State Roundup, July 15, 2019

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HOGAN MUM ON ICE RAIDS; NO RAIDS YET: Kevin Rector of the Sun reports that Gov. Larry Hogan was silent leading into Sunday on the expected targeting this weekend of undocumented immigrants across the country and in the Baltimore region by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Michael Ricci, a spokesman for Hogan, said the Republican governor’s office “is monitoring the situation” and “staying in touch with” the Maryland State Police and local officials, but would otherwise not be commenting on the situation as of late Saturday.

  • Though President Donald Trump has for days said a “major operation” to detain or deport undocumented immigrants would begin this weekend, 32-year-old Adolfo Lazaro arrived at the Home Depot in Southeast Baltimore promptly at 6:30 a.m., looking to make a wage remodeling or painting homes. The Guatemalan father of six fled violence in his home country and presented himself at a port of entry — a legal means of entering the U.S. — in McAllen, Texas, 10 months ago with his son, seeking political asylum, Thalia Juarez and Scott Dance of the Sun report.

SPEAKER JONES TO TARGET SCHOOL FUNDING HIKE: House of Delegates Speaker Adrienne A. Jones announced Saturday morning that the first bill introduced next legislative session will be to dramatically increase funding for public school construction, Luke Broadwater of the Sun is reporting. In a speech to the Legislative Black Caucus, Jones said House Bill 1 next year will provide an increase of $2 billion in state funding for school construction over a decade.

CHRISTIAN SCHOOL SUES STATE OVER FUNDS: A private Christian school whose conservative values don’t accept same-sex marriage or transgender people says Maryland unfairly threw it out of a school voucher program because of its religious beliefs, Liz Bowie reports for the Sun. Administrators of the multimillion-dollar scholarship program counter that the state can’t allow taxpayer money to go to any institution – religious or otherwise – that discriminates against students because of their sexual orientation. The issues addressed in the school’s lawsuit are being contested nationwide, and depending on the ruling, could reach far beyond Maryland, experts said.

BLACK CAUCUS FOUNDATION CELEBRATES: Last year, the Maryland Black Caucus Foundation held its inaugural summertime unity breakfast, with a hefty legislative agenda for the General Assembly session … But no one really knew how it was going to turn out. A year later, at its second annual unity breakfast, there was plenty to celebrate, Josh Kurtz reports for Maryland Matters. Lawmakers and their allies hailed their legislative victories from the 2019 session. And even more so, they hailed the historic ascension of Del. Adrienne A. Jones (D-Baltimore County) to the position of speaker of the House of Delegates.

‘SUSPICIOUS LLCs’ CITED IN DEM COMPLAINTS: In the continuing story on the state Democratic Party alleging that the Hogan campaign violated campaign finance laws, the second complaint filed last Thursday with the state Board of Elections alleges that Hogan took contributions totaling more than $500,000 during the 2018 election cycle from a number of “suspicious LLCs,” Ovetta Wiggins of the Post reports.

OPINION: SUE PENNSYLVANIA OVER BAY: The editorial board of the Sun opines that efforts to clean up the Chesapeake Bay, the so-called “blueprint” plan that Maryland, Pennsylvania and Virginia have agreed to follow, have run into trouble. To put it simply, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency — the police officer (or perhaps probation officer) that was supposed to make sure that the three states that are the primary sources of pollution into the nation’s largest estuary were cleaning up their act as promised — is missing in action. And that’s a problem. And Pennsylvania isn’t holding up its part of the bargain. But there is something that can put Pennsylvania on track: A lawsuit.

SEN. GUZZONE ON KIRWAN: Tom Coale and Candace Dodson-Reed of Elevate Maryland interview Sen. Guy Guzzone of Howard County to discuss education and the Kirwin Commission, Democratic leadership in Annapolis and public discourse. Start at minute 13 to avoid a lengthy intro and chit-chat.

DEL. LISANTI OUT AS GREENWAY EXEC DIRECTOR: The board of directors of the Lower Susquehanna Heritage Greenway voted unanimously Thursday to appoint Brigitte Carty, longtime administrative assistant of the nonprofit organization, as executive director, replacing Del. Mary Ann Lisanti, who was censured for making a racial slur last winter, Jane Bellmyer of the Cecil Whig reports. She had served in the post since 2002.

STATE HOUSE FIRE SUPPRESSION SYSTEM TEST: Bryan Sears of the Daily Record videotaped Friday’s testing of the fire suppression system at the State House. The “action” starts around minute 3:25.

OPINION: UNDERSTANDING MEDICAL POT: In a column for the Carroll County Times, editor Bob Blubaugh opines on his changing views on the use of medical marijuana as he learns more from those who use and manufacture it, writing that “medical cannabis has been used to treat … chronic pain, nausea, Alzheimer’s disease, epilepsy, glaucoma, multiple sclerosis and mental health issues. There is not much hard science yet about its efficacy, but research tends to indicate it can reduce anxiety, reduce inflammation and even kill cancer cells.”

CRIME VICTIM COMPENSATION IN BALTIMORE: Amnesty International says the crime victim compensation programs operated in the U.S. don’t do enough to help families in need, potentially sending those in grief into a spiral of self-medication and mental distress. And families in Baltimore are especially aware of this. In Baltimore, where there have been more than 300 homicides a year each year since 2015, Danielle Gaines of Maryland Matters reports.

TEACHERS HELP CREATE CURRICULUMS: Laura Lumpkin of the Annapolis Capital writes that a school’s curriculum shapes students’ experiences in the classroom, but not everyone knows how it winds up in front of more than 82,000 students in Anne Arundel County. Classroom curriculum is an evolving educational battlefield and experts have long argued over what works best for children. But according to district leaders in Anne Arundel County, curriculum is most effective when teachers have a hand in crafting it.

HERITAGE GRANTS: The Garrett Republican is reporting that the Hogan administration announced that 109 matching grants totaling $5 million were awarded to Maryland nonprofits, local jurisdictions, and other heritage tourism organizations by the Maryland Heritage Areas Authority. These grant funds support heritage tourism projects and activities that draw visitors to and expand economic development and tourism-related job creation in Maryland’s 13 certified heritage areas.

REMEMBERING KEITH HALLER: Josh Kurtz of Maryland Matters writes that there wasn’t much Keith Haller liked better than a hot day and a trip to the old ballpark. Haller, the pollster, political strategist, community activist and co-founder of Maryland Matters who died in December at age 70, couldn’t make it to the Bethesda Big Train game at Shirley Povich Field on Saturday night, but he was there in spirit. More than 50 of Haller’s friends and compadres showed up for a pre-game picnic, then watched Haller saluted by some of his best friends and greatest admirers during a pre-game ceremony on the field.