State Roundup, November 12, 2019

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ROCKEYMOORE CUMMINGS JOINS RACE: Maryland Democratic Party Chairwoman Maya Rockeymoore Cummings, the widow of U.S. Rep. Elijah Cummings, is running for her husband’s seat, arguing Monday she is the best option to carry out his legacy and continue his vision. “I am, of course, devastated at the loss of my spouse, but his spirit is with me,” Rockeymoore Cummings, 48, said in an interview with Luke Broadwater of the Sun. “I’m going to run this race and I’m going to run it hard, as if he’s still right here by my side.”

WILL SEN. CARTER RUN FOR CUMMINGS SEAT? State Sen. Jill P. Carter says she will make a “special announcement” next week as she considers running for Maryland’s 7th District congressional seat after the death of Rep. Elijah Cummings. Luke Broadwater reports in the Sun.

MORE AUTHORITY SOUGHT ON PUBLIC RECORDS DISPUTES: The stewards of Maryland’s public records law – the Public Information Act Compliance Board – are seeking greater authority to adjudicate disputes between government agencies and individuals who seek public records from them, without sending the matters to court, Kevin Rector of the Sun reports.

TEACHER TO JOIN MD SCHOOL BOARD: For the first time, an active schoolteacher will be elected to sit on Maryland State Board of Education. Teachers started casting their ballots Sunday. It’s a big deal because it’s the first time teachers will get to choose who represents them on the board, Vanessa Herring of WBAL-TV reports. “We need a teacher who is in a school every day, who can take a look at that policy or this policy and say this is how it’s going to come out when we see it there and give the board that advice,” said Del. Eric Ebersole, D-Baltimore and Howard counties.

OPINION: BOOTLEGGERS & BAPTISTS COALITION: In a column for Maryland Reporter, Mark Newgent opines on the Howard County Public School System’s redistricting process, which has engendered a great deal of angst and turmoil in our community. The prevailing media narrative surrounding redistricting is a Manichean frame pitting social justice advocates fighting for equity (however ill-defined they use the term) against wealthy parents who do not want their children moved out of their community schools.  However, there is another framework at play, one that explains the real coalitions and motivations at play: Bootleggers and Baptists.

MD HOUSE PANEL HEARS ABOUT ASBESTOS SUITS: It was an improbable setting for a dense and baffling public hearing. The Maryland House Judiciary Committee traveled to a waterside resort on the Eastern Shore Thursday for two days of briefings on an array of issues that could come before the panel in the upcoming General Assembly session. A two-hour hearing on the disposition of asbestos liability litigation generated some of the most heat, reports Josh Kurtz for Maryland Matters.

OPINION: CHANGES & CONSTANTS IN ANNAPOLIS: The advocacy world in Annapolis is an increasingly “VUCA world” – one characterized by volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity, opines David Reel in a column for Maryland Matters. This was evident when Gov. Larry Hogan (R) was elected (and then re-elected) by campaigning on the theme Change Maryland. Since then there has been unprecedented turnover from retirements and incumbent re-election losses; House Republicans increasing their numbers in one election cycle, Democrats reversing them in the next; new committee chairs in both the House and Senate, and new presiding officers. Despite these unprecedented changes, there are well established and familiar lobbying strategies for advocacy in the General Assembly.

WA CO LEGISLATIVE WISHLIST: Transportation, revitalization, tourism and economic development dominated the legislative wishlist presented last week by the Washington County Community Coalition, Tamela Baker reports for the Hagerstown Herald Mail. The lobbying coalition, which includes a number of local government and civic organizations, was among the many organizations that met with Washington County’s delegation to the Maryland General Assembly last week to map a strategy for the upcoming legislative session.

CARROLL SCHOOLS OUTLINE ASSEMBLY HOPES: Carroll County Public Schools asked the county delegation to the General Assembly to pay attention to school construction funding issues and proposed a local bill to define roles for JROTC instructors at the annual meeting Nov. 6 to discuss the school system’s legislative positions, Catalina Righter of the Carroll County Times reports. Dels. April Rose, Haven Shoemaker, Susan Krebs, Warren Miller and Trent Kittleman and Sen. Justin Ready joined the Carroll County Board of Education, Superintendent Steve Lockard and other representatives of CCPS.

OPINION: THE GOOD SEARCH: In a column for his Political Maryland blog, Barry Rascovar opines that large organizations frequently make the mistake of launching expensive “nationwide searches” for their next CEO. Fortunately, two important Maryland institutions refused to fall into that trap. Both the University System of Maryland and the unrelated University of Maryland Medical System last week turned to insiders to run their huge operations, rejecting the flawed notion that outsiders are needed to rock the boat and “drain the swamp.”

TRONE CHALLENGERS STEP UP: Incumbent Rep. David Trone has his first opponent in the Democratic race for Maryland’s 6th Congressional District. Maxx Bero, a government teacher at a Gaithersburg high school, announced Friday that he plans to oppose Trone in the 2020 election. Republican Kevin Caldwell, a Frederick County resident who ran for the district as a Libertarian in 2018, has also filed as a candidate, Kate Masters of Bethesda Beat reports.

JIMMY’S EATERY FOR SALE: Jimmy’s restaurant, the iconic breakfast spot in Baltimore’s Fells Point that attracted politicians like Sen. Barbara Mikulski and the late Gov. William Donald Schaefer, is for sale. The institution on Broadway Square since 1946 last changed hands in late 2016. New owner Rustem “Rudy” Keskin said Monday he wants to exit the Baltimore restaurant scene amid challenges including construction and employee safety, Amanda Yeager reports for the Baltimore Business Journal.