LAWMAKERS CHIDE UM CHANCELLOR, REGENTS: Lawmakers on Thursday admonished the chancellor and chair of the University System of Maryland Board of Regents for the panel’s lack of transparency and overreach in a controversial decision to retain the University of Maryland, College Park football coach and athletic director, while accepting the university president’s resignation. Brooks DuBose of Capital News Service reports in MarylandReporter.
- University of Maryland President Wallace D. Loh told state lawmakers Thursday that he warned his governing board late last month that “all hell will break loose” if the school’s embattled football coach returned to duties amid the scandal that enveloped the program. Despite that warning, the University System of Maryland Board of Regents recommended keeping DJ Durkin as coach of the Terrapins. Nick Anderson writes in the Washington Post.
- “I completely accept the fact that the board has authority to hire and fire presidents. It is also the case that, as president, I have the authority on personnel issues,” Loh told members of the House Appropriations Committee, according to an AP report at WBAL-AM.
- House Speaker Michael Busch questioned why the university would keep Durkin after the death of a student. He recalled the university’s actions when basketball player Len Bias died following an overdose in 1986. Even though that came outside of the supervision of basketball coach Lefty Driesell, the coach did not keep his job, Tim Curtis writes in the Daily Record.
LOH LOOKS FORWARD: After two weeks of turmoil at the University of Maryland, university President Wallace Loh turned down media interviews about the football culture report, the Board of Regents turnover and his announced retirement. In an interview with Leah Brennan of the Diamondback late last week, he stressed this message: He’s not looking back, and he wants to move forward.
DURKIN, ON LEAVE, STILL COACHED: Former University of Maryland football coach DJ Durkin continued to communicate with assistant coaches and develop game plans for the team after being placed on administrative leave amid media reports alleging abusive treatment of players, according to multiple sources. Sources also said Durkin’s continuing role was shared with and discussed by the state university system’s Board of Regents, Jeff Barker of the Sun reports.
FROSH APPEALS GERRYMANDER ORDER: Maryland’s attorney general on Thursday appealed to the Supreme Court a ruling that threw out the state’s congressional voting map and ordered officials to redraw lines before the 2020 election, reports Ann Marimow and Erin Cox in the Post. Brian E. Frosh (D) is asking the high court to quickly review the three-judge panel’s unanimous decision last week that found Democratic mapmakers violated the First Amendment rights of Republican voters.
- The Democratic attorney general, acting against the wishes of Republican Gov. Larry Hogan, notified the U.S. District Court in Baltimore Thursday that he will contest last week’s order that the state redraw the map in time for the 2020 election, Michael Dresser reports for the Sun.
- Hogan’s communications director was highly critical of Frosh’s decision – which adds another layer of doubt about what Maryland’s congressional lines will look like in the presidential election year. Since taking office, Hogan has worked to remove redistricting duties from elected officials and put them in the hands of a nonpartisan commission., writes Bruce DePuyt for Maryland Matters.
- In the stay motion, Frosh stated the Supreme Court is “poised to address the issue of partisan gerrymandering” and, thus, halting proceedings in the 6th Congressional District challenge is appropriate to let the justices decide whether and under what circumstances partisan gerrymandering is unconstitutional and, if so, what remedial steps should be taken, Steve Lash of the Daily Record reports.
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STATE TO SEE SURPLUS IN FY 2020: General Assembly budget builders will convene in Annapolis in January with a surplus and plenty of options for spending it, reports Danielle Gaines for Maryland Matters. The outlook for the 2020 fiscal year has improved by about $1 billion since the end of the last legislative session thanks to several factors: revenues increased after the closeout of the 2018 fiscal year, revenues for this year were revised upward, higher property tax revenues and bond premium revenues are expected, and Medicaid enrollment has leveled so that program’s costs are down, among other factors.
UM MED WAS WARNED OF WORK ENVIRONMENT: An anonymous group of women that included faculty and medical residents warned top University of Maryland, Baltimore officials in January that prominent surgeons had inappropriate sexual relationships with subordinates and created a “hostile work environment” in the medical school and its affiliated hospital, Talia Richman and Liz Bowie report for the Sun.
STUDENTS PROTEST ICE CONTRACTS: Amid a national debate over immigration policy under the Trump administration, the Johns Hopkins University and the University of Maryland, College Park are some of just a very few universities in the nation that have contracts with Immigration and Customs Enforcement. With protests and petitions, students on the two campuses have begun demanding the institutions sever ties with ICE — even as administrators counter that their work with the agency has nothing to do with detention or deportation of undocumented immigrants, Thalia Juarez of the Sun reports.
OP-ED: CROSS APPROPRIATE TO WWI MONUMENT: In an op-ed for the Post, Brett Reistad of Manassas, the national commander of the American Legion, opines that the Bladensburg Cross is a fitting memorial to 49 soldiers who died during WWI, writing that in 1919, Gold Star mothers of Prince George’s County wanted to create a monument for sons. They chose the shape of a cross, copying the style of the headstones that stood watch over the graves of their sons buried on European battlefields a world away. That monument, what we now know as the Bladensburg World War I Veterans Memorial, has stood watch over their memory for nearly 100 years.
BALTIMORE HOMES IN ON KIRWAN FUNDING: Lisa McCray of Baltimore Brew reports that across Maryland, but especially in Baltimore, there are high expectations for the final report – expected soon – of the Kirwan Commission, the panel assembled by the legislature to overhaul public education. City leaders assembled school officials, parents and students last night to seek to answer the question of whether the funding formula will do right by Baltimore City’s struggling schools.
MO CO PLANS TO SUE FCC FOR 5G SERVICE: The Montgomery County Council and County Executive Ike Leggett are planning to sue the Federal Communications Commission with the goal of forcing the agency to update its radio frequency emissions standards for small cell antennas. For the last two years, the council has been deliberating a bill requiring the antennas to be installed on existing utility poles and allow new poles housing the antennas to be installed in residential neighborhoods to bring high-speed 5G wireless service to the county, Dan Schere of Bethesda Beat reports.
BA CO TOP OFFICER TO RETIRE: The Baltimore County government’s top administrative official is being pushed into retirement by County Executive-elect Johnny Olszewski Jr. County administrative officer Fred Homan, who has overseen day-to-day government operations for more than a decade and worked for the county for 40 years, will retire on Dec. 3, the day that Olszewski is sworn in. Homan’s retirement comes “at the request” of Olszewski, Pamela Wood of the Sun reports.