Politics

  • Maryland House Speaker Busch says delegates to go live from chamber in 2020 with streaming feed of floor sessions

    Maryland House of Delegates Speaker Michael Busch announced Tuesday that his chamber would begin livestreaming its sessions next year on the General Assembly’s website. The announcement comes one day after a bipartisan pair of lawmakers introduced a bill that would require the streaming. “Transparency is key to an open and free government, and I have no doubt that embracing this technology in the House chamber will improve the public’s accessibility to the legislature,” Busch, an Anne Arundel County Democrat, said in a statement. (Balt. Sun) Read Full Article

  • ‘You can’t be an absolutist’: Weighing a 2020 run, Bloomberg talks compromise

    Michael R. Bloomberg, the billionaire former mayor of New York City who is considering a presidential run, appeared in Annapolis on Tuesday to chide Washington over the government shutdown and talk about the importance of compromise. He gave the keynote speech Tuesday at a leadership conference at the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, praising the late senator John McCain — an academy alumnus — for his independence and willingness to work across the aisle. Bloomberg, once a Republican and then a political independent, registered last year as a Democrat, stoking speculation about whether he will run for president. (Wash. Post) Read Full Article

  • Lawmakers ponder change to polygraph requirement for correctional officers

    Del. Mike McKay tried Tuesday to convince the House Judiciary Committee to back a bill to change the requirement that potential state correctional officers undergo lie-detector tests. McKay’s bill is an attempt to reduce the number of vacancies among correctional officers, which legislative analysts currently estimate at nearly 20 percent statewide. It would not eliminate polygraph tests altogether, but would let corrections officials to either require the test or a more extensive background check — or both. “We believe these six words, ‘or extensive background check, or both,’ will begin to address our staffing shortage,” McKay, R-Washington/Allegany, said. (Herald-Mail) Read Full Article

  • Baltimore County councilman withdraws bill to halt rural solar projects

    A Baltimore County councilman on Tuesday withdrew his bill that would have suspended the development of commercial solar facilities in rural areas. Councilman Wade Kach, a Cockeysville Republican who represents the north county, said he did not have support on the seven-member council to pass the legislation. The councilman wanted to impose a nine-month moratorium on solar projects on rural land, saying the county should study issues such as the impact on farmland and home values. But other members said it would be unfair to stop solar projects that already were approved. (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

  • Anne Arundel Medical Center raises entry-level pay to $15 an hour

    Anne Arundel Medical Center raised the minimum wage for its entry-level employees this week to $15 — a change the Annapolis hospital says has been in the works for years. "Three years ago, we decided to make a significant investment in our entry-level employees," Julie McGovern, vice president and chief human resources officer, said during a call with reporters on Tuesday. McGovern acknowledged that the job market is tight but said it wasn't competition that was driving the change. (Balt. Bus. Journal) Read Full Article

  • Business Group Issues Another Warning About Sluggish Montgomery Co. Economy

    Montgomery County business leaders are delivering dire warnings about the future of the county following a second report from economist Anirban Basu. A pro-business group is again sounding alarm bells about Montgomery County’s economy, warning that sluggish growth and high taxes are making Maryland’s largest and wealthiest subdivision a less attractive place for private-sector investment. “Slow economic growth is among the reasons that many Montgomery County stakeholders fret about the community’s future,” said Charles Nulsen III, a prominent developer and the founder of Empower Montgomery. (Md. Matters) Read Full Article

  • Sprouts Farmers Market coming to former hhgregg in Bel Air's Tollgate Marketplace

    Sprouts Farmers Market is coming to Tollgate Marketplace in Bel Air, where it has obtained a building permit from the town. The building permit to renovate the 33,054-square-foot space was issued by the Town of Bel Air on Jan. 10 and work was being done Tuesday morning. The interior has been stripped to the bare shell of the building and the glass front door has been replaced with two over-sized plywood doors. Those doors opened Tuesday morning as a roll-off Dumpster was delivered to the site. (Aegis)Read Full Article

  • Foundery closing at City Garage, plans relocation to Central Avenue

    The Foundery, a maker space in Port Covington’s City Garage, plans to close in South Baltimore at the end of the week. The maker space, which offered access to industrial-grade tools and taught skills ranging from woodworking to welding, is set to close Jan. 27 after failing to secure enough funding to cover its operating deficit, the Foundery announced on its website. The Foundery offered passes for visitors to use its collection of tools, from woodworking to electronics equipment, and hosted classes in manufacturing skills and techniques including blacksmithing, welding and laser cutting. (Balt. Sun) Read Full Article

Education

  • White cuts proposed operating budget after Olszewski warns Baltimore Co. school board of bleak budget outlook

    Baltimore County Interim Schools Superintendent Verletta White announced that she was slashing her proposed operating budget by $85 million Tuesday night, only hours after County Executive Johnny Olszewski Jr., in an unusual move, testified before the school board saying the county is facing tough financial times. Olszewski sent a letter to the school board last week outlining the county’s budget dilemma, but it wasn’t until nearly 11 p.m. during the school board meeting that White presented her revised proposed budget. She said she made the changes at the direction of the board chair and vice chair. (Balt. Sun) Read Full Article

  • Baltimore City school board votes 'no' to arming officers

    The Baltimore City school board voted unanimously to oppose a measure that would have allowed school police officers to carry weapons during the day. The school board’s vote effectively kills HB31, which would have overturned a previous prohibition on school police officers carrying guns in schools. Del. Cheryl D. Glenn, a Democrat who sponsored the bill, said she would be withdrawing the proposed legislation from the General Assembly. “I can’t move a bill that doesn’t have the support of the school board and the mayor,” she said. “The votes wouldn’t be there.” (Balt. Sun) Read Full Article

  • Kevin Durant opening Prince George’s County facility to help kids reach, graduate college

    The last time Kevin Durant was here, the walls were uneven and insulation was hanging free. There really wasn’t even a ceiling: just wires and empty space, the very definition of a construction zone. The Golden State Warriors forward will be returning to Prince George’s County on Wednesday, not just for the Warriors’ game Thursday against the Wizards or his first trip in nearly a year to his old neighborhood, but for his first look at the polished new home of College Track at The Durant Center. His visit will be part of the grand opening of an after-school facility that will commit resources and time to helping low-income and underserved students not just reach college — but graduate. (Wash. Post) Read Full Article

  • Alumnus, major donor Michael Bloomberg wants private, armed police force patrolling Johns Hopkins University

    Michael Bloomberg, the billionaire ex-mayor of New York and benefactor of the Johns Hopkins University, said Tuesday it’s “ridiculous” the institution doesn’t have an armed police force. “When you have a city that has the murder rate that Baltimore has, I think it’s ridiculous to think that they shouldn’t be armed,” Bloomberg said of the Hopkins security force. Bloomberg, a potential Democratic candidate for president in 2020, spoke to reporters after closed-door meetings at the State House in Annapolis with Democratic lawmakers and state Attorney General Brian Frosh. (Balt. Sun) Read Full Article

Around Maryland

  • Anton Black case: Maryland Gov. Hogan wants answers about teen's death in police custody on Eastern Shore

    Gov. Larry Hogan said he is pushing for answers for the family of Anton Black, an African-American teenager who died in police custody on the Eastern Shore. The family of Black, 19, of Greensboro, has been seeking information about his death since his fatal encounter with local police in September. But they’ve yet to receive details from police investigators or the state medical examiner’s office about how their loved one died. “We have no cause of death. We don’t have an M.E. report. We don’t have a death certificate,” said LaToya Holley, 37, Black’s sister, in an interview. “We haven’t even heard of the results of the toxicology. Nothing.” (Balt. Sun) Read Full Article

  • Board of Public Works to vote on adding statues of Frederick Douglass and Harriet Tubman to Maryland State House

    Maryland’s Board of Public Works on Wednesday is set to vote on a contract to erect bronze statues of two abolitionist heroes to the State House. The board — which is composed of Gov. Larry Hogan, Comptroller Peter Franchot and Treasurer Nancy Kopp — is set to consider a contract to design and erect statues of Harriet Tubman and Frederick Douglass in the Old House of Delegates Chamber. The Department of General Services is recommending The Christmas Company of Sterling, Va., be awarded the $575,000 contract to complete the work within 390 days. The project includes “structural and potential infrastructure modifications to accommodate the new statues.” (Balt. Sun) Read Full Article

  • Montgomery council seeks ways to investigate police-involved deaths

    Montgomery County Council members are grappling with ways to boost public faith in law enforcement after last summer’s fatal police shooting of an unarmed black man in Silver Spring. Freshman council member Will Jawando (D-At Large) introduced the Law Enforcement Trust and Transparency Act last week, while his colleague Hans Riemer (D-At Large) is drafting a bill that would create a committee to oversee policing policy in the state’s most populous jurisdiction. (Wash. Post) Read Full Article

  • Anne Arundel County Council hears intense debate on immigration

    After hearing from the public Tuesday evening, the County Council was likely to reject two resolutions asking County Executive Steuart Pittman to revive a federal immigration screening program and not to use proceeds from another for legal fees for detainees. Late last week, ICE officials informed the county it was ending a contract to house immigration detainees in reaction to Pittman pulling the county out of the 287(g) program that had county corrections officers screening inmates for immigration violations. Money from that contract was eyed by Pittman to provide some legal assistance to detainees. (Capital) Read Full Article

Commentary

  • Donna F. Edwards: The 2020 election will be decided in my hair salon. Here’s why.

    Saturday, after a couple of hours in the hair salon — always a couple of hours — the 2020 election started taking shape for me. Women. Women of color. Black women. I listened to the banter, a lively combination of speculation about HBO’s “Game of Thrones,” furloughed federal workers canceling appointments, Women’s March politics, President Trump’s wall, and more. One point of agreement: If the White Walkers can breach the mammoth ice wall across the north of Westeros, then a wall along our southern border is surely a waste of money. My salon, and thousands like it across the country, is where the 2020 election will be decided. (Wash. Post) Read Full Article

  • How to help with escalating water bills

    Baltimore state Sen. Mary Washington and Del. Nick Mosby want to end for good the harsh practice of placing liens against homes and churches because of unpaid water and sewer bills. They have proposed legislation that would permanently ban the process, which can send homes to a tax sale if there is at least $750 in unpaid water bills that are late by nine months or more. The legislation is deeply needed to end once and for all the exercise of inhumanely taking away people’s homes over a few hundred dollars. (Balt. Sun) Read Full Article

  • Mike Rogers: Three things I'll pursue to address gun violence

    Thank you for the opportunity to address your concerns regarding gun-violence in our community. Even before this terrible pandemic touched our community in the Great Mills School shooting and the Capital Gazette shooting, robbing us of the lives of Jaelyn Wiley, Austin Wyatt Rollins, Wendi Winters, Rebecca Smith, Gerald Fischman, Rob Hiaasen, and John McNamara respectively. I was in agreement with the American Medical Association who characterized the proliferation of gun-violence in American communities as a public health crises. It is most unfortunate that our politics have become so polarized that elected officials are unable to address this matter earnestly. (Capital)Read Full Article

  • Chaudry, Shelley, Feldman: Md. lawsuit: Punishing companies for boycotting Israel violates First Amendment rights

    Maryland is one of 26 states that have infringed on residents’ First Amendment rights by restricting companies that support a boycott of Israel from being eligible to bid for state contracts. These restrictions specifically target the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement, which according to its website, uses peaceful means to “end international support for Israel’s oppression of Palestinians and pressure Israel to comply with international law.” (Balt. Sun) Read Full Article