Politics

  • Hogan defends education spending

    Gov. Larry Hogan defended his funding of education Thursday while also declaring that "our children deserve better" than the school options available to them. The new governor is pushing for expansion of charter schools by loosening rules that some say hamstring innovation and for tax benefits of up to $200,000 for businesses that donate to private and public schools. (Balt. Sun) Read Full Article

  • Frosh sides with GOP central committee in Carroll County dispute

    A party central committee has “sole discretion” to choose how many names to submit to the governor to fill a General Assembly vacancy, Maryland’s attorney general told the state’s top court Thursday. Attorney General Brian E. Frosh weighed in as the Court of Appeals considers whether the Republican Central Committee of Carroll County acted unconstitutionally in acceding to Gov. Larry Hogan’s demand for additional names after he rejected the committee’s first choice for a GOP Senate seat. (Daily Record) Read Full Article

  • Miller says higher education nominee could face rocky confirmation

    Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller predicted Wednesday that Gov. Larry Hogan's nominee to head the Maryland Higher Education Commission could face a rocky confirmation process. At the same time, Miller said he intends to vote to approve Hogan's nominee as transportation secretary, whose appointment has raised questions among some Democratic senators. (Balt. Sun) Read Full Article

  • In Iowa, nowhere for O’Malley to go but up

    If there is any good news for former Maryland governor Martin O’Malley in the latest poll out of Iowa, it is this: More than eight out of 10 likely participants in the state's  2016 Democratic caucuses don't know enough about him to say whether they view him favorably. That means that O'Malley, who has been weighing a possible presidential bid for at least the past two years, should have lots of opportunities to convince people of his merits when he travels to the early nominating state in March. O'Malley made at least four trips to Iowa last year to speak on behalf of Democratic candidates or at Democratic Party events. But in the latest  Quinnipiac University poll, he remained the top choice of less than one percent of likely caucus-goers, a finding that underscores the steep climb ahead. (Wash. Post) Read Full Article

Center Maryland

  • Donald Fry: New study: there’s opportunity in middle-skill jobs

    Almost 36,000 new job hires for key middle-skill occupations are expected in the Baltimore region by 2020, according to a new study projecting that emerging middle-skill jobs, coupled with effective workforce training strategies, could take a significant bite out of the region’s current unemployment level. Read Full Article

  • Laslo Boyd: Larry Hogan and Scott Walker

    Wisconsin Governor and 2016 Presidential Candidate Scott Walker has attracted national attention for his highly critical stance towards the University of Wisconsin.   A public institution that has been widely regarded for decades as a national model is being used by Walker as a punching bag to appeal to anti-intellectuals, small government advocates, and the “slash the state budget regardless of the consequences” crowd. Read Full Article

  • Mileah Kromer: The Way It Always Was and Other Resident Reflections on Letting Summer Be Summer

    Last fall, the Goucher Poll found that 71% of Maryland residents supported an after-Labor Day start date for Maryland schools. Our new poll shows Marylanders have not changed their opinions on the proposition-turned-introduced-legislation (SB 455), colloquially known as “Let Summer Be Summer”—72% of residents say they support Comptroller Peter Franchot’s push for the post-Labor Day start. The results of our last two surveys provide an indication of what Marylanders think, but our most recent survey also sheds light on why they think it.Read Full Article

  • Josh Kurtz: 2018, Already

    The General Assembly session hits its halfway point on Thursday, and still not much is happening. The administration of new Gov. Larry Hogan (R) is still finding its way, and legislative leaders continue to adjust to the dramatically altered landscape. Most of the new Democratic lawmakers in Annapolis, who were elected with a certain set of goals and expectations, are realizing that those will have to be significantly scaled back. Deadlock over the next four years seems unavoidable. Read Full Article

Business

  • Hogan pushes tax credits to businesses that donate to scholarship programs

    Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan on Thursday urged the Democratic leader of the House of Delegates to allow a floor vote on a proposal that would give tax credits to corporations that help fund private and public school scholarships. The bill has been introduced three times in the past four legislative sessions. (Wash. Post) Read Full Article

  • Maryland regulators approve settlement to regulate UberBlack, UberSUV

    The Maryland Public Service Commission approved a settlement Thursday with Uber Technologies Inc. that would give the state regulatory oversight of UberBlack and UberSUV services. The settlement ensures UberBlack and UberSUV will be held to the same public safety standards as other sedans, limousines and for-hire carriers, the PSC said on Thursday. (Balt. Bus. Journal) Read Full Article

  • Light City Baltimore festival aims to change the city's brand

    A new festival that organizers say could become Baltimore's "South by Southwest" is in the works for next year, with plans for light installations, concerts and a tech-oriented conference. The Light City Baltimore festival is designed to help brand the city as a hub of arts and innovation, building on burgeoning tech and music scenes. It is scheduled to be held March 28 through April 3 of next year, 200 years after Baltimore introduced plans to light the streets with gas lamps. (Balt. Sun) Read Full Article

  • Fewer community funds diverted for pipe project after Horseshoe Casino, Veolia chip-in

    After months of negotiations with city government, the Horseshoe Casino Baltimore and French company Veolia have agreed to contribute a combined $1.5 million to the cost of relocating a steam pipe near the casino – reducing the amount of community impact funds the city is diverting for the project, city officials said. “I was very pleased to see the contributions,” said State Sen. Bill Ferguson, who chairs the Baltimore Casino Local Development Council, which recommends how the city should use community impact funds generated by the casino. “The mayor made a commitment that she would continue negotiating to find additional revenue. I think she kept her word.” (Balt. Sun) Read Full Article

Education

  • Lawmakers Discussing Bill To Start Md. Schools After Labor Day

    School scheduling controversy –should summer vacation end after labor day? It’s been a hot topic in Maryland lately and now it’s in the hands of the legislature. This winter weather has a lot of people longing for summer and lawmakers Thursday were asked to make the summer longer. There are two schools of thought on the subject of when school should start. “If they’re going to be in school longer for snow they might as well go back to school later, give em’ a little more summer,” one man said. “I think the summer tends to be too long, it’s hard to keep them engaged,” another woman said. Lawmakers are considering both views in hearing a bill that prohibits schools from opening before Labor Day. But a new Goucher Poll show most Marylanders – 72% – have made up their minds that a post Labor Day start is a good idea. (WJZ-TV) Read Full Article

  • Excessive testing in schools challenged by bipartisan group of legislators

    An unusually bipartisan group of 39 Maryland lawmakers, lead by a freshman delegate who is a veteran high school math teacher, is calling for reconsideration of Maryland’s use of standardized testing in public schools. Del. Eric Ebersole, D-Baltimore-Howard, told the House Ways and Means Committee on Thursday that standardized test results do not help teachers realize areas where students are struggling, as they were designed to do. Instead, they are pitting communities and schools against each other. (Md. Reporter)Read Full Article

  • College Hazing Victims Want Md. To Toughen Penalties

    Cracking down on college hazing. Victims of this barbaric rite of passage want Maryland to impose tougher penalties on the people and organizations that do it. WJZ speaks to students who have been beaten–and worse–by some members of the groups they wanted to join. Christie Ileto has details on the proposal now being considered in Annapolis. If a student gets busted for hazing in Maryland, the most they get is a $500 fine and the possibility of jail time–penalties some lawmakers say are a slap on the wrist. (WJZ-TV) Read Full Article

  • Washington County Public Schools computer, academic hub proposals face hurdles

    Two ambitious Washington County Public Schools proposals — one to put a computer in the hands of almost every student and the other to create a downtown academic hub  — could be in trouble. Schools Superintendent Clayton Wilcox said Thursday that the academic hub project "could be in jeopardy," and he doesn't know yet whether there is enough support from the Washington Board of Education to move forward aggressively with the digital-learning initiative. (Herald-Mail)Read Full Article

Around Maryland

  • Advocates, police square off over brutality legislation

    Civil rights advocates and families of alleged victims of police brutality urged state lawmakers Thursday to improve law enforcement accountability, saying Maryland is not immune to widespread concerns about the use of excessive force by officers. "Enough is enough," said Marion Gray-Hopkins, whose 19-year-old son, Gary, was shot to death by a Prince George's County police officer 15 years ago. She joined rights advocates and others at a news conference before a Senate hearing on several bills. One would spell out when police wearing body cameras must turn them on. Another would make it easier to file excessive force complaints against officers and speed up internal investigations of such incidents. (Balt. Sun) Read Full Article

  • Worcester Facing Major Budget Revenue Shortfall

    Worcester County officials have reported bleak revenue projections as the county prepares to begin its annual budget process. Finance Officer Phil Thompson told the Worcester County Commissioners laset Thursday that property tax revenue was still down and that the county’s budget stabilization funds were nearly depleted. (Dispatch) Read Full Article

  • Report: Domestic violence deaths on the rise

    Domestic violence-related deaths climbed for the fourth year in a row in Maryland, ranking Frederick County sixth statewide at three deaths, according to recent statistics. Between July 2013 and June 2014, 54 people died as a result of domestic violence in the state, including two adults and an infant living in Frederick County, according to statistics released earlier this month by the Maryland Network Against Domestic Violence, the state domestic violence coalition that aims to raise awareness and provide resources. (News-Post) Read Full Article

  • Carroll County commissioners adopt master plan after years of consideration

    The process to outline the future economic, residential and agricultural development of Carroll County that began in 2009 is finally complete. The Carroll County Board of Commissioners voted unanimously Thursday to adopt the 2014 Master Plan. (Carr. Co. Times) Read Full Article

Commentary

  • The new face of Md.'s fight against heroin

    The unveiling this week of Gov. Larry Hogan's strategy to combat heroin addiction and overdoses is prompting understandable cynicism from some of those who have long been involved in the issue. After all, he has now made a big deal out of doing more or less what the state was already doing before he got there. What's more, it's possible to read a racial undercurrent into the way the governor has embraced the issue. "This used to be considered an urban problem," he said, but now it's hitting every community in the state. Where, his critics might justifiably ask, were the governor's fellow Republicans back when heroin was only seen as a problem in a black-majority city? (Balt. Sun)Read Full Article

  • Weak plan to fight heroin epidemic in Maryland

    Gov. Larry Hogan finally revealed his plan to combat the state’s epidemic of heroin deaths this week. The governor choked up as he described touring the state and seeing firsthand the devastation the drug is causing, and revealed for the first time on the record that a cousin died from an overdose two years ago. But as meaningful as this statewide public health crisis appears to be to him, the substance of Hogan’s plan was thin, and disappointing. (News-Post) Read Full Article

  • C. Fraser Smith: A second chance to get it right

    Are we about to see a step toward right-sizing of prisons? We all know now about orange being the new black. Orange for prison jump suit — worn predominantly in this country by black people, mostly black men. We are incarceration nation. Fear and politics, working in tandem, have made us the most prison-centric nation in the world. Scholars and others have shown us the cost in ruined lives, decimated communities and cost-burdened states. And no one, until recently, done much about it. Still too much worry that a reform advocate could pay at the polls. But maybe that’s fading. (Daily Record) Read Full Article

  • Bharath Ravichandran: When Public Works doesn't work

    For eight days, I had the distinct pleasure of no running water in my house. I tried defrosting pipes with the help of friendly neighbors and a plumber, only to find that my external water meter was cracked and the city's services would be required to fix it. I consider myself a fairly tolerant person, but after more than 200 hours without water, my patience ran out (like my water). There is a serious problem with the functionality of water services in the city of Baltimore (among the other dysfunctional services the city has to offer). (Balt. Sun) Read Full Article