State Roundup, April 23, 2019

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REGENTS OK UM TUITION HIKES: The University System of Maryland will increase tuition next year by an average of 2% for in-state students and as much as 5% for out-of-state students at Maryland’s public universities and colleges.The system’s Board of Regents voted unanimously Friday to approve the tuition hikes, Liz Bowie reports for the Sun.

REPUBLICANS PUSH FOR ROLE IN SPEAKER PICK: It’s been only a few weeks since this year’s legislative session adjourned. But as legislators return to Annapolis next week to choose a new leader for the House of Delegates, local lawmakers say they’re unsure which of the three declared candidates will come out on top. What they do know is that the 42 House Republicans — including the four from Washington County — plan to throw all of their votes behind one candidate in the hope of influencing the outcome, Tamela Baker of the Hagerstown Herald-Mail reports.

PROGRESSIVES SEEK CHANGES WITH NEW SPEAKER: A coalition of mostly progressive groups are asking leading candidates to become the next speaker of the House of Delegates to commit to a number of changes in how the chamber functions, Bryan Sears reports in the Daily Record. The coalition, led by the ACLU of Maryland, is seeking a promise that the next speaker — and her or his top lieutenants — promise to serve no more than eight years as well promote transparency in the legislative process and expand leadership roles for more members of the chamber.

STUDENT SUES SCHOOL, STATE OVER VACCINE: A former Frostburg State University student who claims he cannot receive the measles vaccine because he is immunocompromised has sued the school, and the state of Maryland, for blocking him from registering for classes after his first year, which he said caused him to transfer, Heather Cobun of the Daily Record reports.

HOGAN IN NEW HAMPSHIRE: Gov. Larry Hogan will speak this morning at the latest installment of the forum at St. Anselm College, at the invitation of the New Hampshire Institute of Politics. His appearance could refuel speculation that he has political ambitions beyond the state of Maryland. But a Granite State Poll of New Hampshire voters showed Trump continues to exhibit strength among 208 likely Republican primary voters — and Hogan is largely unknown there, with just 1% said they would vote for Hogan.

DELANEY LAGS IN DONATIONS: At first glance, former 6th District Rep. John Delaney appears to have had a blockbuster first quarter this year, hauling in more than $12 million for his presidential campaign coffer. Robin Bravender writes in Maryland Matters that the vast majority of that came from Delaney himself, not from enthusiastic supporters he’s encountered during his nearly two years on the campaign trail.

TRUMP SUES TO STOP CUMMINGS’ SUBPOENA: President Donald Trump and his business organization on Monday sued Rep. Elijah Cummings — the House oversight committee chairman — alleging the Baltimore Democrat crossed a constitutional line with a subpoena to the president’s longtime accountant seeking years of financial statements, Jeff Barker of the Sun reports. The lawsuit, which challenges the scope of the legislative branch’s powers, represents a new front in the struggle between the Republican president and the Democratic House — and Cummings in particular.

STATE-FUNDED: FREDERICK PROJECTS: The state plans to invest $9.1 million in Frederick County projects in the coming fiscal year, Samantha Hogan of the Frederick News-Post reports. While the overall sticker price of the 16 projects the General Assembly has agreed to support is important, the unique impact each of the projects will ultimately have on Frederick County is perhaps more noteworthy. For instance, Heritage Frederick — the recipient of the smallest local grant award — intends to make big changes on a small budget.

BA CO DESTROYED MORE RAPE KITS: Baltimore County police destroyed more than twice as many rape kits over a six-year period as officials reported — 521 in total — according to new records obtained by The Baltimore Sun. In 2016, police reported destroying 231 rape kits from 2010 to 2015. But a list of destroyed evidence obtained through public records requests showed that hundreds more had been destroyed, Catherine Rentz reports in the Sun.

ARUNDEL AUDITOR PUSHES FOR MORE DATA: Anne Arundel County’s auditor has been waiting for months to receive information on active county capital projects despite pledges by County Executive Steuart Pittman to support the office. Auditor Susan Smith said lack of data is hampering staff from preparing a review of the county budget scheduled to be released May 1, Chase Cook of the Annapolis Capital reports.

ALSOBROOKS TACKLES TRASH: Prince George’s County Executive Angela D. Alsobrooks knew when she took office that a top item on her agenda involved one of government’s least glamorous services: returning to two-day a week trash collection. But financial reality quickly set in. That would have cost between $7 million and $10 million and meant renegotiating contracts with 15 garbage companies. So now, she is rolling out a different program, Rachel Chason writes in the Post.

PUGH’s BOUTIQUE CLOSES: The 2 Chic Boutique in Baltimore’s Pigtown co-owned by Mayor Catherine Pugh and city Comptroller Joan Pratt has shut down for good, Melody Simmons of the Baltimore Business Journal reports. Pratt said Monday the six-year-old designer women’s consignment shop officially closed on New Year’s Eve. The windows and front door were covered with several brown shopping bags this weekend. Neighbors said the store was open only a few hours each week.

SHEILA SACHS, NOTED ATTORNEY, DIES: Sheila K. Sachs, an attorney who handled the divorces of prominent local figures and sat on the Baltimore City School Board, died of cancer Sunday at Gilchrist Hospice Care, Jacques Kelly reports in the Sun. She was 78. “Sheila was a trailblazer for the gender equality in the legal profession that we take for granted today,” said Del. Sandy Rosenberg. She was married to Stephen H. Sachs, who later became U.S. attorney for Maryland as well as the state’s attorney general.