State Roundup, November 28, 2018

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TRUMP ATTACKS GM CLOSINGS: Doug Donovan of the Sun reports that President Donald Trump took to Twitter on Tuesday to express disappointment in General Motors for “closing plants” in Ohio, Michigan and Maryland while sparing facilities in Mexico and Canada. The Detroit automaker — which U.S. taxpayers saved from collapsing with a $51 billion bailout a decade ago — announced Monday that it was ceasing production at five North American plants, including a facility in White Marsh that employs nearly 300 people.

ASSEMBLY PUSHED ON CLEAN ENERGY: Maryland General Assembly members are urging their colleagues now more than ever to pass a bill next session to increase the state’s clean energy use, Sara Swan of the Salisbury Daily Times reports. The recent push comes in the wake of the federal government releasing a 1,656-page scientific report detailing the climate and economic impacts U.S. residents could face if drastic action is not taken to address climate change.

TEACHER PAY HIKES: The Kirwan commission will be proposing a major bump in teach pay, raising pay for all Maryland public school teachers by 10% between 2020 and 2022, with a minimum teacher salary of $60,000 phased-in by 2024. Len Lazarick reports for Maryland Reporter. The commission is also proposing a new career ladder for teachers and additional certifications for teachers under the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards, which will also raise teacher pay.

HOGAN URGES ED ACCOUNTABILITY: As a commission charged with re-thinking Maryland’s education policies prepares for a lengthy public hearing, Gov. Larry Hogan (R) is advocating for strong accountability measures once again, Danielle Gaines reports in Maryland Matters. Hogan sent a letter to House Speaker Michael Busch (D-Anne Arundel) and Senate President Mike Miller (D-Calvert) Tuesday asking that the presiding officers ensure that the commission’s final recommendations include “strong academic and administrative accountability measures.”

CITY TO SUE TRUMP: The City of Baltimore plans to sue the Trump administration over its proposed, highly controversial change to longstanding federal immigration policy that would make it more difficult for immigrants to obtain green cards or admission to the United States if they use public assistance like Medicare, food stamps and housing subsidies, Ethan McLeod of Baltimore Fishbowl reports.

ALTERING HOWARD ED BOARD ELECTIONS: Del. Vanessa Atterbeary, a Democrat who represents Howard County in the legislature, is again sponsoring a bill to change the way Howard County school board members are elected. Howard residents had an opportunity to testify on proposed legislation that would go before the Maryland General Assembly, including changes to the school board election, during a public hearing Monday night at the George Howard Building in Ellicott City, Jess Nocera of the Howard County Times reports.

SENATE GOP KEEPS LEADERSHIP: Maryland Senate Republicans re-elected their leadership team Tuesday, keeping Sen. J.B. Jennings as minority leader and Stephen Hershey as whip. Jennings, 44, represents Baltimore and Harford counties. Hershey, 54, represents the upper Eastern Shore. Jennings has led Senate Republicans since 2014, and Hershey has been No. 2 in the caucus since 2015, Michael Dresser of the Sun reports.

TAKING CONTROL OF REDISTRICTING: In a column for Red Maryland, Brian Griffiths writes that, “For far too long, redistricting has been held in the hands of the Maryland Democratic Party. … redistricting in Maryland has been less about providing representative congressional and legislative districts, and more about maximizing the ability of Democrats to elect as many rabid left-wing radicals as possible. Governor Hogan is right, too, to point out the fact that Attorney General Brian Frosh has mud on his hands when it comes to redistricting.”

TARLAU TO BECOME LOBBYIST, WITH A TWIST: There’s a sizable roster of former Annapolis lawmakers now working as State House lobbyists – and making a comfortable living. Josh Kurtz of Maryland Matters reports that outgoing state Del. Jimmy Tarlau (D-Prince George’s) is taking steps to join their ranks – but in a very different way. Tarlau is planning to become a pro bono lobbyist for progressive organizations and causes. “I’m not going to compensate myself,” he said in a recent interview.

CUMMINGS V. MATTHEWS: In back to back guest commentaries in Maryland Matters, Maryland Democratic Party chair Kathleen Matthews and challenger Maya Rockeymoore Cummings lay out their platforms. Matthews’ is co-written by Del. Cory McCray, a senator-elect who is running for vice chair of the Maryland Democratic Party.

PITTMAN REINSTATES FIRED HEARING OFFICER: Anne Arundel County Executive-elect Steuart Pittman announced Tuesday that he will bring back former administrative hearings officer Doug Hollmann, who said he was fired by County Executive Steve Schuh because he granted too many variance requests to medical marijuana dispensaries, Chase Cook of the Annapolis Capitl reports.

POLITICS AS USUAL: In a guest commentary for Maryland Matters, former Arundel County attorney David Plymyer opines that, last week, Baltimore County Executive-elect Johnny Olszewski Jr. (D) announced the appointment of five people to senior positions within his administration. The appointments will fuel speculation that he already has his eye on a run for statewide office. They also will heighten fears that it will be business-as-usual in Baltimore County, with politics dominating every important land use and other decision.

STATE SPOKESWOMAN WINS CASE: It took a court order for Natural Resources Police spokeswoman Candy Thomson to complete her last four days of work. After suing the Maryland Department of Natural Resources, Thomson won reinstatement as NRP spokeswoman for four days before retiring this month, reports Selene San Felice for the Annapolis Capital.

MYERS’ PARTING SHOT: Outgoing Washington County Commissioner LeRoy Myers publicly referred to allegations against him on Tuesday as he thanked those who’ve supported him during tough times and had a word of caution for those who didn’t, Julie Greene of the Hagerstown Herald Mail reports. “For those of you who have chosen to ignore me and not talk to me, I remind you of a powerful verse of Scripture, found in Romans 12:19: ‘Vengeance is mine. I shall repay, sayeth the Lord.’ Or, as my wife often reminds me, they will get their karma.”

DUTCH SEEKS ANSWERS ON WALTER REED LOCKDOWN: U.S. Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger was demanding answers Tuesday from the Pentagon after experiencing firsthand an active-shooter lockdown at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, which officials alternately blamed afterward on a “false alarm” and an inadvertent mass notification made by staff preparing for a drill, Lillian Reed and Kevin Rector of the Sun report.