State Roundup October 4, 2019

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STRICTER RULES FOR VAPING: Maryland’s Secretary of Health on Thursday issued a clinical reporting order to healthcare providers amid 23 active state cases of lung injuries associated with vaping, reports the staff of WMAR. In his order Neall says telephonic or written morbidity reports must be submitted within one working day, to the local health department where the patient is being treated.

ANALYSIS: THIRD BRIDGE MEETS ANNE ARUNDEL OBJECTIONS:The cries of outrage and opposition by Anne Arundel officials of both parties were predictable when the Maryland Transportation Authority announced in August that it had narrowed it choices for a third Chesapeake Bay bridge, writes MarylandReporter.com editor Len Lazarick in The Business Monthly. A decision to locate a third bridge won’t be made till at least next year and finding the billions to actually build it seems even further off.

CASHLESS TOLLING ON BAY BRIDGE DEBATED: While temporary cashless tolling will help move traffic across the Bay Bridge during long-term construction work, consumer advocates and lawmakers have concerns about going cashless, reports Danielle Gaines for Maryland Matters.

  • Anne Arundel County Executive Steuart Pittman called the Maryland Transportation Authority’s decision to institute cashless tolling through the duration of the bridge project a good step for the short-term, reports Michelle Basch for WTOP. But he is calling for more infrastructure changes to support electronic tolling and keep traffic moving.

EXONOREE GETS SOME HELP: Hubert James Williams, one of five wrongfully convicted Maryland men seeking compensation from the state for his time in prison, will be transferred to a substance abuse treatment program Friday, reports Rachel Chason in the Post.

HOGAN TEARS DOWN CORRECTIONAL COMPLEX, LITERALLY: Gov. Larry Hogan kicked off a $27.5 million demolition of 39 buildings at the Baltimore City Correctional Complex on Thursday by doing the some of the work himself, reports Holden Wilen in the Baltimore Business Journal. Hogan took the controls of one of the machines and started tearing down one of the buildings at the complex where he shut down the Baltimore City Detention Center for “deplorable conditions.”

BRIDGES OF ALLEGANY COUNTY: Three bridges on the west side of Cumberland were a point of emphasis for Allegany officials and workers present at a meeting with state transportation officials, reports Brandon Glass in the Cumberland Times-News. The process of getting federal funding for those projects has been arduous and “broken,” they said.

AIR CONDITIONING DEBATE HEATS UP: Gov. Larry Hogan fired back Thursday on Baltimore County school air conditioning and said that the state already provided $30 million for fixing air conditioning issues, reports Stetson Miller on WJZ. County Executive Johnny Olszewski had called for the state to release $127 million in state construction funding.

OFFSHORE WIND CONNECTION AT FENWICK: Delaware environmental officials may soon lease public parkland to an offshore wind energy company in exchange for millions of dollars in new amenities at Delaware’s southernmost beach, reports Maddy Lauria in the Delaware News Journal. The Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control has signed an initial memorandum of understanding with offshore wind company Ørsted to discuss leasing up to 1.5 acres in Fenwick Island State Park to connect off-shore windpower to the electrical grid and power homes on Maryland’s Eastern Shore.

MORE SPARRING ON BALT CITY CRIME: Gov. Larry Hogan denied Baltimore City State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby’s recent comments that her office tried to contact his in recent months, Tyler Waldman reports on WMAR. Mosby said last month her office had worked for months to contact Hogan’s office before the governor directed Attorney General Brian Frosh to prosecute violent crime in Baltimore, but Hogan said Thursday they had not.

HEMP GROWING BEGINS AGAIN: Farmers in Maryland are once again growing hemp, a crop outlawed for decades in the United States because of its close genetic relationship with marijuana, reports George Berkheimer in The Business Monthly.

TOURISM IN RURAL DEEP CREEK LAKE AREA: A Maryland Department of Commerce official commended efforts to promote tourism in Garrett County during a visit, reports Renée Shreve in the Garrett County Republican. Deputy Secretary Benjamin Wu praised the region’s promotion of “autumn glory” to draw people to the rural parts of the state at the Garrett County Chamber of Commerce Business Before Hours in McHenry.

HOGAN TAKES STEPS TO PROMOTE CENSUS: Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan’s administration will unveil plans Tuesday for how to spend $900,000 for promoting next year’s U.S. census, reports Pamela Wood for the Sun. The plans come as Democratic lawmakers have been pushing the Republican governor to come up with a plan for the money.

CITY COUNCIL PREZ RUN: Democratic Del. Nick Mosby said Thursday that he is seriously considering a run for Baltimore City Council president, reports Luke Broadwater for the Sun. A former city councilman and electrical engineer (and husband of the state’s attorney), Mosby, 40, said he’s ruled out running for mayor, but thinks he’s best positioned now to seek the top spot on the all-Democratic council.

DANIELLE HORNBERGER RUNS FOR CECIL EXEC: Danielle Hornberger made it official Thursday and announced that she is running for Cecil County executive. An aide to Congressman Andy Harris and wife of Del. Kevin Hornberger, Danielle Hornberger described herself as a fiscal conservative in a press release. “It’s time to put a stop to the tax hikes that we have been hit with over the past few years,” she said. The Cecil Whig story is unfortunately behind its strict paywall.