOUGH, RUPPERSBERGER DEBATE DEBATES: WBAL-AM is reporting that state Del. Pat McDonough and U.S. Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger are sparring over a debate schedule. McDonough, who hopes to unseat Ruppersberger, is claiming that he can’t pin his opponent down on a schedule. Ruppersberger says they have been scheduled.

CLINTON V. TRUMP: In two articles, one after the other,’s Len Lazarick and Richard Vatz assess last night’s debate between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, who are running for president. Clinton’s cool demeanor seems to have helped her win the day, if only by a slight margin.

TU HIRES ULMAN FIRM: Towson University is hiring former Howard County Executive Ken Ulman to develop a strategy to strengthen ties between the university and the surrounding community and businesses, Daniel Leaderman of the Daily Record reports. Ulman’s Margrave Strategies consulting firm has spent the better part of two years working with the University of Maryland, College Park both to attract and retain tech companies and develop an innovation “ecosystem” around the campus.

SCHUH TAKES TRANSGENDER STANCE TO PUBLIC: Megan Brockett of the Annapolis Capital reports that County Executive Steve Schuh is urging residents to contact the school board about the guidelines distributed to principals and senior staff last month for supporting transgender students. The guidelines, which Schuh asked the Anne Arundel Board of Education to rescind late last month, state students should be allowed to use the bathrooms and locker rooms of their gender identity, among other policy suggestions.

NEW AMBASSADOR TO MICRONESIA: Pat Furgurson of the Annapolis Capital writes that when Robert Riley graduated from Key School in 1973 he had no idea he would end up as a career foreign service officer. Last month, he was named U.S. ambassador to the Pacific island nation of Micronesia, islands previously known as the Caroline Islands, north of New Guinea and southeast of the Philippines. All the islands together make up a land mass equal to four times the size of Washington, D.C.