State Roundup, October 11, 2017

LEGALIZING SPORTS BETTING: The issue of casino gambling, largely absent from the General Assembly’s agenda for the past five years, could return to Annapolis in 2018, reports Michael Dresser and Jeff Barker in the Sun. Joe Weinberg, head of the company that operates Maryland Live Casino & Hotel in Anne Arundel County, said Tuesday that he is “all in” for an effort to legalize sports betting at Maryland’s six casinos.

  • Gaming industry advocates and Maryland casinos are urging the General Assembly to prepare for a U.S Supreme Court decision that could open the door to sports betting in Maryland and other states, reports Bryan Sears for the Daily Record. The ruling on a New Jersey case, expected next summer, could potentially mean hundreds of millions in additional gaming revenue to Maryland at the same time legislators will be hungry for additional money to cover expected recommendations for billions of more funds for school systems.

MO CO SCHOOLS SEEK CALENDAR FIX: As schools systems across Maryland struggle to meet the mandated school dates, the Montgomery County school board will send Gov. Larry Hogan a letter about their struggles with the academic calendar. Again. Bethany Rodgers of Bethesda Beat reports that the board voted 6-2 Tuesday to ask Gov. Larry Hogan to relax an executive order that schools begin classes after Labor Day and end by June 15. The school board is urging him to push back the mandated end of the school year statewide to June 22.

CONGRESS COULD DERAIL RX POT PROGRAM: Maryland’s medical marijuana program, finally about to launch, could remain grounded if Congress fails to extend limits on federal prosecutions for using and selling the drug, Michael Dresser and Evan Halper of the Sun report. Under pressure from the anti-cannabis Attorney General Jeff Sessions, the House of Representatives is balking at preserving an Obama-era provision that gives the states space to decide their own approaches to regulating the drug.

CRIMINAL JUSTICE PANEL MAY HAVE TO DISBAND: Baltimore’s Criminal Justice Coordinating Council — which has met since 1999 — could be forced to cease operations after Gov. Larry Hogan stripped the panel of its state funding, Luke Broadwater reports in the Sun. Baltimore Circuit Judge Charles J. Peters, chairman of the body, sent a letter to the group stating that Wednesday’s meeting of the body could be its last.

KIRWAN PANEL CONTINUES SCHOOL FORUMS: The Kirwan Commission on Innovation and Excellence in Education on Thursday will continue hashing out its recommendations for improving Maryland public schools and revising the funding formulas to pay for them — such as a proposal for universal pre-kindergarten, writes Len Lazarick for MarylandReporter. The commission will cap off the day with a long public hearing that has 60 people signed up to testify in Baltimore.

PROGRESSIVES DRILL GOVERNOR CANDIDATES: Voters who may have been looking for policy differences among Maryland’s Democratic gubernatorial candidates didn’t get many of them during a forum in Silver Spring Monday night., writes Andrew Metcalf for Bethesda Beat.

JEALOUS TOUTS FREE COLLEGE PLAN: Maryland gubernatorial candidate Ben Jealous wants Maryland to become the second state after New York to provide public higher education free of charge, reports Ovetta Wiggins in the Post. Jealous told a group of students and progressive activists gathered Tuesday night at the University of Maryland, Baltimore, that he would help pay for the plan by ending mass incarceration.“College is as important in the 21st century as high school was in the 20th century,” the former NAACP president and tech investor said.

MIZEUR SEEKS TO BRIDGE POLITICAL SPLIT: After Heather Mizeur lost the Democratic primary race for governor in 2014, she retreated to her farm on the Eastern Shore for more than two years, leaving behind a political life she had been building since she was a teenager, Erin Cox reports for the Sun. Today, she’s re-emerging on the Maryland political scene with a new organization that has the goal of bridging the deep political divisions in society.

BLASTING DEL. LUEDTKE: Brian Griffiths of Red Maryland opines that Del. Eric Luedtke is the poster child for inconsistent left-wing activism. And Luedtke’s recent attack on his colleague Del. Trent Kittleman in Maryland Reporter would be laughable if it weren’t such an intellectually dishonest case of projection. It’s a typical progressive line of attack. Labeling his opponent an ideologue while presenting himself as the disinterested arbiter of “facts.”

CAMPAIGN FINANCE IN HO CO: Months after the Howard County Council passed public campaign financing legislation, political activists will gather on Sunday to discuss campaign finance reform at an event hosted by the group Together We Will Howard County, Kate Magill of the Howard County Times reports.

MO CO COUNCIL ANGERS PTA, REALTORS: The Montgomery County Council has angered two important groups: The PTA and Realtors. One big group got a tax increase it didn’t want. The other big group may not get the spending increase it did want. Neither group is happy. Adam Pagnucco writes the story for Seventh State blog.

PLANNING IS POLITICS: Ben Ross, of the Maryland Transit Opportunities Coalition, writes in a review of “Suburb” for Maryland Matters that author Royce Hanson says that planning is inseparable from politics. Hanson’s 272-page history of Montgomery County land-use regulation amply proves the point. As chair of the county Planning Board from 1972 to 1981 and again from 2006 to 2010, Hanson knows where the bodies are buried. He dissects the political context of rezonings and master plans as no outsider could, telling some fascinating tales out of school.

FORMER SEN. ROESSER DIES: Funeral services will be held Saturday for Jean Roesser, a longtime state legislator who was the last Republican to represent Montgomery County in the state Senate. A Potomac resident for 56 years, Roesser died at Suburban Hospital in Bethesda on Oct. 2 due to complications from leukemia, her son, Eugene Roesser Jr., said. She was 87.

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