State Roundup, February 11, 2020

State Roundup, February 11, 2020

The State House in Annapolis ( file photo)

TUBMAN, DOUGLASS STATUES UNVEILED AT STATE HOUSE: Until Nov. 1, 1864, the day Maryland lawmakers officially approved emancipation, fugitive slaves Harriet Tubman and Frederick Douglass could not legally enter their home state of Maryland, let alone the State House in Annapolis. On Monday, the two abolitionists received a place of honor in that building, Emily Opilo reports in the Sun. A video on the statues tops the article.

  • The bronze statues were publicly unveiled during a ceremony Monday evening, part of a slow but sustained effort to incorporate overlooked contributions of black Marylanders into the State House grounds, Erin Cox writes for the Post. At the same time, Maryland has begun to remove commemorations some view as supportive of the Confederacy.
  • “A mark of true greatness is shining light on a system of oppression and having the courage to change it,” said House Speaker Adrienne Jones, D-Baltimore County, at the grand unveiling. Hannah Gaskill writes that story for Maryland Matters.
  • Bringing the statues to the chamber is the culmination of a process that began in 2016  after a proposal from then House Speaker Michael Busch and then-Senate President Mike Miller, Bryan Sears reports in the Daily Record.

FRANCHOT BANS DISPOSABLE E-CIGS: Maryland Comptroller Peter Franchot is opting to do what President Donald Trump wouldn’t: ban the sale of disposable flavored e-cigarettes, Ovetta Wiggins and Erin Cox of the Post report. Franchot, a Democrat who plans to run for governor in 2022, said Monday that he has instructed his field enforcement division to halt the sale of disposable electronic smoking devices, as well as seize any unsold products as “contraband.”

  • WMAR-TV reports that Franchot had created the “e-facts Task Force on Electronic Smoking Devices” to learn more about the industry and see what action should be taken. The task force has met three times and will be holding its final session next Monday to weigh recommendations.
  • Bruce DePuyt of Maryland Matters writes that in 2011, few young people used e-cigarettes, according to Franchot said. Last year, 28% of high school students reported using them, according to a health survey. “Maryland must not sit by idly while our kids are getting addicted to nicotine,” Franchot said.
  • Under the FDA ban, all flavors of nicotine e-cigarette products sold in cartridges are banned with the exception of tobacco and menthol flavors. Opponents of the products say the flavors like Banana Ice, Mango Bomb and OMG are specifically marketed to children as young as middle schoolers, Bryan Sears writes in the Daily Record.

OPINION: WHY BALTIMORE BLEEDS: Sean Kennedy of the Maryland Public Policy Institute, in a column that originally ran in the Wall Street Journal, opines that, “None of the largest 50 American cities approaches Baltimore’s per capita death toll. It rivals Third World metropolises that are plagued … by gang wars, corrupt politicians and outmatched law-enforcement agencies. … What makes Baltimore’s persistent and pervasive violence so unique among its peers? Start with law enforcement.”

BUSCH ANNAPOLIS PAYMENT LAW IN PERIL: One of the last pieces of legislation that late Speaker Mike Busch passed before he died could be in jeopardy of reversal if the Budget Reconciliation and Financing Act passes unamended, Olivia Sanchez of the Capital Gazette reports. Gov. Larry Hogan (R) seeks to repeal a bill that requires the state to pay Annapolis at least $750,000 annually for services provided to Maryland’s government including hosting the 90-day legislative session.

PROPOSAL WOULD KEEP STUDENT SEX OFFENDERS FROM CAMPUS: A Baltimore County state senator is drafting a proposal to prohibit student sex offenders from school campuses statewide, Wilborn Nobles and Liz Bowie of the Sun report. Sen. Kathy Klausmeier said Monday that the bill would apply to registered sex offenders regardless of their age. The state already has laws prohibiting sex offenders who aren’t students from being on school campuses, she said.

COURT UPHOLDS BAN ON PET-STORE KITTEN, PUPPY SALES: A federal judge has upheld Maryland’s ban on retail pet stores selling puppies and kittens, which took effect Jan. 1, Rachel Chason of the Post writes. Gov. Hogan signed the bill prohibiting such sales in 2018, making Maryland the second state in the country, behind California, to have such a ban.

BILL PUSHES ELECTIONS FOR FREDERICK ED BOARD VACANCIES: Supporting bills before the Maryland General Assembly would allow vacancies on the Frederick County Board of Education to be filled via an election rather than an appointment process, Steve Bohnel reports in the Frederick News-Post.

HOGAN BLASTS TRUMP ON BAY PROGRAM CUT: President Trump’s newly proposed budget includes a 90% cut to the Chesapeake Bay Program — a decision that prompted condemnation from Gov. Hogan and others, Eric Neugeboren of the Diamondback writes. “While the Trump administration continues to turn its back on the Bay, we will keep fighting to protect one of our most precious natural assets,” Hogan’s statement read.

CARTER: WINNING WITH PROGRESSIVE CREDS: Sen. Jill Carter, D-Baltimore City, came in third place in last week’s Democratic special congressional primary but she said progressive grassroots support may be enough to put her over the top in her quest to succeed the late Rep. Elijah Cummings, Bryan Renbaum writes for MarylandReporter.

CARDIN PREDICTS TOUGH DEM PRESIDENTIAL FIGHT: Jeff Barker of the Sun reports that U.S. Sen. Ben Cardin of Maryland said Monday that he believes Democrats face “an uphill battle” in the 2020 presidential election and — at least for now — “I think Donald Trump is the favorite.” The third-term Democrat added: “I came to that conclusion a couple months ago.”

BUYOUTS AT SUN MEDIA: At least 11 Baltimore Sun Media Group employees accepted buyouts from Tribune Publishing, including three Capital Gazette journalists who reported on the fatal shooting in their own newsroom, and long-time Sun journalists covering arts and University of Maryland athletics, Brandon Weigel of Baltimore Fishbowl reports.

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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