State Roundup, February 3, 2020

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YOUNG, MOSBY LOBBY ANNAPOLIS FOR COOPERATION: Baltimore Mayor Jack Young and State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby, appearing Friday before a joint legislative committee in Annapolis considering how best to reduce violent crime in Baltimore, said they are bringing a Chicago-style crime-fighting strategy to the city, Luke Broadwater of the Sun reports.

AID-IN-DYING ADVOCATES PUSH BILL: For advocates of a medical-aid-in-dying bill introduced in the Maryland House of Delegates, 2020 is the year they believe the legislation will pass both chambers and become law, Heather Mongilio writes for the Frederick News Post. The End of Life Option Act, also called the Richard Israel and Roger “Pip” Moyer Act, advocates to allow physicians to prescribe medication to terminally ill patients that would allow them to take their own lives.

STATE FAIRGROUNDS’ FUTURE: Baltimore County lawmakers praised a proposed plan to rebuild the Pimlico Race Course and Laurel Park tracks during a briefing Friday but raised questions about funding and the impact on future improvements at the Maryland State Fairgrounds, Holden Wilen of the Baltimore Business Journal writes.

STRENGTHENING PUBLIC RECORDS LAW: Democratic lawmakers in Annapolis have filed three separate bills aimed at strengthening the state’s public records law, which is used by journalists, attorneys, inmates and other members of the public to access government documents at the state and local levels, Kevin Rector of the Sun reports.

CUT SOUGHT IN TOLL LATE FEES: A group of Maryland lawmakers say they’ve heard from drivers who complain about getting tagged with hundreds — sometimes even thousands — of dollars in late fees connected to Maryland’s video tolling system, reports WTOP-AM. Maryland’s $50 late fees on video toll fines are too high, state Del. Alfred C. Carr Jr. (D-Montgomery) said last week. He called them predatory and said he is working to pass House Bill 38, which would drop the fines to $5.

ABOUT THE SPECIAL PRIMARY: Do you live in Maryland’s 7th Congressional District and totally forget there’s a special primary this week? If you haven’t exactly been paying attention to the more than two dozen candidates vying to replace U.S. Rep. Elijah Cummings, who died Oct. 17, fear not. Emily Opilio of the Sun offers information that you need to know about Tuesday’s special primary to help decide who will fill the remainder of Cummings’ two-year term.

DOWN TO THE WIRE IN THE 7th: Democratic candidates in Maryland’s 7th congressional district special election spent Saturday preparing for Tuesday’s primary vote in strikingly different ways. Former Rep. Kweisi Mfume found himself surrounded by a circle of African American women in a Baltimore City church at a special prayer service held in his honor to ward off last-minute “enemy” attacks, which his campaign believes are imminent. Sixteen miles away in Howard County, eight candidates participated in a Democratic forum, with a largely white audience, before most hit the streets to knock on doors, seeking last-minute votes, Glynis Kazanjian writes for Maryland Matters.

7th DISTRICT HOPEFULS FOCUS ON B’MORE: Every candidate has a plan for how they would address the biggest problem in Baltimore, the city the late Democratic congressman from Maryland represented for more than two decades. But, writes Jenna Portnoy for the Post, experts say it’s unclear how much one member of Congress can effect change in a city grappling with a record murder rate, the fallout of the 2015 death of Freddie Gray after suffering a severe spinal injury in police custody and President Donald Trump labeling Baltimore a “disgusting, rat and rodent infested mess.”

THE 7th CONGRESSIONAL HOPEFULS: MICHAEL HIGGINBOTHAM: F. Michael Higginbotham is spending like he means it, writes Emily Opilo for the Sun. Since announcing his candidacy for the vacant 7th Congressional District seat, Higginbotham has dropped $406,970 on the race, seven times as much as former U.S. Rep. Kweisi Mfume and three times that of former Maryland Democratic Party Chairwoman Maya Rockeymoore Cummings — both considered front-runners.

OPINION: SUN BACKS CARTER, HAWKINS IN 7th DISTRICT PRIMARIES: The editorial board for the Sun has endorsed state Sen. Jill Carter as the Democratic candidate to replace the late Elijah Cummings in the U.S. House, and, among Republicans, Reba Hawkins, a community activist and owner of a janitorial services firm from Mid-Govans.

OPINION: WHO IS MINDING CITY CRIME? NOT THE DEMS: In a column for the Carroll County Times, Christopher Tomlinson wonders what issues Baltimore City’s lawmakers in Annapolis have been spending their time focused on during the latest spike in city murders. It seems those Democratic lawmakers have been concerned with other issues while Republican Gov. Larry Hogan and others in his party have been addressing the crime issue.

OPINION: HINDRANCES TO VOTING: Patricia Williams Lessane of Morgan State University writes, in a column for the Sun, of the difficulty that African Americans face in trying to exercise their right to vote. “My recent visit to the MVA to get a Real ID Maryland driver’s license was a confusing ordeal that took two more attempts before I was granted the new license and voter ID card. The closure of polling places most accessible to the poor, infirm and elderly, and the difficulty in getting an ID, are I believe, nothing more than 21st century measures to strip marginalized people of their birthright.”

BILL ON LABELING ‘MEAT:’ Some believe that just because it tastes like a steak doesn’t mean it should be labeled as one. Twelve Republican senators are sponsoring a bill in the Maryland General Assembly that focuses on meat products that are made from plants or insects or contain lab-grown animal tissue, writes Hannah Himes for the Frederick News Post.

WASHINGTON COUNTY DAY AT THE GA: Tamela Baker of the Hagerstown Herald Mail leads off her Annapolis Notes column with this item: “Wednesday was Washington County Day at the Maryland General Assembly, as scores of community leaders converged on the capital to meet with legislators and learn a little more about what goes on in the statehouse during the 90-day legislative session.” She then gets into the fashion section.

OPINION: GILCHRIST ON GOP: Sun columnist Dan Rodricks writes that as “the rationalizations poured in — convicting Donald Trump 10 months before the next presidential election would tear the country apart; his impeachment was partisan and, therefore, fatally flawed — a former Republican member of Congress had this to say from his home on Maryland’s Eastern Shore: ‘The Senate Republicans have just thrown acid on the parchment the Constitution is written on.’”

BA CO TAKES IN GLASS, HASN’T RECYCLED IT: Baltimore County officials revealed this week that the county has not recycled glass materials for about seven years, though they are strongly urging residents to continue placing the items in their recycling bins, writes Lillian Reed for the Sun. The revelation was first circulated Friday on the Facebook page of the Towson Flyer, shocking some residents who demanded answers about why the county has continued to collect glass for recycling.

HEALTH DISPARITIES IN HOWARD: Despite its status as one of Maryland’s wealthiest counties, Howard County has significant health disparities that exist along racial lines, according to a report from the Horizon Foundation. The report found significant differences in infant mortality rates, heart disease, diabetes and mental health issues, among other health conditions, Tim Curtis of the Daily Record reports.

THE INDIVISIBLES: Taylor Deville of the Catonsville Times writes about the grassroots political groups Indivisibles, which started forming in Baltimore County after Donald Trump was elected president and the work they have been doing locally and statewide.

About The Author

Cynthia Prairie

Contributing Editor Cynthia Prairie has been a newspaper editor since 1979, when she began working at The Raleigh Times. Since then, she has worked for The Baltimore News American, The Chicago Sun-Times, The Prince George’s Journal and Baltimore County newspapers in the Patuxent Publishing chain, including overseeing The Jeffersonian when it was a two-day a week business publication. Cynthia has won numerous state awards, including the Maryland State Bar Association’s Gavel Award. Besides compiling and editing the daily State Roundup, she runs her own online newspaper, The Chester Telegraph. If you have additional questions or comments contact Cynthia at:

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