Politics

  • Critics: Gov. Larry Hogan’s budget won’t be painless after all

    Turns out there is some pain in Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan’s proposed spending plan after all. The first-term Republican cheerfully announced at a news conference Tuesday that he could trim spending and eliminate a $750 million deficit with “no serious cuts.” On Wednesday, he released his actual budget proposal for fiscal 2018, triggering immediate criticism from advocacy groups and Democratic lawmakers about cuts to some mandated spending increases, a reduction in the operating subsidy provided to Prince George’s Hospital Center, the elimination of some funding to address pressing problems in Baltimore; and a reduction in spending on state grants to that city and other poorer jurisdictions that receive relatively little revenue from income taxes. (Wash. Post) Read Full Article

  • Hogan seeks background checks for appointed lawmakers

    Gov. Larry Hogan is asking people nominated to fill vacancies in the General Assembly to undergo background checks before taking their seats, infuriating Democratic leaders. Two people recently nominated to fill seats in the House of Delegates — Baltimore's Nick J. Mosby and Montgomery County's Jheanelle Wilkins — have not yet been sworn in. Both were asked by the governor's office to submit to background checks. Neither has complied. "He doesn't need to hold anybody up for a background investigation. I just don't believe that's appropriate," said Baltimore Del. Cheryl Glenn, a Democrat who chairs the Legislative Black Caucus. (Balt. Sun)Read Full Article

  • Frosh, 5 other AGs urge Senate to reject Sessions' U.S. attorney general nomination

    Maryland Attorney General Brian E. Frosh is leading a coalition of Democratic attorneys general from six states urging the Senate to reject President-elect Donald J. Trump's nominee to head the Department of Justice. In a letter to Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley and ranking member Dianne Feinstein, the attorneys general of Maryland, New York, Massachusetts and other states said Sen. Jeff Sessions of Alabama has "stood for policies antithetical to this core mission of the Justice Department," and called him "unqualified" to be U.S. Attorney General. (Balt. Sun)Read Full Article

  • Aide to Md. lawmaker fabricated article on fraudulent votes for Clinton

    A Republican legislative aide in Maryland who was behind a fake news site that accused Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton of election-rigging was fired Wednesday. Del. David E. Vogt III (R-Frederick) said he terminated Cameron Harris “on the spot” after learning that he was the ­mastermind behind Christian­TimesNewspaper.com and its fabricated Sept. 30 article, which reported that there were tens of thousands of “fraudulent Clinton votes found” in an Ohio ­warehouse. (Wash. Post) Read Full Article

Center Maryland

  • KOFA Policy Call: The Future of the ACA, Tuesday, January 10, 2017 [Audio Recording]

    On Tuesday January 10th, KOFA Public Affairs hosted their first policy call of 2017 with three distinguished guests, who discussed the future of the Affordable Care Act under the Trump administration.  John Deane, Chairman for Advisory Board Consulting, Jennifer Babcock, VP for Medicaid Policy and Director of Strategic Operations, ACAP and Dr. Leana Wen, Health Commissioner for Baltimore City discussed their perspectives on what to anticipate and what the likely impact will be on health insurance coverage. Listen to the recording here.Read Full Article

  • Maryland Wholesale Medical Cannabis Trade Association (MedCan) Established to Advocate for Improved Public Health, Patient Access, Advancement of Science

    BALTIMORE, MARYLAND (January 6, 2017) – The Maryland Wholesale Medical Cannabis Trade Association (MedCan) announced today that it has been established to advocate for improved public health, patient access, and the advancement of science within the state’s medical cannabis industry. MedCan founding members are among growers and processors of medical cannabis selected for preliminary licenses by the Natalie M. LaPrade Maryland Medical Cannabis Commission. Read Full Article.

  • Celebrating Steve's 60th

    On January 1, our dear friend and brother Steve Kreseski would have celebrated his 60th birthday. Steve is never far from our minds, and at this time of year, we are reminded of the many people he helped through his work. He would have been so excited by the focus of the Steve Kreseski Victory Fund and by how many people have so generously donated to help us reach our $50,000 goal by the end of this year. The work supported by these donations would have meant so much to Steve: the research in lung healing, pulmonary disease and acute lung disease that is moving forward because of the gifts given by his family, friends, colleagues and loved ones. (UMSOM)Read More

  • Maryland Ranked 18th in America's Health Rankings

    Successes: In Maryland, we are observing a decrease in preventable hospitalizations, excessive drinking and disparity in health status by education. Challenges: In addition to growing rate of drug deaths, the state continues to struggle with high rates of violent crime, a prevalence of low birth weight and high infant mortality. (United Health Foundation)View Entire Report

Business

  • Plan for White Marsh outlets in limbo

    A 100-store outlet mall planned for White Marsh is in limbo as the owner of the property considers selling the site. The turn comes shortly after a fight over the plans appeared to have been settled as Baltimore County voters backed zoning that would allow the outlets to proceed. The Lightstone Group, the developer's New York-based parent company, said it is considering selling the site after receiving "several unsolicited inquiries." (Balt. Sun) Read Full Article

  • Hogan names new ombudsman for small business

    Gov. Larry Hogan has named entrepreneur Randall K. Nixon as small-business ombudsman, a position designed to help businesses navigate state government. Nixon succeeds Roger Campos, who was the first ombudsman and recently became assistant secretary at the Department of Housing and Community Development. Nixon is an attorney who has run several Maryland companies, including a leadership development firm and food distribution business. (Balt. Sun) Read Full Article

  • Evergreen Health finalizes deal with investors, severs ties with federal co-op program

    Evergreen Health, an innovative Baltimore-based health insurer, took a big step toward assuring its future by finalizing a deal to repay part of a federal startup loan and sever ties with the Affordable Care Act program under which it was founded. The deal with federal health regulators, made possible by an influx of cash from unnamed investors, allows Evergreen to move forward with plans to seek state approval to convert to a for-profit insurer. (Balt. Sun)Read Full Article

  • Maryland settles lawsuit with drug maker accused of creating a monopoly

    Maryland joined four other states and the Federal Trade Commission in announcing a $100 million settlement Wednesday with Mallinckrodt ARD Inc., formerly known as Questcor Pharmaceuticals Inc., for allegedly monopolizing the market for a lifesaving drug called Acthar. Acthar is a therapeutic adrenocorticotropic hormone, or ACTH, and is used to treat infantile spasms, a rare but devastating neurological disease; nephrotic syndrome, a kidney disorder; and multiple sclerosis. The lawsuit alleged Questcor blocked competition for its ACHT drug, HP Acthar Gel, by acquiring U.S. rights to Synacthen Deport, the only other ACTH drug sold in the world. (Balt. Sun) Read Full Article

Education

  • Free school supplies and books distributed across Maryland

    More than 25,000 books and school supplies have been delivered to children in 50 schools, recreation centers, churches and after-school programs across the state, according to Gov. Larry Hogan administration officials. Working with Books for International Good Will, Velocity of Books and Goodwill Greater Washington, the Hogan administration has helped distribute books to children in the city, Anne Arundel County, Baltimore County, several rural Eastern Shore and Washington D.C suburban counties. (Balt. Sun) Read Full Article

  • Afzali pulls bill to give school districts more calendar flexibility

    Republican Delegate Kathy Afzali has withdrawn a bill that would have changed the requirement that Maryland public school students attend school for 180 days. Legislation from Afzali, R-District 4, would have instead allowed the state’s 24 school districts to count hours — 1,080 hours — instead of days. She said in an interview Wednesday that she pulled the bill because the Frederick County Board of Education never supported it. (News-Post) Read Full Article

  • Thomas E. Lynch III appointed to Frederick Community College board of trustees

    A Frederick lawyer, Thomas E. Lynch III, has been appointed to the governing board at Frederick Community College. Lynch is a principal at Miles & Stockbridge, a law firm with a local branch in downtown Frederick. He was appointed by Gov. Larry Hogan (R) to serve until July 2020. “I am thrilled to become a part of the team at FCC, joining a group of remarkable and committed colleagues,” Lynch said in a statement issued Wednesday. “Through my years of involvement with the Frederick Chamber of Commerce, I became increasingly cognizant of the importance of enhancing the dialogue and collaboration between business and education." (News-Post) Read Full Article

  • Tuition increase, smaller than in FY17, included in community college budget proposal

    Carroll Community College is looking at a $6 per credit hour, or 4.5 percent, tuition increase in the coming year, down from last year's $8 increase. The Carroll Community College board of trustees approved a proposed fiscal year 2018 budget Wednesday that, in addition to the tuition increase, includes a 3 percent increase in direct county funding reflective of the county's FY 2016-2021 Operating Plan and an overall increase of $660,785, or 2.1 percent, in total income. The FY18 proposed total income comes to $32.7 million. (Carr. Co. Times) Read Full Article

Around Maryland

  • Trump's pick for EPA vows to support Chesapeake Bay cleanup effort

    President-elect Donald Trump's nominee to lead the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, a frequent critic of environmental regulations, appeared to offer support Wednesday for a federally directed Chesapeake Bay cleanup program he once sued to stop. Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt, who has repeatedly sued the agency he is now poised to oversee, told a Senate panel he would use his authority to enforce the pollution reductions pledged by six states in the Chesapeake Bay watershed, and he would push for federal funding for the bay's restoration. (Balt. Sun)Read Full Article

  • State police audit finds potential savings if more civilians were hired

    Maryland taxpayers could save $11 million annually if 127 of the current 1,426 uniformed positions in the Maryland State Police were replaced with civilian employees, according to a report released by the Office of Legislative Audits. The audit found the positions were not involved in daily law enforcement activities.The savings would be found in lower salaries and fringe benefits attributed to civilian employees, which would include a $7.8 million reduction in annual pension costs. (Md. Reporter) Read Full Article

  • Mayor and council unanimously approved the money

    After a unanimous decision from city council, Annapolis is moving $1.2 million to help the city's police department. This comes after a record homicide rate in 2016. It didn't take long and city officials say it needed to happen.  "It took everyone aback and the community is concerned about it and we're on it," Cpl. Amy Miguez said. Corporal Miguez says the staggering increase in homicides in the city didn't sit well with the department --- or the city government. Mayor Mike Pantelides says he wanted to move quickly to let people know the city is cracking down on crime. (WMAR) Read Full Article

  • Pugh: New York-based foundation to give Baltimore $1 million toward police reform

    Mayor Catherine Pugh said Baltimore will get $1 million from a social justice foundation to help pay for police reforms required by the U.S. Department of Justice. The New York-based Ford Foundation called to offer the city the money as Pugh looks to shepherd sweeping changes to the police department, aimed at restoring community trust and ensuring officers do not violate citizens' Constitutional rights. Pugh said she is looking to the state, business leaders and philanthropies to help the city pay for the reforms, which are projected to cost millions of dollars. The mayor said she did not have an estimate on how much the 227-page agreement with the Justice Department will cost the city. (Balt. Sun)Read Full Article

Commentary

  • Hogan balances his budget on Baltimore's back

    Gov. Larry Hogan presented his budget proposal for the next fiscal year as something of a miracle — record funding for education, no tax increases, a $500 million projected shortfall closed, and no cuts to speak of. But it turns out that his administration is subject to the laws of math just like the rest of us. There are cuts to speak of, all right, and they fall squarely on Baltimore. Mayor Catherine Pugh, Del. Maggie McIntosh, Sen. Bill Ferguson and House Speaker Michael E. Busch might dispute the governor's claim that he cut "almost nothing." In fact, he decimated the package of aid they and others put together last year to help Baltimore recover from the 2015 unrest. (Balt. Sun)Read Full Article

  • Jimmy Rouse, Robin Budish: A vision for public transit in Baltimore

    Last year, the Opportunity Collaborative, a project of the Baltimore Metropolitan Council, found the average commute for citizens in East and West Baltimore to living-wage jobs was 90 minutes each way — provided the bus arrived at all. In recent years, the MTA has routinely pulled buses from routes unannounced due to driver absenteeism and mechanical failure. The consequences are all too predictable: The bus you're waiting for doesn't arrive, and the next bus might be so overcrowded that it passes you by. Such unreliability causes people to lose their jobs and makes kids miss school. (Balt. Sun) Read Full Article

  • Plan changes but controversy will go on

    We were once told by the would-be developers of the mixed-use project on Forest Drive that the name "Crystal Spring" was essentially arbitrary, as there is no identifiable water source on the property with that designation. But while the spring might not physically exist, for about six years it has been gushing ink, much of it splashed on this page. Crystal Spring is not just an issue in its own right but a focal point for larger concerns about Annapolis' attitude toward development. (Capital)Read Full Article

  • Sandy Smolnicky: Substance abuse problem needs action

    I see the haze of drug use in plain sight in schools, on athletic fields, in malls, faith communities, hospitals, marinas and workplaces. If we could will this away, it would be gone. Families of those who are struggling or who have lost loved ones to the disease of addiction grieve.Anne Arundel County maintains the dubious, tragic and broad-reaching distinction of ranking third-highest in Maryland for opioid overdoses. Community ignorance or apathy allow false beliefs to flourish while young parents pray they will not be next to battle for the life of their own child's addiction. It is time to truncate the trauma, the hemorrhage of our future generation's hope. (Capital)Read Full Article