State Roundup: Joe Vogel leads fundraising in 6th district race, CASA apologizes for Gaza war remarks after losing funding; Sparrows Point Steel wins $47 million grant for wind-farm factory

State Roundup: Joe Vogel leads fundraising in 6th district race, CASA apologizes for Gaza war remarks after losing funding; Sparrows Point Steel wins $47 million grant for wind-farm factory

Gov. Wes Moore greets retired long-time state elections administrator Linda Lamone Wednesday at a dinner in Annapolis honoring her 25 years of service in the job. She was the longest serving elections administrator in Maryland and the second longest in the nation. Rep. Steny Hoyer, the former House majority leader and longest serving congressman, also honored Lamone at the event. Governor's Office photo by Joe Andrucyk

JOE VOGEL, 26, IS TOP FUNDRAISER IN 6TH DISTRICT RACE: Maryland Del. Joe Vogel, D-Montgomery, has raised and spent the most money out of all candidates vying to represent the state’s 6th District in the House. Vogel has raised $252, 813, putting him above his fellow Democrats — and also above all Republicans running for the seat. Currently representing District 17 in the Maryland House of Delegates, Vogel has not officially filed for candidacy, according to the Maryland State Board of Elections website, but announced his congressional campaign in May. If elected, 26-year-old Vogel would become one of the first Generation Z individuals in Congress. Shifra Dayak of Capital News Service/Maryland Reporter

AFTER LOSING DONATIONS, CASA ISSUES APOLOGY FOR STATEMENTS ABOUT GAZA WAR: Almost two weeks after coming under fire for issuing statements on the war in Gaza that some critics characterized as antisemitic, CASA – the Maryland-based immigrants’ rights organization – released a public apology Thursday, expressing regret for causing “dear friends and partners pain” and vowing to make amends. The new statement was released two days after the Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation, the Baltimore philanthropy and CASA’s largest private donor, announced that it was pulling $150,000 in promised donations to the group. Josh Kurtz/Maryland Matters

SPARROWS POINT STEEL WINS $47 MILLION U.S. GRANT TO BUILD OFFSHORE WIND FARM FACILITY: A federal grant will help grow wind farms in Maryland. Sparrows Point Steel in Baltimore County won a $47 million grant from the U.S. Maritime Administration for its offshore wind manufacturing facility. Sparrows Point Steel is owned and operated by Baltimore-based US Wind and sits on nearly 100 waterfront acres at Tradepoint Atlantic, a 3,300-acre industrial center and logistics hub in Sparrows Point that is the former home of Bethlehem Steel, which was once the largest steel production facility in the world. Dillon Mullan/The Baltimore Sun

BLUEPRINT BOARD OKS PLAN TO SEND LITERACY EXPERTS TO ELEMENTARY SCHOOLS: To help boost literacy achievement in Maryland’s elementary schools, the Blueprint Accountability and Implementation Board approved a proposal Thursday that will send literacy experts to schools in each of Maryland’s counties and the city of Baltimore by the end of this school year. Before these teams arrive at the schools, Rachel Hise, executive director of the Blueprint board, said school leaders must complete a draft literacy plan for elementary students by Jan. 15. The goal for the initiative, which the state Board of Education also unanimously approved last week, is to ensure students in third grade are reading at a proficient level. William J. Ford/Maryland Matters

VAN HOLLEN URGES FEDS TO EASE UP ON EX-CON MARIJUANA BUSINESS OWNERS: The federal government unfairly penalizes state-legal marijuana businesses whose owners have been convicted of marijuana-related crimes, restricting them from loans and other banking tools, a group of U.S. Senate and House Democrats wrote to the Treasury Department asking for a change in policy. The group of 20 lawmakers, including Sen. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), said in Tuesday’s letter that 2014 guidance from the department’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network to put “red flags” on marijuana businesses hurts the businesses’ chances of securing banking services or loans. Jacob Fischler/Maryland Matters

HOWARD CO. CUTS BACK ON SCHOOL BUS SERVICE, UPSETTING PARENTS: Some parents in Howard County are upset by changes to the transportation policy that take buses away from thousands of students who are now considered within walking range to school. Parents said the transportation policy was amended quietly, without a public hearing. Many of them spoke out at the school board meeting Thursday night, wanting them to restore the bus services. Kim Dacey/WBAL TV (NBC)

BALTIMORE TASK FORCE FORGOES EXPECTED VOTE ON NEW WATER AUTHORITY: In the final minutes of the Baltimore Regional Water Governance Task Force’s penultimate meeting Thursday night — expected to end with a vote on its recommended reforms to Baltimore’s water and sewer system — task force members decided too many questions surrounding the financial impact of a quasi-public authority remain unanswered. Task force member Patrick Moran said the governance model the task force was prepared to vote on seemed to be the privatized system that task force Chairman Bill Henry, Baltimore Mayor Brandon Scott and Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewski Jr. said they didn’t want. Taylor DeVille/The Baltimore Banner

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LATINO ACTIVISTS URGE MD. TO CONSIDER UNINTENDED RESULTS OF ROE v. WADE DECISION: In a virtual discussion Thursday, members of Maryland Latinos Unidos discussed how restricted access to abortion and sexual health care around the world can have unintended consequences that Maryland and other states can take into account when crafting their own policies. Some states such as Maryland have expanded protections for people seeking an abortion. Back in May, Gov. Wes Moore (D) declared Maryland as “a safe haven” for people in more restrictive states. Other states have restricted access to abortion following the overturning of Roe v. Wade last year. Danielle J. Brown/Maryland Matters

HOPKINS DOCTOR IS PLACED ON LEAVE A MONTH AFTER SOCIAL MEDIA POSTS ABOUT PALESTINIANS: A Johns Hopkins physician who made a series of “deeply disturbing” social media posts about Palestinians has been placed on leave, the institution said Thursday, amid boiling tensions brought by the bitterly divisive war. The announcement, more than a month after the professor’s comments, came alongside a week of domestic upheaval regarding the war abroad.  Dan Belson/The Baltimore Sun

MOORE IS NOMINATED FOR A GRAMMY FOR TRACK ON ALBUM FOR KIDS: A new release by a Baltimore-born DJ featuring a collaboration with Maryland Gov. Wes Moore is a Grammy nominee for best children’s music album. “Coming to you from Maryland, this is Governor Wes Moore,” begins a song on DJ Willy Wow!’s album “Hip Hope For Kids!” — and it is indeed Moore’s familiar voice on the track, titled “Service by (Governor Wes Moore).” Abigail Gruskin/The Baltimore Sun

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