State Roundup, October 25, 2017

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FENTANYL DEATHS SPIKE UP: Maryland saw a sharp spike in fentanyl-related deaths in the first half of this year, with fatalities from heroin and prescription opioids appearing to level off after years of steady increases, Mary Hui reports for the Post. The state’s Department of Health reported Tuesday that fentanyl-related deaths leapt to 799 between January and June of this year, compared to 469 such deaths over the same period in 2016.

MORE RX POT LICENSES AWARDED: Two companies under investigation by state cannabis regulators have been issued licenses after those reviews were dropped, reports Bryan Sears for the Daily Record. The Maryland Medical Cannabis Commission approved growing and processing licenses for Doctor’s Orders Maryland of Dorchester County and a processor license for Temescal Wellness of Baltimore Monday after announcing it was ending separate investigations into potential conflicts.

  • When medical marijuana becomes available in Maryland in the coming weeks, patients may only find one place ready to dispense the drug on the Eastern Shore. Peninsula Alternative Health won approval Monday from the state’s Medical Cannabis Commission to make marijuana available to patients. The Salisbury business is the first dispensary to receive a license in the nine-county region, Jeremy Cox of the Salisbury Daily Times reports.

RX POT PROTEST: Pikesville residents gathered Tuesday in a Towson hearing room, waiting patiently on benches to voice their fears about and opposition to a proposed medical cannabis dispensary run by Temescal Wellness in their community, reports Pamela Wood in the Sun. The dispensary might be a magnet for crime, they told a zoning appeals board Tuesday. There could be unsavory people loitering around the business. Traffic could get worse. It could be converted to selling recreational marijuana, if that’s ever legalized, they said.

HOGAN DIRECTS FROSH ON CROSS RULING: Gov. Larry Hogan directed Maryland’s attorney general Tuesday to weigh into a federal court case questioning whether a cross-shaped war memorial in Prince George’s County is an unconstitutional endorsement of Christianity, writes John Fritze for the Sun.

CHARLES CO. BIDS FOR AMAZON HQ2: Charles County threw its hat into the ring last week to become the site of Amazon’s new corporate headquarters, Paul Lagasse writes for the Charles County Independent. Most of the details of the county’s bid are under wraps, but one thing that is known is that the proposed location for the online retail giant’s second headquarters, dubbed “Amazon HQ2,” is a 435-acre parcel located east of U.S. 301 in White Plains.

FROSH PUSHES BACK ON CLINTON EMAIL PROBE: Chase Cook of the Annapolis Capital writes that Maryland Attorney General’s Office lawyers filed a petition Monday asking the Court of Appeals to stay and review a Circuit Court judge’s order to investigate lawyers accused of deleting large batches of Hillary Clinton’s emails. The petition asks the a court to review the case because of new rule changes to the Maryland Attorney Grievance Commission’s authority to decline attorney complaints for new reasons.

MARYLAND AT CENTER OF TRANSGENDER ISSUE: As legislative and court battles rage over the question of whether transgender people are fit to serve in the military, two service members with ties to Maryland are at the heart of the fight, Helen Marshall of Capital News Service reports. Regan Kibby, a student at the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis, and Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Brock Stone, stationed at the U.S. Army’s Fort George G. Meade in Maryland, are plaintiffs in two of the cases working their way through federal court.

HOGAN TOUTS RECORD: Gov. Larry Hogan detailed his economic and transportation record to a roomful of Montgomery County government officials and business people Tuesday, saying that during his time as governor, the General Assembly has not created any new taxes. He said he cut roadway tolls for the first time in 50 years and more than 100,000 jobs were created during his first term, reports Andrew Metcalf in Bethesda Beat.

HOGAN EFFECT BEATS TRUMP EFFECT? Throughout the country next year, Democrats running for Congress will try to tie every Republican they can find to President Trump. But Republicans in Maryland’s 6th District believe they have a not-so-secret coat of armor to protect them from those attacks: Gov. Larry Hogan (R), who has repeatedly distanced himself from the president and maintains high approval ratings across party lines, Jenna Portnoy of the Post reports.

 

Amie Hoeber

HOEBER JUMPS IN CONGRESS RACE: A familiar face is back in the race to represent Maryland’s 6th District in Congress. Amie Hoeber, of Potomac, formally announced her campaign for the Republican nomination on Tuesday. Hoeber challenged incumbent Rep. John Delaney (D) for the seat in 2016, garnering 40% of the general election vote as a first-time candidate, Danielle Gaines of the Frederick News Post reports.

FREDERICK LEGISLATIVE AGENDA: Loosening a liquor law and finding wiggle room for school construction funding are two of the Frederick County Council’s priorities for the 2018 legislative session. The council voted in favor of four legislative priorities at a workshop on Tuesday evening. A final legislative package will be drafted by County Executive Jan Gardner (D) and presented to the county’s General Assembly delegation next month, Danielle Gaines writes for the Frederick News Post.

MO CO LIQUOR BOARD REBOOTS: Less than four months after putting in place a new pricing model, Montgomery County’s Department of Liquor Control is redoing its prices again in response to a warning from the state comptroller’s office, writes Andrew Metcalf for Bethesda Beat.

SCHOOL SUSPENSIONS HIT BLACK STUDENTS: Baltimore County students who are poor, African-American or disabled are far more likely to be get kicked out of school. That’s according to a new report on behavior and discipline presented last night to the Baltimore County school board, reports John Lee for WYPR-FM. African-American students make up less than 40% of Baltimore County’s student population, but last year they got handed 66% of the suspensions. It was the same story for special education students.

B’MORE NAACP CHIEF QUITS: Tessa Hill-Aston, president of the Baltimore branch of the NAACP for the last seven years, said she resigned from the organization Monday. In an interview Tuesday, Hill-Aston, 68, cited completing key goals, such as hosting the national NAACP convention this past summer, as contributing to her decision. But she also said internal strife at the civil rights organization wore on her, Luke Broadwater reports for the Sun.

BLOGGER FILES ETHICS COMPLAINT: A political blogger has filed ethics complaints against Washington County Administrator Rob Slocum and Commissioners President Terry Baker related to investigative findings about a sexual-harassment complaint against Commissioner LeRoy Myers, Julie Greene of the Hagerstown Herald- Mail reports.