State Roundup, September 11, 2019

Print More

HBCUs MAKE SETTLEMENT OFFER: A coalition advocating for Maryland’s four historically black universities sent a letter to elected officials Tuesday offering to settle its 13-year-old lawsuit against the state for $577 million — more than five times the governor’s last public offer, Talia Richman of the Sun reports.

HOGAN PLEDGES $21M FOR B’MORE CRIME FIGHT: Gov. Larry Hogan on Tuesday pledged $21 million to help fight crime in Baltimore and endorsed the use of a controversial surveillance plane to fly over the city recording the movements of people and vehicles below, Luke Broadwater of the Sun reports.

BUSINESSES PONY UP FOR MILLER LEADERSHIP INSTITUTE: The College of Southern Maryland has launched a fundraising campaign to establish a leadership institute it plans to name in honor of a long-serving Maryland politician with deep ties to the region. Several entities with business before state government are ponying up to make the project a reality, reports Bruce DePuyt for Maryland Matters.

RX POT REGULATORS SEEK DATA ON VAPING ILLNESS: Maryland medical cannabis regulators are ordering medical cannabis licensees to report any incidents of illnesses connected to the use of e-cigarette products as federal health officials continue to investigate widespread reports of health concerns related to vaping, Bryan Sears reports in the Daily Record. The requirement was part of an alert sent to patients, medical providers and license holders late last month.

STATE GETS FED GRANT FOR STURGEON STUDY: A Maryland agency has been awarded more than $700,000 in federal funding to study and monitor the endangered Atlantic sturgeon, according to the AP. The Maryland Department of Natural Resources says the money will be used over three years to continue the department’s tagging and tracking of fall spawning Atlantic sturgeon in the Nanticoke River and Marshyhope Creek.

STATE POLICE MOVE GUN PERMITTING ONLINE: The Garrett Republican is reporting that as part of ongoing efforts to improve customer service, the Maryland State Police announced that the application process for a Maryland Wear and Carry handgun permit will be transitioned from a hand-written paper application to the online Licensing Portal.

U.S. HOUSE GOP WANTS DEEPER PROBE INTO METRO’s EVANS: House Republicans are pressing for a deeper investigation of D.C. Council member Jack Evans’s “ethically compromised” behavior when he was Metro board chairman, including whether he and an ally tried to obstruct the inquiry that led to his resignation from the panel, Robert McCartney reports in the Post.

PUSH ON FOR GUN SAFETY LEGISLATION: The U.S. House Judiciary Committee advanced three gun safety bills late Tuesday despite unified Republican opposition. Robin Bravender of Maryland Matters writes that Maryland Rep. Jamie Raskin joined fellow Democrats in support of all three bills. He accused his GOP colleagues of using “absurd rhetoric” to argue that “when you have reasonable common-sense gun safety regulation to keep people from getting guns who shouldn’t have them, like felons and fugitives and unstable people that somehow we’re violating the Second Amendment.” He implored the GOP: “Let’s get together across party lines. This is for the American people.”

TRUMP VISIT COULD DISRUPT TRAFFIC: President Donald Trump is coming to Baltimore on Thursday, and he might mess up your evening commute, writes Pamela Wood for the Sun. The White House and city officials have not released any information about the exact timing of Trump’s visit, or which roads might be affected.

CODE RED PART III: THE TREE BRIGADE: Kwamel Couther stands on the front lines of a campaign to bring thousands of cooling shade trees to some of the hottest streets in Baltimore. City trees are especially vulnerable in the first two years of life, requiring about 20 gallons of water per week to stay alive. Couther, who supervises a tree maintenance team for a Baltimore tree nonprofit, intervenes in case the clouds fail to provide, Roxanne Ready, Theresa Diffendal, Bryan Gallion and Sean Mussenden of Capital News service report.

BA CO CONSIDER RAISING SMOKING AGE: Baltimore County is looking to raise the legal age to buy cigarettes or any other tobacco product from 18 to 21. Legislation being proposed by County Executive Johnny Olszewski also would ban the sale of e-cigarette devices to anyone in Baltimore County under the age of 21, John Lee of WYPR-FM reports.

WILL BLAINE YOUNG RUN? In his A Miner Detail blog, Ryan Miner notes that former Frederick County Commissioner Blaine R. Young could be setting the stage for a political comeback, after having recently written a letter to the editor of the Frederick News Post in which he “declares ‘It’s time to clean up our great city before it gets out of hand.’ … It has long been rumored that Young, a Republican, is mounting a political comeback in Frederick. Sources close to Young say the former commissioner may be eyeing a 2021 Republican challenge to incumbent Frederick City Mayor Michael O’Connor.”

HARFORD SHERIFF SEEKS PAYMENT AT ‘CAMPAIGN’ EVENT: Harford County Sheriff Jeffrey Gahler has asked County Councilman Andre Johnson to repay the cost to provide a mobile drug abuse education tool at what the sheriff said was a campaign event and an inappropriate use of taxpayer money. Johnson’s lawyer, James Sweeting, said it’s “all a misunderstanding” and the event was held to benefit the community and the Boys & Girls Club of Edgewood, Erika Butler of the Aegis reports.