State Roundup: AG opinion overturns decision on Towson degree; Senate pres wants stadium lease signed ‘yesterday’

State Roundup: AG opinion overturns decision on Towson degree; Senate pres wants stadium lease signed ‘yesterday’

Towson University Tiger statue in front of Stephen Hall. Photo from Academic Senate web page.

STATE COMMISSION’S VOTE ON NEW DEGREE PROGRAM WAS IMPROPER, AG SAYS: The Maryland Higher Education Commission’s vote in June to allow Towson University to create a new business analytics doctoral program wasn’t conducted properly, according to an advice letter Thursday from the Office of the Attorney General. The letter sent to new Commission Chair Catherine “Cassie” Motz states that the previous commissioners’ 4-3 vote “was of no effect” because a majority of the 12 board members were needed to either vote in favor or against the proposal. William J. Ford/Maryland Matters.

  • Maryland Attorney General Anthony Brown’s office said Thursday that the decision in April by Emily A. A. Dow, the higher education commission’s assistant secretary for academic affairs, to reject the program still stands, as there were not enough votes for the Towson approval to pass. “From a legal standpoint, it is as if the Commission had not yet voted at all,” wrote Patrick B. Hughes, the office’s chief counsel for opinions and advice. “… the Commission is likely required to meet again to attempt to reach a decision, one way or the other, with the necessary number of votes.” Sabrina LaBoeuf/The Baltimore Sun.
  • Morgan State University, which has offered the Ph.D. program since 2001,  was just one of four historically Black colleges or universities that sued MHEC in part because of program duplication that caused demonstrable harm.  That lawsuit, which also addressed funding inequity between Maryland’s predominantly White institutions and HBCUs, was settled only two years ago. After a 15-year battle, the state’s four HBCUs walked away with an agreement to receive $577 million in general funds over a 10-year period. Alexis Taylor/The Afro.

SENATE PRES WANTS CAMDEN YARDS LEASE SIGNED ‘YESTERDAY’: State Senate President Bill Ferguson expressed impatience Thursday that the Orioles and Maryland Stadium Authority have not yet agreed on a long-term lease, saying he wished a deal had been completed “yesterday.” Ferguson, a Democrat who represents Camden Yards and its surrounding area, noted to reporters at the Maryland Association of Counties summer conference in Ocean City that the Ravens agreed to a new lease months ago.  Orioles Chairman and CEO John Angelos has said he wants the lease to reflect the hopes of the team and the state that the area surrounding the stadium be redeveloped so it can be an attraction even on non-game days. Hannah Gaskill/The Baltimore Sun.

QUESTIONS ABOUT INVESTIGATING LAW FIRM’S INDEPENDENCE: The law firm hired by Montgomery County Public Schools to investigate its handling of years of allegations about former Farquhar principal Joel Beidleman also represents the district in legal matters — spurring worries among teachers and legal scholars that its job is not to unearth all the facts and hold district officials accountable but to shield the school system and its leaders from liability. Alexandra Robbins and Nicole Asbury/The Washington Post

JUDGE GIVES MOSBY MORE TIME TO FILE REQUEST TO MOVE TRIAL: Judge Lydia Kay Griggsby granted a request from Marilyn Mosby’s attorneys to extend the filing deadline for their next argument concerning their request to move her trial out of Baltimore. The new deadline is Monday. Prosecutors have been fighting the former Baltimore City state’s attorney’s attempt to move her perjury trial to Greenbelt. In the government’s latest filing, prosecutors attacked defense research by Dr. Bryan Edelman that the defense said shows the Baltimore area saturated with negative media coverage and that the Southern Division of the District of Maryland is “less predisposed to judge Mrs. Mosby guilty.” Mosby’s attorneys say they need more time to consult with Dr. Edelman because of his schedule. Chris Berinato/WBFF Fox.

BAY REPORT LAMENTS LOSS OF TREE COVER: Maryland saw a decline in tree cover and an increase in impervious surfaces across the Chesapeake Bay watershed from 2013 to 2018, according to a new report by the Chesapeake Bay Program. The report compared data gathered in 2017-2018 to data gathered in 2013-2014. The new data also reveals a loss of tree canopy across the Chesapeake Bay region. With the decrease of Maryland’s tree canopy comes a loss of a tool to help reduce dangerous heat and flooding. Aliza Worthington/Baltimore Fishbowl.

FREDERICK PANEL URGES LIMITING MAYORAL TERMS, ALLOWING UNAFFILIATED VOTES IN PRIMARIES: Frederick mayors would be limited to two terms in office and unaffiliated voters could vote in city primary elections, under the recommendations of a charter review subcommittee. The city should keep its elections in years when there is not a gubernatorial or presidential election, consider ranked-choice voting once it becomes more feasible, and send mail-in ballots to every eligible voter in primary and general elections, the subcommittee said Thursday. The subcommittee made its recommendations to the full 11-member Charter Review Committee on Thursday. Ryan Marshall/The Frederick-News Post.

MOCO SCHOOLS ARE ASKED TO ALLOW MORE THERAPY DOG VISITS: Whether stopping by for a visit on Student Appreciation Day or helping students cope with the death of a classmate, therapy dogs in Montgomery County have a local contingent who say they can play a role in supporting students. One local nonprofit has received a “dramatic increase” in requests over the past year for therapy dog services across Montgomery County Public Schools. This summer, the school board has been asked to ease the way for more dogs to visit more MCPS campuses. The district currently doesn’t have a formalized policy addressing whether such services are permitted on school grounds, leaving the decision up to principals’ discretion. EM ESPEY/MOCO 360.

OPINION: MDTA’S AUTOMATIC LICENSE-PLATE READER HAS GLITCHES: “Down in Baltimore County, somebody keeps rolling through the Interstate 95 express lane at White Marsh without paying the required toll. And I really, really, really wish it would stop. Why should I care about a total stranger’s apparent violation three counties over, you ask? Because the license plate on the offending vehicle is one digit different than the one on my car, and the Maryland Transportation Authority’s automatic reader keeps reading it as mine. How much time, paper and postage is being wasted because the “readers” are misreading the plates?” Tamela Baker/The Hagerstown Herald-Mail.

JAWANDO MAY NOT BE A SPOILER: Josh Kurtz of Maryland Matters says Adam Pagnucco’s analysis of past elections may not hold true next year in the Democratic primary contest for the U.S. Senate seat.

About The Author

Regina Holmes

Contributing editor Regina Holmes has worked as a journalist for over 30 years. She was an assistant business editor at the Miami Herald and an assistant city editor at Newsday in New York City, where she helped supervise coverage of 9/11, anthrax attacks and the August 2003 Northeast Blackout. As an assistant managing editor of the Baltimore Examiner, she helped launch the free tabloid in 2006. Before joining Maryland Reporter, she was the managing editor for Washington, D.C.-based Talk Media News, where she supervised digital, radio and video production of news reports for over 400 radio stations. The Baltimore native is a graduate of Vassar College and Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism.

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