State Roundup, August 10, 2017

CRACKING DOWN ON DEALERS: St. Mary’s County is bringing murder charges against suspected opioid drug dealers as part of an aggressive campaign to combat the epidemic, becoming the first in the state to file some of the toughest charges against distributors who they say are responsible for carnage, Arelis Hernandez of the Post reports. Law enforcement officials on Wednesday announced eight second-degree murder indictments so rare that they attracted a visit from Gov. Larry Hogan.

UNITED BY ENVIRONMENTAL STEWARDSHIP: In an opinion piece in the Baltimore Sun, Gov. Larry Hogan writes his stewardship of the Chesapeake Bay and his stand on various environmental issues that affect Maryland, saying that “we are setting an example for the country by focusing on what we have in common — not what divides us. This focus has enabled our administration to partner with the environmental, agricultural and business communities to create a cleaner and greener Maryland.”

HOGAN CAN LEAD ON EMISSIONS REDUCTIONS: In the next few weeks, Gov. Larry Hogan has a chance to secure a big win for our state’s economy and cleaner air, writes Tony Clifford in an opinion piece for MarylandReporter. The pioneering Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, which has already helped slash carbon pollution from Maryland power plants by more than 40% and is a key pillar in our state’s plan to address climate change, is undergoing a review to decide how much more participating states want to reduce power plant emissions in the coming years. By leading boldly on RGGI and pushing for the strongest possible emissions reductions, the governor can protect Maryland’s citizens, economy, and natural resources while securing major benefits for Maryland families and businesses.

‘RIGHT TO WORK’ LEGISLATION: State Sen. minority whip Stephen Hershey (R-Upper Shore) is working on legislation that would give counties the option to become a “right to work” county, a designation that would prohibit both unions and employers from compelling employees to join the union, Brad Kroner of the Cecil Whig reports.

VIGNARAJAH ANNOUNCES RUN FOR GOVERNOR: Krish Vignarajah, a former policy director for first lady Michelle Obama, is the latest Democrat to join Maryland’s gubernatorial race, Pamela Wood reports in the Sun. Vignarajah said Wednesday she’llkick off her campaign in September. She is the first woman to announce a run for governor.

REGISTERED IN MARYLAND, VOTED IN DC: Krishanti Vignarajah, who announced Wednesday she plans to run for Maryland governor, has voted four times in Washington, D.C., while also a registered voter in Maryland, records show. Andrew Metcalf of Bethesda Beat reports that Vignarajah, 37, an attorney, first registered to vote in Maryland in 2006 at an address in Catonsville. However, she didn’t vote in the state until the 2016 general election, according to her Maryland voting history, which Bethesda Beat obtained.

ATTORNEY SEEKS DEL. FRICK’s SEAT: Sara Love is the first candidate to formally announce her candidacy for the District 16 delegate seat that’s open as Del. Bill Frick (D-Bethesda) runs for Congress, Andrew Metcalf reports in Bethesda Beat. Love, a Bethesda resident and attorney, formerly served as the general counsel for NARAL Pro-Choice America and more recently as the public policy director for the American Civil Liberties Union of Maryland—a position she left in September.

MARKETING WINE, MARKETING TRONE? Ryan Miner of a Miner Detail blog writes that Total Wine & More has sent out marketing materials to Keedysville, a small town of about 1,200, nestled in southern Washington County – well within the boundaries of Maryland’s 6th Congressional District where one of its founders, David Trone, is running for Congress. But Keedysville is also more than 25 miles from the nears Total Wine store – both in Virginia. The materials don’t just market the store, they talk about the Trone brothers.

BLAME THE DEMOCRATS: Republican candidate for U.S. Senate Sam Faddis, in an op-ed in the Sun, lays the blame for the failures in Baltimore at the feet of the local, state and national Democrats, writing that “the Democratic Party, at every level — local, state and federal — remains completely ineffectual and continues to fail the people of Baltimore at every turn. This is no new development. That fact is that the Democratic Party has failed Baltimore and every other major American city for the last 50 years.”

COLLEGE PARKS DELAYS NONCITIZEN VOTE VOTE: The city of College Park, the Washington suburb that is home to the University of Maryland’s flagship campus, postponed a vote Tuesday on whether to extend municipal voting rights to noncitizenswhile it weighs whether to hold a referendum and let voters decide, Rachel Chason of the Post writes.

ANNAPOLIS FACEBOOK CONTROVERSY: Rachel Chason of the Post writes about the controversy in Annapolis over the police chief’s Facebook post in response to President Trump’s apparent encourage of police officers rough treatment of suspects and Mayor Mike Pantelides’ decision to stop any discussion of national issues on the city’s official social media pages.

FRAZIER LAWSUIT OUT FRONT: Heather Mongilio of the Carroll County Times writes that the recent Open Meetings lawsuit brought by former county commissioner Robin Frazier against Taneytown’s mayor and city council, where her husband holds a seat, was a main issue at a recent meeting. A judge had ruled that the mayor and council did not give proper notice of the closed meeting but did not do so willfully.

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