State Roundup, January 4, 2017

DELAYING FRACKING REGS: A Maryland legislative panel has placed a temporary hold on the state’s proposed fracking regulations amid sharp disagreements over whether the controversial gas-extraction method should be allowed at all, reports Josh Hicks in the Post.  The rare action by the Joint Committee on Administrative, Executive and Legislative Review prevents the state’s environmental department from implementing the guidelines until Feb. 27, giving the General Assembly time to consider prohibiting the drilling practice, technically known as hydraulic fracturing.

FROSH WANTS RAPE KITS TESTED: Police in Maryland should test nearly all rape kits, notify victims of the results and store the kits for a fixed period of time, Maryland Attorney General Brian E. Frosh said. Alison Knezevich of the Sun reports that a report to lawmakers by Frosh’s office issued Tuesday said a lack of statewide guidelines on when to test rape kits and how long to keep them has resulted in police departments adopting inconsistent policies. Some keep the kits indefinitely, but others throw them out.

MARYLAND SCHOOLS DROP TO 5th: Maryland’s place on a national ranking of state public schools fell once again this year from fourth to fifth place. Education Week, the national newspaper that ranks state education systems based on statistical information, placed the state behind Massachusetts, New Jersey, Vermont and New Hampshire on its Quality Counts report which was released Wednesday, writes Liz Bowie in the Sun.