Politics

  • Four Baltimore mayors press black caucus to help keep Preakness in city, block bill benefiting Laurel Park

    Baltimore continued its full-court press Thursday to preserve Pimlico Race Course and keep the Preakness Stakes in the city, as current and former mayors lobbied the state’s black lawmakers to join the cause. Mayor Catherine Pugh and three former mayors — Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, Martin O’Malley and Kurt Schmoke — urged members of the Legislative Black Caucus to help block legislation that would enable the owner of Pimlico to accelerate its plans for a “super track” at Laurel Park. (Balt. Sun) Read Full Article

  • Hogan: Trump challenge now 'doesn't make any sense at all'

    While Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan isn’t completely ruling out a potential primary challenge to President Donald Trump, he said Thursday that currently “it doesn’t make any sense at all.” Hogan spoke to reporters Thursday with former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, a Hogan friend who is in Maryland for a book promotion. Christie said he doesn’t see a political path at the moment for challenging the president in a primary, citing Trump’s approval ratings among Republicans. (AP) Read Full Article

  • Elijah Cummings concerned about private emails and texts belonging to Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump

    Ivanka Trump, the president's daughter and a powerful White House aide, did not preserve all of her official emails as required by federal law, and her husband, Jared Kushner, used a messaging application to conduct U.S. business outside government channels, the chairman of the House Oversight and Reform Committee said on Thursday. Rep. Elijah Cummings, a Democrat from Maryland, said in a letter to the White House that the use of private email accounts and the messaging application WhatsApp by senior administration officials raises "security and federal records concerns." (Balt. Sun) Read Full Article

  • Hogan wants Maryland to take over Baltimore-Washington Parkway as road conditions reach 'breaking point'

    Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan continued his push for Maryland to take over the Baltimore-Washington Parkway from the National Park Service, arguing that the federal agency “has increasingly demonstrated it is simply not up to the task of maintaining” the highway. In a letter Wednesday, Hogan asked the state’s congressional delegation to support his proposal, noting the Park Service’s recent decision to lower the speed limit to 40 mph on a stretch of the highway due to safety concerns because of an extensive number of potholes. The road conditions have reached “a breaking point,” the governor wrote. (Balt. Sun) Read Full Article

Center Maryland

  • Lawmakers in Annapolis Should Demand Greater Transparency from Pharmacy Benefit Managers

    If you’ve never heard of pharmacy benefits managers (PBMs), that’s the way they like it. While they administer drug plans for more than 230 million Americans, PBMs thrive on secrecy and a lack of transparency.Read Full Article

  • Tim Lorello: How Could Tech Infrastructure Help Tackle Crime, Make Maryland Safer?

    Technology is available that can help tackle crime and give law enforcement and emergency responders another tool to help them do their jobs. Over the summer, Baltimore police began utilizing acoustic sensor technology that can remotely detect the sound of gunfire and notify officers of the exact location within seconds. Other cities, including Los Angeles and San Francisco, have widely deployed these gunshot sensors; and some have reported significant decreases in gunfire in neighborhoods where they were used.Read Full Article

  • Marty Rosendale: Trump Administration Takes a Positive Step to Lower Drug Costs, but More Action Needed from the Maryland Legislature

    The rising costs of healthcare and patient out-of-pocket costs that jeopardize access to care for Maryland families have rightly been a major area of focus for policymakers at both the federal and state level.Read Full Article

  • Dave Anderson: How to break the government shutdown impasse

    The impasse in the dispute over the government shutdown and the border wall is an immensely complicated policy and political problem that pits two sides against each other who have diametrically opposed perspectives about the best path forward for the country.Read Full Article

Business

  • Johns Hopkins medical device spinoff raises $1.5 million

    An Annapolis firm focused on building medical devices to monitor heart disease has raised $1.5 million to support clinical trials, as it works to bring its first product to market. Vixiar Medical Inc., a spinout of Johns Hopkins, is developing non-invasive devices and systems for monitoring cardiopulmonary diseases. The company said the new funding will be used to complete an ongoing clinical trial and to prepare for regulatory submissions for its first medical device. New investors in the round include New York-based Emerald Development Managers, MMG Opportunities and several individual investors. (Balt. Bus. Journal) Read Full Article

  • These are the Baltimore Business Journal's 2019 Best Places to Work finalists

    After months of gathering nominations and weeks of employee surveys, the results are in for our 2019 Best Places to Work finalists. The 40 companies are located all over Greater Baltimore and come from a variety of industries — from tech and medical cannabis to construction and advertising. Many of our finalists will be familiar but there are quite a few new names in the mix this year as well. But regardless of their differences, all those companies share the common goal of creating a business where employees love to work. (Balt. Bus. Journal) Read Full Article

  • Baltimore hotels struggling to draw guests, latest numbers show

    Baltimore hotels continued to struggle to fill rooms last year, and a recent report sheds light on just how much. Occupancy, average daily rates and revenue per available room — key metrics tied to the health of the hotel market — dropped in the second half of 2018, according to information from STR, a data and analytics company. And though there were new additions to the hotel scene, revenue for the industry grew by only 0.1 percent overall in 2018. (Balt. Bus. Journal) Read Full Article

  • CEO of Maryland medical system taking leave of absence

    The president and CEO of the University of Maryland Medical System is taking a temporary leave of absence after reports that about a third of the system’s board has received compensation for their businesses through the network’s contracts, the chairman of the board announced Thursday. Board Chairman Stephen Burch said Robert Chrencik’s leave of absence will begin Monday. Burch also announced after an emergency meeting that the board voted unanimously to engage an outside, independent accounting and legal firm to conduct “an exhaustive review and assessment of Board contractual relationships.” (AP) Read Full Article

Education

  • Big Senate Debate Over a Small Allocation — For Private Schools

    Senators moved forward on a $46.6 billion budget plan Wednesday – but not before prolonged debate about a private school scholarship program for low-income students. The Senate version of the budget includes more than $1.3 billion in cash reserves, funds public schools at a record level of $6.97 billion, puts $445 million to school construction and allocates $225 million to implement the first round of recommendations from the Commission on Innovation and Excellence in Education, with an additional $95 million available if lawmakers pass a bill to assess taxes on online marketplace facilitators. (Md. Matters) Read Full Article

  • Stakeholders say next Baltimore County schools superintendent needs to face reputation, budget issues

    The next Baltimore County Public Schools superintendent will need to focus on balancing the school system’s budget and repairing its public image, according to the parents, administrators and school employees who turned out for a community forum Thursday in Arbutus. Jennifer Lynch, principal of Hillcrest Elementary School in Catonsville and parent to three children in the system, said the actions of Dallas Dance, Baltimore County’s former superintendent who was sentenced to six months in jail after pleading guilty to four counts of perjury, “laid a foundation of mistrust in the system.” Seven people showed up to the Arbutus Recreation Center for a 7 a.m. community forum concerning the ongoing search for Baltimore County’s next superintendent. (Balt. Sun) Read Full Article

  • Interim superintendent Verletta White highlights Baltimore County schools successes in speech

    In the annual Baltimore County State of the Schools speech Wednesday, interim Superintendent Verletta White highlighted the school system’s focus on equity, calling for a “differentiated” budget and staffing for schools with varying needs. “One size does not fit all,” White said in a speech viewed via livestream video. “It is time for differentiated support in [Baltimore County Public Schools].” White highlighted school system programs geared toward equity, including Woodlawn High School’s early college program, new strategies in pre-kindergarten to teach students self-regulation skills and efforts to increase the graduation rate. (Balt. Sun) Read Full Article

  • Maryland gets a 'C' grade for addressing lead in school drinking water — up from an 'F' in 2017

    Maryland schools have a documented problem with lead in drinking water, but a recent report from a local consumer group found the state has made improvements toward addressing the issue. Maryland Public Interest Research Group released Thursday the second edition of its “Get The Lead Out” study, giving Maryland a ‘C’ grade for its efforts to address the presence of lead in school drinking water. The grade was an improvement from Maryland’s ‘F’ grade in 2017, according to a Thursday news release from the group. The study assigned grades to states based on several criteria, including the strictness of lead standards, the rigor of testing protocol and transparency in communicating with the public. (Balt. Sun) Read Full Article

Around Maryland

  • ‘Harry Hughes Was Class,’ Funeral Held For Maryland’s 57th Governor

    Relatives, friends and former colleagues said good-bye to Maryland’s 57th governor Thursday. Harry Hughes died on March 13, at the age of 92. Hughes was eulogized as, “all about bringing people together.” The Caroline County Democrat was elected to the House of Delegates and the Senate before serving two terms as governor between 1978 and 1986. At the time of his election, the state was recovering from political scandal. (WJZ-TV) Read Full Article

  • Baltimore Mayor Pugh addresses fallout over 'Healthy Holly' book deal in statement

    Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh defended her self-published children’s book series in a lengthy statement that came a week after it was revealed she had a lucrative business deal with a hospital system whose board she served on for nearly two decades. Pugh came under fire after The Baltimore Sun reported she failed to fully disclose a longstanding deal with the University of Maryland Medical System, where she served as a board member since 2001 until resigning Monday. Pugh self-published a series of children’s books titled “Healthy Holly,” and the hospital network purchased 100,000 of the books between 2011 and 2018 in deals totaling $500,000. (Balt. Sun) Read Full Article

  • Maryland gets $17 million federal grant to expand access to opioid treatment

    Maryland is getting $17.3 million from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services as the latest installment in a program designed to expand access to opioid treatment. The two-year-old program seeks to address the opioid crisis in part by making Food and Drug Administration-approved medications more widely available. The addition of the $17.3 million means that Maryland will be receiving $33.1 million from the State Opioid Response program during the fiscal year — about the same as it received the previous year, according to the office of Sen. Chris Van Hollen, a Maryland Democrat. (Balt. Sun) Read Full Article

  • Study: Washington area tops Baltimore area for region's worst congested highways

    Just as the General Assembly is in the final stages of approving a budget, Maryland transportation officials and a nonprofit group have released a ranking of the most congested major roads in the state that cited Gov. Larry Hogan’s transportation priorities. A new report by the nonprofit TRIP released Thursday found the Capital Beltway between Route 1 and Route 29 in Prince George’s County is the worst congested highway in the state during the morning commute. (Balt. Sun) Read Full Article

Commentary

  • The redevelopment of Pimlico isn't far-fetched

    In December 2018, the Maryland Stadium Authority released a detailed report on the cost to rebuild a world-class, multi-use Pimlico racetrack to anchor an expansive new mixed-use community (“Study calls for demolishing Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore, rebuilding at a cost of $424M,” Dec. 12). Many reacted negatively to the estimated $420 million price tag; however, opposing the potential renewal of Pimlico Race Course because of sticker shock alone is like sitting on a one-legged stool. (Balt. Sun)Read Full Article

  • Editorial: The Future of The Preakness

    The 144th running of the Preakness Stakes is now just a few months away, but the fight over its future rages on. This week, supporters who want to keep the Preakness in Baltimore were dealt yet another blow. The owners of Pimlico are now adding another layer to their plan to take horseracing away from the city. The Stronach Group wants to build a new thoroughbred training facility at the now-shuttered track in Bowie to complement racing in Laurel. On paper, it makes sense. And at nearly $425 million, the idea of rebuilding Pimlico seems out of reach -- or is it? (WBAL-TV) Read Full Article   

  • Alternative Fact of the Week: Larry Hogan as Reagan Republican/white supremacist

    There is no question that Gov. Larry Hogan made loaded statements and accusations in a rant earlier this week when he, among other things, accused Democrats of being on the side of violent criminals rather than keeping the citizens of Maryland safe. If you were, say, the chairwoman of the Maryland Democratic Party and looking for something to criticize, he gave you plenty of material. Which is why we were surprised that Maya Rockeymoore Cummings went after the one thing Governor Hogan said that could have come out of the mouth of any member of his party at any point in the last 29 years — that he ascribes to “the Ronald Reagan school of politics.”  (Bat. Sun) Read Full Article

  • Risking One of Maryland’s Prized Resources

    Back in the 1980s, when this story began, Maryland had at best an average system of public higher education. When experts rated how states compared on the quality of their public colleges and universities, Maryland was not part of the discussion. That didn’t mean that you couldn’t get a good education at a state school; it just meant that Maryland was not a national leader, not ranked among the best, not a resource that state officials bragged about as part of their economic development pitches. Multiple studies were conducted by numerous state commissions, each of which resulted in reform recommendations that went nowhere. (Md. Matters) Read Full Article