State Roundup, September 27, 2018

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REVENUE ESTIMATE INCREASES BY $732M: Maryland has increased its estimate of the revenue it will receive this year and next by $732 million, funding that would put the state budget on a sound footing for the General Assembly’s 2019 session, Michael Dresser of the Sun reports. The projection for the budget year ending June 30 of $18.1 billion in revenue, which the state Board of Revenue Estimates approved this week, represents a 4.1% increase over the previous estimate.

NEW GUN LAWS TAKE EFFECT: New gun-control laws are taking effect in Maryland next week, and some state lawmakers already are talking about strengthening them in the next legislative session after high-profile shootings in the state. An Associated Press review of firearms-related legislation shows many other state legislatures mostly fell back into predictable and partisan patterns after mass shootings in Las Vegas and Parkland, Fla.

STRIDES IN CLEAN ENERGY: In a commentary for MarylandReporter, clean energy advocates I. Katherine Magruder, Liz Burdock and David Murray write that National Clean Energy Week, happening now, provides a good opportunity to shine a light on our state’s significant achievements. The growth of Maryland’s clean energy sector is creating well-paying job opportunities, increasing the resiliency of our grid and facilitating rate stability – and improving our air quality, which benefits human and environmental health.

36 REPUBLICANS EARN TOP BIZ MARKS: Thirty-six members of the Maryland General Assembly – all Republicans – have voted in lockstep with small business interests over the past four years, according to a newly released scorecard from the National Federation of Independent Business, writes Josh Kurtz for Maryland Matters. The NFIB Maryland chapter scored state lawmakers on their votes on 15 key bills over the four-year legislative term, including elimination of the so-called Rain Tax, business tax incentives and earned sick leave.

EARLY VOTING INFO: Maryland residents can go online to until 9 p.m. Oct. 16 to register to vote, update their voting information or change their party affiliation. Early voting will run 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 25, through Thursday, Nov. 1. The General Election will be held from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 6. Maryland Matters lists all of Maryland’s early voting centers for the 2018 General Election.

DISTRICT 9 SENATE RACE MATTERS TO DEMS: It’s well known that state Senate Democrats are playing defense this election cycle, trying to keep Republicans from flipping the five seats they need to deny Democrats a veto-proof majority if Gov. Larry Hogan (R) wins a second term. But there are at least a couple of districts where Democrats are on offense – particularly if a national blue wave washes over the state. Kaanita Iyer writes about the District 9 race for Maryland Matters.

MO CO EXEC DEBATE: In a debate before a roomful of Realtors Wednesday, Montgomery County executive candidate Nancy M. Floreen (I) cast herself as a stronger advocate for the business community than her November opponents, accusing her main rival of wanting to rehash “old issues” and engage in “paralysis by analysis,” Bruce DePuyt reports in the Maryland Matters.

REDMER TOUTS PUBLIC SAFETY UNIONS SUPPORT: Republican Al Redmer Jr. on Wednesday touted support for his bid to become Baltimore County executive from unions that represent the county’s police officers and firefighters, writes Pamela Wood in the Sun. Flanked by dozens of supporters wearing yellow “emergency services for Redmer” shirts, Redmer said he would take politics out of the county’s police and fire departments and invest in technology and training for officers and firefighters.

PUBLIC FINANCING BILL IN PG: The Post’s Rachel Chason reports that a bill to create a public financing system for local political races in Prince George’s County advanced this week during a dramatic council meeting that was abruptly adjourned by Chair ­Dannielle M. Glaros and then restarted after one of her colleagues was elected temporary chair.

STATE LAWMAKERS SEEK POLICE PROBE OF KAVANAUGH CLAIMS: Several Maryland lawmakers representing Montgomery County are calling on local law enforcement officials to investigate the sexual assault allegations against Supreme Court nominee Brett M. Kavanaugh, arguing the state’s statute of limitations may not apply to some allegations, Ovetta Wiggins and Dan Morse of the Post report.

ROSENSTEIN IN BALTIMORE: All eyes in Washington this week have been on Rod J. Rosenstein, the deputy attorney general and former U.S. attorney for Maryland whose job hangs in limbo ahead of a meeting with President Donald J. Trump. Sarah Meehan of the Sun writes about what you need to know about Rosenstein’s work in D.C. and his history in Baltimore.

POLICE STILL HIGHEST PAID CITY WORKERS: Once again, most of Baltimore’s highest paid employees are police officers, Luke Broadwater of the Sun reports. Overtime expenses in fiscal year 2018 meant that 40 of the 50 highest-paid city employees work for the Baltimore Police Department — including seven of the top 10.