State Roundup, September 24, 2019

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BSO, MUSICIANS END LABOR DISPUTE: Mary Carole McCauley and Christina Tkacik of the Sun report that trumpet fanfare Monday afternoon broke a 14-week silence at Meyerhoff Symphony Hall. The performance by two Baltimore Symphony Orchestra musicians began a news conference to announce an end to the bitter labor dispute that had locked musicians out of the performance space. “To have music back on this stage is a real thrill,” said Barbara Bozzuto, chair of the BSO’s board of directors.

JUDGES TOSSES SUIT CHALLENGING CONVERSION THERAPY BAN: A federal judge has thrown out a psychotherapist’s lawsuit challenging Maryland’s ban on treating minors with conversion therapy, the practice of trying to change a client’s homosexual orientation, Michael Kunzelman of the AP reports. U.S. District Judge Deborah Chasanow’s ruling on Friday rejected Christopher Doyle’s claims that the state law violates his First Amendment rights to free speech and religious freedom.

WA CO LEADERS DOUBT LOCALS FOR TAX HIKES FOR SCHOOLS: Contrary to the results of a new statewide poll, many of Washington County’s elected leaders do not believe local residents would embrace tax increases in the name of efforts to improve public education. According to poll results released Monday by Goucher College in Towson, 74% of state residents said they were willing to pay more in taxes to improve public education and 26% were opposed. Of the 763 people polled, only 8% were from Western Maryland, which includes Washington, Allegany, Garrett and Frederick counties, Alexis Fitzpatrick reports for the Hagerstown Herald-Mail.

POLL: HUMANS CAUSE CLIMATE CHANGE: A growing majority of Marylanders understands human activity is driving climate change, according to a new poll. Pamela Wood of the Sun reports that the latest Goucher College Poll asked Maryland residents to describe their views of climate change, with 69% agreeing with the statement: “Climate change is caused mostly by human activity.”

POLL: FEW MARYLANDERS LIKE TRUMP JOB PERFORMANCE: Marylanders have a more favorable view of socialism than of President Trump’s job performance, according to polling data from Goucher College. About 27% of those reached by the most recent Goucher Poll approved of Trump’s job as president, Danielle Gaines writes for Maryland Matters. Thirty-one percent said they have a generally favorable view of socialism. A larger group – 53% of those polled – view capitalism favorably. A heap of people and groups registered more highly than Trump in the poll, which was conducted Sept. 13-18 and reached 763 Maryland adults.

MO CO TRANSIT PLANS IN DOUBT: The future of the Corridor Cities Transitway is in doubt after the Maryland Department of Transportation removed the project from its latest list of priorities, Kate Masters of Bethesda Beat reports. The most recent Consolidated Transportation Plan, a detailed agenda for statewide transit projects, states that the CCT has been removed from the development and evaluation phase.

2 COLLEGES HAVE HIGH VOTER PARTICIPATION RATES: Baltimore County’s two public, four-year colleges have higher-than-average voter participation, according to a report from the National Study of Learning, Voting and Environment. Cody Boteler of the Baltimore Sun Media Group writes that, at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, 49.2% of eligible students cast a ballot in the 2018 midterm election; at Towson University, that number was 42.2%. The average, according to the study, was 39.1% participation. NSLVE is a free and voluntary resource for more than 1,000 college campuses that examines student and institution-level data on student voting.

FREDERICK GETS U.S. GRANT FOR FIREFIGHTERS: Frederick County will receive about $5.5 million in federal grant money to hire 38 new firefighters, according to a county press release issued Friday. The funds come in the form of a Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response grant from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. The grant will fund 75% of the salaries and benefits for all 38 firefighters for the first two years of their employment and approximately 35% of those costs during the third year, the release states, Jeremy Arias and Steve Bohnel of the Frederick News Post report.

HOWARD SCHOOL DESEGREGATION: The Howard County Council and Board of Education met Monday to discuss a variety of topics, including the ongoing redistricting process and the school system’s impending capital budget. In January, the school board voted to direct schools Superintendent Michael Martirano to begin a comprehensive redistricting process, writes Jess Nocera for the Howard County Times.

OPINION: MORE IMPORTANT ISSUES FOR OUR CHILDREN: As Howard County works toward plans to make its schools more integrated, MarylandReporter is accepting opinion columns on the issue. Child and adolescent and forensic psychiatrist Dr. Shobhit Negi writes “the … plan is a shortcut approach to a larger issue that our society faces.  It is analogous to applying a Band-Aid over a wound while letting it bleed internally.  My concerns related to the biological and psychological ramifications associated with implementation of the superintendent’s recommendation.” These include sleep deprivation in teens and the mental health issues that young people face.

PG TRASH INITIATIVE TARGETS ROAD-SIDE SIGNS: Officials in Prince George’s County on Monday launched a two-day litter blitz aimed at removing 5,000 illegal signs along its roads and medians, Rachel Chason of the Post writes. The initiative, led by the county’s Department of Permitting, Inspections and Enforcement, is part of County Executive Angela Alsobrooks’s “beautification initiative,” which includes cracking down on illegal dumping and improving the collection of bulk trash.

CITY COULD REQUIRE BIENNIAL CRIME PLAN: With violence spiking in Baltimore, City Council President Brandon Scott proposed legislation Monday requiring the Mayor’s Office on Criminal Justice to create and update a comprehensive crime plan every two year, Luke Broadwater of the Sun is reporting.