State Roundup, June 27, 2019

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ICE ACTIONS AROUND STATE: At least three undocumented immigrants have been placed in deportation proceedings recently after contact with police in Prince George’s, a Maryland suburb that has vowed not to cooperate with federal immigration enforcement efforts and to offer a welcoming community for its estimated 80,000 undocumented residents, Arelis Hernandez of the Post reports. Confusion in the FBI database over whether someone has a criminal warrant against them has caused the problem here and elsewhere.

  • U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents were seen stopping Hispanic residents in a Columbia neighborhood Tuesday, Ethan McLeod of Baltimore Fishbowl reports. Police have confirmed ICE reached out to let the department know about enforcement activity in the area. “It was not described as a ‘raid,’” spokeswoman Sherry Llewelyn said via email, “but more specific criminal enforcement. ICE did not request HCPD assistance, nor did we offer. Howard County police were not involved in the operation in any way.”

SUPPORT FOR FALLEN JOURNALISTS MEMORIAL: Federal lawmakers – including Sen. Ben Cardin – pledged their support Wednesday for The Fallen Journalists Memorial Foundation and its efforts to build a memorial in Washington to honor slain journalists, Chase Cook reports for the Annapolis Capital.

SUPREMES’ RULING ON GERRYMANDERING EXPECTED TODAY: The U.S. Supreme Court is expected to rule today on a high-profile case alleging unconstitutional partisan gerrymandering by Democrats in Maryland’s congressional redistricting process, Luke Broadwater of the Sun reports. The court also is expected to issue an opinion on a similar case alleging gerrymandering by Republicans in North Carolina. Together, the cases give the justices an opportunity to address how far mapmakers of either party can go in pursuit of political advantage.

HOMELESSNESS DECLINES: Gov. Larry Hogan’s administration on Wednesday touted a 9.5% decrease in homelessness in Maryland in the last two years. But the numbers in the point-in-time census aren’t decreasing everywhere, Danielle Gaines of Maryland Matters reports. While the count registered decreases in the homeless populations in Montgomery and Anne Arundel counties and Baltimore City, other parts of the state saw increases, including Baltimore County and parts of Western Maryland and the Eastern Shore.

HORSE RACING PANEL IGNORED RULES ON MONETARY AWARDS: Maryland’s horse racing regulators have ignored state law while awarding nearly $22 million in public subsidies for racetrack upgrades to the private company that owns Pimlico Race Course and Laurel Park, Doug Donovan of the Sun reports. The Maryland Racing Commission today had planned to release an additional $4.4 million in subsidies for Laurel Park renovations even though the panel has not approved a capital construction plan to guide such work at the two tracks. After questions from The Sun, the chairman of the volunteer nine-member panel removed the latest reimbursement request from its agenda.

MORE CYBERSECURITY EFFORTS URGED: State and local governments may have to increase the amount of money they spend on cybersecurity efforts, according to one national expert. Bryan Sears of the Daily Record reports that cybersecurity and concerns about attacks that could paralyze government services has drawn more public attention since a May 7 ransomware attack that crippled Baltimore City government computers. A joint legislative committee of the General Assembly Wednesday met for the first of at least three hearings on the subject.

OPINION: PJM & PUSH FOR CLEAN ENERGY: In an op-ed for the Sun, former Gov. Martin O’Malley opines on Maryland’s push toward new high renewable goals and the organization that operates our electric grid and runs our region’s wholesale energy markets.”PJM Interconnection … touches the lights and wallets of over 60 million people every day here in Maryland and across the Mid-Atlantic and Ohio Valley. The wholesale markets that PJM runs across its 13-state region, and the rules and policies it sets for them, play a major role in determining the types of energy sources that provide our electric power. They also affect how much we pay on our monthly bills.”

MD PHARMACY SCHOOL TO OFFER RX POT DEGREE: The University of Maryland School of Pharmacy will offer the nation’s first graduate degree in medical cannabis, reversing a decision made two years ago to stay out of the field, Meredith Cohn of the Sun reports. Training for medical cannabis-related jobs is now dominated by little-known, unaccredited online entities, as traditional universities have shied away from training and research related to marijuana, legal in many states but still considered illegal at the federal level.

BROWN OPEN ON 2nd RUN FOR GOV: Despite his stinging loss to Republican Larry Hogan in 2014, Maryland Rep. Anthony Brown (D) is open to making another play for the governor’s mansion in 2022. “Whatever and however I can put my skills and ability to the highest use on behalf of Marylanders or my neighbors then that’s what I’ll do,” Brown, 57, told Robin Bravender of Maryland Matters in an interview in his D.C. office.

DELANEY CAMP DECLARES HE ‘SHINES:’ Like the nine other Democratic presidential candidates he shared the stage with in Miami Wednesday night, former Maryland congressman John Delaney has declared victory, writes Josh Kurtz for Maryland Matters. Delaney was in the first half of the two-day debate of Democratic White House contenders, which aired on NBC, MSNBC and Telemundo. Delaney’s campaign sent out an email at 12:20 a.m. — one hour and 20 minutes after the debate ended — with the subject line, “Delaney Shines at First DNC Debate.”

EX-CANDIDATE COLVIN JOINS MOULTON PREZ CAMPAIGN: U.S. Rep. Seth Moulton has hired Jesse Colvin, a 2018 congressional candidate who ran against U.S. Rep. Andy Harris, to serve as deputy national finance director for his presidential campaign. Colvin, whose campaign was backed by Moulton, raised over $1.8 million in his underdog campaign against incumbent Republican Andy Harris. The Democrat ending up receiving 38% of the vote in Maryland’s rural red First Congressional District, running 20 points ahead of gubernatorial nominee Ben Jealous, Ben Jacobs reports in the Jewish Insider.

JUDGE STEERS CLEAR OF RECORDS REQUEST DISPUTE: A federal judge declined Wednesday to involve herself in a records dispute between Baltimore County and plaintiffs to a lawsuit alleging the police improperly handle sexual assault investigations, Heather Cobun of the Daily Record reports. The county alleged in letters to the court earlier this year that the plaintiffs were filing Maryland Public Information Act requests as a way to obtain documents relevant to their claims before the discovery process starts in the lawsuit.

OPINION: MO CO COUNCIL SHARES BLAME: In a column for Bethesda Beat, Adam Pagnucco writes that when it comes to the terrible state of Montgomery County’s emergency communications system, other than the four freshmen on the County Council, County Executive Marc Elrich’s critics on the council share responsibility for the public safety project’s history of delays and cost hikes.  None of them get to assign blame without also accepting it.  Hence, everybody loses the blame game.

EX-STATE DEPUTY TREASURER DIES: James R. “Bob” Reigle, a retired accountant and auditor who had been deputy treasurer for the Maryland State Treasurer’s Office, died June 19 of cardiac arrest at his Towson home. He was 73, Fred Rasmussen reports for the Sun.