State Roundup, September 25, 2019

Print More

MD HOUSE MEMBERS FOR IMPEACHMENT PROBE: Where do members of Maryland’s U.S. House delegation stand on Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s decision to begin an impeachment investigation into Republican President Donald Trump over allegations he misused his office to pressure the president of Ukraine to investigate the family of Democratic political rival Joe Biden? Colin Campbell of the Sun surveys the delegation to find out.

CUMMINGS DEMANDS UKRAINE DOCUMENTS: U.S. House Oversight and Reform Committee Chairman Elijah E. Cummings (D-Md.) is demanding that the White House hand over documents pertaining to reports that President Trump pressed Ukraine to pursue an investigation that could influence the 2020 U.S. presidential election, Robin Bravender of Maryland Matters reports.

BIDEN, WARREN LEAD IN MD POLL: Former Vice President Joe Biden leads the Democratic primary race in Maryland, followed by U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, according to a new poll from Goucher College. In a survey, 33% of likely Democratic primary voters said they support Biden in the April 28 contest, while 21% said they prefer the senator from Massachusetts. About 10% said they would vote for U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, 6% for U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris of California, and 5% for Mayor Pete Buttigieg of South Bend, Indiana.

SENATE PANEL BOOSTS BAY PROGRAMS FUNDING: A U.S. Senate panel voted today to boost funding for federal Chesapeake Bay programs next year – a reversal from the Trump administration’s effort to slash the program, Allison Winter of Maryland Matters writes. The Senate Appropriations subcommittee that oversees spending for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency approved $76 million for the Chesapeake Bay Program for 2020. The committee’s proposal is a bump-up over current spending levels and would be the first funding boost for the program in five years.

PANEL FRETS OVER STATE CENSUS PUSH: Is the state doing enough to spread the word about the Census and ensuring that every last Maryland family participates in next spring’s count? During its past two meetings, members of the 2020 Maryland Complete Count Committee, who were appointed by Gov. Larry Hogan with an assist from legislative leaders, have pressed state Planning Secretary Rob McCord about the state’s plans for publicizing the Census, which is taking place on April 1, Josh Kurtz writes for Maryland Matters.

MPPI: RESIDENTS LEERY OF ED SPENDING: The Maryland Public Policy Institute recalls a March 2018 survey it commissioned of 600 likely voters to conclude that the public remains leery of new government spending on education even as a Kirwan Commission workgroup meets behind closed doors to raise government spending on education. That survey found that a majority of Democrats, Republicans, and independents prefer re-allocating existing state budgets to reward high-performing teachers rather than increasing the education budget.

DELEGATE PROPOSES ADDITION TO HATE CRIME LAW: A Frederick County state delegate has proposed a change to the state’s hate crime law after an assault at the Great Frederick Fair resulted in the death of a Mount Airy man last week, Steve Bohnel of the Frederick News-Post reports. Del. Dan Cox (R-District 4) introduced a bill Tuesday, the John Weed Dignity Act, that would add “dignity of the human body” along with harassment and destruction of property to a list of acts that fall under the hate crime statute.

MDOT TOUTS SEAT BELT USE: Touting the theme, “Seat Belts Look Good on You,” officials with the Maryland Department of Transportation have announced results of the statewide 2019 Roadside Observation Seat Belt Survey, showing that seat belt usage increased slightly, from 90.3% in 2018 to 90.4% this year, according to the Garrett County Republican.

BIDEN STUCK IN TRAFFIC, PHONES IN CHAT WITH DONORS: Jeff Barker of the Sun reports that Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden told Baltimore County campaign donors by phone that President Donald Trump can’t “get away with shredding the United States Constitution” and that Trump has singled out the former vice president for attacks because Biden leads the Republican in head-to-head polls. Biden canceled his appearance Tuesday night at a Pikesville fundraiser after his route along Interstate 95 from Delaware was shut down because of a collision. He called into the event instead.

B’MORE LAWSUIT AGAINST TRUMP POLICIES OK’d TO MOVE FORWARD: A federal judge ruled last week that Baltimore’s lawsuit against the Trump administration’s immigration policies can move forward, keeping alive the city’s attempt to prove the president’s “racial animus” played a role in how those rules were crafted, Talia Richman of the Sun reports.

BALL SPENT $3,700 ON TAGGED SWAG: Since taking office last year, Howard Executive Calvin Ball has spent more than $3,700 of public money on a variety of knickknacks – including $693 on 100 commemorative coins – that are branded with his name, records provided by the county government show, Erin Logan of the Howard County Times reports.

HOWARD RESIDENTS PREFER SCHOOL STABILITY: Jess Nocera of the Howard County Times writes that 81 residents, including quite a number of students, testified during a Howard County School Board hearing on redistricting plans to solve overcrowding and promote desegregation within the district. One sophomore said, the proposal “moves an absolutely ridiculous amount of students” from his school. Most who testified want their communities to stay together.

BA CO ED STAFF PROPOSE PRE-LABOR DAY START: Staff from the Baltimore County Public Schools system proposed on Tuesday a school calendar for the 2020-2021 school year that starts before Labor Day, Cody Boteler of the Sun reports. Under the proposal, the first day of school would be Aug. 31. Labor Day is on Sept. 7 in 2020. The late date of the holiday is what led school staff to urge a start date before Labor Day, said George Duque of BCPS division of human resources.