State Roundup, February 4, 2020

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WHO ARE THE DEM FRONT-RUNNERS IN 7th DISTRICT? Hours before voters in Maryland’s 7th District head to the polls for a special primary election today to determine the late Rep. Elijah Cummings’ likely successor, the Democratic front-runners on Monday were touting their experience in politics. Bryan Renbaum of MarylandReporter interviews state Sen. Jill Carter, widow Maya Rockeymoore Cummings and former U.S. Rep. Kweisi Mfume.

‘SUPER VOTERS’ TARGETED: Maryland’s oddly shaped 7th Congressional District contains more than 422,000 voters and stretches north to south — with a snake-like configuration in the middle — from Baltimore County to Baltimore City to Howard County. But, for the sake of the candidates in today’s 7th Congressional District primary, they campaigned Monday to make sure their supporters get to the polls, many of the contenders were, for efficiency sake, targeting the same “super voters,” those who rarely, if ever, miss elections and are especially valuable in elections that aren’t expected to attract heavy turnout, Jeff Barker reports in the Sun.

WHAT TO KNOW ABOUT VOTING TODAY: WBAL-TV offers voters an extensive guide to voting in today’s 7th District Congressional race.

OPINION: GET OUT AND VOTE: In urging 7th District voters to get out and vote today, the editorial board of the Sun opines that “More than one political wag has speculated that the number of candidates, 24 Democrats and eight Republicans, might end up representing a significant percentage of those who show up at the polls. We would urge 7th District residents to prove such speculation wrong. Not just because the American system of governance depends upon voter participation — it always has — but because we live in times when casual apathy is no longer tolerable.”

UMMS APPOINTMENTS POSTPONED: A Maryland Senate committee on Monday postponed confirmation votes of nearly 20 nominees to the University of Maryland Medical System board — citing an unfinished audit into the self-dealing scandal that rocked the hospital network last year, Luke Broadwater of the Sun reports.

PIMLICO REHAB BILL GETS PUSHBACK: Maryland lawmakers introduced legislation Monday that would authorize up to $375 million in debt to rebuild the state’s two largest racetracks and keep the storied Preakness Stakes horse race in Baltimore, Luke Broadwater of the Sun reports. The legislation, sponsored by Sen. Guy Guzzone, a Democrat who chairs the Senate’s Budget and Taxation Committee, would provide at least $180 million for work at or near the Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore and $155 million at Laurel Park in Anne Arundel County.

CHILDREN LANGUISH OUTSIDE OF HOMES: Pamela Wood of the Sun reports that dozens of Maryland children who have been removed from their families have languished in hospitals instead of settling in with foster parents or at group homes. These children have been in medical hospitals or on psychiatric units, often for weeks at a time, even though they are not sick, injured or mentally ill. One such child was kept in a hospital for 636 days, according to a report from the Maryland Department of Human Services, which is charged with ensuring the well-being of the children.

HOGAN HEARS ABOUT CRIME & SQUEEGEE KIDS: Gov. Larry Hogan said concerns about “squeegee kids” could be keeping people from driving into Baltimore, WBFF-TV reports. He also noted that they may be earning far more than they would at a traditional job, making it harder to encourage them to find another line of work.

BILL FOR MANAGING HEALTH INFO: Maryland’s Insurance Commissioner Al Redmer is putting force behind a new bill that could make it easier for patients to manage their health information, and for health insurers to manage costs. The Maryland Insurance Administration brought Senate Bill 112 to Annapolis this legislative session, Morgan Eichensehr reports for the Baltimore Business Journal.

NOMINATIONS PANEL OKs HOGAN CABINET PICKS: Two of Republican Gov. Hogan’s key cabinet members received unanimous approval from the Maryland Senate’s Executive Nominations Committee on Monday night, Danielle Gaines of Maryland Matters reports. The committee vote comes at a turbulent time for both the Maryland Department of Transportation and the Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services.

MO CO ED BOARD DIALS BACK SALARY HIKE: The Montgomery County House delegation has cut a commission’s proposal to more than double the local school board members’ salaries. The delegation on Friday voted unanimously to move forward with a bill that would raise school board members’ salaries from $25,000 to $35,000. In December, a commission created by the state legislature recommended salaries be raised to $60,000 — a 140% increase, Caitlynn Peetz reports for Bethesda Beat.

CONGRESSIONAL WAR CHESTS: Six of Maryland’s seven incumbents in the House of Representatives are sitting on campaign war chests of $1 million or more for their re-elections this year. The one exception is U.S. Rep. David Trone (D), a multimillionaire who has substantially self-funded his campaigns, Josh Kurtz writes for Maryland Matters. The fundraising numbers were in year-end campaign finance reports, which the candidates were legally required to submit to the Federal Election Commission at midnight on Friday.

BLOOMBERG TAPS LOCAL CAMPAIGN TEAM: Starting his campaign in Maryland early, Democratic presidential candidate Michael Bloomberg has announced the hiring of a team of five who will lead operations in the state, Phil Davis writes for the Sun. In a news release, the campaign said the team will be led by Megan Irving Tyler, former CEO of the Maryland political consulting firm TruBlu Politics, who will serve as the campaign’s state director. Jason Waskey, who worked on Democrat Martin O’Malley’s gubernatorial campaigns in 2006 and 2010, will serve as a senior adviser.

PROBE SOUGHT IN PG KILLING OF HANDCUFFED MAN: Advocates in Prince George’s County are pushing for answers after the killing of a handcuffed man by a police officer on Jan. 27, asking why only a fraction of officers wear body cameras despite officials touting a pilot program five years ago, Rachel Chason writes for the Post.

RASKIN HOSTS THURMONT MAYOR AT STATE OF UNION: Thurmont Mayor John Kinnaird is headed to Washington for Tuesday’s State of the Union, Erika Riley of the Frederick News-Post reports. U.S. Rep. Jamie Raskin invited Kinnaird as his guest for the annual address from the president. Kinnaird said Raskin called him last week and he was “absolutely floored” when Raskin invited him.

VAN HOLLEN HOSTS ANDREA CHAMBLEE AT STATE OF UNION: The widow of one of five journalists shot and killed in their newsroom almost two years ago will be the guest of a Maryland senator during Tuesday’s State of the Union address. Andrea Chamblee, a gun-reform activist and widow of John McNamara, who was killed at the Annapolis Capital Gazette on June 28, 2018, will join U.S. Sen. Chris Van Hollen, D-Md., in the U.S. Capitol during President Donald Trump’s speech, Joseph Deinlein writes for the Hagerstown Herald-Mail.

CLOSING OF HISTORIC NEWSPAPER: Paul Fahri of the Post writes about the closing of the Montgomery and Prince George’s Sentinels: “They’re closing up the office now, with its musty odor of moldering newsprint and decrepit bound copies stacked neck-high. On Thursday, the last Montgomery Sentinel rolled off a press, 165 years after its birth.”