• December 8 // Barbara Mikulski calls for return to civility in emotional farewell speech

    Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski, delivering an emotional farewell speech on the Senate floor Wednesday after four decades in Congress, called for a return to civility in politics, and vowed to continue serving Maryland as a private citizen. Surrounded by Democratic and Republican senators who came to hear her final major address, Mikulski recalled her early years in the male-dominated Senate and thanked voters for allowing a grocer's daughter from Highlandtown to rise to the highest levels of power on Capitol Hill. "It is time for me to say goodbye to elected office, but not to service," said Mikulski, 80. "For me, no issue was too small to take up and no cause was too big for me to take on." (Balt. Sun) Read Full Article

  • Del. Will Smith named to fill Raskin’s Md. Senate seat

    Montgomery County Democrats named Del. Will Smith Wednesday evening to succeed U.S. Rep-elect Jamie Raskin in the Maryland Senate, making him the first African-American to represent the county in that body. The county’s 28-member Democratic Central Committee chose Smith over fellow freshman Del. David Moon by a vote of 19-to-8 with one abstention to represent District 20, which takes in most of Silver Spring and Takoma Park. The committee’s recommendation now goes to Gov. Larry Hogan, who makes the appointment. Hogan, a Republican, is required by law to appoint someone from the party that previously held the seat. (Wash. Post) Read Full Article

  • Del. Barbara Robinson picked to replace Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh in Maryland Senate

    Del. Barbara Robinson took a step Wednesday toward filling the state Senate seat vacated by new Baltimore Mayor Catherine E. Pugh. The Democratic central committee for the district voted, 5-2, to recommend Robinson over former City Councilman William "Pete" Welch. Robinson said she felt "fantastic" after the vote. She was a Pugh ally in the General Assembly, but said her record in office won her the committee's recommendation. "I'm just anxious to carry on some of the things Senator Pugh put in place," Robinson said. "She and I worked so well together." (Balt. Sun)Read Full Article

  • Pugh pledges to restructure Baltimore housing, economic development agencies

    Mayor Catherine E. Pugh announced plans Wednesday to reorganize Baltimore's housing and economic development agencies and reiterated her intention to fire the housing commissioner. The new mayor said she wants to broaden the role of the Baltimore Development Corp. and split the housing agency into two departments. She said both actions are aimed at directing investment to all corners of the city. "We are reviewing how we will operate economically," Pugh said. "Who is going to be responsible for bringing manufacturing back to the city? … Who is going to be responsible for making sure economic development goes on in every part of our city? What do we need to do to be a force to reckoned with?" (Balt. Sun) Read Full Article

Center Maryland

  • Ricke: Abbruzzese: Reason First

    In the shockwave following the U.S. presidential election, many Americans found it far too easy to ignore the election results in Europe this week, choosing to focus instead on our President-elect's Twitter. However, after Brexit and then Trump, I was looking to the elections in Austria and Italy this past Sunday to somehow convince me that the world had not, in fact, gone mad. Read Full Article.

  • Dr. Leana S. Wen: Fast tracking Baltimore's fight against AIDS

    This week, Baltimore celebrates World AIDS Day, honoring the memories of those lost to HIV/AIDS and recommitting to the fight to eliminate this tragic disease. For decades, Baltimore City has been on the frontlines of the nation’s HIV/AIDS epidemic. In our City, there are an estimated 13,000 residents diagnosed with HIV/AIDS. For us, HIV/AIDS is not just a health issue—it is one of justice and equity. It also requires innovative, community-driven approaches to save lives. Read Full Article.

  • MedChi, NAMI Release Public Service Announcement To Urge Marylanders To Ask The Right Questions During Open Enrollment

    The Maryland State Medical Society (MedChi) and the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) released a public service announcement urging Maryland citizens to ask the right questions during the current open enrollment period. Open enrollment, which begins this week, is a time for Marylanders to buy, change or renew their qualified health plan for 2017. Read Full Article 

  • Karen Barbour: Why we support a vibrant downtown Columbia

    As the founders of Alliance for Hispanic Commercial Contractors (AHCC), we know that over 6% of Howard County residents identify as Hispanic, and that the Hispanic population is growing every year. The AHCC is dedicated in promoting the growth, prosperity and participation of Hispanic Commercial Contractors in commercial and government procurement contracts through education, training and guidance, especially here in the Mid-Atlantic region. Read Full Article


  • December 8 // Hogan proposes 5 days paid sick leave for Md. businesses with at least 50 workers

    Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan will propose legislation requiringcompanies with at least 50 employees to provide five days a year of paid sick leave, triggering a likely standoff with Democratic lawmakers who tried to pass a more expansive law this year. Hogan, who owned a real estate company before taking office, described his bill as a “common-sense” approach that would cover “nearly all working Marylanders without placing an unmanageable burden on job creators.” Businesses with fewer than 50 employees would be eligible for a tax break if they offer paid sick leave. (Wash. Post) Read Full Article

  • MGM National Harbor opens amid a perilous casino glut and big shift in gambling culture

    MGM Resorts International opens its $1.4 billion ­casino at National Harbor on Thursday night amid jackpot-level excitement and expectations for Maryland’s final and glitziest gambling palace. Soaring 24 stories over the Potomac River and spanning five city blocks, the gleaming glass complex promises to deliver Las Vegas-style gambling, hundreds of millions in tax revenue and 4,000 new jobs. But as thousands of people stream into MGM National Harbor for the first time, there is serious concern among industry analysts and fiscal watchdogs that Maryland and other states desperate for tax dollars have oversaturated the East Coast with casinos. (Wash. Post) Read Full Article

  • House panel approves FBI headquarters with focus on costs, Metro access

    Maryland officials celebrate push for Metro access and cost constraints, denting the chance the FBI moves to Virginia. The FBI’s effort to build a new 2.1 million-square-foot headquarters advanced Wednesday when members of the House approved the project, paving the way for Congress to fully fund it next year. For more than a decade, the bureau has been pushing for a new campus in the Washington suburbs to replace the dilapidated J. Edgar Hoover Building in downtown D.C. Three sites are being considered, in Greenbelt, Springfield and Landover — with a decision expected in March. (Wash. Post) Read Full Article

  • Proposal for $15 minimum wage delayed in Maryland’s largest jurisdiction

    The post of Montgomery County Council president is largely ceremonial but for one major exception: They control the weekly agenda. Council member Roger Berliner (D-Potomac-Bethesda), installed Tuesday by his colleagues for a one-year term, wasted no time exercising his prerogative by holding up action Wednesday on a closely watched bill to raise the county’s minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2020. A national “Fight for $15” movement, led by labor unions, has helped push the higher wage into law in the District, California, New York and other jurisdictions. Berliner, heeding the wishes of the county’s business community, called for a study on the local economic effect of a $15 wage before taking action. (Wash. Post) Read Full Article


  • December 8 // Federal employees now eligible for tuition discount at University of Maryland law school

    Federal employees and their spouses will now be able to get a grant worth 10 percent off their tuition for certain law programs at the University of Maryland, Baltimore, the federal government announced Tuesday. The grant will apply to the Master of Science in Law and the Master of Laws programs at the University of Maryland. Federal employees and their spouses who are currently enrolled in those programs at the University of Maryland will also be eligible. (Balt. Sun) Read Full Article

  • Maryland urged to increase school funding by $2.6 billion

    Maryland should spend $2.6 billion more on public education and revamp the formula used to calculate school funding, according to a two year study by a national consulting firm. The 620-page study which is expected to form the basis of any changes made to Maryland's school funding laws in 2018 will be presented to a state commission on Thursday as it begins a year long deliberation over the minutiae of the complex funding formula. The commission, called the Kirwan Commission because it is headed by former University of Maryland Chancellor William "Brit" Kirwan, is charged with forging a consensus on how much money state and local governments should be expected to contribute to the funding of their public schools from property and income tax revenues. (Balt. Sun) Read Full Article

  • Oakland Mills High students walk-out to support administration policy change

    About 400 students at Oakland Mills High School walked out of their classes and into the school stadium for about an hour Wednesday morning to support a change in school system policy some said would enhance communication of racial threats between the administration and community. During the school's third period, students who walked out spoke about their school pride, while sharing information on an online petition addressing recent social media posts made by county students and recent incidents of racial conflicts. Superintendent Renee Foose, school board Chairwoman Cynthia Vaillancourt, Vice Chairwoman Bess Altwerger and other school staff attended the protest to listen to students' concerns. (Balt. Sun) Read Full Article

  • Emerge Maryland to train 23 women to run for office

    Emerge Maryland, the organization that trains Democratic women to run for office, announced its 2017 class Wednesday. The 23 candidates from eight Maryland jurisdictions including Baltimore represent the largest class of the training program, which is in its fifth year. Past graduates include state Del. Brooke Lierman of Southeast Baltimore and Baltimore City Councilwoman Shannon Sneed of East Baltimore. (Balt. Sun) Read Full Article

Around Maryland

  • December 8 // Pugh supports Baltimore police reform negotiations with Justice Department

    Mayor Catherine E. Pugh affirmed her support Wednesday for ongoing negotiations between the city and the U.S. Department of Justice to lock in police reforms. But the new mayor said she does not want Baltimore to be forced to pay twice for changes already in place. On her first full day on the job, Pugh said she has seen a "transformation taking place" in the police department and said she plans to "keep our police commissioner, at this point." (Balt. Sun) Read Full Article

  • Hyattsville will allow non-U.S. citizens to vote in city elections

    Hyattsville has become the first municipality in Prince George’s County to extend voting privileges to non-U.S. citizens, joining six other Maryland cities that passed similar measures years ago. The 11-member council voted unanimously Monday to allow residents to register if they provide government identification and proof of residency, including a sworn affidavit. Council member Joseph Solomon (Ward 5), who was one of the bill’s sponsors, said that he was inspired by a resident who voiced a concern about the council’s decision in early 2015 to lower the voting age for municipal elections to 16. (Wash. Post) Read Full Article

  • Promised 'gun enforcement division' of top prosecutors, police officially launches in Baltimore

    A special unit of "elite" prosecutors and police detectives devoted to putting violent repeat gun offenders behind bars has officially begun operations in Baltimore, State's Attorney Marilyn J. Mosby said Wednesday. "At a time when our city is quickly approaching 300 homicides, we must do all we can to eradicate gun violence in our city," Mosby said. "Commissioner Davis and I are devoting major resources and man power to this unit in an effort to strengthen cases at the investigative stage and ultimately take the strongest case possible to court. We understand that getting this right is literally a matter of life and death." (Balt. Sun) Read Full Article

  • State officials delay vote on Baltimore County equestrian center

    Sending a message to Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz, the Maryland Board of Public Works deferred action Wednesday on a proposed $2.3 million state contribution to a new horse riding center in Cockeysville. Gov. Larry Hogan and Comptroller Peter Franchot voted to delay acting on the county's request for Program Open Space money, which would help pay for the 9,800-square-foot arena. The board's other member, Treasurer Nancy K. Kopp, dissented. (Balt. Sun)Read Full Article


  • December 8 // Elephants and Racism

    Howard County is billed as a bastion of diversity. One of its taglines is “Choose Civility”. But behind the veil is an elephant. And that elephant is racism. Hate speech and other repercussions of our recent election have cropped up here as of late…most notably in our schools. Social media posts by students at River Hill High School, Atholton High School and Oakland Mills High School have occurred within our Columbia community. And notably these incidents occurred after the presidential election. But the county has seen issues arise within our schools even before the election at Glenelg High School and Mt. Hebron High School. (browngirlrising.blogspot.com)Read Full Article

  • Ka-ching! Gambling addicts’ problems just got worse.

    As the allure and glitz of Las Vegas arrive at the Potomac on Thursday in the form of MGM’s gigantic $1.4 billion casino at National Harbor, much of the buzz has been about all the lovely lucre for the gaming industry and Maryland. So spare a moment to consider the cost — to the tens of thousands of compulsive gamblers in and around the Washington area whose exposure to extreme risk just got a lot worse. An eye-opening article in the current issue of the Atlantic magazine describes the outsize marketing efforts by gaming companies to target problem gamblers, who consist of less than 20 percent of casino patrons but provide a hugely disproportionate share of the industry’s profits. (Wash. Post) Read Full Article

  • Maryland's last casino

    Maryland's glitziest casino, the MGM National Harbor, is due to open tomorrow , and Maryland officials hope that a bonanza of new tax revenue for the state will follow. The towering structure on the banks of the Potomac is meant to be a beacon to potential high rollers from Washington and Northern Virginia, with restaurants, shops and entertainment venues on par with Las Vegas. But it opens at a time of intense competition for gambling dollars — not just in Maryland, where two existing casinos are within an hour's drive, but all up and down the East Coast where gaming, once largely confined to Atlantic City, has become ubiquitous. (Balt. Sun) Read Full Article

  • Jessica Shiller: How school closures are hurting our children and communities

    As Baltimore students have so many times before when their schools were about to be shuttered, Renaissance Academy students spoke movingly before the school board recently about how the school is “like a family” to them. While some might dismiss this testimony as nothing more than sentimentality, their pleas have been about salvaging the very elements that make schools places that work for communities. Framing the closures as short-term losses worth suffering for the long-term gain of school consolidation amid shrinking enrollment, school officials grimace and move on. The student casualties of this process don’t have that luxury. (Brew) Read Full Article...