Politics

  • Debate lingers over drug price transparency

    What sounded like a good idea at the start of the session is turning into a bitter pill to swallow for many legislators. The battle over transparency in prescription drug pricing escalating from the radio airwaves to face-to-face encounters in committee rooms. The pharmaceutical industry is making headway in the Senate. "My concern is we are only taking one part of the equation and putting them under a microscope. If we are going to do this, let's bring everybody else in. Let's look at what the insurance companies are charging. Let's look at what the pharmacies are charging," said state Sen. J.B. Jennings, R-Baltimore, Harford counties. (WBAL)Read Full Article

  • Ruppersberger meets with constituents at town hall event in Towson

    Concerns over repeal of the Affordable Care Act and immigration policies took center stage during a town hall meeting hosted by Democratic 2nd District U.S. Rep. C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger Wednesday evening held at the Towson Library. Billed as a "Congress on your Corner" meeting, Ruppersberger said he had organized the Towson and other meetings because he was hearing from constituents concerned about what is "going on in Washington," and wanted to make himself accessible. "It's people power," Ruppersberger said referring to the rallying of those politically engaged constituents. "And I think we need to use that the right way." (Balt. Sun) Read Full Article

  • Rep. Andy Harris to hold a town hall meeting next month

    Rep. Andy Harris, who has been under pressure from constituents concerned about the repeal of the Affordable Care Act, said Thursday he will hold a town hall meeting with voters at the end of March. Harris has come under fire from some constituents for holding tele-town halls instead of an in-person meeting as Republicans across the country have faced pointed questions about the Obamacare repeal at similar gatherings. Earlier this month, Harris said he would hold an in-person meeting once Republicans unveiled a replacement plan. (Balt. Sun) Read Full Article

  • Dueling county ethics bills get airing in Senate committee

    Frederick County’s state senators made their pitches on Thursday for competing ethics reform bills at a Senate committee hearing. The outlook for either bill is unclear, since neither has the full support of the county’s delegation. The measure that Sen. Ron Young, D-District 3, presented to the Senate’s Education, Health and Environmental Affairs Committee is backed by County Executive Jan Gardner and community groups. (News-Post) Read Full Article

Center Maryland

  • Marc Greendorfer: Laws opposing the boycott movement of Israel do not violate Constitution

    Introduced in response to the “BDS Movement”, a growing international campaign of intolerance and bigotry operating under the guise of human rights advocacy, Maryland House Bill 949 and Senate Bill 739 is an important and needed law that will help to protect many Marylanders from discrimination. Some of those who oppose anti-discrimination laws such as HB949/SB739 have argued that BDS activity is subject to the same type of constitutional protections that civil rights boycotts enjoy. However, a number of constitutional scholars, including my legal foundation, have engaged in exhaustive research of the issues and have demonstrated the flaws in claims that measures such as these violate the Constitution. Read Full Article

  • Rachel King, Doug Doerfler: Md. drug pricing transparency bill misunderstands U.S. medicine market

    Maryland has a well-earned reputation as a growing hub for biomedical innovation, due in large part to strong economic development plans focused on the life sciences that have been supported by a succession of Democratic and Republican governors and the state legislature. Our state is home to not only the National Institutes of Health but also to one of the largest clusters of research-based biopharmaceutical companies in the country. The majority of these companies are small enterprises focused on turning groundbreaking scientific ideas into treatments and cures for many serious and life-threatening diseases. In addition to important life-saving medicines, these companies also provide good, high-paying jobs to tens of thousands of men and women across our state. (Balt. Sun)Read Full Article

  • BMC's COG Quarterly: Winter 2017 Issue

    Dear Friends, It’s hard to overstate the importance of cooperation to effective governance. At the Baltimore Metropolitan Council (BMC), we are proud to ring in 2017 in a renewed spirit of regionalism, which we're proud to highlight in the Winter 2017 issue of our digital magazine, COG Quarterly. In our cover story, local government leaders from around the region share with us what regionalism means to economic and workforce development, transportation planning, cooperative purchasing, housing, emergency management and public health.  Each offers a unique perspective on the benefits of working together toward our common goals.We invite you to read the magazine here. Thank you for reading this issue of COG Quarterly. As always, please email us at emailProtector.addCloakedMailto("ep_8dbbb274", 0); with your comments and story suggestions. We look forward to hearing from you. Sincerely, Michael B. Kelly Executive DirectorRead Entire Magazine

  • Riverside Health is now University of Maryland Health Partners (UMHP)

    Riverside Health is now a part of University of Maryland Medical System (UMMS), becoming University of Maryland Health Partners (UMHP). With a new name and the resources of a world-class university, its top priority continues to be high-quality care and support for low-income neighbors in our community. UMHP offers excellent customer service because our community is their community.  With more than 35,000 members and over 7,000 healthcare providers across Maryland, UMHP is the smart healthcare choice.  Learn more at umhealthpartners.com/Watch Entire Video

Business

  • Maryland House committee approves paid sick leave legislation

    The state's House Economic Matters Committee gave a favorable recommendation to a paid sick leave bill Thursday, the first step in getting the legislation passed this year. The committee voted 14-9 to approve the Maryland Healthy Working Families Act, sponsored by Democrats Luke Clippinger, of Baltimore, and Dereck Davis, the committee chairman from Prince George's County. The bill has been vigorously opposed by business advocacy groups who claim the mandate would have an overly burdensome affect on small businesses. Several lawmakers spoke up before the vote calling it "onerous" and "un-American." (Balt. Bus. Journal) Read Full Article

  • Insilico Medicine raises $10 million

    Insilico Medicine, a Baltimore-based bioinformatics company, has raised just under $10 million to advance its research and development, according to documents filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. Insilico uses genomics, big-data analysis and advanced algorithums to research and develop new drugs and to improve the drug discovery process. The company's work is focused on aging and age-related diseases. (Balt. Sun) Read Full Article

  • Startups chosen to compete for $100,000 for Kevin Plank's 12th annual Cupid's Cup

    Five startup businesses have been picked by Under Armour's entrepreneurship foundation as finalists in next month's Cupid's Cup competition. The competition, now in its 12th year, is led by Under Armour founder Kevin Plank and the Plank Foundation for Entrepreneurship. The finalists will compete March 30 at Northwestern University. Finalists are vying for $100,000 and access to Plank's professional networks. The entrepreneurs were chosen from 11 semi-finalists, who pitched their businesses and interviewed with investors, entrepreneurship experts and Under Armour executives earlier this month. (Balt. Sun) Read Full Article

  • Nonprofits have wish lists for using old Catonsville school

    As area nonprofits have expressed interest in occupying space in the former Catonsville Elementary School building on Frederick Road, Baltimore County Public Schools intends to keep the building and use it daily. The school system is still assessing how it will use the 57,692-square foot building, but it could be updated for office space or other needs, said Mychael Dickerson, a spokesman. The building has remained property of Baltimore County Public Schools since students moved last year to a remodeled building on Bloomsbury Avenue. (Balt. Sun) Read Full Article

Education

  • Local schools' transgender student policies will remain unchanged following Trump administration lift on federal protections

    President Donald Trump's recent lifting of federal guidelines allowing transgender students to use school bathrooms and locker rooms matching their gender identities may not have much impact on local schools. Officials from Central Maryland school systems say they do not anticipate any changes to policy after the Obama-era guideline was lifted Wednesday. "We are making no changes to our guidelines," said Bob Mosier, a spokesman for Anne Arundel County Public Schools. (Balt. Sun-AP) Read Full Article

  • Pugh tells crowd rallying in Annapolis that she has a Baltimore schools budget plan

    Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh says she will announce a funding plan Monday that will help close the city school district's $130 million budget shortfall. Pugh made the announcement while speaking to a boisterous crowd of Baltimore students, parents and teachers in Annapolis on Thursday night. They descended on Lawyers Mall, near the State House and governor's mansion, to press for more state funding for city schools. Organizers with the Baltimore Education Coalition estimated that about 2,000 people attended the event. The crowd's chants and cheers could be heard from blocks away in downtown Annapolis. (Balt. Sun) Read Full Article

  • Former NASA astronaut inspires girls to pursue science interest

    Mary Cleave stood in front of a video of her 1985 space flight and talked to 15 middle school girls about her NASA career as a part of a global campaign to promote science and engineering careers to girls. Rockwell Collins, an aerospace and defense engineering company, hosted Cleave and 15 girls from Central Middle School Thursday for "Introduce a Girl to Engineering" day, which included a presentation by Cleave, a tour and a robotics activity. (Capital)Read Full Article

  • Johns Hopkins president, wife establish $1 million financial aid fund

    Johns Hopkins University President Ronald J. Daniels and his wife, faculty member Joanne Rosen, are establishing a $1 million financial aid endowment for undergraduates who are the first college-goers in their families. The Daniels-Rosen First Generation Scholars Fund will be created with $500,000 directly from the couple and another $500,000 from the Carnegie Corp. of New York Academic Leadership Award that Daniels received in 2015 for his work at the university and in the Baltimore community. (Balt. Bus. Journal)Read Full Article

Around Maryland

  • Maryland’s veteran crab manager fired after watermen complain to Hogan

    Maryland’s veteran manager of the state’s blue crab fishery was fired this week after a group of watermen complained to Gov. Larry Hogan about a catch regulation that they contend hurts their livelihood — but that scientists say is needed to ensure a sustainable harvest. Brenda Davis, crab program manager for the Department of Natural Resources and a 28-year state employee, said she was informed Tuesday that her services were no longer needed. In an interview Wednesday, Davis said Fisheries Director Dave Blazer gave no reason for her summary dismissal. But it came after Hogan met last week with about a dozen Dorchester County watermen who had been pressing Davis and the DNR for a change in a long-time regulation setting the minimum catchable size for crabs. (Bay Journal)Read Full Article

  • Study of Preakness' future at Pimlico due Friday

    The Maryland Stadium Authority will release a long-awaited report on the future of Pimlico Race Course on Friday, with lawmakers and racing officials hoping the study will spur serious discussion about the site's long-term viability as home of the Preakness. Though the report is only the first part of a larger study, it's expected to include specific estimates for how much it would cost to make the venerable Baltimore track economically competitive with the homes of the other Triple Crown horse races — the Kentucky Derby and the Belmont Stakes. (Balt. Sun) Read Full Article

  • Maryland trains to Newark inch closer

    A longtime proposal to run commuter trains between Newark and Perryville, Maryland, took a step forward this week after transportation planners submitted preliminary results of a feasibility study to officials in Delaware, Maryland and Pennsylvania. It is the first formal examination looking into demand for increased rail transit across the Delaware-Maryland state line, said Dave Gula, planner at the Wilmington Area Planning Council. Results will be made public after officials from DART, Maryland's commuter rail agency MARC and the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority have a chance to meet, likely next month, he said. (Daily Times) Read Full Article

  • Anne Arundel seeks to help immigration effort

    Anne Arundel County could become the third Maryland jurisdiction to join with the federal government in enforcing immigration laws, as the Trump administration pushes a crackdown on people who are in the country illegally. County Executive Steve Schuh has applied to a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement program that trains local law enforcement officers in federal immigration law so they can help find and report undocumented immigrants. (Balt. Sun)Read Full Article

Commentary

  • A safer way to do drugs?

    In 1994, Baltimore launched a controversial program to provide drug addicts with a clean needle for each dirty one they turned in. The point was not to accommodate heroin use — which it indirectly did, of course — but to reduce the spread of AIDS through the shared use of dirty needles. Such an approach was banned from federal funding at the time, but local public health authorities pushed ahead anyway, and it was effective, saving potentially thousands of lives. The latest report from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health recommending the city open on its east and west sides so-called "safe-drug consumption spaces" is bound to be even more controversial than the needle-exchange program of 23 years ago. (Balt. Sun) Read Full Article

  • Nuisance measure should be used wisely

    County Councilman Andrew Pruski's Bill 87-16, which passed 4-3 on Tuesday, didn't have smooth sledding in the County Council chambers. It was more like a trek through Arctic wastes with a pack of wolves on the travelers' heels. That Pruski persevered through a cascade of amendments from wary fellow legislators, serious reservations by County Executive Steve Schuh's administration and opposition by the American Civil Liberties Union is a measure of how seriously he took the issue. (Capital)Read Full Article

  • Make the mayor accountable for the schools

    It was a strange set of circumstances that led to the joint-governance arrangement between the city and state for Baltimore's public schools. Twenty years ago, Baltimore was suing the state to try to get more funds for education. The state counter-sued, alleging that the school system wasn't doing a good job of managing the state funds it already got. The legislature got involved, and the most powerful critic of the city schools wasn't some suburban lawmaker but Del. Howard "Pete" Rawlings, the powerful Appropriations Committee chairman from Baltimore (and father of future Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake). He and another city legislator, Sen. Barbara Hoffman, struck a deal by which the state would withhold millions from city schools the next year if then-Mayor Kurt Schmoke and then-Gov. Parris N. Glendening — who had previously been staunch allies — could work out a new governance structure that would force reforms aimed at improving student achievement. They had a deal, then they...

  • Michael Collins: Mayoral race gets interesting

    The Annapolis mayoral race has gotten interesting. Last fall, Annapolis restaurateur Gavin Buckley announced he would run. Then, last month, state Sen. John Astle announced that he too plans to run. Both are Democrats who will square off in the Democratic primary election. The contrast between Astle and Buckley presents interesting choices. The 73 year-old Astle is practically a household name in Annapolis. He ran unsuccessfully for mayor in 1981. Then he won a seat in the House of Delegates in 1982 and the Senate in 1994. A former Marine helicopter pilot with multiple combat tours in Vietnam, Astle is the last of a vanishing breed — a conservative Democrat. (Capital)Read Full Article