Politics

  • February 22 // Hogan, Pugh announce hundreds of arrests as part of anti-crime sweep in Baltimore

    A coordinated crime-fighting initiative involving federal, state and local law enforcement agencies led to hundreds of arrests in Baltimore City over the past 60 days, Gov. Larry Hogan said Wednesday. "Operation 7 Sentries" focuses on taking "immediate and aggressive steps... to assist the Baltimore City Police Department in an effort to remove as many repeat violent offenders as possible from the streets of Baltimore City as quickly as possible," the governor said at a press conference attended by Mayor Catherine Pugh, Acting Baltimore Police Commissioner Darryl De Sousa and law enforcement officials. (Balt. Bus. Journal) Read Full Article

  • Maryland Senate president effectively kills bill on international election observers

    Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller Jr. (D-Calvert) does not often turn over the reins of the floor session to the Senate pro tem. But he did just that on Wednesday, leaving the rostrum and sitting in one of the floor seats in order to speak out against a bill that would change how the state oversees international election observers. Sen. Cheryl Kagan (D-Montgomery), who sponsored the legislation, said it was designed to increase election security by ensuring the state Board of Elections handles the process for allowing international observers, rather than having local boards do it and then information to the state. (Wash. Post) Read Full Article

  • Ban on teens buying semi-automatic rifles proposed by Maryland Congressional rep

    Some members of Congress are pressing for action on new gun safety measures following last week’s mass shooting at a Parkland, Florida, high school. Rep. Anthony Brown, D-Upper Marlboro, said he is planning to introduce legislation that would prevent teenagers from buying a semi-automatic rifle or assault weapon. The measure would raise the federal minimum age to purchase a semi-automatic rifle from 18 to 21 years old, the same age for buying a handgun.  In a letter sent to his House colleagues Friday, Brown requested that Congress “close this outdated loophole” and asked for co-sponsors for his bill. (Daily Times) Read Full Article

  • Kevin Kamenetz picks former Montgomery County councilwoman as running mate

    Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz has selected former Montgomery County Councilwoman Valerie Ervin as his running mate in the race for governor, adding a progressive voice from the Washington suburbs to his effort to win the Democratic nomination. Ervin was the first African-American woman to serve on the Montgomery County Council and most recently worked as an adviser to a national nonprofit that promotes causes for working class families. Kamenetz said Ervin, 61, will be a good political partner because she’s a skilled leader. (Balt. Sun) Read Full Article

Center Maryland

  • Express Scripts goes right ahead and makes PhRMA's point

    PhRMA has long pointed out that drug spending is among the smallest and slowest-growing facets of U.S. health care expenditures, and the industry's latest tack is that drugs that work actually save the system money by reducing hospitalizations and forestalling surgeries. (The Readout)Read Full Article

  • Patients overpaying for prescriptions: save money by asking this one question

    You could be overpaying for your prescriptions and have no idea. In some cases, pharmacists can't tell you you're paying too much. Even if they wanted to, confidentiality agreements restrict them from notifying consumers of a cheaper price. This practice is called a clawback and Baltimore County Delegate Eric Bromwell likens it to theft. (WMAR-TV)Read Full Article

  • Gene M. Ransom III: Marylanders of All Ages Should Talk to Their Doctors About Getting Vaccinated

    As we enter fall, parents around Maryland have sent their children into the school year with everything they need to succeed, including their required school vaccinations. But immunizations aren’t just for our children – they are a lifelong, year-round medical necessity, and a critical public health tool for protecting against a broad range of dangerous and potentially deadly illnesses.Read Full Article

  • Wendy Davis Interview Series: Episode 2

    In this second of a two-part interview, Wendy Davis shares with KOFA Managing Partner Jamie Fontaine her thoughts on Betsy DeVos’ proposed dismantling of Title IX. Watch Video

Business

  • Maryland small brewers squaring off in Annapolis with alcohol industry

    A year after Maryland lawmakers shepherded a beer industry compromise intended to help new breweries expand, the debate is beginning anew this week — and is looking as if it might devolve into a barroom brawl. The first punches in the beer-fueled legislative fight could come in a House of Delegates committee room on Friday. “There will be fireworks,” said Kevin Atticks, executive director of the Brewers Association of Maryland. (Capital) Read Full Article

  • Under Armour and ESPN will help turn Baltimore vacant lots into recreation space

    Under Armour and ESPN plan to help turn vacant lots in Baltimore and two other cities into recreation space. The Baltimore-based sports brand and the sports channel have teamed up with Local Initiatives Support Corp., a community development finance institution, to transform lots in Baltimore, Philadelphia and Los Angeles into playgrounds, basketball courts or other places to exercise and play sports. (Balt. Sun) Read Full Article

  • Bon Secours Health System to merge with Mercy Health of Ohio

    Marriottsville-based Bon Secours Health System announced Wednesday that it is merging with Mercy Health of Ohio to create a Catholic health system that will span seven states. The merger, expected to be completed by the end of the year, will create the fifth largest Catholic health system in the country, with $8 billion in operating revenue and 43 hospitals. (Balt. Sun) Read Full Article

  • Leadership changes at Baltimore law firm Miles & Stockbridge

    The Baltimore law firm Miles & Stockbridge announced new leadership on Wednesday. The firm’s principals elected Nancy W. Greene as chairman and Joseph W. Hovermill as president and CEO, succeeding John B. Frisch, who’d held the posts since 2003. Greene is the first woman to lead the firm in its 86-year history. Christopher R. Johnson, who has been appointed executive vice president, will join Greene and Hovermill on a newly created executive committee for the 250-lawyer firm. (Balt. Sun)Read Full Article

Education

  • Hogan, Democrat introduce bills creating school watchdogs

    Prompted by alleged grade-fixing in Prince George's County Public Schools and perjury and theft allegations in the Baltimore area, a pair of bills in the General Assembly would establish investigative offices to oversee schools in Maryland. Republican Gov. Larry Hogan and a Democratic lawmaker each are attempting to get their own education accountability bills passed this year. The bills come after state Department of Education officials hired a Washington-based firm, Alvarez & Marsal Public Sector Services, to audit graduation rates in the Prince George's County public school system, following a letter that several school board members wrote to Hogan citing "widespread systemic corruption." (Balt. Sun)Read Full Article

  • 'Enough is enough': Hundreds of students travel from Maryland to the Capitol to protest gun violence

    Daniel Gelillo had just returned home from school when the news flashed on his TV screen. It had happened again. A gunman had walked into classrooms and opened fire, this time in Florida. “When the videos of the shooting from inside the school came out, the first thing I said was, ‘Enough is enough,’ ” the senior from Richard Montgomery High School in Rockville said. Gelillo took to Facebook and called on other Montgomery County students to leave school Wednesday morning and venture to the U.S. Capitol to rally for legislation that would aim to curb gun violence. Maybe, he and fellow student organizers thought, 150 of their peers would show up. (Wash. Post) Read Full Article

  • Baltimore County School Board continues to weigh options for next superintendent

    A Baltimore County schools spokeswoman retracted an earlier statement in which she said that the school board plans to begin a nationwide search for the district’s next superintendent. Spokeswoman Diana Spencer said that when she confirmed the national search to The Baltimore Sun Wednesday morning, it was “a misunderstanding on my part.” School board Chairman Edward J. Gilliss clarified later that the board still has three options on the table. They could conduct a national search, ask to extend the interim superintendent for another year or decide against a broad search, and potentially hire current interim superintendent, Verletta White. Her one-year contract expires June 30. (Balt. Sun) Read Full Article

  • Board votes to reappoint Superintendent George Arlotto

    The Board of Education of Anne Arundel County voted Wednesday to appoint Superintendent George Arlotto to a second four-year term. The reappointment isn’t final — it is contingent on the board and Arlotto agreeing to a new contract, according to schools spokesman Bob Mosier. State schools Superintendent Karen Salmon also needs to approve the decision. Mosier said the system has until June 30, when Arlotto’s contract expires, to negotiate the contract and secure Salmon’s approval. The board’s vote was unanimous. (Capital) Read Full Article

Around Maryland

  • New Maryland system will allow 911 requests via text messages

    Maryland residents who are deaf or have speech disabilities — or anyone with a reason to ask for help silently — could soon use their cellphones to send and receive 911 requests by text. The state Board of Public Works voted Wednesday to approve a $2.4 million contract that will allow emergency responders across Maryland to receive and respond to 911 texts. The two-year contract with Annapolis-based TeleCommunications Systems Inc. takes effect March 1. Counties that choose to join the systems could have 911 texts operating as soon as May. (Balt. Sun) Read Full Article

  • Hopes run high for historic Metro deals in Maryland and Virginia, but crucial details remain unresolved

    Maryland Del. Maggie L. McIntosh was stunned. The veteran lawmaker, who chairs the powerful House Appropriations Committee, had just heard nearly 90 minutes of testimony in which people who typically disagree were all on the same side. Corporate executives and union leaders. Chamber of commerce presidents and environmentalists. Civic leaders from both the Washington suburbs and Baltimore. All favored giving Metro more state money. “I can’t believe there’s nobody opposing this bill,” McIntosh (D-Baltimore City) said at the end of a hearing in Annapolis last week. (Wash. Post)Read Full Article

  • Howard County government freezes hiring

    Ahead of what he has said “will not be an easy year” for the Howard County budget, County Executive Allan Kittleman has imposed a hiring freeze for non-critical government positions. Budget Director Holly Sun said it has been left up to each department head to decide which positions are considered “critical.” Each department director has also been asked to create 2 percent savings plans for the current operating budget process, Sun said. (Columbia Flier)Read Full Article

  • State's Attorney Wes Adams announces new No. 2 attorney

    Anne Arundel County State’s Attorney Wes Adams announced his choice for the No. 2 prosecutor at his office, tapping the head of the District Court Division to fill the void left by Jonathon Church’s resignation last month. In a statement, Adams said he has chosen David P. Ash, Chief of the District Court Division, to succeed Church as the office’s Deputy State’s Attorney. Adams described him as someone committed to the office, having started work in the office in 1998 as a law clerk before working his way to overseeing the District Court Division. Ash was sworn into his new role Wednesday. (Capital) Read Full Article

Commentary

  • Barry Rascovar: Lockbox Lunacy

    Here’s an example why the public doesn’t trust politicians: Right now, Gov. Larry Hogan and Democratic legislators in Annapolis are rushing to pull the wool over voters’ eyes in a scam that would leave taxpayers with billions of dollars worth of IOUs. Cynics should beware of Hogan’s manipulative plan to divert all slot machine taxes into new K-12 public education programs. They also should take great offense at the Democrats’ parallel plan to do the same thing. It’s an election-year ruse that would hurt taxpayers or other state programs in the years ahead. (politicalmaryland)Read Full Article

  • Metro needs an audit

    Baltimore’s Metro riders should be forgiven if they’re feeling a little testy these days. Not only did the subway system get shut down suddenly with less than 24 hours notice on Feb. 9, leaving many still scrambling to find a way to get to and from work, but the Hogan administration explanation of these events seems to be evolving. (Balt. Sun)Read Full Article

  • Searching now for a new Baltimore County superintendent is a mistake

    If the Baltimore County School Board wanted to conduct a national search for a new superintendent to start this summer, it should have done so last fall. It takes time to do such a search properly, and because of the schedule of the academic calendar, that is the time of year when quality candidates might start looking for new positions. We don’t know why the board didn’t initiate a search then, but we can hazard a guess: Since the board is about to be radically reconstituted via the county’s first ever elections for that body, there was good reason to doubt a highly qualified candidate would seek the job, knowing that the people who hired him or her would soon be gone and replaced by who knows who. (Balt. Sun)Read Full Article

  • Clive Graham: Howard's growing bike path connections

    As someone who bikes frequently, I know how uneasy it can be to take a trip to work, the park or the store. Sharing today’s roads with faster cars and distracted drivers can make anyone second-guess choosing to get around by bike. This is why BikeHoward Express, the latest measure to provide better transportation options for our community, will be a game-changer. BikeHoward Express, a plan announced by County Executive Allan Kittleman [last] week, will complete a nearly 48-mile bicycle network in the central parts of Howard County over the next three years. (Columbia Flier) Read Full Article