State Roundup, August 1, 2019

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MD HEALTH PANEL SCRAMBLES IN CASE ACA STRUCK DOWN: A Texas legal challenge to the Affordable Care Act could have a significant impact on Maryland consumers, the companies that provide health coverage here and the state as a whole, members of a legislative workgroup said on Wednesday. Bruce DePuyt of Maryland Matters reports that the panel met in Annapolis to begin working through the issues that would arise if the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit overturns the ACA. The group plans to meet at least monthly between now and January, and members expect to provide a report to the General Assembly by the end of the year, in time for next year’s legislative session.

HBCU ADVOCATES DISAPPOINTED AS MEDIATION FAILS AGAIN: Court-ordered mediation in a case that’s pitted supporters of historically black colleges against the state of Maryland for 13 years has ended without resolution once again. Talia Richman of the Sun writes. “We’re disappointed that this mediation failed,” said Michael Jones, who represents the HBCU advocates. “The plaintiffs are hopeful this case can be resolved as soon as possible, since justice delayed is justice denied.”

DISABILITY, LGBT RIGHTS CURRICULA URGED: A group of state lawmakers wants Maryland’s superintendent of schools to update social studies curricula to include lessons on the disability rights and LGBT rights movements. Del. Eric G. Luedtke (D-Montgomery) organized the letter, which was signed by 34 other delegates and 13 senators, Danielle Gaines reports for Maryland Matters. The move comes as several other states have passed laws to include curriculum focused on LGBT Americans and other groups that were historically underrepresented in lesson plans.

COURT ORDERS DEL. JALISI TO BE SERVED BY MAIL: A Baltimore County District Court judge has ordered Del. Hasan “Jay” Jalisi to be served via mail after lawyers for the two-term Democrat’s former employee said he was avoiding their servers. District Court Judge Marsha Russell authorized Jalisi to be served by mail and email after attorneys for Brian Agandi, a former legislative aide to Jalisi, said the delegate was “willfully evading” attempts to serve him in their lawsuit, Bryan Sears of the Daily Record reports.

ACLU FILES OPEN MEETINGS COMPLAINT AGAINST FREDERICK SHERIFF: The ACLU of Maryland and RISE Coalition of Western Maryland filed a Maryland Open Meetings Act complaint last week arguing that Sheriff Chuck Jenkins (R) and his office should hold annual public meetings related to the county’s 287(g) program. Those familiar with state open meetings laws, however, question whether the sheriff’s office is subject to any requirement to conduct public meetings, Steve Bohnel of the Frederick News Post reports.

HUD’s CARSON DEFENDS TRUMP ON BALTIMORE: Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson came to Baltimore Wednesday to defend President Trump’s harsh depiction of the city, saying, “There are problems in Baltimore, and you can’t sweep them under the rug.” Ovetta Wiggins of the Post reports the story.

A SPIN AROUND CUMMINGS’ BALTIMORE: Paul Schwartzman of the Post takes a spin around U.S. Elijah Cummings’ district and writes that the 237-year-old Lexington Market is a staple of Willie Cox’s life, a place where he revels in the diversity and hustle of his Baltimore, one that he says does not resemble President Trump’s dystopian rendition — a filthy “hell” where “No human being would want to live.” “That’s not my Baltimore,” said Cox, 75, a retired sanitation worker who has lived in the city his entire life. “They got rats in the White House. Before you talk about Baltimore, go clean up your own damn house.”

OPINION: DUMB STUFF PEOPLE SAID: The editorial board for the Sun returns with another editorial this time blasting the dumb things people have said in defense of Donald Trump‘s tweet tirade against Baltimore.

COMEDIANS GET IN ON THE ACT: The Sun’s Chris Kaltenbach looks at how TV’s night hosts address the Trump-Baltimore feud. For Seth Meyers, President Trump’s tweets about Baltimore brought to mind the Batman villain, Bane, while Stephen Colbert featured them in an episode of the continuing series, “Is Donald Trump Racist?” and Jimmy Kimmel suggested the president may be watching “The Wire” too much.

CUMMINGS NEWSLETTER MUM ON TRUMP: As President Donald Trump continued his dayslong Twitter bombardment of U.S. Rep. Elijah Cummings, the Baltimore Democrat issued his monthly district newsletter Wednesday with advice for coping with the summer heat — but no mention of the president, Jeff Barker of the Sun reports.

HOUSE GOP TO ATTEND RETREAT IN BALTIMORE: House Republicans have scheduled their yearly policy retreat for a downtown Baltimore hotel in September, according to two senior Republicans familiar with the plans. That could present an uncomfortable situation for Trump, as sitting presidents customarily speak each year at their party’s House retreat, Mike DeBonis and Paul Kane of the Post report.

PRES DEBATERS CALL OUT TRUMP OVER B’MORE TWEETS: For the second night in a row, Democratic presidential candidates used a nationally televised debate to call out President Donald Trump for his tweets critical of conditions in Baltimore and of elected leaders’ handling of the city’s problems, Jeff Barker of the Sun reports.

TRUMP TAPS K. EHRLICH FOR DRUG POST: The White House announced Wednesday that President Trump intends to appoint former Maryland first lady Kendel Ehrlich to the post of deputy director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy, Clarence Williams of the Post reports. The appointment would promote Ehrlich from the role of associate director of external affairs, according to a statement.

ARUNDEL SEEKS TO PROTECT BOGS: Rachael Pacella of the Annapolis Capital writes that Anne Arundel County Environmental Policy Director Matt Johnston wants to identify bogs within the county as the administration prepares to craft a plan for land use for the next 20 years. “We need to keep finding the bogs, mapping our natural resources and protecting them,” he said.

CITY COUNCIL PRES PROPOSES GIVING VOTE TO 16-YEAR-OLDS: The president of Baltimore’s City Council announced a list of more than two dozen planned bills and priorities for the rest of 2019 and all of 2020, steps he said can help the city turn itself around by prioritizing young people, enforcing equity in policymaking, fighting crime collaboratively and holding officials more accountable. Among his most eye-catching proposals are plans to lower the voting age for city elections to 16 and trim the number of spots on Baltimore’s powerful spending board from five to three, Ethan McLeod of Baltimore Fishbowl reports.

MATHIAS DeVITO, FORMER ROUSE PRESIDENT, DIES AT 88: Mathias J. DeVito, a former Rouse Company president who restored financial stability to the developer of Columbia, died of kidney failure July 24 at Greater Baltimore Medical Center, Jacques Kelly reports in the Sun. The Ruxton resident was 88.