State Roundup, October 9, 2017

BODY CAM ‘PRIVACY’ SOUGHT: Baltimore County’s top prosecutor and two members of the County Council want state lawmakers to consider tightening rules that govern public access to police body camera footage. They say they’re concerned about the potential for invasions of privacy, reports Alison Knezevich for the Sun. A resolution before the County Council would urge the General Assembly to consider statewide legislation that would “carefully regulate” when the public can view such footage, “without trampling upon the overarching goal of transparency” in police-community relations.

SCHOOLS ADDRESS UNCIVIL DISCOURSE: Liz Bowie of the Sun looks at schools around Maryland that are seeking ways to address racial prejudice and the uncivil discourse that seems to be permeating the country, such as administrators in Howard County and Baltimore County are training teachers in how to guide sensitive conversations in their classrooms without students attacking one another.

HOGAN CALLS ON METRO CHAIR TO RESIGN: Robert McCartney of the Post reports that the Metro board came under assault from two sides as Gov. Larry Hogan (R) called on board Chairman Jack Evans to resign on Friday, a day after former U.S. transportation Secretary Ray LaHood urged replacing the 16-member body because of a need for “new blood, new thinking.” Hogan and Evans have been at odds for more than a year over both policy disputes and Evans’s outspoken rhetoric, which Hogan’s spokeswoman labeled “juvenile outbursts.”

ROCKY GAP TAKE UP 6%: Rocky Gap Casino Resort generated $4.7 million from its slot machines and table games in September, a 6.1% increase when compared to the same month last year, according to numbers released by the Maryland Lottery and Gaming Control Agency. The Cumberland Times News reports that combined, the state’s six casinos made nearly $135 million for the month, an increase of $37.4 million compared to September 2016.

SUE THE FAA: The editorial board for the Howard County Times opines that it has reached the point that a lawsuit is needed: Sustained indifference by the Federal Aviation Administration to months of complaints about noise from takeoffs and landings at Baltimore-Washington International Airport has pushed more elected leaders to call for a lawsuit to force changes to flight patterns. Howard’s county executive last month joined his counterpart in Anne Arundel County and the governor in asking Maryland’s attorney general to sue the FAA, noting that some airport neighbors are living with “an unprecedented level of noise that has been life-changing.”

SCHRADER APPEALS CONTEMPT CLAIM: Acting Health Secretary Dennis R. Schrader and five other department officials will appeal a Baltimore judge’s decision to hold them in civil contempt of court over the state’s failure to provide enough psychiatric hospital beds for committed defendants, writes Michael Dress for the Sun.

VIGNARAJAH SEEKS COURT RULING TO RUN: Krish Vignarajah, a Democratic candidate for Maryland governor, asked a court Friday to affirm her eligibility to run for the office amid questions whether she meets residency requirements. Vignarajah, a former policy director for first lady Michelle Obama, filed a motion for declaratory judgment in Anne Arundel County Circuit Court, Michael Dresser of the Sun reports.

STARTING AT THE TOP: Political pundit Barry Rascovar weighs in on Krish Vignarajah’s candidacy and suit, writing in his blog that there’s nothing like starting your political career at the top. No need serving an apprenticeship in a low-level elective office or working your way up in a methodical manner to gain essential expertise and experience. Exhibit A is Krishanti Vignarajah, a Sri Lankan by birth who held jobs in the State Department and the first lady’s office during the Obama administration.

DEL. GUTIERREZ RUNS FOR MO CO COUNCIL: Fifteen years after being elected the first Latina to the Maryland General Assembly, Del. Ana Sol Gutiérrez, D-Montgomery, considered her choices: run for reelection or “see what other options were available.” Gutiérrez, 75, chose Option B, and she is joining the crowded race for the District 1 seat on the Montgomery County Council, Rachel Siegel reports in the Post, following earlier stories.

GOVERNOR CANDIDATE ON ICE: Global tech guru Alec Ross, a candidate for governor of Maryland, says that, if elected, he will have the State Police arrest any agent of Immigration and Customs Enforcement who violates the rights of the “citizens and guests” of the state of Maryland. That position is provocative but problematic, as Dan Rodricks explains in this Roughly Speaking podscast.

FADER NAMED TO COURT: Gov. Larry Hogan said Friday he has named an assistant attorney general to the state’s second-highest court. The governor announced that he nominated Matthew J. Fader, who has worked in the Attorney General’s Office since 2010, to the Court of Special Appeals, Michael Dresser writes in the Sun.

OBAMA JOINS MO CO CLUB: Former President Barack Obama has accepted an invitation to join Columbia Country Club in Chevy Chase, according to a letter sent this week to golf club members, Andrew Metcalf reports in Bethesda Beat.The letter, which was obtained by Bethesda Beat, said the club’s Board of Governors voted to extend an “Honorary Membership” to Obama.

EHRLICH SPEAKS: Former Gov. Bob Ehrlich spoke with A Miner Detail Radio host Ryan Miner about some of his legislative battles as governor, and about his relationship with Senate President Mike Miller and House Speaker Michael Busch.

HO CO WORKS OUT SCHOOL CALENDAR: Spring break in the Howard County Public School System for the 2018-2019 school year would be determined by the number of used inclement weather days, according to the Academic Calendar Planning Committee’s two calendar proposals, which also close schools for students on two Jewish holidays and open school on President’s Day, Feb. 18, to accommodate the state mandate, Andrew Michaels of the Howard County Times reports.

POLICE PROBE COUNCILMAN’s CLAIM: Bladensburg police are looking into a claim by a town council member that a group of men tried to set him on fire while he and a friend were collecting campaign signs after an unsuccessful mayoral race, Scott Broom of WUSA-TV is reporting.

PETROUKA’s GROUP SEEKS TO RECLAIM NONPROFIT STATUS: The Institute on the Constitution has changed language on its website reflecting its lost nonprofit status and plans to file for reinstatement with the Internal Revenue Service after failing to provide yearly financial information, writes Chase Cook in the Annapolis Capital. In a statement emailed Friday to The Capital, Executive Director Jake MacAulay said the institute would submit reinstatement papers to the IRS no later than Tuesday.

HAGERSTOWN AIRPORT GETS FEDERAL FUNDS: A federal grant recently awarded to the Hagerstown Regional Airport will be used to purchase a new rotary plow. U.S. Sens. Ben Cardin and Chris Van Hollen recently announced the $875,000 from the Department of Transportation. The new equipment will be used to clear the airfield and keep the airport open in adverse weather conditions, Tamela Baker writes in the Hagerstown Herald Mail.

About The Author

Cynthia Prairie

Contributing Editor Cynthia Prairie has been a newspaper editor since 1979, when she began working at The Raleigh Times. Since then, she has worked for The Baltimore News American, The Chicago Sun-Times, The Prince George’s Journal and Baltimore County newspapers in the Patuxent Publishing chain, including overseeing The Jeffersonian when it was a two-day a week business publication. Cynthia has won numerous state awards, including the Maryland State Bar Association’s Gavel Award. Besides compiling and editing the daily State Roundup, she runs her own online newspaper, The Chester Telegraph. If you have additional questions or comments contact Cynthia at:

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