State Roundup, October 21, 2019

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REP. CUMMINGS TO LIE IN STATE; SERVICES PLANNED: The body of U.S. Rep. Elijah Cummings, the Baltimore Democrat and committee chairman, will lie in state next week in National Statuary Hall at the U.S. Capitol, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced. A formal ceremony for members of Congress and Cummings’ family and guests will be held Thursday morning in the hall, the speaker’s office said. A public viewing will follow. The event will take place the day before Cummings’ funeral in Baltimore, Jeff Barker and Jonathan Pitts of the Sun report.

WHO WILL REPLACE CUMMINGS? With the death Thursday of Democrat U.S. Rep. Elijah Cummings ? a venerated figure who mentored a younger generation of public servants ? many lawmakers, even while mourning, facing a tough decision. Who will replace him? Should they defer to Cummings’ wife, Maya Rockeymoore Cummings, who many believe would be a logical successor? Or should they run for the office themselves? Luke Broadwater of the Sun writes that story.

CUMMINGS HAD $1M IN CAMPAIGN ACCOUNT: The late U.S. Rep. Elijah E. Cummings had more than $1 million in his political bank account at the time of his death, according to newly released campaign finance records. Josh Kurtz of Maryland Matters reports that including Cummings, seven of Maryland’s eight incumbents in the House of Representatives reported at least $883,000 in their campaign accounts as of Sept. 30. The one exception was freshman Rep. David J. Trone (D) – a multimillionaire who has largely self-funded his political campaigns so far.

CITY COURTHOUSE MAY BE NAMED FOR CUMMINGS: Mayor Jack Young said Friday he will move to name the Courthouse East building in downtown Baltimore after the late U.S. Rep. Elijah E. Cummings. Under legislation Young intends to file as quickly as possible with the City Council, the city-controlled building at the northeast corner of Calvert and Fayette streets would become known as Elijah E. Cummings Courthouse, Luke Broadwater of the Sun reports.

LAST OFFICIAL ACTS: SIGN SUBPOENAS: In one of his last official acts before his death, the late House Oversight and Reform Committee Chairman Elijah Cummings signed two subpoenas for documents related to a temporary end to a policy change that allowed some immigrants with severe health issues to remain in the US. Priscilla Alvarez and Geneva Sand of CNN report that hours before his death, staffers drove the subpoenas to Baltimore for Cummings’ signature, said a Democratic committee aide. “Chairman Cummings felt so strongly about the children, that he was going to fight until the end,” said the aide.

OPINION: PELOSI CALLS CUMMINGS ‘NORTH STAR:’ In a column for the Washington Post, House Speaker and Baltimore native Nancy Pelosi opines that in the House, Elijah (Cummings) was our North Star. He was a leader of towering character and integrity, who pushed the Congress and country always to rise to a higher purpose, reminding us why we are here. As he said whenever he saw that we were not living up to our Founders’ vision for America and meeting the needs of our children for the future: “We are better than this.”

OPINION: A GREAT LOSS: Josh Kurtz of Maryland Matters opines that “Simply put, Cummings was a political leader like no other, whose work had a depth and sweep uncommon in today’s fast-moving, superficial and angry political universe. Cummings was a national leader, thrust into the middle of some of America’s most emotional and politically toxic debates. But he was also a local leader, known and beloved in every corner of his diverse district – as passionate about helping a young inner-city child as he was about doing battle with the president of the United States.”

CUMMINGS SIBLINGS REFLECT: Talia Richman of the Sun talks to Cummings’ siblings, writing that decades before his booming voice echoed through Congress, Elijah Cummings would lay on the bed he shared with his younger brother in their South Baltimore rowhome and whisper stories. Together, the elder Cummings told the younger, the boys would slay dragons. As he grew older, Elijah stopped dreaming of make-believe monsters and heroes and started preaching about making a better America.

POST-LABOR DAY SCHOOL START CONUNDRUM: John Lee of WYPR-FM reports that the General Assembly earlier this year tossed out Gov. Larry Hogan’s 2016 executive order forcing school systems to wait until after Labor Day to start classes. School systems in Maryland now are considering taking advantage of that because they are facing a looming calendar crunch. Labor Day next year comes at its latest possible date, Sept. 7, so that a late start would mean schools could still be in session in late June 2021.

QUEEN ANNE’S LEADERS CONTINUE BRIDGE PRESSURE: Queen Anne’s County leaders want Maryland transportation officials to close the ramps on Route 50 to all but local traffic as congestion caused by Bay Bridge construction worsens for residents on Kent Island, Naomi Harris reports for the Annapolis Capital. Commissioner James Moran said he and other county leaders proposed last year that state officials close specific ramps on Route 50 to discourage people returning from beach vacations from driving off Route 50 and clogging up Route 18 and other roads used primarily for local traffic.

POLL: HOGAN COULD LEAD VAN HOLLEN: Gov. Larry Hogan’s popularity has dipped from record-high territory, but residents still overwhelmingly approve of his performance — so much so they favored him over a well-established Democratic senator in a hypothetical matchup, a Washington Post-University of Maryland poll finds. The strength of his political capital is borne out in a hypothetical 2022 matchup against Sen. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), the poll finds. Were they running against each other in a U.S. Senate race held today, Hogan would hold a lead over Van Hollen, who was elected to the Senate in 2016, Erin Cox, Rachel Chason and Scott Clement of the Post report.

POLL: 51% OF MARYLANDERS FOR D.C. STATEHOOD: The Post-UM poll also finds that more Maryland residents favor than oppose statehood for the District, in contrast with national surveys showing that most Americans are against making the city the 51st state, Robert McCartney and Scott Clement of the Post report. The survey also shows that Marylanders widely oppose making the District a new county in Maryland, a proposal often offered as an alternative to statehood.

ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT WEEK: Economic development professionals from counties and municipalities around Maryland hope to raise awareness of their work and plot legislative strategies as they celebrate Maryland Economic Development Week, Tim Curtis of the Daily Record reports. The week is bookended by two conferences and includes networking opportunities, symposiums and a startup pitch competition.

U.S. REP. TRONE MEETS LOCAL UAW REPS: U.S. Rep. David Trone met Sunday afternoon with Hagerstown-area United Auto Workers representatives to talk about the latest developments as a regional strike of Mack Trucks workers entered its eighth day. About 1,250 workers at the Volvo Group plant just outside of Hagerstown have been on strike since Oct. 13. Volvo Group is Mack’s parent company, Dave McMillion of the Hagerstown Herald Mail reports.

‘YOUNG TOMMY’ D’ALESANDRO DIES: Jean Marbella and Luke Broadwater of the Sun report that Thomas D’Alesandro III, a former Baltimore mayor affectionately known as “Young Tommy” and member of a storied political family, died at his North Baltimore home Sunday of stroke complications. He was 90 years old. The oldest brother of U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Mr. D’Alesandro was mayor for one tumultuous term, from 1967 to 1971, that was marked by the 1968 riots, racial strife and strikes by city laborers, bus drivers and symphony musicians.

MAYOR YOUNG RAISES $250,000+: Baltimore Mayor Jack Young raised more than $250,000 in one week as he considers running for the city’s top job, his campaign said. Young’s treasurer, Martin F. Cadogan, said the mayor raised the money last week from business leaders at two events just days apart, Luke Broadwater of the Sun reports.

STYROFOAM BAN IN B’MORE: A ban on plastic foam containers aimed at businesses that sell food took effect in Baltimore on Saturday. The ban on the material commonly referred to as Styrofoam was passed by the city council in April, the AP reports.

HOWARD’s RISING JUNIORS EXEMPT FROM REDISTRICTING: No rising juniors in Howard County will be redistricted next school year, a result of the first decision made at the Board of Education work session Thursday night, Jess Nocera of the Howard County Times reports. Howard schools Superintendent Michael Martirano presented a proposal in August to move nearly 7,400 students in a comprehensive redistricting process to combat school overcrowding, address inequities in the distribution of students affected by poverty and establish a road map for high school 13 in Jessup.

OPINION: HARRIS & TRUMP: Sun columnist Dan Rodricks writes that Andy Harris won his last election in Maryland’s 1st District by 67,000 votes. You would think that impressive victory and four previous ones would give the Republican congressman enough confidence to express independent thoughts now and then, maybe even stand on principle once in a while. But Harris is either so insecure or lacking conscience that he could not bring himself to join 129 other Republicans on Wednesday in rebuking President Trump for the withdrawal of troops from Syria.