State Roundup August 30, 2019

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HOGAN ALARMED ABOUT PA BAY PLAN: Gov. Larry Hogan wrote in a letter to Pennsylvania’s governor that the Keystone State’s plan to reduce pollution flowing into the Chesapeake Bay presents “alarming concerns,” reports Bryan Sears for the Daily Record.

  • Concerns about pollution were heightened last year in Maryland, after heavy rains washed a large amount of debris including trees, tires and garbage into the state from upstream, reports the AP’s Brian Witte.
  • Pennsylvania administration spokesman J.J. Abbott responded that the state has made great strides, reports Josh Kurtz in Maryland Matters with contribution from John L. Micek of the Pennsylvania Capital-Star. “Unlike Maryland, Pennsylvania doesn’t generate millions of dollars from tourism on the Chesapeake Bay and can’t use those resources, at the moment, to improve water quality,” Abbott said.
  • Hogan wrote that Pennsylvania’s plans “fall short” of the federally established nitrogen levels, achieving just 73% of the required reduction, reports Kate Ryan for WTOP.

22 STATES REPORTING VAPING ILLNESS: Maryland health officials identified five individuals who have developed severe lung illness after using e-cigarettes, reports Laurel Demkovich for the Washington Post. The cause of the illness is not yet known and it has not been linked to any particular device or brand, according to Maryland health officials.

TEEN CONVICTION ON CHILD PORN LAW UPHELD: Maryland’s child pornography laws apply when the child is both the subject and sender of sexually explicit material, the state’s highest court ruled Wednesday, according to Ann Marimow for the Post. The case tested how to treat teenagers who voluntarily self-produce and share their own images, but the court ruled state lawmakers did not include exceptions in the law for consensual sex or self-produced child pornography.

CHANGES TO EDUCATION FUNDING DECISIONS CONSIDERED: A workgroup is examining whether the state should create an index to compare the relative condition of school buildings throughout the state– from electrical hazards and asbestos threats to overcrowding and missing playground equipment, reports Danielle Gaines in Maryland Matters.

  • In Maryland, school construction funding has been allocated using locally-determined priorities and needs, reports Drew Jabin with more details at the Maryland Association of Counties Conduit Street blog.

BAY BRIDGE REACTION:Broadneck, Kent Island residents feel trapped as the state weighs a third Bay Bridge, reports Rachel Pacella for the Annapolis Capital.

CARROLL SETTLING MEETING PRAYER CASE: Not willing to risk more taxpayer dollars, Carroll County’s Board of Commissioners unanimously voted Thursday to settle a lawsuit to not lead prayers in their meetings, reports Mary Grace Keller in the Carroll County Times. The decision to settle comes after citizens told them doing so would cost them their First Amendment rights and the respect of Republican voters.

STATEWIDE BALLOON RELEASE BAN PROPOSED: State Sen. Clarence Lam said he plans to sponsor legislation banning the intentional release of balloons statewide when the Maryland General Assembly reconvenes in January, reports Bryan Sears for The Daily Record. The bill modeled after a Queen Anne’s County law that passed earlier this week.

GOTTLIEB TO RUN FOR HOUSE OF DELEGATES: Cheryl Gottlieb, a health care and disability rights activist, said Thursday she will apply for a House of Delegates seat in Baltimore County’s District 42A, which will soon be vacated by Del. Steve Lafferty, reports Josh Kurtz for Maryland Matters.

BMORE TEACHERS GET FANS: Portable fans are being delivered to teachers in the hottest Baltimore City school buildings that are without air conditioning, reports Tim Tooten on WBAL TV. The Baltimore Teachers Union has collected more than $7,000 to buy those fans.

TRONE MEETS IN GARRETT: U.S. Rep. David Trone wants to connect federal, state and local governments, reports Renée Shreve for The Garrett County Republican. Trone met with the Garrett County commissioners Friday morning to “listen and learn” about ways the federal government can assist local officials, including broadband internet, highway projects and reauthorizing the Appalachian Regional Commission.

OPIOID FIGHT GRANTS: Gov. Larry Hogan announced grants that total $10 million to fight the heroin and opioid epidemic in Maryland in fiscal year 2020, reports Denise Koch at WJZ. The grants are a part of a $50 million, 5-year initiative from Hogan’s administration to combat the drug epidemic across the state.

NEW BUS ROUTE TO GUINNESS BREWERY: Baltimore beer enthusiasts headed for a pint at the Guinness Open Gate Brewery will soon be able to hop on a bus to get there, reports Amanda Yeager for the Baltimore Business Journal. The Maryland Department of Transportation Maryland Transit Administration announced this week that it will launch a bus connecting the brewery to downtown Baltimore on Sept. 1.

BMORE GAG ORDER CASE: Baltimore city’s Young administration won’t ask the Supreme Court to review an appeals court ruling that Baltimore’s non-disparagement agreements in police misconduct settlements are unconstitutional, reports Mark Reutter for Baltimore Brew.