ANTI-OPIOID INITIATIVES: Gov. Larry Hogan and Lt. Gov. Boyd Rutherford Tuesday unveiled their “2018 Anti-Opioid Initiatives” in Maryland’s campaign against a staggering opioid crisis that shows no signs of slowing, Jo Martin and Len Lazarick report in MarylandReporter. The announcement from the Republican governor immediately produced another tiff with Democratic Attorney General Brian Frosh. Still there was broad bipartisan cooperation in evidence in Annapolis.
- Gov. Larry Hogan authorized Maryland Attorney General Brian E. Frosh to sue opioid manufacturers and distributors as part of several anti-opioid initiatives announced Tuesday, writes Tim Curtis in the Daily Record. But Frosh bristled at the idea that Hogan directed him to do anything, saying he had already requested authorization for the lawsuit.
- The Hogan administration is considering turning part of the closed Baltimore City Detention Center into a mental health and substance abuse treatment center for inmates as part of its efforts to combat the state’s opioid addiction epidemic, Andrea McDaniels of the Sun reports.
- Hogan’s office is also proposing legislation that would increase penalties for those trafficking high volumes of fentanyl — the leading cause of unintentional overdoses — and a bill allowing first responders to share overdose data, as they do in the majority of states, Fenit Nirappil of the Post reports.
- Chase Cook of the Annapolis Capital is reporting that Arundel County Executive Steve Schuh wants the General Assembly to make it easier for law enforcement to pursue and punish doctors who overprescribe opioid medication. His comments came after Tuesday’s opioid roundtable in Annapolis, where Anne Arundel County and state officials discussed the impact of the opioid crisis as well as potential solutions.
BILL TO END RAPISTS’ PARENTAL RIGHTS: A bill that would allow women in Maryland who get pregnant as a result of rape to terminate the parental rights of their assailants passed a key Senate committee Tuesday. Ovetta Wiggins of the Post reports that the measure has been introduced each year for the last decade but has foundered each time amid questions about terminating the rights of men who have not been convicted of a crime and other issues.
GUN CONTROL ADVOCATES RALLY: Gun control advocates rallied Tuesday to tighten laws preventing domestic abusers from having access to firearms, reports Kelsi Loos for the Frederick News Post. Roughly 150 Moms Demand Action supporters called for a bill that would require courts to notify people convicted of domestic violence that they are legally prohibited from possessing guns and order them to surrender their weapons. They would be able to sell them to a licensed dealer or turn them in to police under the group’s proposal.
DELAY SOUGHT FOR SICK LEAVE BILL: One of the sponsors of the new paid sick leave law is now looking to give businesses a little more time to implement it, reports Tamela Baker for the Hagerstown Herald-Mail. Sen. “Mac” Middleton, D-Charles and chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, has sponsored an emergency bill that would delay enforcement for 60 days after Feb. 11, when the law becomes effective.
- The administration yesterday issued a statement urging lawmakers to endorse Hogan’s “Paid Leave Compromise Act of 2018” and “Small Business Relief Tax Credit,” instead of voting for the Middleton bill, and “work with Gov. Hogan to extend common-sense, balanced, paid sick leave to Marylanders,” William Zorzi writes for Maryland Matters.
CORPORATE WELFARE, BUSINESS AS USUAL: Time has a way of shrinking past concerns. Only 13 months ago, the editorial board of the Annapolis Capital wrote about Gov. Larry Hogan’s plans to offer Northrop Grumman Corp. $20 million from Maryland’s Sunny Day Fund. We thought the decision was blatant “corporate welfare,” but could be defended as a way to keep one of the state’s biggest employers securely in place. Now, that seems like a dainty hor d’oeuvres plate next to the five-course banquet Hogan is ready to serve up if he gets Amazon’s second headquarters to locate in Montgomery County.
- The incentive package that Gov. Hogan wants to offer Amazon faces numerous pockets of resistance from the General Assembly besides those who believe this is just another example of corporate welfare, writes Bruce DePuyt for Maryland Matters. Lawmakers from jurisdictions outside Montgomery County said even a fraction of that money would make a big difference in the districts they represent.
LEGGETT ENDORSES BAKER: Bruce DePuyt of Maryland Matters writes that Rushern L. Baker declared on Tuesday that the endorsement from a longtime mentor — fellow county executive and former law school professor Ike Leggett — represented a singularly valuable stamp of approval as he seeks the Democratic nomination for governor. “There’s not a better endorsement,” Baker says.
LEGGETT WON’T DISS HOGAN: Montgomery County Executive Ike Leggett said Tuesday after formally endorsing fellow Democrat Rushern Baker for governor that he won’t speak negatively about incumbent Republican Gov. Larry Hogan, Andrew Metcalf of Bethesda Beat reports. Hogan and Leggett are beginning sensitive negotiations with Amazon to try to bring the company’s second headquarters to Montgomery County—the only site in Maryland to make the company’s shortlist of 20 possible locations.
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END TO TPS GOOD FOR MARYLAND: Maryland has seen vast economic improvement during the governorship of Larry Hogan. Still, the effects of Temporary Protected Status and other congressional programs which confer work permits upon border violators may be seen here, writes Richard Douglas in an op-ed in MarylandReporter. Most obvious are the all-foreign (or nearly so) labor forces that Maryland companies employ to construct buildings, highways, and utilities, or provide other services. These are visible indicators of how Congress’s largess with work permits for border violators displaces Americans and lawful permanent resident aliens.
POLICING PROBLEMS PART 3: In Part 3 of the CNS series on the broken policing in Baltimore City, the Civil Review Board, which has been around since 1999, was relatively unknown until recently, and for good reason. It had only one full-time investigator, a meager budget and the power only to recommend discipline against police officers. Now, reports J.F. Meils in the article in MarylandReporter, it has a second investigator and a strong leader. What has not changed yet is its lack of authority to hold Baltimore police officers accountable.
CONSENT DECREE OFFICERS RESIGN: The two highest-ranking Baltimore police officials in charge of instituting reforms, overhauling policies and ensuring compliance with the city’s consent decree with the U.S. Department of Justice have both resigned following Mayor Catherine Pugh’s firing of Police Commissioner Kevin Davis last week, Kevin Rector reports for the Sun.
TARIFFS COULD HARM SOLAR INDUSTRY: President Donald Trump’s imposition of tariffs on imported solar cells could dampen Maryland’s burgeoning solar industry, officials say. Tim Curtis of the Daily Record writes that the United States will levy 30% tariffs on solar modules and cells greater than 2.5 gigawatts produced imported. The tariff will decrease by 5 percentage points each following year over a four-year period.
DALLAS DANCE INDICTED: Former Baltimore County school superintendent Dallas Dance was indicted Tuesday on four counts of perjury for failing to disclose nearly $147,000 in pay he received for private consulting with several companies and school districts beginning in 2012, Liz Bowie and Doug Donovan report in the Sun.
- Here’s Doug Donovan’s breakdown of what Dance failed to report.
- Heather Cobun of the Daily Record reports that the indictment alleges that between July and December 2012, Dance negotiated and signed a no-bid contract between the school system and SUPES Academy LLC while also working for SUPES and a related company.