State Roundup: Sarbanes won’t see re-election; Md. House Democrats pan new House speaker; ex-Rockville official got $300K severance

State Roundup: Sarbanes won’t see re-election; Md. House Democrats pan new House speaker; ex-Rockville official got $300K severance

Rep. John Sarbanes. Photo from his official website

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SARBANES WON’T SEEK RE-ELECTION IN 2024: Rep. John Sarbanes (D-Md.) announced Thursday that he will not seek a 10th term in 2024, creating an open congressional seat and ending a tenure that earned him praise as a champion of campaign finance reform. Sarbanes’s announcement, which surprised Maryland politics watchers, was posted in a statement on his House website that said he hoped to return to work with communities and nonprofits “to explore the many opportunities to serve that exist outside of elected office.” Erin Cox and Ovetta Wiggins/The Washington Post.

MOST MD. HOUSE DEMOCRATS ARE NOT IMPRESSED BY NEW SPEAKER: Newly elected House Speaker Mike Johnson is drawing sharp criticisms from most of Maryland’s House Democrats, who view the Louisiana lawmaker as a political extremist and opponent of democracy. After three weeks of infighting among GOP members, Johnson was elected the 56th House speaker on Wednesday. Fatima Hosseini and Parker Leipzig of Capital News Service/Baltimore Post-Examiner.

FORMER ROCKVLLE CITY MANAGER GOT $300,000 SEVERANCE: Former Rockville City Manager Robert DiSpirito received $307,093 in severance pay, according to documents obtained by MoCo360. DiSpirito resigned on Aug. 17 after the council held a closed session earlier in the day to discuss his performance. The council immediately appointed Deputy City Manager Barack Matite as acting city manager. Ginny Bixby/MoCo360.

EX-TEACHER ALLEGING BIAS SUES MOCO BOARD OF ED, PRINCIPAL: A former teacher at a middle school in Olney has filed a lawsuit against the Montgomery County Board of Education and the school’s principal, alleging that she suffered discrimination and a hostile work environment. The teachers’ union is reportedly gearing up for its own lawsuit. Elia Griffin/MoCo 360.

ECONOMISTS PAN STATE’S CAMDEN YARDS DEAL WITH ORIOLES: Economists say Maryland’s deal with the Baltimore Orioles about Camden Yards is too costly and is unlikely to pay off for taxpayers.  Hayes Gardner/The Baltimore Sun

SUPREME COURT OF MD. HONORS STATE’s FIRST BLACK LAWYER: The Supreme Court of Maryland honored the state’s first Black lawyer posthumously Thursday at a special session in Annapolis, the first time ever by the court. Edward Garrison Draper was born in Baltimore in 1834 and received a law degree in 1855 at Dartmouth College, the Ivy League school in New Hampshire. Wiiliam Ford/Maryland Matters

FARMS BALANCE AGRITOURISM WITH PRESERVING LAND: Welcoming about 40,000 visitors to over 1,200 acres during the whirlwind fall season, there is no shortage of preparation for Baugher’s Orchard and Farm Market in Westminster to build fun and protect the farmland from damage at the same time. Kiersten Hacke of Capital News Service/Maryland Reporter.

FREDERICK CO. STATE’S ATTORNEY FRUSTRATED BY JUVENILE LAWS: Frederick County State’s Attorney Charles Smith says it’s been nearly impossible to hold young offenders accountable for crime. He is frustrated with the current laws on the books, and says his office is seeing more and more repeat offenders who are unable to get the help they so desperately need. Maxine Streicher/WBFF- Fox

SUSPECT IN JUDGE’S FATAL SHOOTING IS FOUND DEAD: Pedro Argote, the suspect wanted in connection with the  killing of a Maryland  judge, was found dead Thursday morning. Washington County Sheriff Brian Albert said an expanded search in Williamsport led to the discovery of Argote’s body in a heavily wooded area about one mile north of where his vehicle was found. Argote was wanted in connection with the shooting death of Washington County Circuit Court Judge Andrew Wilkinson, who was found dead last week and had ruled in a divorce case involving Argote. Blair Young/WBAL-NBC

FALLEN BALTO. FIREFIGHTER’S FUNERAL IS TODAY: Scores of first responders, state and city leaders and mourners are convening Friday morning for a funeral procession for Baltimore City’s fallen firefighter Rodney W. Pitts III, who died in the line of duty Oct. 19. Lillian Reed/Baltimore Banner

  • The Baltimore City Fire Department announced road closures for Friday morning as it honors Pitts. He and Lt. Dillon Rinaldo died after fighting a fire last week in northwest Baltimore. A funeral for Pitts is scheduled for 10 a.m. Friday at the Cathedral of Mary Our Queen in north Baltimore. Greg Ng/WBAL-NBC

TSA DETECTS RECORD NUMBER OF GUNS THIS YEAR AT LOCAL AIRPORTS: Transportation Security Administration officials are reporting record numbers of guns caught at Baltimore and Washington airports so far this year. As of this month, TSA said, its officers at Baltimore-Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport have caught 36 guns at checkpoints – topping last year’s record of 35. Officers at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport have caught 30 guns at checkpoints, also a record. Penelope Blackwell/The Baltimore Banner

OPINION: MD. FAMILIES NEED THE FARM BILL: In Washington, D.C., where political divisions often define the discourse, there exists a rare point of unity. It’s a point that transcends party lines and can unite both chambers of Congress. This common ground is the need for the 2023 Farm Bill. Agriculture is Maryland’s largest commercial industry and is a historical cornerstone of our great state. Wayne Stafford/Maryland Matters

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