State Roundup: Frosh overrules 22 racist AG opinions; lawmakers wrestle with taxing recreational cannabis; Baltimore Council OKs pension change

State Roundup: Frosh overrules 22 racist AG opinions; lawmakers wrestle with taxing recreational cannabis; Baltimore Council OKs pension change

Gov. Martin O'Malley swears in Brian Frosh for his first term as attorney general in January 2015. Frosh did not seek re-election and is retiring after this term.

FROSH STRIKES DOWN RACIST AG OPINIONS: Outgoing Maryland Attorney General Brian E. Frosh announced Monday that he was overruling decades of antiquated, racist legal opinions his predecessors had issued, wiping away some of the many vestiges of systems that denied equality to Black people. Erin Cox/The Washington Post.

  • For about 50 years last century, Maryland attorneys general issued advisory opinions accepting of the state’s laws banning interracial marriage and supporting racially segregated public schools without questioning the acts’ constitutionality until the U.S. Supreme Court struck such statutes down. Steve Lash/The Daily Record.
  • The 13-page opinion addressed to the General Assembly leadership summarizes how the legislature passed discriminatory statues in the 17th century. In 1664, lawmakers passed a statute that all Black people would be enslaved for life, which “codified a practice that had already existed for decades.” William Ford/Maryland Matters.

ADVOCATES HOPE BROWN CONTINUES FROSH LEGACY: Criminal justice advocates, attorneys and residents want Attorney General-elect Anthony Brown, who will become the state’s first Black AG, to continue the policies or improve the operations of the office currently held by Attorney General Brian Frosh (D), speak out when necessary and support proposed policies when the General Assembly convenes in January. Several people interviewed said they want the attorney general’s office to become more visible in police-involved shootings. William Ford/Maryland Matters.

ABUSE SURVIVORS FIND HOPE IN AG’s CHURCH REPORT: For years, survivors of child sexual abuse — at the hands of priests, teachers, relatives and other trusted adults — have fought for more access to Maryland’s court system to hold perpetrators and their enablers accountable. The process has moved in fits and starts, with the last partial progress coming in 2017. Survivors and their allies are hopeful that a new report documenting decades of abuse within the Catholic Church in the Baltimore area will spur lawmakers to heed their calls for reform. Pamela Wood/The Baltimore Banner.

JUDICIAL SELECTION PROCESS AGAIN UNDER SCRUTINY: State Sen. Christopher West appeared before a 21-member temporary legislative panel to push for a compromise proposal on the state’s judicial selection process — for appellate and district court judges as well as those serving on circuit courts. Louis Peck/Maryland Matters.

LAWMAKERS WRESTLE WITH TAXING RECREATIONAL CANNABIS: Taxes on newly legalized recreational cannabis in Maryland could be phased in over time as the state seeks to replace an illicit market with a regulated one. Between now and July, lawmakers will have to wrestle with a number of issues. Taxes that are too high can bolster black market sales and make it tougher for a legal market in its infancy to establish a beachhead. Bryan Sears/The Daily Record.

OPINION: WHO IS THE PRESUMPTIVE GOP NOMINEE FOR GOVERNOR NOW? In most cases, the losing Republican candidate for governor would keep their spot as the presumptive nominee next time around. It happened with Ellen Sauerbrey and Bob Ehrlich. With the way that Dan Cox’s failure as a candidate decimated the Republican bench, there is no presumptive Republican gubernatorial nominee for the first time since 1994. Brian Griffiths/The Duckpin.

BALTIMORE COUNCIL OKs PENSION CHANGE AFTER TERM-LIMIT VOTE: The Baltimore City Council gave final approval to a proposal to cut the number of years required for its members and other city officials to earn a pension Monday, faulting a charter amendment establishing term limits that was overwhelmingly approved by voters this month. Emily Opilo/The Baltimore Sun.

  • Council President Nick Mosby framed the pension proposal as a direct response to Question K, the charter amendment passed earlier this month limiting Baltimore’s elected officials to two terms, or eight years, in office. The term limits proposal passed easily with the backing of a top Sinclair Broadcast Group executive, David Smith, who spent more than $500,000 to fund a political action committee to put the measure before voters. Adam Willis/The Baltimore Banner.
  • Opponents of the measure tried to slow the measure’s roll, but Mosby, who has been speeding it through the legislative process, outflanked them. Fern Shen/Baltimore Brew.

CECIL REPUBLICANS TARGET COMMITTEE MEMBERS WHO OPPOSED ENDORSED CANDIDATES: The Cecil County Republican Central Committee is aiming to remove three prominent members who leaders criticize for opposing party-endorsed candidates. Matt Hubbard/The Cecil Whig.

NUMBER OF ARUNDEL VOTERS DROPPED IN 2022 MIDTERMS: The 2022 midterm elections featured a range of candidates for elected office — from U.S. Senate to governor to County Council — yet fewer Anne Arundel County residents voted compared to 2018, according to State Board of Elections data. Dana Munro/The Capital Gazette.

JUDGE DELAYS ETHICS HEARING AFTER MOSBY FAILS TO GET LAWYER: After Baltimore City Council President Nick Mosby failed to obtain a lawyer, a judge has delayed a hearing on an ethics dispute that found Mosby violated the city’s ethics ordinance by collecting money for a legal-defense fund. Emily Opilo/The Baltimore Sun.

RICHARD LIDINSKY, 79, ‘WATCHDOG OF THE PORT,’ DIES: Richard A. Lidinsky Jr., an attorney who headed the Federal Maritime Commission and was known as the “Watchdog of the Port,” died of complications from Parkinson’s disease Thursday at his Roland Park home. He was 76. Jacques Kelly/The Baltimore Sun.

PG SHERIFF MELVIN HIGH, 78, DIES: Prince George’s County Sheriff Melvin High died after checking himself into Washington Hospital Center last Thursday, according to Chief Assistant Sheriff Col. Darryl Palmer. In 2003, he became the Prince George’s County Police chief, a role he held for five years, and was elected as county sheriff in 2010. He was 78.  Richard Elliott/The Washington Informer.

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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