State Roundup, June 11, 2019

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PG PLANNER FAULTS STATE ON P3: Bruce DePuyt of Maryland Matters reports that a top planner told the Prince George’s County Council on Monday that State Highway Administration officials working on the expansion of the Capital Beltway through Prince George’s lack an understanding of the county’s economic future and have not been forthcoming with information. Debra Borden, principal counsel for the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, said she also took issue with a host of decisions made by state highway officials, and said that requests for information repeatedly went unanswered.

ELRICH EMBRACES ICC OVER P3: Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich, who for years opposed construction of the Intercounty Connector, has now come to embrace the highway as an alternative to building toll lanes on the Capital Beltway, Dan Schere of Bethesda Beat reports.

MILLER: HEALTH NEWS ‘LARGELY GOOD:’ Maryland Senate President Mike Miller, who is being treated for advanced prostate cancer, told his colleagues in a letter that “the news is largely good” regarding his health, Pamela Wood of the Sun writes. “While I still incur back pain due to the cancer in my bones, I otherwise continue to face an improving prognosis for the time being,” the Democrat wrote last week.

CANNABIS APPLICATION DEADLINE EXTENDED: A series of technical snags has forced the Maryland Medical Cannabis Commission to give companies 14 more days to apply for one of the state’s 14 new growing and processing licenses, state regulators announced Monday. Doug Donovan of the Sun writes that the commission had received more than 160 applications by the previous May 24 deadline from firms seeking to score a license in a second round of awards aimed at increasing the participation of minority- and women-owned businesses.

CLIMATE CHANGE PART 2: EXTREME COLD HARMS HEALTH: In Part 2 in the CNS series on climate change and Baltimore’s health, HaeMae Lee reports in MarylandReporter that most “discussions about climate change and public health focus on heat. But scientists warn that extreme winter weather — cold snaps and storms — would pose a threat. There’s extensive evidence that sustained exposure to extreme cold can cause harm by lowering body temperature, weakening the immune system and aggravating asthma, cardiovascular and lung disease, arthritis, diabetes and mental illness, among other problems.”

METRO’s WOMEN IN CHARGE: In a memo dated late last month, Metro made it official: Lisa Woodruff was named senior vice president for rail services, responsible for overall management and planning for all of the transit agency’s rail operations. In accepting the job, Woodruff became one of the top-ranking women at the transit agency. But, Lori Aratani reports in the Post, there was something else that made Woodruff’s appointment notable: She’s one of three women who now hold top leadership positions in Metro’s rail division.

NEW WAYS TO ANSWER CENSUS: The 2020 census will be like none before it. Residents will be able to respond online or via phone to be counted in the census, which is required by the U.S. Constitution and has been conducted every 10 years since 1790, Mary Grace Keller of the Carroll County Times reports. “We’re doing something that has never been done before in the history of the census,” said Ronald Brown, U.S. Census Bureau partnership coordinator for Maryland, at a kickoff event in Westminster.

HARFORD TAPS LEGISLATIVE AFFAIRS CHIEF: Harford County Executive Barry Glassman announced Thursday Lawrence A. Richardson Jr., Esq. will join his administration as the policy director responsible for state and federal legislative affairs, beginning Monday. He will also work on complex constituent matters and report directly to the county executive, the Daily Record reports.

GANSLER JOINS DC FIRM: Former Maryland Attorney General Doug Gansler has joined Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft LLP as a partner in the Global Litigation Group and the White Collar Defense and Investigations Practice in the firm’s Washington office, Cadwalader announced Monday. Julie Arbutus writes in the Daily Record that Gansler will also lead the firm’s State Attorneys General practice, working with clients facing inquiries from state attorneys general. He will also handle litigation involving data breaches, cybersecurity and privacy matters, the firm said.

FREDERICK, CARROLL WORK ON MONOCACY PLAN: When it comes to the Monocacy River, leaders in Frederick and Carroll counties are still trying to bridge the gap and create a single plan to manage the natural resource, reports Steve Bohnel for the Frederick News-Post. Frederick County Council President M.C. Keegan-Ayer (D) and Stephen Wantz, president of the board of commissioners for Carroll County, said Monday they are meeting June 26 to discuss the status of the Monocacy Scenic River Management Plan, and try to compromise on a single version.

MO CO COUNCIL MEMBER CLAIMS RACIAL PROFILING: Montgomery County Council member Will Jawando says he was racially profiled when he was stopped by a state police trooper in White Oak for a minor traffic infraction on Saturday, Dan Schere of Bethesda Beat is reporting. Jawando, who is black and has raised concerns about police treatment of minorities since being elected to the council, said he was on his way to the gym about 6:30 a.m. when he was pulled over by the trooper and told he “stopped on the stop line at the last [traffic] light.”

AA COUNCIL SHIFTS SCHOOL FUNDS TO PERSONNEL: The Anne Arundel County Council voted unanimously to shift about $1.4 million in the proposed fiscal year 2020 county operating budget to fund school counselors, music teachers, psychologists, personnel workers and an internal Board of Education audit, Chase Cook of the Annapolis Capital reports.

PUGH FULFILLED UMMS DEAL, ATTY SAYS: An attorney for former Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh said she has now fulfilled her end of a 2017 deal in which the University of Maryland Medical System paid her $100,000 for 20,000 copies of her self-published “Health Holly” children’s books, Kevin Rector of the Sun reports.

BALTIMORE CITY COMING BACK ONLINE: Phil Davis of the Sun reports that Baltimore City officials announced Monday that 65% of public employees have regained access to their computers and emails as officials continue to work to combat the effects of a ransomware attack. To find out how the city is coping with other affected areas, click here.

CHANGING CARROLL CO. GOVT: Carroll County citizens continue to explore different forms of county governance at a forum Tuesday night, Mary Grace Keller reports in the Carroll County Times. The move to charter government is being pushed by Commissioner Eric Bouchat.

MOHLER IN RETIREMENT (NOT): Don Mohler retired six months ago, but not really, writes Cody Boteler for the Catonsville Times. Mohler, 69, did some traveling after leaving office as Baltimore County’s 13th executive, and spent time with his wife, Linda, and family. And then came his communication strategies firm. And a blog. Oh, and then a podcast.