State Roundup October 28, 2019

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HOGAN STILL STANDING WITH BOOK DEAL: Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan is writing a book about his time as governor called “Still Standing: Surviving Cancer, Riots, and the Toxic Politics that Divide America,” reports Luke Broadwater for the Sun. A description of the book was posted Friday on Amazon.

  • Such books are often the precursor to bid for higher office, though Hogan has indicated no such plans, reports Erin Cox for the Post. Hogan, who twice won election in a state dominated by Democratic voters, is term-limited.
  • The book is being co-written with author Ellis Henican, reports the AP. Henican co-wrote an autobiography with former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, a Hogan friend.

A FINAL GOODBYE TO WELL-LOVED CUMMINGS: Two former presidents, congressional colleagues and thousands of residents of his beloved Baltimore said goodbye to U.S. Rep. Elijah Cummings at his longtime church Friday in a poignant service that was also a resounding appreciation of the city and a congressman who overcame adversity, reports Jeff Barker for the Sun.

  • A theme among worshipers was how Cummings somehow found the time to engage with so many people, in so many walks of life, on such a personal level — and how strongly they felt the need to come on Friday to return the respect, reports Jonathan Pitts for the Sun.
  • For nearly four hours, 4,000 people, including two former U.S. presidents, mourned the longtime Democratic lawmaker, the son of sharecroppers who rose from South Baltimore to Congress, reports Jenna Portnoy for the Post.
  • What really struck a chord in the room was when President Barack Obama reflected on the meaning of the word “honorable,” reports Fern Shen for Baltimore Brew. He said Cummings was honorable before he ever took office.
  • He was remembered in a place that knew him better than any else – the New Psalmist Baptist Church in Baltimore, where he came every Sunday to rest up and regain strength for the battles that would await him in Congress during the week ahead, reports Danielle Gaines for Maryland Matters.
  • And just as steadfast as his relationship with the church was his relationship with hometown of Baltimore, speaker after speaker reminded the congregation, reports Emily Sullivan for WTOP.

OPINION: EULOGIES SPEAKING TO TRUMP: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi remembered a phrase from her brother and father as she visited Baltimore for the funeral of her late brother Tommy D’Alesandro III, “He that throweth mud loseth ground,” a phrase columnist Michael Olesker thinks Donald Trump might consider. Similar themes were repeated at the funeral for U.S. Rep. Elijah Cummings, he opines in the Baltimore Post Examiner.

ANNE ARUNDEL EXEC LETTER TO CUMMINGS: Sent to the Capital Gazette just before the funeral for the late congressman from Baltimore was about to begin, Anne Arundel County Executive Steuart Pittman’s letter asks the advice of Cummings on how to address several tough issues, reports Rick Hutzell for the Capital Gazette. Pittman listed hate bias incidents, gun violence, affordable housing, increased spending on education, transportation and the environment.

 OPINION: PITTMAN LETTER OUT OF LINE: Anne Arundel County Executive Steuart Pittman’s letter on the death of Elijah Cummings to prop himself up politically was crass, opines Brian Griffiths for Red Maryland. It’s just mind-boggling to see a politician, an elected official, print this kind of letter solely for the sake of drawing attention to themselves, he writes.

WITH MIKE MILLER OUT, WHAT WILL HAPPEN? Bryan Sears published a long interview in The Daily Record with Mike Miller, a day after he announced he was stepping down as Senate President for more than three decades. Miller told Sears he wants to serve as just an ordinary member of the Senate but continue to work to improve education, and help find a way to make Kirwan (education reforms) become a reality. He also called for geographic balance in the new leadership team.

  • For the better part of two decades, a pair of charismatic politicians — both named Mike — set the agenda for what became law in Annapolis, when it was debated, and whether new proposals were watered down or adopted as the vanguard of Democratic policy, observe Erin Cox and Ovetta Wiggins. That era is over.
  • Those who have worked with Baltimore’s Sen. Bill Ferguson, who is taking over for Miller, describe the legislator as detail oriented, with a talent for building consensus and the courage to be forthright with bad news, reports Adam Bednar for The Daily Record.

CITY OFFICIALS MAKING CHANGES TO PAY FOR KIRWAN: Elected leaders in Baltimore want to revisit — and potentially renegotiate a long-term multi-million dollar deal under which nonprofit institutions make annual payments to the city in lieu of taxes, reports Kevin Rector for the Sun. City leaders argue looming budget woes from state school reform mandates and other big-ticket expenses will necessitate increased revenues in coming years.

HARFORD MUSLIM BIAS SUIT CONTINUES: Federal judges have allowed conspiracy and discrimination claims to proceed against Harford County officials over the treatment of a Muslim retirement community project in Joppatowne, reports Heather Cobun in The Daily Record. The judges largely denied motions for summary judgment. Two state lawmakers were also named by the plaintiffs in the lawsuit.

STATE HOLDING MEETINGS FOR TOLL LANES ON 270: The Maryland’s State Highway Administration will hold four meetings next month about a state plan to reduce congestion on Interstate 270 by adding toll lanes, reports Ryan Marshall for The Frederick News-Post.

HOWARD PLASTIC BAG TAX PROPOSAL COMING: Two Howard County Council members will introduce a bill next month requiring a 5-cent fee on disposable plastic bags, reports Jess Nocera for the Howard County Times. The bill would go into effect July 1.

RUPPERSBURGER ON ISIS DEATH: U.S. Rep. Dutch Ruppersburger is speaking out after President Donald Trump announced the death of ISIS founder and leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi in Syria over the weekend, reports Kimi Robinette for WBAL NewsRadio. Ruppersburger called it “long-awaited and welcome news.”

VAPING INCLUDED IN DRUG TAKEBACK: For the first time, vaping devices were collected as part of a drug-takeback day in Jessup that has traditionally given opportunities to turn in opioids or prescription drugs, reports Megan Pringle for WBAL.

GRANT WILL HELP REOPEN COMMUNITY POOL: Community leaders in Hagerstown are looking forward to using funds through a grant awarded by the Maryland Historic Trust through the African American Heritage Preservation Program to help youths make a splash again at a popular pool, reports Colleen McGrath for the Hagerstown Herald-Mail. The pool, closed in 2016 because it didn’t have money for repairs, was used by about 80 students for free as part of local camps.

OPINION: BAY BRIDGE CONSTRUCTION NECESSARY: For those who live on the Eastern Shore and have to commute across the Bay Bridge on a daily basis as it is repaired, the commute is downright aggravating— to say the least, opines Wes Guckert in the Salisbury Daily Times. But who wants to cross a 50-year old bridge that isn’t properly maintained, he asks.

OPINION: UMD SHOULD END CONTRACT WITH ICE: If the administration truly stood behind its immigrant students, it would end its contract with ICE and make the Undocumented Student Coordinator position permanent, opines sophomore Caterina Ieromino in the Diamondback, the University of Maryland’s independent student newspaper. Ieromino calls the university’s support of immigrants “surface level.”

ALLEGANY COUNTY HIGHWAY CONNECTOR PUSHED: Both states would have to agree on a connector between Cumberland and West Virginia, reports Greg Larry in the Cumberland Times-News on a push to build a north-south highway there.

COST OF HIGHER ED: U.S. Department of Education data from 2018 going back to 2009 shows a dramatic increase in not only tuition, but in cost of living at almost every college and university in the larger region, reports Drew Hansen and Carley Milligan in the Baltimore Business Journal. The total cost of living at the University of Maryland, College Park has jumped 24% since 2009, with in-state tuition and fees alone rising by 30% since 2013.

 MONTGOMERY SCHOOLS PLAN:  Montgomery County schools superintendent Jack Smith released a five-year school construction plan that totals $1.8 billion and includes nine new projects, reports Caitlynn Peetz for Bethesda Beat.

CARROLL SEEKS OPIOID PARTNERS: The Carroll County Health Department is requesting grant applications from organizations with ideas on how to combat opioid addiction in Maryland, reports Jon Kelvey in the Carroll County Times. Federal funds are available through the state for up to $250,000 to fund innovative solutions.

ANNAPOLIS PUBLIC HOUSING: A statewide nonprofit law firm that represents public housing residents in a lawsuit against the city of Annapolis and its housing authority wrote a searing letter Thursday criticizing the city for not moving fast enough to inspect and repair the more than 700 public housing units in the city, reports Brooks DuBose for the Capital Gazette.