State Roundup, August 13, 2019

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FROSH WANTS TO BAN TYPE OF GUN USED IN OHIO KILLNGS: Maryland’s attorney general is urging lawmakers to update the state’s assault weapons ban to outlaw the type of gun used in the recent mass shooting in Dayton, Ohio, writes Pamela Wood and Ian Duncan of the Sun. “It’s a loophole in our law,” said Attorney General Brian Frosh, who as a Democratic state senator pushed for the passage of the Firearm Safety Act of 2013, which outlawed most assault weapons in Maryland.

LYNCHING COMMISSION MEETS: A Maryland commission that will research at least 40 lynchings that were committed in the state from 1854 to 1933 and make recommendations about reconciliation held its first meeting Monday in Annapolis, the AP’s Brian Witte reports. The Maryland Lynching Truth and Reconciliation Commission meeting was largely organizational, with members choosing an acting chairman and discussing future meetings.

  • Del. Joseline Peña-Melnyk (D-Prince George’s and Anne Arundel) was the chief sponsor of House Bill 307, which was passed unanimously by the General Assembly this year to create the Maryland Lynching Truth and Reconciliation Commission, writes Danielle Gaines for Maryland Matters. No person was ever tried, convicted or brought to justice for racially motivated lynchings – and state, county, and local governments colluded and conspired to conceal the identities of the parties involved, according to the bill’s preamble.

WHAT TO EXPECT AT MACo: In a preview of this week’s 2019 convention of the Maryland Association of Counties, Josh Kurtz writes that the subject is The Winds of Change.” But rather than dealing with the wind per se (though offshore wind energy continues to be a raging issue in Ocean City), the convention thematically is laying out the myriad changes government officials confront on a daily basis – particularly how technology presents new challenges and opportunities and changes the way governments serve and interact with their constituents. Still, what MACo really is is a schmoozefest.

WILL TRUMP ATTEND B’MORE RETREAT? Congressional Republicans plan to hold a retreat in September in Baltimore — after Republican President Donald Trump denigrated the city as a “disgusting, rat and rodent infested mess” and a “very dangerous & filthy place.” But the White House won’t say if Trump will attend, writes Pamela Wood for the Sun.

VAN HOLLEN SEEKS ANSWERS OVER FORT DETRICK: U.S. Sen. Chris Van Hollen wants more answers about what led to the shutdown of a high-level military laboratory at Fort Detrick, Maryland, and what needs to be done to get it back online. Van Hollen (D) sent a letter to Acting Secretary of the Army Ryan McCarthy about the matter on Friday, Danielle Gaines reports for Maryland Matters. The U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases at Fort Detrick – which handles federal select agents and toxins such as ebola and anthrax – received a cease and desist order from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in July

CARDIN ON FEDERAL ENERGY POLICY: U.S. Sen. Ben Cardin (D-Md.) called the federal government to prioritize sustainable energy policies Monday afternoon as he toured Fitzgerald Auto Mall in Gaithersburg to promote a new solar roof, Dan Schere of Bethesda Beat reports.

THREE FILE TO CHALLENGE HOYER: Maryland’s primary election is about nine months away, and congressional hopefuls have already started to file their bids against U.S. House Majority Leader Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-Md., 5th), Taylor Deville reports in the Enterprise. Despite sitting on opposite sides of the political aisle, the three first-time office seekers (two Democrats, one Republican, all people of color) said they were inspired by the historic win last year of progressive candidate Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y., 14th), the youngest woman ever elected to Congress, who unseated Democrat Joe Crowley..

DeFILIPPO: MARYLAND REP WHO CO-WROTE SOC SEC ACT: In a column for Maryland Matters, Frank DeFilippo writes that there’s an important anniversary on Aug. 15 that’s worth nearly a trillion dollars. When David J. Lewis, Republican turned Democrat, congressman from Western Maryland, co-authored the Social Security Act in 1935, he could not have foreseen how his former party, 84 years later, would belittle and bemoan the senior citizens’ lifeline to old age without poverty.

FREDERICK CHARTER PANEL MEETS: A majority of Frederick County Charter Review Commission members have identified the budget process and balance of power between the county executive and council as some key issues they could debate going forward, Steve Bohnel writes for the Frederick News-Post. The seven-member board is tasked with reviewing the 26-page charter and submitting any written recommendation on changes to the County Council by the end of February.

URBAN LEAGUE REJECTS SPYING REQUEST: Baltimore City Councilman Eric Costello called Greater Baltimore Urban League president Tiffany Majors last week to ask a favor on behalf of the Baltimore Police: Could detectives use the nonprofit’s West Side headquarters to conduct covert surveillance of suspected drug dealing in an adjacent apartment complex? Majors said she was taken aback by the proposal — and quickly shot it down, Kevin Rector of the Sun reports.

WILL ORIOLES BE MOVED TO NASHVILLE? Reliable sources say the Orioles might be headed toward the end of the Angelos era. These sources say principal owner Peter Angelos’ family has held extensive discussions about selling the team they’ve controlled for the past quarter-century. The same sources say Angelos’ sons, John and Lou, lean toward a sale. One rumor has the family retaining ownership but the club moving to Nashville, where John Angelos and his wife have one of their homes. That rumor takes on legitimacy mainly because of sinking attendance at Oriole Park, Michael Olesker writes in the Baltimore Post-Examiner.