State Roundup, September 17, 2018

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JEALOUS’s FIRST ADS TO AIR: Gubernatorial candidate Ben Jealous (D) is hitting the airwaves for the first time since his unexpected victory in the primary, Bruce DePuyt of Maryland Matters writes. With seven weeks to go until Election Day, the campaign is debuting a 60-second spot that introduces the candidate and describes the main planks of his platform. The campaign said it is spending $109,000 to run the spots on all four network affiliate stations in Baltimore for two weeks, beginning Monday.

IN-HOME NURSING SHORTAGE DUE TO LOW PAY: Jill Pelovitz depends on an army of in-home nurses to keep her teenage daughter alive. But finding nurses to assist families with disabled children and other relatives at home can be difficult, largely because such nurses aren’t paid enough in Maryland or even as much as in neighboring states, according to the families of the disabled and companies that place nurses, Andrea McDaniels reports in the Sun. They are pushing to increase how much the nurses are reimbursed under Maryland’s Medicaid program, which covers most of the costs of at-home nursing care for the disabled.

SUIT AGAINST SHELLENBERGER, UMBC, OTHERS: In his zeal to cover up a gang rape by college athletes at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, Baltimore County State’s Attorney Scott Shellenberger sent police to the victim’s house to threaten her with arrest if she continued to try to press charges, a federal lawsuit says. “These are shocking allegations,” says plaintiff’s attorney Rignal Baldwin V. “The reason I did so much work on it factually was because I couldn’t believe it.” Edward Ericson Jr. reports the story for Baltimore Brew.

  • A federal lawsuit charging that the University of Maryland Baltimore County worked in concert with Baltimore County police and prosecutors to cover up sexual assaults has sparked a furious reaction among students and alumni, including calls for UMBC Police Chief Paul Dillon to resign, Fern Shen of Baltimore Brew reports. “When students are here tomorrow it’s going to be crazy. Since this broke Friday, online it’s just been general outrage,” said Julia Arbutus, editor-in-chief of The Retriever, the student newspaper.

BUMP STOCK BAN TO GO INTO EFFECT: Steve Lash of the Daily Record reports that Maryland’s recently enacted ban on attachments that enable guns to fire more rapidly will go into effect as scheduled Oct. 1 after a federal judge Friday rejected a bid from gun-rights advocates to block enforcement of the law while its constitutionality remains in litigation.

OAKS’ MYSTERIOUS FINANCIALS: Even as disgraced former Sen. Nathaniel Oaks goes off to prison today on political corruption charges, the public disclosures in the last six months – many the result of the federal government’s prosecution of a scheme in which he took $15,300 in bribes from an undercover FBI source – offer only a small window into the financial dealings of the former lawmaker. What was not mentioned two months ago at Oaks’ sentencing was the fact that in the weeks before the hearing, the ex-lawmaker was quietly distributing nearly $90,000 from his campaign account, William Zorzi of Maryland Matters reports.

JEALOUS TO INTRODUCE DRUG PRICE PLAN: Democratic gubernatorial candidate Ben Jealous plans today to release a series of new proposals aimed at curbing prescription drug costs in Maryland, Luke Broadwater of the Sun reports. Called a “New Rx For Maryland,” Jealous’ plan proposes creating a prescription drug affordability board to hold pharmaceutical companies accountable for rising costs and “ensure Marylanders are not subject to sharp increases.”

JEALOUS SLAMS HOGAN ON FORTUNE 500 LOSS: Democrat Ben Jealous says Republican Larry Hogan is the first Maryland governor in years to lose a Fortune 500 company, reports Michael Dresser for the Sun. It’s true, if you accept Jealous’ narrow definition of “lose.” But not if you judge by the standards Hogan applied in 2014 to blame former Gov. Martin O’Malley for letting big company headquarters leave Maryland. In 2018, Maryland is down to three Fortune 500 companies — Lockheed Martin, Marriott International and Discovery Communications. When O’Malley left office, there were four, Michael Dress reports for the Sun.

A $4M MONEY BOMB FOR HOGAN? Bryan P. Sears of the Daily Record reports that a labor union that endorsed Republican Gov. Larry Hogan this month has put down a $4.1 million marker in Maryland. Laborers International Union of North America has moved the cash into Maryland, according to filings posted last week with the Maryland State Board of Elections. The money could be used to support the incumbent Republican in his re-election bid.

HOGAN HAS LITTLE TO WIN IN DEBATE: Debates are hard to win and easy to lose, writes political opinion writes Frank DeFilippo for Maryland Matters. Debates rarely change many minds unless there’s a major flub. Research over the decades has shown that debates merely reinforce what viewers already believe. … so when Gov. Larry Hogan, Republican, and Ben Jealous, Democrat, face off for their only scheduled debate Monday, Sept. 24, Hogan has much to lose and Jealous has everything to gain. It is for that very reason that frontrunners like to skimp on debates and underdogs demand as much camera time as they can cajole.

WILL HOGAN HAVE COATTAILS? In a column for his Political Maryland blog, Barry Rascovar writes that barring a “blue wave,” anti-Trump voter surge of historic proportions, Larry Hogan is primed to win a second four-year term as Maryland governor on Nov. 5. If that comes about, will Hogan have coattails? Four years ago, Hogan’s popularity — or perhaps the unpopularity of Democratic nominee Anthony Brown — helped carry a few fellow Republicans across the finish line in down-ballot races.

FROSH, CHALLENGER WOLF TANGLE OVER DEBATES: The campaigns of Republican Gov. Larry Hogan and his Democratic challenger Ben Jealous wrangled for weeks over their debate schedule before settling on just one debate. Now, a similar debate over debates is playing out in the attorney general’s race. Democratic incumbent Brian Frosh and his Republican challenger, Craig Wolf, have agreed to two debates. But deciding when and where they should be has become contentious, Luke Broadwater of the Sun is reporting.

FRANCHOT: I’M NEUTRAL IN GOV’s RACE: The Sun’s Meredith Cohn reports that Democratic Comptroller Peter Franchot has said that he would not endorse his party’s nominee for governor. And when asked recently by The Baltimore Sun’s editorial board who would get his vote, Franchot went further and said no one. “I’m neutral right now,” he said in response to a question from Andy Green, the Sun’s opinion editor. “I think I’ll probably, on that particular ballot based on my public position of neutrality, not vote on that particular office.” The article is topped by a short video of the interview.

JURISDICTION BRACE FOR NEW STORMWATER RULES: Hagerstown is bracing for another “huge and expensive” commitment in the future when it comes to management of stormwater run-off, according to city officials, CJ Lovelace of the Hagerstown Herald Mail reports. The Maryland Department of the Environment recently notified counties and municipalities about new more stringent requirements under its Phase 2 National Pollutant Discharge Elimination permit.

IN HO CO EXEC RACE, FLOODING EMERGES AS ISSUE: For years, the defining issue in Howard County politics has been education — specifically, the direction of the district’s top-flight school system. But as Republican County Executive Allan Kittleman faces a spirited challenge from Democratic Councilman Calvin Ball, another issue of great importance has emerged in this year’s campaign: the deadly flooding that ravaged historic Ellicott City twice within two years, writes Luke Broadwater in the Sun.

SNIPING, CONSENSUS AT MO CO EXEC DEBATE: Jennifer Barrios of the Post reports that the first debate in the fall campaign for Montgomery County executive — which this year is an unusually contested affair — yielded occasional sniping but also consensus among three candidates vying for the county’s top elected post. Democrat Marc Elrich, Republican Robin Ficker and independent Nancy Floreen — who earlier this year broke from the Democratic Party to run for the seat — answered questions for nearly two hours at a forum at Mount Calvary Baptist Church in Rockville.

VAN HOLLEN CHASTISES LEGISLATORS WHO FAIL TO ACT: Chase Cook of the Annapolis Capital reports that, according to U.S. Sen. Chris Van Hollen, politicians who don’t support gun control legislation such as universal background checks are grossly negligent because that legislation would reduce gun violence throughout the country. Van Hollen visited The Capital on Friday to discuss gun violence after a call to action from the newspaper’s editorial board. The article is topped by a 4 minute video excerpt of the interview.

LIVE CASINO & BENEFITS TO ARUNDEL: In an opinion piece for the Annapolis Capital, Jimmy DeButts opines that while it’s indisputable nearby businesses and restaurants will benefit from Hanover’s Live Casino and Hotel’s large conference center, it’s unclear if the Anne Arundel County will reap as much as it surrenders financially. What it can — and must — do is ensure Live provides community benefits in line with Live’s annual property tax savings. The county should also make public an annual list of community use of the event center.

ARUNDEL MOBILE CRISIS RESPONSE: The Anne Arundel County Council meets today to consider a fund transfer that would create two new Mental Health Agency Mobile Crisis Response Teams, finalize changes to plasma center developments and vote on a resolution that bars dumping sewage into county waters, Chase Cook of the Annapolis Capital reports.

ANNAPOLITANS AID ASYLUM SEEKERS: Danielle Ohl of the Annapolis Capital writes about a Texas detention center for immigrants and several Annapolitans, including Annapolis Alderman Marc Rodriguez, who went there to help. Rodriguez sits at a bus station in San Antonio, surrounded by smiling women and children wearing red, yellow and blue T-shirts. For many, it’s their first day in weeks free from detention in a government immigration facility. Rodriguez will spend his day reassuring these asylum seekers about to board Greyhound buses to new cities. Women will use his phone to call their sponsors, who will house them while their asylum cases move through the courts.