State Roundup, November 1, 2019

LEADING CONTENDERS EMERGE IN CONGRESSIONAL RACE: News is breaking of several contenders for the seat of the U.S. Rep. Elijah Cummings, including his widow who said Thursday she is considering running for his 7th congressional district seat, reports Luke Broadwater for the Sun. Maya Rockeymoore Cummings made her first statement Thursday evening about the special election that has several candidates jumping in.

  • Talmadge Branch is entering the race to succeed the late Elijah Cummings as Maryland’s representative to Congress in the 7th District, and former Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake said she is weighing a run, Broadwater also reported. Branch, a Democrat who represents East Baltimore and is the majority whip in the House of Delegates, is the first sitting elected official to join the race.
  • Rockeymoore Cummings will make an announcement “very soon,” reports Ovetta Wiggins in the Post. Rockeymoore Cummings, a policy consultant with a doctorate in political science, is the chairwoman of the Maryland Democratic Party, serving in that role for nearly a year.
  • Kweisi Mfume, the person who preceded the late Rep. Elijah Cummings representing the 7th Congressional District of Baltimore, is poised to make a major announcement about his future and the seat he once held, reports Sean Yoes for AFRO. He is scheduled to make the announcement Nov. 4, at noon.
  • As Branch joins the race, Gov. Larry Hogan has issued a proclamation ordering a special election to fill the 7th District Congressional seat with the primary on Feb. 4, reports Jenny Fulginiti for WBAL.
  • Branch said wants to honor Cummings’ legacy, he told C4 on WBAL NewsRadio. Branch has represented the 45th District, which includes parts of Baltimore City, since 1995.
  • Meanwhile, state elections officials are wrestling with the logistics of the special election, which is presenting them with a unique set of challenges, reports Danielle Gaines for Maryland Matters. The special general election set for April 28 coincides with the regular 2020 primaries in the state.

MARYLAND REPORTER CELEBRATES 10th BIRTHDAY: Happy 10th Birthday to Ten years ago this Saturday, on November 2, 2009, launched the original nonprofit news website in Maryland covering our state government and politics. We hope you’ll send us a 10th birthday gift to keep us going for another year – and have your gift doubled by four national foundations.

JUSTICE, FINALLY: Exoneree Walter Lomax, who will receive $3 million for his wrongful conviction and jail time, said it is not about the money, reports Pat Warren for WJZ. Lomax has made his life’s work helping others behind bars through the Maryland Restorative Justice Initiative.

BALTIMORE BUSINESS LEADERS CALL FOR MTA FUNDING: Business leaders employing thousands of workers in Baltimore are urging Gov. Larry Hogan to increase funding to the Maryland Transit Administration for projects in the area, reports Colin Campbell in the Sun. Letters from business groups raised concerns about a planned 10% reduction in the agency’s funding for new projects.

COUNTIES MAKE AFFORDABLE HOUSING POLICY: Baltimore metro suburbs continue grappling with how to provide access to affordable housing, reports Adam Bednar in The Daily Record with a tale of two counties. Currently, the most contentious fight is in Baltimore County where County Council is considering legislation which essentially bars landlords from rejecting tenants who pay rent with federal housing vouchers. And Howard County, which views itself as a leader in equitable access to affordable housing, is updating its housing affordability plan.

CONDO OWNERS REQUESTED WATER BILLS: Attorneys representing condominium owners at the Ritz Carlton Residences in Baltimore said Thursday that their clients repeatedly asked the city’s Department of Public Works for water and sewage bills between 2009 and 2017, and want to “pay their fair share” of an estimated $2.3 million in uncollected debt, reports Kevin Rector with the Sun. The article identifies an email sent to delegates Luke Clippinger and Brooke Lierman as the source of the issue getting noticed outside public works.

REAL ID DEADLINE DRAWING CLOSE: Marylanders have less than one year to become “Real ID” compliant, Motor Vehicle Administrator Christine Nizer stressed during the Maryland Department of Transportation’s visit to Garrett County earlier this month, reports Renée Shreve for the Garrett County Republican.

STATE SALARY QUESTIONED: A salary that could be about $465,000 a year for a new deputy health secretary in Maryland is being questioned by a leading state lawmaker, reports the AP. Del. Maggie McIntosh, who chairs the House Appropriations Committee, told The Baltimore Sun that she thinks it’s a fairly high salary for a state employee.

MD TAX BUSINESS CLIMATE RANKS LOW: Maryland’s tax business climate continues to rank among the 10 worst states, reports Holden Wilen for the Baltimore Business Journal. Like Maryland, other states ranking at the bottom of the list are strongholds for the Democratic party.

JUDGE INFORMATION ORDERED RELEASED: The Maryland Administrative Office of the Courts must disclose a key to identify District Court judges in the public Case Search database, reports Heather Cobun for The Daily Record. A Baltimore judge ordered Wednesday for the disclosure, since judges’ names are not displayed in District Court cases in the database but rather are represented by a three-character code. The Abell Foundation filed a Maryland Public Information Act request for the key to assist the group in tracking individual judges’ bail determinations in Baltimore.

OPINION: REDISTRICTING SHOULD BE FAIRER: Given the extreme political partisanship that leads parties to create boundaries with little regard to geographic realities and the potential vulnerability of such districts, Maryland’s current political leaders would do well to consider a system that prioritizes fairer representation of all voters and their communities, opines the Editorial Advisory Board of The Daily Record.

FARMERS TRY GROWING HEMP: A small hemp crop was grown for the first time this year at Backbone Food Farm near Oakland, reports Brenda Ruggiero for the Garrett County Republican. A total of six permits were issued in Garrett County for trials this past summer.

TEDCO WILL RETURN: The Maryland Technology Development Corp. is aiming to be able to once again make venture investments in local tech startups by the start of 2020, reports Morgan Eichensehr for the Baltimore Business Journal. The state-backed funding agency stopped new investments while it enacted reforms mandated by the Maryland General Assembly.

CTT NIXED IN MONTGOMERY: Montgomery officials and community members have been disappointed to find out that Maryland transportation officials have nixed plans to fund bus transportation that would connect the up-county with more populated areas closer to the District, reports Elle Meyers for the Montgomery Sentinal. Designs for the Corridor Cities Transitway (CCT) have been in the works for the last decade.

ANNE ARUNDEL CONCERNED ABOUT TRANSPORTATION: The most important problem for Anne Arundel residents is transportation, closely followed by growth and overpopulation, reports Naomi Harris for the Capital Gazette.

OPINION: PUBLIC OPTION NEEDED:  Maryland policy makers leading in health care reform should look closely at the potential of creating a public option in Maryland, whether based on Colorado’s plan or another model, writes consumer advocate Leni Preston in Maryland Matters.

BALTIMORE SETTLES CADET CASE: In possibly the largest settlement of its kind in Baltimore, the city will pay $8 million to a cadet who was accidentally shot in the head by a police officer during a 2013 training exercise, reports Fern Shen for Baltimore Brew.

529 HEAD PICKED: The Maryland 529 board has named Erin Laytonas the new executive director and CEO of the state agency that oversees college savings plans, reports Holden Wilen for the Baltimore Business Journal. Prior to her appointment, Layton was director of investments for Maryland 529, which has $7.4 billion in assets across three different programs.

About The Author

Meg Tully

Contributing Editor Meg Tully has been covering Maryland politics for more than five years. She has worked for The Frederick News-Post, where she reported during the General Assembly session in Annapolis. She has also worked for The (Hanover) Evening Sun and interned at Baltimore Magazine. Meg has won awards from the Maryland-Delaware-D.C. Press Association for her state and county writing, and a Keystone Press Award for feature writing from the Pennsylvania Newspaper Association. She is a graduate of Franklin & Marshall College in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. If you have additional questions or comments contact Meg at:

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