State Roundup, August 24. 2017

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MARYLAND, OTHERS TARGET EMISSIONS: Maryland and eight other states plan to further tighten air pollution limits aimed at reducing global climate change. The states are part of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, which caps carbon dioxide pollution in the Northeast. The states announced that they plan to reduce the carbon pollution cap by 30% between 2020 and 2030. Gov. Larry Hogan said the move is an important step in fighting climate change, reports Pamela Wood for the Sun.

DEMS KICK UP DUST: On Wednesday, Gov. Larry Hogan’s announcement that Maryland and the eight other Northeastern states had agreed to new carbon pollution cuts immediately won plaudits from environmental groups, natural allies of the Maryland Democrats who will be working to deny Hogan a second term next year. As for the Democrats? They appear headed for a civil war over the removal of the Roger B. Taney Statue from the State House grounds in Annapolis, Josh Kurtz writes in Maryland Matters.

FEDS CUT BAY JOURNAL FUNDS: Scott Dance of the Sun reports that the Trump administration has cut a grant funding the Chesapeake Bay Journal, threatening the future of the publication that covers environmental issues across the estuary’s watershed. Staff said the publication was expecting to receive $325,000 from the EPA come Feb. 1, and slightly less than that each year through 2021. The grant makes up about a third of the Bay Journal’s budget, they said.

DREDGING THE CONOWINGO: In this 27-minute podcast on WYPR-FM, Sheilah Kast speaks with Secretary of the Environment Ben Grumbles, who explains how the state plans to work with Chesapeake watershed partners –and Exelon, which operates the Conowingo Dam, to pay for the project, while finding new uses for the sediment. Millions of tons of sediment are trapped behind the dam. It can’t hold more, so Gov. Hogan has called for a test of dredging some of the sediment.

STATEWIDE PARCC SCORES: New test results show kids in Maryland are falling behind in their preparation for college and careers, reports Mallory Sofastaii for WMAR-TV. That’s according to the 2017 PARCC or Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Career test results released on Tuesday. The test is meant to be a measurement of how prepared students are for their step after high school.

MO CO PARCC SCORES: State assessment results known as PARCC released this week were a mixed bag for Montgomery County: Local students outperformed their peers, but only a minority earned passing grades on some math and English tests, Bethany Rodgers of Bethesda Beat reports. Educators predicted that students would struggle as they adjusted to a more rigorous testing framework, and the newly released data show many are continuing to fall short of passing scores on the assessments.

LOW PARCC SCORES NOT A FAILURE: The editorial board for the Sun addresses the low statewide PARCC scores, opining that while no one would consider the results of the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers tests a success, they also should not be considered an abject failure — either on the part of the students and teachers themselves, or of the still new measurement tool for that matter. the fact that the scores reflect quite the spacious room for improvement tends to support the mission of PARCC: It is a harder test than what it replaced, the Maryland School Assessments — and it needs to be.

NEW SCHOOL OPENS IN CITY: The first building rebuilt under a $1 billion initiative to replace Baltimore’s aging schools was unveiled Wednesday by local and state officials eager to tout their delivery on promises to modernize the city’s education infrastructure, Talia Richman of the Sun reports. The ribbon-cutting ceremony at the newly constructed Fort Worthington Elementary/Middle School in East Baltimore was attended by city schools CEO Sonja Santelises, Mayor Catherine Pugh, Lt. Gov. Boyd Rutherford and dozens of other community members and leaders.

UTILIZING THE ‘TEXTALYZER:’ The editorial board of the Frederick News-Post is encouraging state lawmakers to have a close look at allowing police to use a device known as a textalyzer, which would allow an officer to quickly check if a driver’s cellphone had been in use before a car crash. At first blush, the idea smacks a bit of Big Brother looking over your shoulder. But the raging epidemic of distracted driving — which is costing too many lives and millions of dollars — means it may be worth trying.

BUSCH SAYS RECOVERY ALMOST COMPLETE: Nearly three months after he underwent a liver transplant, Maryland House Speaker Michael E. Busch says he’s almost made a full recovery — and he’s considering legislation that could make transplants like the one he received more accessible to residents of the state, reports Amanda Yeager for the Annapolis Capital.

MUSE WANTS MILLER CENSURED: Sen. Anthony Muse, an African American from Prince George’s County who is running for county exec, wants to censure Senate President Mike Miller for his defense of Supreme Court Chief Justice Roger B. Taney, author of the infamous Dred Scott decision, whose statue was removed from the State House grounds last week, Ovetta Wiggins is reporting for the Post.

ALT-MYERS TO RUN FOR DELEGATE: Nicole Alt-Myers – a former Cumberland City councilwoman and wife of Washington County Commissioner Leroy Myers – is the first Republican of the 2018 cycle to file for District 1C, blogs Ryan Miner in A Miner Detail blog. The district is currently represented by Republican Del. Mike McKay who will run for Register of Wills in Allegany County.

MO CO CANDIDATE LIST: Here’s MarylandReporter’s updated list of candidates for local, state and federal postitions. This week we added the courthouse offices, candidates for comptroller and U.S. Senate, and fixed a few errors and omissions.