State Roundup: Hogan, Franchot point to each other to pause automatic gas tax hike; drug price upper limits targeted; House GOP assails Frosh for not suing Biden

State Roundup: Hogan, Franchot point to each other to pause automatic gas tax hike; drug price upper limits targeted; House GOP assails Frosh for not suing Biden

The state's gas tax is slated to rise to 47 cents a gallon on July 1. CNS file photo. Illustration by Cynthia Prairie.

PAUSE IN GAS TAX HIKE? YOU DO IT. NO, YOU DO IT: Gov. Larry Hogan and Comptroller Peter Franchot both said Monday they want a reprieve from an upcoming increase to the state’s gas tax — and they’re each pointing at the other to get it done. The tax, which is tied to inflation, is scheduled to increase automatically from around 36 cents to about 43 cents per gallon on July 1 as drivers are continuing to feel a squeeze on skyrocketing prices at the pump. Sam Janesch/The Baltimore Sun.

  • On Monday, the increase triggered letters from Republican Gov. Larry Hogan and Democratic Comptroller Peter Franchot. Each is looking to the other for help in pausing the tax hike. It is not clear what power Franchot might have to delay or defer the impending increase. Hogan, in his letter, referenced other actions Franchot has taken during the pandemic to ease burdens on individuals and businesses. Bryan Sears/The Daily Record.
  • Hogan called on Franchot to ease the annual gas tax increases mandated by legislation that will take effect this summer. And Franchot, a Democratic gubernatorial candidate, quickly responded by calling on the governor to declare a state of emergency to temporarily suspend the tax altogether. Elizabeth Shwe/Maryland Matters.

PRESCRIPTION DRUG PANEL TARGETS COST ‘UPPER LIMITS’: How much is too much? Maryland’s Prescription Drug Affordability Board sharpened its focus Monday on establishing a process to impose upper price limits for some prescription drugs in the state. Maryland, a pioneer in establishing a cost control board for medications, has no definition for “upper payment limits” within its state code. Hannah Gaskill/Maryland Matters.

HOUSE GOP BLASTS FROSH FOR NOT SUING BIDEN: Maryland House Republicans assailed the state’s Democratic attorney general Monday for not suing President Joe Biden with the same gusto he took on President Donald Trump in court for federal actions perceived to harm the state or its residents. The GOP House Caucus stated that Brian E. Frosh has not sued Biden and his Democratic administration for what the GOP alleges are the president’s offenses against Marylanders, including a relaxation of Trump-era immigration restrictions that the Republicans claim stanched the COVID-19 pandemic and opioid epidemic. Steve Lash/The Daily Record.

  • Frosh said he found the query “astonishing.” In response, Frosh wondered whether “some lunatic has gotten hold of [the Republicans’] stationery.” “We sued Trump because he violated the law repeatedly,” Frosh said. “And we won repeatedly.” Josh Kurtz Political Notes/Maryland Matters.

WITH LACK OF INDIE POLLING, VOTERS IN THE DARK: Maryland voters will begin casting mail-in ballots early next month and the primary is less than 60 days away. But what’s going on in the race for governor? The lack of independent polling has left journalists, debate planners and — most importantly — voters in the dark about the Democratic and Republican primary contests that will shape the general election in November. Bruce DePuyt/Maryland Matters.

HOWARD MAN GETS 3 YEARS IN JAN. 6 INSURRECTION: A Howard County man who sprayed a fire extinguisher at police officers during some of the most intense rioting at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, was sentenced Monday to nearly three years in prison. Matthew Ryan Miller, 23, of Cooksville was draped in a Confederate flag when he threw a full beer can in the direction of the Capitol building as a mob gathered on the west side of the U.S. Capitol, a news release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office District of Columbia says. Ngan Ho/Baltimore Sun Media.

PRIMARY DEBATES: Please join Maryland Reporter’s Len Lazarick as he moderates the virtual online debates for the candidates for Maryland attorney general. Republicans Michael Peroutka and Jim Shalleck debate Tuesday, May 24, 7 p.m. Register here to get the link. Democrats Anthony Brown and Katie Curran O’Malley debate on Wednesday, May 25, 7:30 p.m. Register here. Josh Kurtz of Maryland Matters moderates the debate of Democratic comptroller candidates Tim Adams and Brooke Lierman Tuesday, May 31. Register here. Here’s the flyer. The League of Women Voters is the lead sponsor along with,, Maryland Nonprofits, Maryland Latinos Unidos and the University of Baltimore’s Schaefer Center for Public Policy, the online host.

SCOTUS STORIES: THE WOMAN BEHIND THE LEAK PROBE: When Gail Curley began her job as marshal of the U.S. Supreme Court less than a year ago, she would have expected to work mostly behind the scenes. But now the Baltimore native is investigating the leak of a preliminary Supreme Court opinion. Exerts say leaking the draft opinion likely wasn’t a crime, and Curley’s investigative tools are limited. Jessica Gresko/The Associated Press.

SCOTUS STORIES: HOW HOME PROTESTS BECAME LEGAL: Four decades ago, Phillip Schuller stumbled into history, joining a demonstration that involved an ex-priest, 10 pints of blood and Donald H. Rumsfeld’s front lawn. Schuller’s 1976 arrest ultimately upended Maryland’s law banning protests outside private residences. And it’s a key reason why, today, abortion rights activists can picket in front of the suburban Maryland homes of conservative Supreme Court justices. Erin Cox/The Washington Post.

NAVARRO BACKS BLAIR FOR MO CO EXEC: Montgomery County Council Member Nancy Navarro – who has had policy differences with County Executive Marc Elrich during his first term and has voiced criticism of the incumbent’s operating style – announced Monday she is endorsing one of Elrich’s two major rivals, businessman David Blair, in July’s Democratic primary. Louis Peck and Steve Bohnel/Bethesda Beat.

POLICE UNION VOTES NO CONFIDENCE IN BA CO CHIEF: The union representing Baltimore County police officers issued a vote of no confidence in police Chief Melissa Hyatt on Monday evening in a rare move signaling displeasure in the department’s top leadership. Darcy Costello/The Baltimore Sun.

FREELANCERS WANTED: is looking for freelance writers to cover stories in state and local government, particularly Howard County. If interested contact editor Tim Maier at A resume and clips would be helpful if Tim is unfamiliar with your work.

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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