Politics

  • March 22 // Hogan: limiting cooperation with immigration enforcement is 'absurd'

    Gov. Larry Hogan said Tuesday that local law enforcement should be doing more, not less, to help enforce federal immigration law. The Republican governor criticized Maryland jurisdictions that have rebuffed requests to aid immigration officials. Hogan vowed to do "everything we can" to kill what he termed a "sanctuary bill" that would limit how jails and police could assist federal authorities. Hogan said he would try to stop the state Senate from following the House of Delegates in approving the measure. Failing that, he renewed his promise to veto it immediately. (Balt. Sun) Read Full Article

  • Maryland doctors win concessions on Hogan proposal to limit pain pill prescriptions

    Maryland's doctors are on course to turn back Gov. Larry Hogan's plan to put strict limits on prescribing addictive opioid pain pills after securing major concessions Tuesday from a key House of Delegates panel. The bill — proposed by Hogan to battle the state's heroin crisis — would have limited doctors and other medics to prescribing a seven-day supply of the pills when first treating a patient for pain, with a few exceptions. But a work group of delegates adopted an amended version of the bill that instead instructs medical professionals to follow best practices and give patients as few pills as they judge necessary. (Balt. Sun) Read Full Article

  • Relief for toll road penalties put on hold, Senate chairman says

    A Senate bill to address “predatory” toll penalties, technical problems with transponders and poor customer service at E-ZPass will die in the Senate Finance Committee this session, its chairman said Tuesday, along with a watered down House version that delegates supported unanimously on Monday. Instead, Senate Finance Committee Chair Thomas “Mac” Middleton said he is holding off legislation for a year to give the Maryland Transportation Authority time to improve customer service and pursue new contracts with vendors to operate Maryland’s toll system. (Md. Reporter)Read Full Article

  • Senate to consider Trust Act despite Hogan veto threat

    Maryland Senate leaders said Tuesday that they're still considering a bill that would restrict local government involvement in immigration, despite a veto threat from Gov. Larry Hogan. Sen. Bobby Zirkin, chairman of the Senate's Judicial Proceedings Committee, said his committee is still learning details of the bill, but he expects it to advance out of his committee to the full Senate. As introduced, the Maryland Law Enforcement and Trust Act would prohibit state and local governments from expending resources on immigration enforcement. (Balt. Sun) Read Full Article

Center Maryland

  • Gene Ransom: Opioids Talking and Hope

    The Maryland General Assembly is considering countless measures to attack the opioid crisis in Maryland.  Many are with merit and some need work. Two proposals stand out as comprehensive real solutions to the problem, and have the support of MedChi, The Maryland Medical Society, other public health groups and officials. Those proposals are the Start Talking Maryland Act and the Heroin and Opioid Prevention Effort (HOPE) and Treatment Act of 2017.Read Full Article

  • Carl Szabo: Merriweather Memories: Why I support a Ticket Rights Resale Act in MD

    I have many fond memories of growing up in my hometown of Columbia MD – several of them are of the times I had with friends and family at the Merriweather Post Pavilion. I remember using the money I earned from delivering the Columbia Flyer to buy tickets to its concerts. I remember my Wilde Lake High School wrestling team providing security for its events. I remember seeing the Symphony of Lights and my high school graduation ceremony at Merriweather.   Read Full Article

  • Dr. Leana Wen: Six reasons to fight the ACA replacement plan

    For months, I have received questions from concerned residents about how repeal of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) would impact their health. My patients were worried about whether they could still get medications to treat their heart disease and diabetes, whether they would they lose coverage for mental health and addiction services, and whether they would continue to get basic preventive services such as mammogram, pap smears and blood pressure screenings.Read Full Article

  • Chris VanDeHoef: Protecting Maryland Consumers from Restrictive Ticketing Practices

    When MGM opened a new performance venue at National Harbor in December, Maryland residents gained another opportunity to enjoy internationally-renowned artists and entertainment productions. But sometimes this excitement comes with costs and risks, and there is growing concern that the live entertainment industry is quietly imposing anti-consumer burdens that can surprise Marylanders and cost us hundreds of dollars. Read Full Article

Business

  • March 22 // Historic Recreation Pier reopens as Sagamore Pendry Hotel

    Lisa DeSantis remembers parking her car inside Recreation Pier, which for years stood rotting at the foot of Fells Point. There was no room for that on Tuesday. A crowd of people jammed into the building, mounting red-carpeted stairs to celebrate its reopening as a $350-plus-a-night hotel, with a whiskey bar, ballroom and interior garden. Broad-shouldered security guards scanned the street, black SUVs slid into parking slots and passersby gawked at the affair. "It's just amazing to watch it from the beginning until now," said DeSantis, a manager at the Waterfront Hotel restaurant and bar located across Thames Street. (Balt. Sun) Read Full Article

  • Company facing ouster from Anne Arundel incubator gets $350K in state loans

    Just days after Anne Arundel County Executive Steve Schuh announced he would shut down the county business incubator, one of the center's tenants has been awarded $350,000 in state backing. SecuLore Solutions was one of three companies awarded $250,000 from the state's VOLT Fund for small, minority and tech business loans, administered in part by the Anne Arundel Economic Development Corp. SecuLore also received $100,000 from TEDCO, a state economic development agency. (Capital)Read Full Article

  • BWI neighbors form group in fight against plane noise

    BWI-Marshall Airport neighbors and their political representatives met Tuesday with aviation authorities as they continued a bid to end lower flight paths that they say have created too much noise over their homes. "This is our opportunity to make something that works for us," said Lance Brasher of Crownsville, who was elected chair of a roundtable group to submit the neighbors' recommendations to federal officials. (Balt. Sun) Read Full Article

  • Columbia-based Department 13 develops software to thwart drone threats

    Drones have carried explosives for terrorists overseas, dropped contraband into prisons and even landed on the White House lawn. As the use of drones becomes more pervasive with businesses and hobbyists, the safety and security challenges associated with the unmanned aerial vehicles are on the rise. Even as drone-related businesses mushroom, another cottage industry is emerging to offer protection against unwanted drones. One of the early entrants in the drone defense business is a Columbia-based company known as Department 13. (Balt. Sun) Read Full Article

Education

  • March 22 // Young pledges to redirect $10 million from Baltimore police to schools, sparking debate

    Baltimore City Council President Bernard C. "Jack" Young said Tuesday he will look to cut $10 million from the police budget and redirect the money to city schools. Young, who first made that pledge to cheering education advocates outside City Hall, is among a growing number of city leaders who have suggested spending less on policing and more on education and other services — even as Baltimore grapples with unrelenting violence. (Balt. Sun) Read Full Article

  • Some of Hogan’s statements on Rockville rape miss the mark

    White House press secretary Sean Spicer wasn’t the only government official to conflate some issues when answering questions about the two undocumented immigrants charged with raping a fellow student at Rockville High School. Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan (R), answering questions from a television reporter after touring a police station in Annapolis, made a series of questionable comments about the case, which involved a 14-year-old victim. According to an audiotape provided by the governor’s spokeswoman, Hogan blamed the Obama administration for the presence of the two suspects in the United States. (Wash. Post) Read Full Article

  • Baltimore County school board votes to remove heat closure policy

    The Baltimore County Board of Education voted Tuesday to abolish a controversial policy that forced the superintendent to close schools without air conditioning on excessively hot days. The policy — which was put in place last summer — directed Superintendent Dallas Dance to close non-air conditioned schools on days when forecasts predicted the heat index would hit 90 degrees by 11 a.m. Early in the 2016-17 school year, more than three dozen county schools were closed on four days under the policy. Additionally, sports practices, games and other events were canceled at the schools that were affected. (Balt. Sun) Read Full Article

  • After proposals to plug city schools deficit, principals face new decision: What can they expect to restore?

    Baltimore principals have agonized over their next budgets, cutting arts classes, tutors and librarians to prepare for an impending $130 million deficit across the city school district. Now they face another decision: What can they expect to restore? School district administrators are calculating the dollars that could be returned to each principal under plans to shrink the deficit. These amounts will be provided to the roughly 180 public school principals this week, said John Walker, the chief financial officer for city schools. "This will be the dollars added back to their budgets," Walker said. "We're going to send out two different scenarios." (Balt. Sun)Read Full Article

Around Maryland

  • March 22 // Group of defense attorneys win access to more than 30 internal affairs complaints against Baltimore officer

    Attorneys for a group of defendants arrested by a city police officer can now view internal affairs files for more than 30 complaints made against him, a city judge has ruled. The files for Sgt. Joseph Donato include excessive force and false arrest complaints that were sustained by internal affairs investigators, but remain tightly protected under the state's personnel laws. Prosecutors, who are required to disclose potentially relevant material to defendants, had not disclosed the cases to the defense attorneys and said in court earlier this month that they did not believe the files were required to be turned over. (Balt. Sun) Read Full Article

  • Caretakers seek to counter sea swamping Assateague

    Assateague Island is located in a precarious spot in regard to sea level rise. With sea levels rising — a total of 5 inches internationally since 1960, according to the Environmental Protection Agency — the barrier island has been faced with the task of adapting. Noting the vulnerability of the park, the National and Maryland parks services have taken strides to prevent future catastrophes. This year, the state park plans to eliminate eight campsites and relocate 18 others inland to make way for large storm and tide barrier dunes. (Daily Times) Read Full Article

  • Annapolis alderman Ross Arnett announces re-election campaign

    Alderman Ross Arnett, D-Ward 8, has announced he is running for re-election with a kick-off event at the Boatyard Bar and Grill in Eastport. This is Arnett's 10th year as a City Council member. He has represented Ward 8 since 2007. Council members are elected for four-year terms. City elections are held during off years between gubernatorial and presidential elections. Arnett said his campaign will focus on public safety, development, the environment and fiscal responsibility. (Capital)Read Full Article

  • This week in Columbia history: Fred Weaver becomes first African-American on Howard County board

    In March 1969, Howard County Executive Omar Jones appointed Columbia resident Fred Weaver to the county personnel board. The first African-American to be named to a county board, Weaver, 78, said he dedicated his service to diversifying the county's employees. His 10-year tenure, Weaver said, was an example of the many ways Columbia acted as a "catalyst" for the racial integration of Howard County. Jones' decision to put Weaver on the personnel board was notable, Weaver said, because it was not what he calls the "traditional" appointment for African-Americans at the time, but allowed him to have an impact beyond racial issues. (Ho. Co. Times)Read Full Article

Commentary

  • March 22 // Pat Murray: The Hogan-Zirkin shotgun wedding on the fracking ban

    It should have been a spectacular moment of political theater: A popular Republican governor linking arms with a powerful Democratic lawmaker to announce a partnership on an issue that divides their constituents. But the staging was rushed and the actors were sullen, leaving the audience to feel as though it was watching something unseemly and political, instead of the announcement of a meaningful alliance. Gov. Larry Hogan’s (R) office put the word out midday Friday that he would make a major policy announcement that afternoon. The timing raised eyebrows because Friday is widely acknowledged as a lousy time to make news. (marylandmattersblog)Read Full Article

  • The Trump administration’s attack on the Chesapeake Bay

    The Trump administration’s mindless attempt to scrap federal funding to clean up the Chesapeake Bay is a stroll down memory-impaired lane. Heedless of recent history, the administration’s proposed budget would, at a swipe, reopen the door to the degradation of the United States’ largest estuary and reverse important recent progress in restoring the water, fish, oysters, crabs and tourism that make the bay so vibrant. It was just six years ago that a third of the bay, from Baltimore to the Potomac River, was beset by a sprawling springtime “dead zone” of oxygen-starved water — the result of marine-life-killing nutrients from fertilizer and other chemical runoff. (Wash. Post) Read Full Article

  • Pugh should veto $15 an hour minimum wage

    The City Council's decision to pass legislation that sets Baltimore on the course toward a $15 an hour minimum wage puts Mayor Catherine Pugh in a tough spot. The city's new chief executive was elected on a promise to be the mayor for everyone "from the streets to the suites," but now she is being pulled in opposite directions by both constituencies. Organized labor and advocates for the working poor are urging her to sign the bill; the Greater Baltimore Committee and other business interests are pressing her to veto it. (Balt. Sun) Read Full Article

  • Alison Prost: Maryland should put actual conservation back in the Forest Conservation Act

    University of Delaware entomologist Douglas W. Tallamy, author of Bringing Nature Home, finds it curious that the American news media lament the loss of tropical forests yet “have remained silent” about the destruction of local forests. In the past eight years, developers have cut down 14,480 acres of forest in Maryland without replacement, according to records kept by the Maryland Department of Natural Resources. Every day in Maryland, a forest area the size of four football fields is cut down to make way for new subdivisions, strip malls and other development. (Wash. Post) Read Full Article