State Roundup, November 20, 2018

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STATE HEALTH MANDATE TO BE PROPOSED: The health insurance mandate that Congress voted to eliminate last year may be returning to Maryland as part of a plan to provide people with private health coverage, reports Bruce DePuyt for Maryland Matters. If all goes as planned, Democratic lawmakers will introduce legislation in January that re-establishes penalties for anyone who doesn’t have health coverage. But instead of putting the funds in the state treasury, Maryland will use that money to purchase health coverage for those individuals.

STUDY: WARM WINTERS HARMED OYSTERS: The Bay Journal’s Timothy Wheeler reports that in MarylandReporter that warmer winters, rather than overharvesting, caused the steep decline of oysters and other commercially valuable shellfish in the Chesapeake Bay and elsewhere along the Atlantic Coast, according to a controversial new study that’s getting pushback from some scientists.

STATE PUSHES HUNTING: Natural resources and wildlife officials in Maryland are encouraging hunting of deer, turkeys and other game because they say it’s good for the environment. Though hunting may stir debates about firearms and animal cruelty, these advocates say it thins herds for the good of ecosystems and their human neighbors, reports Scott Dance in the Sun. It also promotes advocacy for land conservation.

DURKIN SAYS LOH DID NOT WANT PLAYERS TO TALK: Former University of Maryland football Coach DJ Durkin told a task force that President Wallace Loh resisted his call to make players available for interviews by a consultant examining the heatstroke death of teammate Jordan McNair, according to multiple sources. Jeff Barker of the Sun reports that Durkin told the investigative task force that he urged Loh in July to make as many players as possible accessible to sports medicine consultant Dr. Rod Walters because that would enhance the credibility of Walters’ final report.

POTOMAC PIPELINE PROTESTED: Environmental activists rallied Monday to protest running a natural-gas pipeline under the Potomac River near Hancock, reports Mike Lewis for the Hagerstown Herald Mail. “I think, for us, it’s important to leave no stone unturned in this fight and to fight as hard as we can to protect our water, our communities and, most importantly of all, our climate,” Brooke Harper, Maryland policy director for the Chesapeake Climate Action Network, said before Monday’s rally.

PREZ HOPEFULS FROM MARYLAND: Hallie Miller of the Baltimore Sun compiles a list of likely presidential candidates with Maryland ties. The closest that a Marylander has ever been to the securing the Oval Office was in Vice President Spiro Agnew, who did not make it through his first term before being indicted.

HOGAN STRATEGY FOR VICTORY: Josh Kurtz of Maryland Matters writes that, during Gov. Larry Hogan’s run for re-election, his campaign realized that their goal for the rest of the campaign was to appeal to key Democratic and key unaffiliated voters – especially women. “They became the centerpiece for all voter contact,” Hogan campaign manager Jim Barnett said.

EDITORIAL: ON BAGNALL’s VICTORY: The editorial board for the Annapolis Capital opines that, over the years we often lamented voters’ inexplicable loyalty to state Del. Tony McConkey, a Republican public official who had the rare status of losing both his law and real estate license for ethical conflicts. He was famous for failing to get along with members of his own party. So it would be hard to overstate the importance of Democrat Heather Bagnall’s apparent victory in District 33.

MO CO DELEGATATION HEARS LIST OF ISSUES: The chambers of the Montgomery County Council were packed as local politicians and county residents brought a host of issues to the attention of the 32 current and incoming members of the county’s delegation to the Maryland General Assembly during last week’s four-hour forum, Dan Schere of Bethesda Beat writes.

ELRICH LOOKS TO N.Va. MODELS: Now that Amazon has officially passed on Montgomery County, County Executive-elect Marc Elrich said he intends to work with the business community to aggressively compete for companies that are considering a move or expansion into Greater Washington. And he’s looking to Northern Virginia as a model, reports Katishi Maake for the Washington Business Journal.

BROWN ON TRUMP BORDER MISSION: In this 5-minute clip, U.S. Rep. Anthony Brown, Maryland’s former lieutenant governor and colonel in the U.S. Army Reserve who has served in the U.S. Army for nearly 30 years, appeared on Morning Joe where he discussed President Trump’s border deployment (calling it a “dubious mission”), veterans in Congress and Democratic leadership.

RASKIN, TRONE BACK PELOSI: Dan Schere and Louis Peck lead off there Bethesda Beat Politics Roundup column with: Both Rep. Jamie Raskin and Rep.-elect David Trone, the two Democrats who will represent most of Montgomery County in the U.S. House of Representatives for the next two years, have lined up behind long-time Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi of California in the infighting over whether Pelosi should be the next House Speaker.