STATE OF THE STATE: Gov. Larry Hogan talked a lot about bipartisan cooperation in his State of the State address to the General Assembly Wednesday. Democratic legislators say it was mostly talk, reports Len Lazarick for MarylandReporter. There is little evidence of real give and take on some of the most divisive issues between the second floor of the State House where the governor and his staff have their offices, they say, and the first floor chambers where the legislators meet.
- After hearing the 22-minute-long speech to both houses of the General Assembly each gubernatorial candidate present dismissed the Republican’s calls for bipartisanship as a sham and proceeded to deconstruct the litany of accomplishments he claimed in the House of Delegates chamber, writes William Zorzi for Maryland Matters.
- Hogan’s 23-minute speech to the Democrat-dominated General Assembly called for bipartisanship and was delivered in a conciliatory tone that used the word “together” 14 times, Erin Cox of the Sun writes. He repeatedly called for Maryland leaders to transcend politics and compromise — a call made in contrast to what he described as a gridlocked and broken Washington 35 miles down the road.
- Hogan told state lawmakers, “We’ve had the fastest job growth in the mid-Atlantic region and one of the strongest economic turnarounds in America.” Bruce DePuyt of Maryland Matter writes that although he has frequently clashed with leaders in the Democratic-led General Assembly, Hogan praised Maryland for having a political culture where “the best ideas rise to the top based upon their merit, regardless of which side of the aisle they come from.”
- Ovetta Wiggins and Josh Hicks of the Post report that Hogan used his fourth State of the State address to tally his accomplishments and make his case for a second term, claiming credit for what he described as an era of prosperity and bipartisanship after taking office at a “critical turning point.”
- It was Hogan’s plea for legislation to offset higher state taxes some Marylanders face as a result of federal tax reform that caught Del. Neil Parrott’s attention, reports Tamela Baker for the Hagerstown Herald- Mail. He thought that was the most important point the governor made. “If this legislature does nothing at all, Maryland will take in over $487 million, almost a half a billion dollars,” Parrott said. “That’s unacceptable.”
- Hogan, who seeks to become just the second Republican governor to win reelection in Maryland’s history, highlighted state’s job growth and various economic rankings. He said his administration, working with the legislature, has lived up to his campaign promise of turning Maryland’s economy around, Holden Wilen writes in the Baltimore Business Journal.
- Here’s Danielle Gaines’ article on the address, for the Frederick News Post.
- Here’s Bryan Sears’ article for the Daily Record.
- Here’s Rachel Baye’s report for WYPR-FM
- Frederick County delegation members were split in their opinion of Hogan’s State of the State speech, but they did get behind his efforts to address the opioid crisis, writes Kelsi Loos in the Frederick News-Post. Hogan said the state committed half a billion dollars toward fighting the heroin and opioid epidemic with a four-pronged approach focused on education, prevention, treatment and enforcement.
- Scott Dance of the Sun pulls out some memorable lines from the State of the State and offers Democrats’ reaction.
- The editorial board for the Annapolis Capital opines that Hogan’s admirably short and to-the-point State of the State address on Wednesday, there was one theme the governor made sure no one missed, for he said it over and over beginning with, “One need only look to Washington to see the destruction that is caused when hyperpartisanship and inflammatory rhetoric permeate the debate and erode our faith in the institutions of government.”
FACT-CHECKING: Michael Dresser of the Sun writes that in his fourth State of the State speech Wednesday, Gov. Larry Hogan made some bold assertions. Some withstood scrutiny well, others less so.
HOGAN STAYS #2: Gov. Larry Hogan remains the second most popular governor in America after Gov. Charlie Baker in Massachusetts, according to the latest ranking by Morning Consult polling based on surveys with 253,393 registered voters nationwide conducted online from Oct. 1 through Dec. 31. Hogan had 66% approval, 18% disapproval and 17% had no opinion or didn’t know. The least popular governor in America’s continues to be Chris Christie in New Jersey where only 19% approve of the job he’s done and 76% disapprove.
RAPISTs’ PARENTAL RIGHTS BILL HEADS TO HOGAN’s DESK: Legislation to enable courts to strip parental rights from a mother or father who conceived the child through non-consensual intercourse will head to the governor for his signature, Steve Lash reports for the Daily Record. The House of Delegates passed the legislation Wednesday, a day after the Senate gave its approval to the measure.
INSURANCE RATE-SETTING: State legislators will seek a deeper understanding of what goes into the insurance rate-setting process as the legislature this year tackles high health insurance premiums on the individual market, Tim Curtis reports for the Daily Record. Bills heard in the House Health and Government Operations Committee and Senate Finance Committee Wednesday would change what factors the Maryland Insurance Commissioner must look at when considering rates.
WOMEN’s HYGIENE PRODUCTS: A bill introduced to the General Assembly this week would help incarcerated women access more and higher-quality menstrual hygiene products, the lack of which advocates say is a frequent problem in Maryland prisons. Senate Bill 598 would require Maryland prisons and jails to provide quality sanitary pads and tampons to female inmates on demand and without cost, reports Cameron Dodd for the Frederick News-Post.
KUSHNER ACT: Ovetta Wiggins of the Post writes about the proposed Jared Kushner Act, a bill that is intended to stop judges from ordering the arrest of tenants who owe their landlords up to $5,000 in unpaid rent. “It’s like being jailed because you’re poor,” said Del. Bilal Ali (D-Baltimore City), the bill’s sponsor.
PARKS FOR GARRETT: Gov. Larry Hogan has requested more than $8 million in his proposed 2018-19 budget for municipal and state park improvement projects in Garrett County, according to Sen. George Edwards. Renee Shreve of the Garrett County Republican writes.
MO CO CANDIDATES LIST: Here’s the updated list of candidates running for local, state and federal offices in Montgomery County Montgomery County, courtesy of Maryland Reporter.
DELANEY CAMPAIGN SPOT: In his political notes column, Josh Kurtz of Maryland Matters writes that the first ad of the 2020 presidential election cycle is courtesy of Rep. John K. Delaney (D). The 30-second spot jokingly warns that Delaney is using a dirty word as he campaigns throughout the Hawkeye State: Bipartisanship. It then shows clips of him uttering the offending word a few different times on the campaign trail.
CARSON WARNED ON CONFLICT: Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson, a former Johns Hopkins surgeon, allowed his son to help organize an event in Baltimore last year even though department lawyers warned that it created the appearance of a conflict of interest, reports John Fritze in the Sun.
- The Post broke the story: Career officials and political appointees raised concerns days before the visit that Carson’s son, local businessman Ben Carson Jr., and daughter-in-law were inviting people with whom they potentially had business dealings, Juliet Eilperin and Jack Gillum report.