State Roundup, November 11, 2019

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B’MORE REPUBLICAN TO SEEK CUMMINGS’ SEAT: The Baltimore County Republican official, Kimberly Klacik, whose social media posts about trash in West Baltimore prompted President Donald Trump to verbally attack the late Rep. Elijah Cummings says she’s running for Cummings’ former seat in Congress, Luke Broadwater of the Sun reports.

HOWARD NAMED NEW STATE PROSECUTOR: Gov. Larry Hogan has named a new state prosecutor to head an office that investigates political corruption: Charlton T. Howard III. Howard currently serves as an assistant attorney general overseeing the statewide child support enforcement program, Pamela Wood of the Sun reports.

SCHOOL DISTRICT DISCLOSURE BILL: A Montgomery County delegate has proposed legislation that would prohibit real estate agents from advertising a home for sale based on its school assignment, Caitlynn Peetz of Bethesda Beat reports. The bill, introduced by Del. David Moon, would require home buyers to initial a document acknowledging they understand school boundaries can change at any time. It also would prohibit agents from using advertising that markets a house as belonging to a certain school’s catchment area.

COUNTY SCHOOLS CALENDARS: Two central Maryland school systems voted last week on calendars for the next school year, with Howard County opting to have students return to class two weeks before Labor Day and Baltimore County choosing to start after the holiday, writes Taylor Deville for the Sun.

100+ MARYLANDERS OPT FOR GENDER X: More than 100 Marylanders opted to list their gender as “X” or “unspecified” on their driver’s licenses and identification cards under a state law that went into effect on Oct. 1, writes Pamela Wood for the Sun. In the first month that Marylanders had the option of “X” — in addition to “F” for female and “M” for male — 88 people changed their gender identification, according to the Motor Vehicle Administration.

OPINION: NEW LAW A STEP TOO FAR: The Maryland General Assembly has passed a law requiring newspapers to collect and publish information about who pays for online political ads. It also requires them to keep records of the ads for inspection by the state Board of Elections. The goal is to prevent foreign interference in our local elections, and we applaud the good intentions. The editorial board of the Frederick News Post opines that it “is the execution that we take issue with.” Half a dozen newspapers have filed a lawsuit in federal court asserting the statute violates the First Amendment guaranteeing free speech and a free press.

EX-DEL. GAINES’ DAUGHTER PLEADS GUILTY: The daughter of and campaign treasurer for former Maryland Del. Tawanna P. Gaines pleaded guilty Friday to a count of federal wire fraud less than a month after her mother pleaded similarly to the same charge, Lynh Bui of the Post reports.

  • Anitra Edmond, 43, of New Carrollton, served as treasurer for Gaines’ campaign account, writes Bryan Sears in the Daily Record. Edmond, who served as treasurer on her mother’s state campaign account since 2005, was the sole signatory on the account and possessed an ATM card connected to the account. In her plea, entered in U.S. District Court in Greenbelt, Edmond admitted to defrauding campaign contributors of more than $35,188.63 between 2012 and 2018.

BLACK BEAR HUNT: During this year’s annual black bear hunt in Maryland, 1,851 hunters received the opportunity to hunt and 145 black bears were killed, 10 more than last year’s hunt, the Department of Natural Resources announced in late October. Cody Wilcox of the Capital News Service reports that the black bear population has increased in Maryland over the years, expanding their territories from the western arm of the state eastward, to more central parts.

VAPE BUSINESS DOWN: As U.S. health officials and lawmakers continue to sound the alarm on vaping-related illnesses, Baltimore area vape shop owners say their businesses have unduly suffered, and they blame what they say is misinformation, Taylor DeVille reports for the Sun.

RASKIN WOWS AUDIENCE ON IMPEACHMENT PROBE: Josh Kurtz of Maryland Matters writes that now that U.S. Rep. Jamie Raskin is in the thick of the impeachment fight on Capitol Hill, the star for constitutional scholar is shining brighter. Five hundred of Raskin’s rapturous constituents packed a Bethesda church Sunday night to hear the congressman’s take on impeachment, three days before the House Intelligence Committee’s public hearings commence on President Trump’s attempts to pressure Ukrainian officials to investigate a political opponent. This was no ordinary political speech.

CLARKSBURG RESIDENT TO CHALLENGE TRONE: Rep. David Trone (D-Md.), the 6th District’s incumbent congressman, has yet to file for re-election but is expected to again seek the district’s Democratic nomination. On Friday, 29-year-old Clarksburg resident Maxwell Bero announced in a press release that he will seek the Democratic nomination in the 6th, Ryan Miner of A Miner Detail blog writes.

OPINION: WHAT TO DO ABOUT DEECEE? Maryland Matters columnist Frank DeFilippo gives a long history of the “problem” of D.C. statehood – or whatever. He writes that a recent Washington Post poll showed that a majority of Marylanders favor statehood for the District but resist absorbing it as a county. The rest of the country disagrees. A Gallup poll revealed that a substantial majority of Americans oppose awarding statehood. So what should be done with it?

FREDERICK MULLS RURAL TRANSPORTATION: Frederick County officials are considering a plan to offer transportation services to municipalities around the county by providing a van that would alternate visits to towns around the county, Ryan Marshall reports for the Frederick News-Post. County Executive Jan Gardner wrote to mayors and burgesses around the county recently, asking whether they believe their towns would support the program.