• Maryland Senate unanimously approves $44.5 billion state operating budget

    In a show of bipartisan unity, the Maryland Senate voted unanimously Thursday to approve the state’s $44.5 billion operating budget and send it to the House of Delegates. The state spending plan for the fiscal year that begins July 1 represents a 2.2 percent increase over the current fiscal year. Senators also voted 45-0 for a companion bill that keeps the budget in balance, as required by the state Constitution. While many measures this election year have been ensnared in politics, the bills implementing Gov. Larry Hogan’s budget did not. (Balt. Sun) Read Full Article

  • Gun-control bills pass Maryland House of Delegates

    With little debate, the Maryland House of Delegates on Thursday passed three gun control bills that expand the state’s assault weapons ban and creates ways to seize guns from dangerous people. The chamber approved, 128-7, a ban on “bump stocks” and other devices that can turn a semi-automatic gun into a rapid fire one. Those after-market devices were used by the shooter in last year’s massacre that killed 58 at a Las Vegas concert. (Balt. Sun) Read Full Article

  • Opioid crisis takes central role in Maryland's most competitive House race

    Christopher Hearsey had just turned 13 when he watched his father collapse from an overdose, the result of an addiction to pain medication that would tear his family apart. David Trone, whose father had struggled with alcoholism, scrambled to save a nephew from heroin, only to learn that the 24-year-old died alone of an overdose days after Christmas. Both men are now running for the open seat to represent Maryland’s 6th Congressional District — a competitive and crowded race in Western Maryland, where the opioid epidemic has become central and personal to a degree not seen in any other political contest in the state. (Balt. Sun)Read Full Article

  • Maryland's federal prosector nominee delayed over questions about Russia probe

    Senate Republicans are delaying the confirmation of President Donald J. Trump’s nominee to be the U.S. attorney in Maryland until they receive information from the Department of Justice related to the special counsel’s Russia probe, The Baltimore Sun has learned. Robert K. Hur, a former assistant U.S. attorney in Maryland who has worked at the Justice Department since June, was nominated in November to be the state’s top federal prosecutor. His confirmation stalled in the Senate Judiciary Committee even as nearly a dozen others nominated at the same time or after him have advanced. (Balt. Sun) Read Full Article

Center Maryland


    As we get closer to the end of the legislative session and the 2018 election, we expect there will be an explosion in polling. Center Maryland would like to help Maryland see the numbers. Please send us an email alongside your polling memo. It must be from a reputable pollster, explain the methodology and include the questions being asked - accompanied by a reasonable amount of data. Today’s poll by Mason Dixon on behalf of the Maryland Catholic Conference is a good example to follow.

  • NEW POLL: Maryland Voters Favor Increasing Funding For Boost Scholarship Program

    ANNAPOLIS, Md. (March 13, 2018) – Nearly two-thirds of all Marylanders, including 82 percent of the voters in Baltimore City and 79 percent of all African-Americans polled, support an increase in funding for the State of Maryland’s Broadening Options and Opportunities for Students Today (BOOST) Scholarship Program, according to a new poll released today.Read Full Article

  • Minister Duane Williams, Jr. - Baltimore’s Baffling Ban Makes Take-Out Containers Criminal

    I'm from Baltimore. I'm a former Baltimore City Police Officer and currently an educator at a Baltimore City Public School, and for as long as I can remember, Baltimore has had a littering problem. In a single day, our famous Mr. Trash Wheel has collected as much as 38,000 pounds of trash from the Jones Falls Watershed.Read Full Article

  • UnitedHealthcare says it will pass on rebates from drug companies to consumers

    In response to growing consumer frustration over drug prices, UnitedHealthcare, one of the nation's largest health insurers, said on Tuesday that it would stop keeping millions of dollars in discounts it gets from drug companies and share them with its customers. Dan Schumacher, the president of UnitedHealthcare, said the new policy will apply to more than seven million people who are enrolled in the company's fully insured plans, beginning next year. (NY Times)Read Full Article


  • What is 5G? The next wireless revolution explained

    As smartphones and other digital devices get smarter and more numerous — and as the applications they run generate ever more data — the wireless network that connects them must change to keep pace. That’s why telecommunications giants like Verizon, AT&T, and Sprint are racing to roll out the fifth generation of wireless network technology. Although some have criticized 5G for its high projected cost, there's wide agreement that the emerging technology will bring faster, more reliable connections for users. It could also provide the extra bandwidth needed to create what's being called the “Internet of Things” — a network that links not just phones and computers but also robots, cars, and all manner of sensor-equipped consumer products and infrastructure. (NBC)Read Full Article

  • House votes to put sports gambling in Maryland on November ballot

    Bipartisan legislation calling for Maryland voters to weigh in on legalized sports betting in the state sailed through the House Thursday with a vote of 124 to 14. The bill, HB1014, sponsored by Del. Frank Turner, D-Howard, would place a law to allow sports betting at Maryland casinos and horse racing tracks on the November ballot through a voter referendum on a constitutional change. Like many other states, it is currently against the law in Maryland to bet on sporting events. (Md. Reporter)Read Full Article

  • Will the Md. General Assembly pass brewery reform? Comptroller Franchot says lightning needs to strike

    Comptroller Peter Franchot's effort to reform Maryland's brewery laws during this year's legislative session might be close to dead. Speaking alongside Gov. Larry Hogan at a forum on the Goucher College campus Wednesday, Franchot said he has "started a movement" for Maryland craft beer but it "may not be super successful." Franchot's comments came in response to a question about how Maryland can can engage millennials and attract them to live in the state. (Wash. Bus. Journal)Read Full Article

  • This Maryland town raised taxes nearly 8-fold on select businesses. Now it’s getting sued.

    Several business owners are suing the small town of Seat Pleasant, Md., for an approximately eightfold property tax increase they allege is unlawful and designed to shut down their businesses. The owners of a discount market, a Chinese takeout restaurant and a liquor store say officials violated the city’s charter and state and federal laws when they created an ordinance that sent the property taxes of certain businesses soaring. Steven Franco, who owns the discount market, said the “special revitalization” tax is a part of an attempt by Seat Pleasant’s leaders to lower the value of the properties so the city can buy the buildings for its own use. (Wash. Post) Read Full Article


  • Baltimore YouthWorks sees surge in interest in jobs program

    Baltimore’s YouthWorks program — which connects teenagers to summer jobs — is experiencing a boom this year with more than 16,000 young people applying to seek employment. That’s a 40 percent increase from just two years ago, according to the city. “The applications are really high and up,” said Mayor Catherine E. Pugh, who highlighted the growth in summer job applications during her annual state-of-the-city speech this week. “It bodes well for the future of Baltimore.” (Balt. Sun) Read Full Article

  • Hopkins, University of Maryland medical students to get residency assignments at 'Match Day' ceremonies

    Medical students at Johns Hopkins, the University of Maryland, and medical schools across the country, will find out today where they will do their residency programs. The students will receive letters with the much anticipated information at noon during ceremonies on what is known as Match Day. The University of Maryland Medical School ceremony will be held at the Hippodrome Theater, where 142 students are expected to get their match letters, while 120 students from the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine will be matched during an event at an atrium on the East Baltimore campus. (Balt. Sun) Read Full Article

  • In-state tuition bill for Dreamers advances in Maryland

    A bill that aims to ensure young, undocumented Maryland students referred to as “Dreamers,” can pursue higher education by giving qualified individuals access to in-state tuition is advancing in the Maryland General Assembly. The circumstances under which Dreamers and residents with temporary protective status are exempt from paying the out-of-state tuition rate at public institutions of higher education will be altered under House bill 1536, which is cross-filed as Senate bill 546. (Daily Times) Read Full Article

  • Mt. Washington psychologist's criticism of 'Walk Up, Not Out' campaign goes viral

    A Facebook post by Mount Washington child psychologist and previous "Jeopardy" contestant Rebecca Wald went viral Thursday for her criticism of “Walk Up, Not Out,” a campaign that encourages students to walk up to people and say something nice instead of staging school walk-out protests in the aftermath of February’s school shooting in Parkland, Florda. "Walk Up, Not Out" is a campaign of cowardice, promoted by adults who want there to be a solution to school shootings that asks literally nothing of us. No tough choices, no exercise of political will, no speaking out to power - just lecturing kids on how to do better. We're good at that,” Wald wrote. (Balt. Sun) Read Full Article

Around Maryland

  • 'Maryland, My Maryland'? Maybe not. Senate bill aims to strip state song of 'official' status

    A bill that advanced Wednesday in the state Senate would not consign “Maryland, My Maryland” to the playlist of history but it does seek to relegate the official state song to B-side status. Senators narrowly gave preliminary approval to legislation that would re-designate the pro-Confederate anthem as the “historic” state song — putting some distance between modern Maryland and 157-year-old lyrics that refer to Unionists as “Northern scum” and label President Abraham Lincoln a “despot.” The action came after some Republican senators criticized the move as hollow and mounted a defense of a song many critics see as a racist relic. (Balt. Sun) Read Full Article

  • Fear of invasion by lanternflies kills Maryland bill to ban a pesticide

    Fearful that President Donald Trump’s environmental regulators weren’t taking action against a harmful pesticide, Maryland lawmakers vowed to step in this year by proposing a state ban on the chemical. But then along came the spotted lanternfly — that terrifying invasive species that sucks the sap from plants and quickly sucked the political will for banning the pesticide, chlorpyrifos. In the Maryland General Assembly this week, fear of the lanternfly overcame fear of a pesticide that President Barack Obama’s Environmental Protection Agency had declared unsafe, but which Trump’s EPA has viewed with less concern. (Balt. Sun)Read Full Article

  • Taxes steady, schools fully funded in proposed Montgomery budget

    Montgomery County property taxes would largely remain steady and schools would receive a bump in funding under County Executive Isiah Leggett’s proposed operating budget — his last as he finishes his third and final term. Leggett (D) presented the $5.56 billion spending proposal to the Montgomery County Council at a meeting Thursday morning, noting that the county continues to grapple with the uncertainties in tax revenue posed by federal tax restructuring. “This budget is not the easiest one we’ve had,” Leggett said at a news conference. “There are some challenges in our midst.” (Wash. Post) Read Full Article...

  • Missing ammunition 'an internal military issue that we dealt with,' head of Maryland National Guard says

    Maj. Gen. Linda Singh, head of the Maryland National Guard, said Thursday that her organization’s inability to account for 1,500 rounds of ammunition from its response to the 2015 unrest in Baltimore is “an internal military issue” that was reported through the appropriate channels. She said she believes what occurred was an accounting error by the logistics team distributing the ammunition, which “in the haste of trying to get” soldiers deployed “may not even have had the right starting count.” (Balt. Sun) Read Full Article


  • Sen. Brian Feldman, Del. Luke Clippinger: Clean energy saves Md. consumers money

    Are you interested in saving money on your electric bill and having a cleaner environment? Currently, in Maryland, restrictions exist that prevent families and small businesses from getting the financial and environmental benefits of affordable and clean renewable energy. Large corporations do not face these same restrictions and are able to access big savings on their electric bills. (Balt. Sun) Read Full Article

  • Bill Hughes: Was State Sen. Cheryl Kagan’s cry a false alarm?

    To schmooze is defined as: “To talk intimately and cozily: gossip; to chat in a friendly manner especially to gain favor or connections.” On Thursday evening State Senator Cheryl Kagan of Montgomery County claimed lobbiest Gil Genn, touched her inappropriately. At the time, they were in a crowded popular bar, “CastleBay Irish Pub,” in Annapolis, Maryland, on Main Street. It was a karaoke fun night at the tavern. Since then, the brouhaha between the duo has continued to heat up with both parties making claims and counter-claims about the controversial incident. A security videotape of the encounter, which shows them close to the bar, has also made an appearance. The video demonstrated in my opinion that Sen. Kagan’s cry of harassment is a false alarm. (Balt. Post-Examiner)Read Full Article

  • Tricia Bishop: Let's go to the tape: alleged #MeToo moment caught on video in Annapolis

    If anyone is “delusional” about the karaoke bar interaction between state Sen. Cheryl Kagan and lobbyist Gil Genn, it would seem to be Mr. Genn, whose statements about what occurred included so many inaccuracies that if it weren’t caught on video, one would think he wasn’t even there. And that’s the real problem here. His behavior during the episode — which Ms. Kagan publicly deemed a “#MeToo” moment — and later in defending himself seems to show he has so little awareness of what a woman would consider appropriate physical contact with a professional acquaintance that it doesn’t even register when he crosses that line. And the worst part is: He’s pretty typical. (Balt. Sun) Read Full Article

  • The sleeper issue in 2018: Obamacare

    Gov. Larry Hogan’s press office sends out “BIPARTISANSHIP ALERT” emails all the time, and they’re not always so earth shattering. About all it takes to get that in the subject line is for a Democrat — any Democrat — to support something vaguely like what’s on the governor’s agenda. But there was a for-real one earlier this month when Mr. Hogan, Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller and House Speaker Michael E. Busch sent a letter to the state’s congressional delegation urging action to shore up the Affordable Care Act’s individual insurance marketplaces here and elsewhere. (Balt. Sun) Read Full Article