Politics

  • Maryland Lawmakers Hope Hogan OKs $80M in Fenced Off Funds

    Democrats who control Maryland’s legislature are hoping Republican Gov. Larry Hogan approves spending $80 million that lawmakers have fenced off for education, health care and public safety. But a Hogan spokesman says the governor hasn’t decided yet due to economic uncertainties. The money could be released at the start of the new fiscal year Friday. Del. Maggie McIntosh says lawmakers steered the money into areas they believed Hogan would be inclined to support to avoid last year’s dispute over $68 million for education that Hogan declined. (Balt. Sun-AP) Read Full Article

  • Harris: Trump is nominee 'so I’m going to support him'

    Sorry, Larry Hogan. Maryland's Republican governor recently made clear he doesn't plan on voting for Donald Trump for president this November. But the Free State's next-highest-ranking member of the party isn't just voting for the presumptive nominee, he plans to campaign on his behalf. “Yeah, I’m a Republican. I’m going to support him," said U.S. Rep. Andy Harris at a town hall gathering in Fruitland on Wednesday, June 29. "He’s the nominee, so I’m going to support him. I particularly like his picks for the Supreme Court.” (Daily Times) Read Full Article

  • New Maryland law aims to spur retirement savings through state plan

    An estimated 1 million Marylanders work for businesses that do not offer a retirement savings plan. Legislation that becomes law Friday will give them state-sponsored and private alternatives. Maryland workers who don't have access to 401(k)s or other federal plans may choose to have money deducted from their paychecks and placed in a retirement account intended to supplement Social Security. The new law — at least four years in the making — puts Maryland at the forefront of a national effort among states to fill what proponents call a gap left by the federal government, which they say has made it too difficult for smaller businesses and their employees to set up retirement accounts. (Balt. Sun) Read Full Article

  • Maryland delegates and Baltimore NAACP voice support for Marilyn Mosby

    State and city leaders voiced support for State's Attorney Marilyn J. Mosby on Thursday as she faced a stream of criticism in the days after Officer Caesar Goodson Jr. was acquitted of all charges related to the arrest and death of Freddie Gray. Since the verdict was issued by Baltimore judge Barry G. Williams last week, Mosby has faced criticism from several angles: an activist law professor called for her disbarment, a state delegate started a petition for Mosby's resignation, and the Baltimore Fraternal Order of Police tweeted an image of Mosby with the text, "The Wolf That Lurks." (Balt. Sun) Read Full Article

Center Maryland

  • Donald C. Fry: Six Top Reasons to Toast Baltimore This Summer

    If you live in the Baltimore region or most likely anywhere in the state, chances are that you are well aware that Baltimore’s image has taken it on the chin. The tragic death of Freddie Gray, the ensuing civil unrest, and the criminal trials in connection with the Gray incident have all been an unfortunate negative drumbeat. For some who don’t know the city, the images of buildings on fire, street marches, and indicted police officers going into court replayed over and over on CNN and other 24/7 news broadcasts confirmed that the Baltimore area was indeed the hard-edged city depicted in the HBO TV crime drama series, The Wire. But for those who live in the city and the region and know its many riches, Baltimore is not The Wire. Read Entire Article

  • Josh Kurtz: Speaker Mike Busch and the Thin Blue Line

    A conversation with House Speaker Mike Busch (D) outside of the legislative session is a delightful, unhurried stroll through a variety of unexpected topics: His empathy for U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.); his surprise when he finds Republican members of the House of Delegates at odds with Gov. Larry Hogan (R); State House reporters he has admired who have come and gone; the struggling state of the news industry; the city of Philadelphia, where he went to college and is looking forward to attending the Democratic National Convention next month; and gentle gossip about fellow Maryland Democrats. Read Entire Article

  • Kalman R. Hettleman: The Roots of Inequality in Baltimore: What Schools Can and Can’t Do

    In an article in these pages last week, Dr. Leana S. Wen, Baltimore Commissioner of Health, wrote insightfully about public health’s role in “Tackling the Roots of Inequality in Baltimore.” Needless to say, city public schools must also play an indispensable leading part. But exactly how much can city schools do, and not do? And who’s to blame for what they now don’t do? At least 75 per cent of city students fail to meet national literacy standards, and other large school systems nationwide do no better. Read Entire Article

  • Josh Kurtz: Another Elusive Political Prize

    Quietly, Maryland’s Rod Rosenstein has become the longest-serving of the nation’s 94 current U.S. attorneys. The quiet part isn’t surprising: That’s Rosenstein’s customary way of doing things. But the longevity is – not because Rosenstein isn’t good at his job, but because of the politics that usually surround the appointments of the country’s top prosecutors. U.S. attorney is a plum political appointment – and ambitious lawyers are always lining up for consideration and beseeching a state’s U.S. senators to float their name to the president. Yet President Obama and Maryland Sens. Barbara Mikulski (D) and Ben Cardin (D) have passed on the opportunity to replace Rosenstein, who was appointed by President George W. Bush and has been in office since July 12, 2005. Read Entire Article

Business

  • Maryland has severe shortage of correctional officers, union says

    The union that represents employees at Maryland prisons charged Thursday that the state has a severe shortage of correctional officers, leading to dangerous conditions in the facilities. Several dozen AFSCME members and officials gathered outside the Dorsey Run Correctional Facility in Jessup for a news conference at which they blamed Gov. Larry Hogan for what they called a hazardous level of under staffing. (Balt. Sun) Read Full Article

  • Wal-Mart brings its mobile pay program to Maryland

    Wal-Mart Stores on Wednesday launched an additional payment option on its smartphone app for consumers to use in its Maryland stores. The program, called Walmart Pay, is an addition to the retailer's existing mobile app. Wal-Mart has been rolling out the program, called Walmart Pay over the past few months and on Wednesday made the service available in its 47 Maryland stores. (Balt. Sun) Read Full Article

  • Taylor Farms to add 150 jobs in Howard County

    Howard County-based Taylor Farms will add 150 jobs to expand its produce packaging and distribution operations. The company, which grows and packages salad mixes and healthy snacks, has had manufacturing operations in Annapolis Junction since 2004 and employs nearly 500 workers in the state. "It's gratifying to see Taylor Farms' owners continue to grow the food distribution industry here in Howard County," Howard County Executive Allan H. Kittleman said in a statement. "Like many of their industry peers, they have recognized Howard County and the Rt. 1 corridor as a prime location for their distribution services and have decided to reinvest and expand their business in Annapolis Junction." (Balt. Sun) Read Full Article

  • Hedwin layoffs to begin in August

    The Hedwin division of Zacros America Inc. notified the state Thursday it expects layoffs at its Baltimore plant to begin at the end of August, with the facility closing in June 2017. The layoffs have been anticipated for nearly two years, since Hedwin was purchased by a Japanese firm at a bankruptcy auction in 2014 and soon after announced plans to move operations to Delaware. At the time about 300 people worked at the Roland Heights Avenue location. The August layoffs are expected to affect 129 employees, according to the notice filed with the state. (Balt. Sun) Read Full Article

Education

  • Maryland graduates can now get a certificate of biliteracy

    In the future, Maryland's graduating seniors may be able to get a seal of biliteracy attached to their diplomas. A law that goes into effect on July 1 sets up a system for graduates who achieve a certain degree of proficiency in at least one foreign language to have a seal attached to their diploma. Maryland joins 20 other states around the nation that have adopted the seal of biliteracy as a way to encourage students to take more than the minimum amount of a foreign language required for graduation. The seal is intended to give graduates a competitive edge in college admissions and job applications. (Balt. Sun) Read Full Article

  • Legal settlement calls for new turf fields at Montgomery County schools

    Three Montgomery County schools will get new artificial turf athletic fields as part of a legal settlement that will provide field access to the county’s largest recreational youth soccer organization. Montgomery school officials announced the agreement Thursday, saying that Montgomery Soccer Inc. will contribute as much as $5.2 million toward the construction of fields at Walt Whitman High School, Albert Einstein High School and Julius West Middle School. In return, MSI, with more than 900 teams and nearly 15,000 youth players countywide, will get access to the fields when the schools are not using them. (Wash. Post) Read Full Article...

  • Induction Day 2016: Naval Academy Class of 2020 includes largest number of women

    Like the other fidgeting, incoming freshmen around her, Katie Barrett stood quietly next to her mom Thursday with her backpack in hand, counting down the seconds until she was a plebe. Barrett, of Palo Alto, California, was one of more than a thousand sailors-in-training who waited to begin Induction Day at the Naval Academy in Annapolis. When the officer yelled for the future plebes to get in line, Barrett's mother grabbed her for a final hug. "Mom, you're embarrassing me," Barrett sighed as her mom snapped one last picture. (Balt. Sun) Read Full Article

  • State school board issues opinions on closures, noting concerns about CCPS transparency

    Opinions that the Maryland State Board of Education released Thursday not only shed light into its decision to reaffirm the closure of three Carroll County schools, but also bring about possible changes to policies in the local school board's handbook. The state board, which announced its decision to uphold the closures at the end of its meeting Tuesday, released opinions related to five appeals filed in January that challenged the legality and necessity of the closures. In December, the Carroll Board of Education voted 4-1 to approve Superintendent Stephen Guthrie's recommendation to close North Carroll High, New Windsor Middle and Charles Carroll Elementary schools at the end of the 2015-16 school year. (Carr. Co. Times) Read Full Article

Around Maryland

  • State Health Department seeks Medicaid funding for residential drug treatment

    The Department of Health and Mental Hygiene is asking the federal government for new funding to cover residential drug treatment at small community facilities and private institutions, such as Sheppard Pratt in Towson. Medicaid now pays only for inpatient treatment at hospitals. The state health department wants to offer more drug treatment options for people on Medicaid, the health insurance program for the poor. (Balt. Sun) Read Full Article

  • Laws facilitating hospital closing, alcoholic beverage sales at Harford movie theaters take effect

    Numerous laws enacted by the Maryland General Assembly last winter take effect Friday, including some specific to Harford County and one statewide measure expected to have an immediate impact locally. Senate Bill 707 permits hospital operators to convert or replace an existing hospital with a free-standing medical center without having to reapply and be reviewed through the state's often weighty and time-consuming certificate of need licensing process. (Balt. Sun-AP) Read Full Article

  • Md. researchers get $3.8 million for cancer work

    Six Maryland researchers will share $3.8 million in new grant funding from the American Cancer Society starting Friday. While much of the funding will support laboratory work, the largest share — about $1.7 million — will help a researcher at the University of Maryland, College Park explore social efforts to raise awareness of cancer risks. (Daily Record) Read Full Article

  • Baltimore County set to launch police body camera program

    Baltimore County leaders pledged Thursday that transparency will be a guiding theme as they roll out the county's new body camera program for police next week. Starting July 6, one officer in each of the county's 10 precincts will begin using the cameras, county officials announced. Then, 10 additional officers will be trained each week over the next few months until 150 devices are in use. The county plans to eventually use 1,435 cameras. The second phase of the program will start in July 2017, with all cameras scheduled to be in use by December 2018. (Balt. Sun)Read Full Article

Commentary

  • Disuse of force

    The new use of force policy Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake and Commissioner Kevin Davis announced this week for Baltimore police is unquestionably a massive step forward for the department. It is far more detailed than the policy it replaces, recognizes as reportable certain kinds of force that were not addressed before, and creates an affirmative duty for officers who witness potentially excessive force to intervene. But perhaps most importantly, it emphasizes the importance to de-escalate situations whenever possible to avoid or cease using force altogether. (Balt. Sun)Read Full Article

  • Food producers should follow Perdue’s lead in raising animal-welfare standards

    In 1941, Franklin D. Roosevelt articulated four fundamental human freedoms. Now, 75 years later, one of the country’s largest food producers has made a commitment to a similar set of principles — but this time, the focus is on chickens. Maryland-based poultry producer Perdue Foods announced an animal-welfare overhaul Monday that would bring the company in line with globally recognized guidelines known as the “five freedoms” of animal welfare. The precedent-setting changes — Perdue is the first major U.S. poultry producer to hold itself to so strict a standard — signal a welcome shift in American attitudes toward animal rights. (Wash. Post) Read Full Article

  • Does county need two pension oversight panels?

    County Executive Steve Schuh has constantly pushed ideas he says will streamline Anne Arundel government — a goal we support, provided the changes don't decrease efficiency or impair transparency. The County Council will have to decide on Tuesday whether such objections apply to Schuh's proposed charter amendment to dissolve a citizens' group that considers changes to county employee pension plans. We're not sure of the answer. (Capital)Read Full Article

  • Phelps and the final turn

    Michael Phelps is headed back to the Olympics for the fifth time, and it is easy to get sentimental about the champion swimmer from Towson. We have watched him mature from 15-year-old wunderkind to record-setting champion and now elder statesman of his sport. He is likely headed for his final Olympic lap — as a medal contender this summer in Rio given his top finish in the 200-meter butterfly at the U.S. trials this week in Omaha — but he's not the same man that he was years ago. (Balt. Sun) Read Full Article