Politics

  • Hogan Administration Files Claim Against State’s Largest Employee Union

    As Gov. Lawrence J. Hogan Jr. (R) previewed his forthcoming budget proposal on Thursday, he noted that he’d be including a 3 percent raise for state employees, including those represented by the state’s largest employee union, AFSCME Maryland Council 3. But that raise wasn’t actually negotiated with the union. The administration reached negotiated wage deals with four of five state unions – which collectively have a membership about half as large as AFSCME’s 25,000-plus workers – in the fall and winter. (Md. Matters) Read Full Article

  • Maryland Gov. Hogan Discusses $46.6B Budget Plan

    Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan has given a preview of the state’s $46.6 billion budget plan for the next fiscal year. Hogan outlined his proposal Wednesday at a news conference. He says there’s $6.9 billion for K-12 education. He’s also proposing a new fund to create $3.5 billion for school construction over five years. Hogan is proposing about $248 million in general funds for prevention and treatment of drug addiction. That’s a 20 percent increase over the amount in the last budget to fight drug addiction. (WJZ-TV) Read Full Article

  • Pugh gathers up nearly $1 million in campaign cash

    Since taking office two years ago, Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh has raised $850,000 in campaign cash. She now boasts a $969,000 war chest with 16 months remaining before the 2020 primary election for mayor. While not formally announcing her re-election bid, the mayor has hired Democratic Party fundraisers and strategists TruBlu and Mayson-Dixon to run her campaign office on Park Avenue. In yesterday’s report to the Maryland Elections Board, covering calendar year 2018, Pugh disclosed a preponderance of contributions from real estate developers and companies doing business with the city – or apparently hoping to. (Balt. Brew) Read Full Article

  • Rep. Andy Harris condemns white supremacy, says he didn't know 'previous associations' of man he met with

    Rep. Andy Harris said he was unaware of Chuck Johnson’s "previous associations" before meeting recently with the right-wing figure, who was banned from Twitter after the site said he threatened Baltimore civil rights activist DeRay Mckesson. “I am unaware of his previous associations, but we had a discussion involving his business with genetic sequencing," Harris, a Baltimore County Republican, said Thursday in an emailed statement. "Of course, I disavow and condemn white supremacy and anti-Semitism.” (Balt. Sun) Read Full Article

Center Maryland

  • 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

  • Peter Auchincloss: The Wizard and The Werewolf - A Reminiscence From Damian O’Doherty

    Peter Auchincloss rolled into my office 20 minutes early for a meeting, carrying several giant, black 3-ring binders. “Peter, the infrastructure team can’t handle another set of binders,” I said sardonically. “You are the only guy that reads, ranks, and prioritizes anymore. The rest of us just Facebook.”Read Full Article

  • Don Mohler reflects on Kevin Kamenetz, Gone Too Soon

    There were two months to go until the election. On May 8, 2018, Kevin Kamenetz had just finished filming 14 hours of television commercials that we were all sure would propel him to the Democratic gubernatorial nomination on June 26. And then two days later on May 10, the phone rang shortly after 2 a.m.  When the phone rings at that hour, it is never good news.Read Full Article

  • Eric Gilbert: Redeveloping America’s Brownfields, A Modern Industrial Revival

    Everyone who has ever worked in, lived in, or even traveled to a major U.S. city has seen them – forlorn, abandoned plots of land sporting an unsightly mix of rotting industrial equipment and crumbling buildings – fenced off and clearly too contaminated for occupancy or use of any kind. Read Full Article

Business

  • Baltimore City Council sees crisis in lack of small business loans

    Steven Rivelis has started multiple businesses in Baltimore City and each time he has had trouble getting a bank to give him a loan. Rivelis, who owns The Elephant in Mount Vernon, told the Baltimore City Council's taxation, finance and economic development committee, how one banker told him last year that there is a "Baltimore issue" and that people are not going downtown anymore. Rivelis said he has had to bet on himself and raise his own money to finance his projects, including The Elephant, which was recognized last year as Maryland's "favorite new restaurant" by the Restaurant Association of Maryland. (Balt. Bus. Journal) Read Full Article

  • Residents oppose warehouse development plan near Route 24/I-95 interchange in Abingdon

    A proposal to build more than 2.4 million square feet of warehouse, commercial and retail space near the Route 24/Interstate 95 interchange in Abingdon faced strong opposition from residents Tuesday. An estimated 150 to 170 people filled a room at the Abingdon Fire Company’s main firehouse for a community input meeting, according to fire company members. So many people attended that the parking lot filled up, and people parked on the shoulder and walked across the two-lane road. (Balt. Sun) Read Full Article

  • Verizon wants to hire 60 after Jan. 24 event at Hanover call center

    Verizon will hold a job information event Jan. 24 at its Hanover call center as it looks to hire 60 for its customer service team there. The telecommunications giant will conduct three 90-minute sessions starting at 9 a.m., 2 p.m. and 5 p.m. for interested candidates to learn about career opportunities and tour the center. The starting pay is $19.56 an hour, a Verizon spokesman said. Verizon said it was looking for job candidates who enjoy working with people, are strong multi-taskers and have solid technical skills. It prefers a bachelor's degree or years of work experience. (Balt. Sun) Read Full Article

  • Tribune Publishing, parent of The Baltimore Sun, names new CEO as three executives depart

    Tribune Publishing CEO Justin Dearborn has stepped down after nearly three years at the helm of the Chicago-based newspaper company that owns The Baltimore Sun, the company announced Thursday. Longtime Chicago newspaper executive Tim Knight was named CEO, effective immediately. Knight, who had served as president of the company, also will join the Tribune Publishing board. Board member David Dreier, a former U.S. congressman, has been named chairman of Tribune Publishing, replacing Dearborn. (Balt. Sun)Read Full Article

Education

  • Howard County high schools making free condoms available to students

    High school students in Howard County will soon be able to get free condoms at their school nurse’s office in a program officials say is aimed at reducing the spread of chlamydia, gonorrhea and other sexually transmitted infections. School officials say they are partnering with county health department and the Maryland Department of Health to make the condoms accessible, and will also provide information about health and sexual diseases. (Balt. Sun) Read Full Article

  • Morgan State University lacked protections for private information

    Morgan State University lacked adequate safeguards to protect sensitive personal information, and kept a database of 301,000 unique social security numbers alongside names and dates of birth, state auditors found. A recent report from the Office of Legislative Audits found the Baltimore-based institution did not adhere to cybersecurity best practices, which require agencies to protect this kind of confidential data using encryption technologies or other measures to ward off identity theft and other improper disclosures. (Balt. Sun) Read Full Article

  • Montgomery Co. teacher dies after collapsing during class

    A 25-year-old English teacher died in her Montgomery County classroom Thursday morning. In a letter sent to Herbert Hoover Middle School parents, principal Y.M. Kim said that Deanna Perucci suffered a medical emergency. Counseling was offered to students who were in the classroom, and additional counseling will be provided to the rest of the school as well on Friday. Kim said in the letter that Perucci was a “wonderful teacher that loved teaching at Hoover and cared deeply” for the students. (WTOP) Read Full Article

  • WCPS questions law's provision for students' mental health services

    Local school systems must provide help for students in need of mental health services. But the fine points of an education measure passed last year adds to those responsibilities, and Washington County school officials believe it goes too far. Anthony Trotta, chief legal counsel for Washington County Public Schools, asked local lawmakers for help in "tweaking" the law. At issue are provisions that require a school system's mental health services coordinator to "ensure" that students receive mental health services and "develop plans for delivering behavioral health and "wraparound" services to students who exhibit behaviors of concern." (Herald Mail)   Read Full Article

Around Maryland

  • Baltimore mayor orders security review after city employee found with hacking tools on his computer

    Mayor Catherine Pugh ordered a security review after a technology staffer at Baltimore’s water agency gave himself special access to the computer of the Department of Public Works director and was found with hacking tools on his own city computer, according to the city inspector general and documents obtained by The Baltimore Sun. On Thursday, Inspector General Isabel Mercedes Cumming issued a summary of the investigation into the employee, who no longer works for the city. (Balt. Sun) Read Full Article

  • Carroll County to offer relief for federal workers affected by shutdown

    Residents of Carroll County who are financially impacted by the federal government shutdown will be allowed to delay payments on certain bills. “We know we have residents affected by the federal shutdown and want to provide any assistance we can to our citizens during this difficult time,” said Commissioner Stephen Wantz, president of the Board of County Commissioners. “Carroll County has historically worked with its citizens in times of challenge and we will continue to do so.” (Carroll County Times) Read Full Article

  • Surrounded by scaffolding for years, historic Mount Vernon church goes up for sale

    For sale: Historic church. Prime Mount Vernon location. Needs repair. Features: 750-seat sanctuary, baptismal pool and scaffolding many neighbors have long considered an eyesore. Six years after the city first erected the scaffolding around the New Refuge Deliverance Cathedral to protect pedestrians from falling roof shingles, the Mount Vernon landmark has been put up for sale. An attorney working with the church’s owner told members of the Mount Vernon-Belvedere Association this week that the building at 1110 St. Paul Street has been listed with RE/MAX Commercial Logic for $1.395 million. (Balt. Brew) Read Full Article

  • Maryland, Baltimore City among worst for 2018 foreclosures

    Foreclosure filings nationwide, including default notices, auctions and bank repossessions, fell to the lowest level in 13 years last year, down 78 percent from 2005. The 624,753 properties with foreclosure filings in 2018 represented a foreclosure rate of 0.47 percent of all mortgaged U.S. households, according to Attom Data Solutions. Maryland remains among states with the highest foreclosure rate — and Baltimore City still ranks among cities with the highest foreclosure rates. (WTOP) Read Full Article

Commentary

  • Don't do an end run around the voters on sports betting, Maryland

    The U.S. Supreme Court’s decision last spring striking down a longstanding federal ban on sports gambling has naturally set off something of a rush by states to consider legalized wagering on professional sporting events like National Football League and Major League Baseball games. Last month, the D.C. Council upped the ante when it voted to legalize such wagering, with the expectation that in the not-too-distant future, a mobile phone app will allow individuals to place a bet on sporting events whenever they are within the legal boundaries of the nation’s capital. (Balt. Sun) Read Full Article

  • Bay is threatened by gas and oil exploration

    The health of the Chesapeake Bay is declining for the first time in a decade. This news is especially dire as the bay faces a new threat: the Trump administration’s offshore oil drilling plan (“Maryland leading challenge to Trump administration’s decision allowing seismic testing off Atlantic coast,” Dec. 20). We’re awaiting the next draft of the plan and it’s quite likely it will open the southeast Atlantic to offshore drilling for the the first time in decades. (Balt. Sun) Read Full Article

  • Surprise! We need the federal government.

    EVERYBODY HATES the Internal Revenue Service, right? Well, yes and no. Americans love to gripe about the agency that collects their income taxes each year, but they also depend on it to do the job fairly and efficiently — especially the part that involves sending out refunds. And so, for all its rhetoric about the burden of federal taxes, the Trump administration has creatively interpreted a legal exception to the ongoing partial shutdown so as to order 40,000 IRS workers back to their offices in preparation for tax season. Their paychecks will arrive only when this shutdown ends, whenever that might be. (Wash. Post) Read Full Article

  • Analysis: Hogan Aims to Stay Popular at Home, Relevant in National Politics

    Gov. Lawrence J. Hogan Jr. (R) sketched out a vision for the future Wednesday – but it was more a vision for his own political future than a blueprint for how he plans to govern Maryland over the next four years. With his frequent calls for bipartisanship and his none-too-subtle denunciations of political disorder in Washington, D.C., Hogan’s second-term inaugural address, delivered outside the State House under chilly gray skies, won widespread praise for its tenor and tone. (Md. Matters) Read Full Article