State Roundup November 8, 2019

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STATE UNION NEGOTIATIONS IMPACTED BY COURT ORDER: Administrative Law Judge Brian Patrick Weeks declared that the Hogan Administration violated labor laws by attempting to set ground rules that included restricting what the largest state employee union could post on its website and social media to communicate with its 26,000 members, reports Pamela Wood for the Sun. The administration also attempted to bar the union from communicating with state lawmakers and seeking changes in state law.

EDUCATORS PROTEST OUTSIDE HOGAN FUNDRAISER: A group of approximately 100 educators — most from Baltimore and Prince George’s County — protested outside a fundraiser that featured Gov. Larry Hogan Thursday evening, reports Bruce DePuyt for Maryland Matters. The event, held in a ballroom at the Maryland Live! Casino in Anne Arundel County, raised an undisclosed sum for Change Maryland, the anti-tax hike organization that Hogan started eight years ago and that ultimately fueled his successful pursuit of the State House.

PERMAN NAMED TO HEAD UNIVERSITY OF MD SYSTEM: A pediatric gastroenterologist who is the veteran president of the University of Maryland at Baltimore was named Thursday to become the chancellor of the state’s public university system, reports Nick Anderson for the Post. Jay A. Perman will be the fifth chancellor of the University System of Maryland.

HOGAN’S OLD PLAYBOOK: Gov. Larry Hogan is breaking out his old playbook, reports Luke Broadwater for the Sun. Five years ago, Hogan rallied his 275,000 “Change Maryland” followers on Facebook, Hogan rebranded a fee to help clean up the Chesapeake Bay as the “rain tax.” Now, reprising his role as an anti-tax agitator on social media, the second-term governor has found a new Democratic initiative to demonize: a state commission whose goal is to transform Maryland’s public schools into a “world class” system.

ANNAPOLIS OFFICIALS SEEK STATE HELP: Annapolis officials are seeking a meeting with Gov. Larry Hogan in the coming weeks to present him with an ambitious $50 million plan to reimagine City Dock and gauge support for a funding authority to pay for the project, reports Brooks DeBose with the Capital Gazette.

UMMS DISCLOSURES FILED: Board members at the University of Maryland Medical System have filed financial disclosures with state regulators for the first time since news of deals between the system and a third of its directors rocked the hospital network, dismantled its leadership team and helped take down Baltimore’s mayor last spring, reports Kevin Rector for the Sun.

DISCREPANCIES AT MD CORRECTIONAL ENTERPRISES: Audit findings reveal Maryland Correctional Enterprises officials failed to properly investigate more than $1 million in discrepancies involving missing inventory and instead adjusted inventory records to reflect what was on hand, reports Bryan Sears for The Daily Record. The audit found that the agency “did not always investigate and resolve variances between its materials and supplies inventory records and the amounts on hand. Rather, MCE adjusted the inventory records to reflect the amounts on hand without any investigation or supervisory review and approval.”

POLICE FLAG CONTROVERSY: Three people holding large “Thin Blue Line” flags showed up outside the Universities at Shady Grove, where Gov. Larry Hogan and Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich were attending a ribbon cutting, reports Kate Ryan for WTOP. They called out to Hogan, thanking him for his stance on supporting the blue line flag used by police but rejected by Elrich because it has been appropriated by hate groups.

METRO BOARD WEIGHS COST OF WISH LIST: Metro General Manager Paul Wiedefeld’s budget proposal to fulfill a rider wish list that includes later hours, a flat weekend fare and more frequent weekend service will come at more than a financial cost: more service disruptions such as temporary station shutdowns and single-tracking for maintenance, reports Justin George for the Post. That is one of the many considerations Metro board members must weigh as they review Wiedefeld’s proposed spending plan for the fiscal year that begins July 1.

HOWARD SCHOOLS TO OPEN BEFORE LABOR DAY: For the 2020-21 academic year, Howard County schools will open Aug. 25, nearly two weeks before Labor Day, reports Jess Nocera for the Sun.

AWKWARD MOMENTS: Sen. President Mike Miller will soon be giving up the gavel, but many still turn to him, reports Bruce DePuyt for Maryland Matters on one such “who’s in charge here” moment.

BUSINESS SUPPORT TO HELP YOUTH IN CITY: Baltimore Mayor Bernard C. “Jack” Young said he is optimistic businesses will support initiatives to divert city youth from crime and controversial activities that business leaders say contribute to safety concerns downtown, reports Adam Bednar for The Daily Record.

METRO ETHICS RULING ON DORSEY: The Metro board on Thursday forced member Christian Dorsey to return a $10,000 campaign contribution from the transit system’s largest union and give up his finance committee chairmanship as punishment for breaking ethics rules regarding the donation, reports Robert McCartney for the Post.

MFUME INTERVIEW: Kweisi Mfume, former President of the NAACP, once represented Maryland’s 7th Congressional District prior to the late Rep. Elijah Cummings, reports Sean Yoes in a wide-ranging interview with AFRO.

FRANCHOT HOPES FOR POWERS BACK: Maryland Comptroller Peter Franchot told House and Senate lawmakers this week that he hopes a bill to remove his office’s regulatory authority over tobacco and alcohol can be undone this coming General Assembly session, reports Danielle Gaines for Maryland Matters.

SCHOOLS BARGAINING IMPASSE IN CARROLL: An impasse has been declared in negotiations between Carroll County Public Schools and Carroll Association of School Employees, one of the five employee bargaining units for those employed by CCPS, reports Catalina Righter for The Carroll County Times.

GANGS POLICY: Tucked around a few tables in a Frederick Police Department conference room, state officials and other parties discussed the challenges over a specific part of state law: the criminal gang statute, writes Steve Bohnel in The Frederick News-Post for Political Notes. Sen. Michael Hough, chairman of the Task Force to Study Maryland’s Criminal Gang Statutes, and Del. Jesse Pippy led some of that discussion Tuesday morning.

CYBER COMMITTEE LOOKS TO PROTECT BMORE: A committee charged with investigating the cyber attack that crippled Baltimore City met for the first time Wednesday and will work for the next several months to make recommendations on policies, practices and technology needed to strengthen the city’s information technology systems, reports Talia Richman for the Sun.

ANOTHER SARBANES LEADER IN IMPEACHMENT PROCESS: The impeachment process that captivated the country in 1974 is repeating itself now, with attention-grabbing headlines seemingly churning out by the hour as House Democrats, including another Sarbanes, investigate President Donald Trump, reports Dana Gray for the Capital News Service. On July 26, 1974, Maryland Rep. Paul Sarbanes introduced the first article of impeachment against President Richard Nixon during the House Judiciary Committee’s deliberations over the Watergate scandal.

COMMENTARY: DON’T VOTE FOR CARTER: Sen. Jill Carter’s connection with the vile anti-Semite Minister Louis Farrakhan should be a major concern, opines Richard Vast for Red Maryland.

STATE PROSECUTOR IN ST. MARY’S: A prosecutor from the office of Maryland’s attorney general is pursuing two cases for gun crimes in St. Mary’s, and one California man’s case in Charles County, according to recently unveiled indictments filed last month, reports Dan Belson for the St. Mary’s Enterprise.

ALLEGANY WANTS TO DEMOLISH SCHOOL: The Allegany County Board of Commissioners requested $2 million in state funding Thursday for demolition of the former Allegany High School on Sedgwick Street, reports Greg Larry for the Cumberland Times-News.

SHORT TERM RENTAL REGULATION: The Oakland Town Council established a new zoning category for short-term rental properties like Airbnb during a slew of zoning changes, reports Joseph Haugher for the Garrett County Republican. Those who wish to rent out properties through the online model would need to obtain a zoning permit to conduct operations, as well as paying the annual district management fees to the town in the form of Greater Oakland Business Association dues.

FACE OF CANNABIS: There are nine medical cannabis dispensaries currently operating in Baltimore City, and 15 throughout Baltimore County, reports Morgan Eichensehr for the Balitmore Business Journal. The BBJ asked these local shops to share photos of their owners and managers, to help put a face — or faces — on the burgeoning industry as it continues to expand in Greater Baltimore.