BREAD & ROSES ON THE BALLOT? Since the turn of the century, Maryland has had — with the exception of a few years — four political parties whose candidates automatically appear on the general election ballot: the Democrats, Republicans, Libertarians and Greens. A fifth could be coming soon, Luke Broadwater of the Sun report. The Bread and Roses Party, a self-identified socialist group, is 227 certified signatures away from the 10,000 it needs to get onto the ballot in Maryland. Last week , the man behind the party filed a lawsuit in federal court asking a judge to order the board to re-evaluate its rejection of his new-party petition and place his name on the ballot.
PATAPSCO DAM DEMOLITION BEGINS: The demolition of Bloede Dam finally got under way Tuesday, as explosives blew a hole in the long-dormant hydroelectric facility blocking the Patapsco River west of Baltimore, the Bay Journal’s Timothy Wheeler reports in MarylandReporter. Kiewit, the Nebraska-based contractor handling the removal of the state-owned dam, had been waiting for the river’s rain-swollen flow to subside before triggering the blast to make it easier for heavy equipment to work in the channel. But Hurricane Florence’s imminent East Coast landfall prompted a decision to get on with it
TRONE SURGERY ‘A SUCCESS:’ David Trone, the Democratic nominee for Maryland’s open 6th District congressional seat, underwent cancer surgery and expects to miss up to a few weeks of campaigning, Jeff Barker of the Sun reports. “David’s surgery was a success,” the campaign said in a statement released upon request. “He’s recuperating with his family, and he expects to be back on the campaign trail within a few weeks.”
- Doctors in late June confirmed Trone had a tumor in his urinary tract. He’s since been through chemotherapy at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, and his tumor has shrunk substantially as a result, according to the campaign. The kidney operation represented the next phase of his treatment, writes Bethany Rodgers for Bethesda Beat.
PRESCRIPTION DRUG PLAN SUIT: As four retired state workers sue Maryland over the changes in their prescription drug plan, Tamela Baker of the Hagerstown Herald Mail offers an explainer on the situation and interviews some of those involved in bringing the suit.
KLAUSMEIER CAMPAIGN TOUTS HOGAN TIES: A new campaign mailing supports a Democratic state senator in a key district by stressing her support for Republican Gov. Larry Hogan, Bryan Sears reports for the Daily Record. That large glossy mailer that landed in the 8th Legislative District of Baltimore County touts Sen. Kathy Klausmeier as a bipartisan lawmaker who “stood up to the party bosses by teaming up with Governor Hogan.” Photos on the piece prominently feature Klausmeier, a Democrat, with Hogan. The message in support of Klausmeier highlights the sometimes conflicting objectives of Democratic legislative leaders, such as Senate President Mike Miller, who wish to protect fellow Democrats while also trying to help the party’s nominee for governor.
GROWING BUSINESS OF LOBBYISTS: In a commentary for Maryland Matters, Josh Kurtz writes in-depth about lobbying firms, lobbyists and changes that may come in Maryland. He writes, “I have frequently said that the one essential thing to know about Maryland political culture is that its two top-earning State House lobbyists are convicted felons. … Make no mistake: Statehouse lobbying in Maryland is very big business, and has grown exponentially – and exponentially more cutthroat – in the 20-plus years I’ve been covering the scene.”
ANALYSIS: AN INTRIGUING LOOK AT JIM SMITH: In an analysis for Baltimore Brew, Mark Reutter writes that about former Baltimore County Executive Jim Smith. At age 76 and a two-term Baltimore County executive himself, Smith is a throwback to the era of backroom b’hoys and machine politics who is still empowered by an obscure electioneering device known as a “slate committee.” He’s been wielding power in Baltimore County and Baltimore city politics for years.
OP-ED: THANK MILLER, BUSCH FOR HOGAN: In an op-ed for the Sun, Marta Mossburg of the Maryland Public Policy Institute, opines that two months after the primary election, septuagenarians Mike Miller, who has headed the state Senate since 1987, and Michael Busch, speaker of the House of Delegates since 2003, are ultimately the ones to blame for Gov. Larry Hogan’s double digit lead in the polls. They, as the longest-serving top state legislative team in the country, led the transformation of Maryland into a place that has been shedding people for over a decade, producing students unprepared for work or college and taxing people by default to solve chronic overspending.
DR. LEANA WEN TO HEAD PLANNED PARENTHOOD: Baltimore City Health Commissioner Dr. Leana Wen has been named the new president of Planned Parenthood. Wen, an emergency room physician by training, has led the city health department since 2015 and has been a leading figure in the fight in Maryland to combat opioid abuse. She takes over the national leadership of an organization whose roles in providing aid for women on family planning issues and as an abortion provider face unprecedented legal and political challenges, Tim Curtis reports for the Daily Record.
- Wen becomes the first physician to head the health and reproductive rights organization in almost 50 years. She replaces Cecile Richards, who headed the organization since 2006. Maryland Matters compiles comments about Wen from leading politicians.
BALTIMORE TO PAY $1.1M TO CHRISTIAN CENTER: Baltimore’s spending board voted Wednesday to pay $1.1 million to cover a Christian pregnancy center’s legal fees after a federal court ruled a city law violated the center’s First Amendment rights, Talia Richman reports in the Sun.
STATE PROBING FORMER SOCIAL SERVICES HEAD: State prosecutors are investigating former Baltimore Social Services chief Molly McGrath Tierney after auditors questioned nearly $2 million she directed to a contractor and local nonprofit, Tim Prudente writes in the Sun. Sources with knowledge of the investigation say prosecutors also are reviewing whether Tierney followed proper procedures in placing two foster babies with the CEO of the nonprofit in 2016.