Hogan Sounds Alarm on Lawmakers’ Spending as Senate Budget Plan Reaches Floor

As senators got their first look at the chamber’s budget proposal this session on Monday, Gov. Lawrence J. Hogan Jr. (R) blasted what he called reckless and irresponsible spending proposals. Since lawmakers convened in January, Hogan said, they have put forward $7 billion in new, mandated spending proposals. “And I am growing increasingly alarmed that their current proposals, if enacted, would cause a $21 billion budget shortfall over the next five years and would impose a devastating and punishing $7,000 tax hike on the average Maryland household,” Hogan said. (Md. Matters)

Read Full Article

Montgomery Co. leaders voice concerns about I-270, I-495 toll lane plan

A plan to ease traffic with new toll lanes on Interstate 270 and Maryland’s section of the Capital Beltway isn’t going over well with some Montgomery County leaders, who believe more should be done to include transit. “I’m concerned that this project doesn’t really have a strong transit strategy to connect Montgomery County to Northern Virginia,” Council member Hans Reimer told Maryland Secretary of Transportation Pete Rahn at a public hearing Tuesday. (WTOP)

Read Full Article

Gov. Hogan: Park Service does ‘terrible job’ with BW Parkway

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan pulled no punches Monday when commenting on the infamous pothole problem that plagues the Baltimore-Washington Parkway in Laurel. Hogan told FOX 5 that though the park service does well with parks, it does a “terrible job” of maintaining the B.W. Parkway, which has seen no substantive efforts to repair the cratered road surface because, as the Park Service said last week, “financial needs far outweigh available funding.” (WTOP)

Read Full Article

Baltimore Mayor Pugh resigns from University of Maryland Medical System board after scrutiny over book sales

Mayor Catherine Pugh resigned Monday from the University of Maryland Medical System’s board of directors amid scrutiny over contracting practices involving board members. Pugh’s resignation came after the mayor has encountered heavy criticism for failing to fully disclose the $500,000 business relationship she started in 2011 with the hospital system. “It has been an honor to have been associated with the important work of the UMMS Board, but the fact is, I have many other pressing concerns that require my full attention, energy and efforts,” Pugh said in a statement. (Balt. Sun)

Read Full Article

Catherine Pugh’s connections to UMMS – long and lucrative

The disclosure that the University of Maryland Medical System paid $500,000 to Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh – who sat on its board for 18 years until her resignation this morning (see below) – shouldn’t come as a total surprise. In explaining its payments to the mayor, UMMS said the money helped her print and distribute 100,000 copies of her self-published “Healthy Holly” books to Baltimore schoolchildren. This was not a one-off. Pugh’s financial and political ties with UMMS go much deeper than the book payments. (Brew)

Read Full Article

Baltimore Train Derailment Could Have Been Worse For ‘Blast Zone’ Residents

When A CSX freight train derailed along a Baltimore bridge last week, one of the freight cars really stood out — a tanker car dangling above Fallsway. “We are really lucky this train was not carrying anything hazardous, but we know crude oil has been transported through the city by rail. Transporting crude oil by rail is incredibly hazardous,” said Taylor Smith-Hams with the Chesapeake Climate Action Network. (WJZ-TV)

Read Full Article

Seminar prepares real estate professionals to identify signs of human trafficking

Last Tuesday, realtors, home inspectors and mortgage loan officers gathered at Twin Rivers in Crofton to hear a seminar on how they are the first line of defense in the fight to end human trafficking in Maryland. “Human trafficking is the second leading crime in the U.S.,” said Theresa Flores, a survivor of human trafficking and guest speaker. “It is happening everywhere around you.” Maryland is an ideal state for human trafficking as it is centrally located on the I-95 corridor, has international airports, truck stops and multiple vulnerable populations, including foster youth, unaccompanied minors, domestic servants and agricultural workers. (Balt. Sun)

Read Full Article

Baltimore Co. Council approves public campaign financing measure

Baltimore County voters will decide next year whether to give local candidates the option of public campaign financing, under legislation approved Monday by the County Council. The council voted 5-2 to approve the proposal by County Executive Johnny Olszewski Jr. Supporters say public financing could help reduce the influence of special interests on county politics by encouraging small donors. Now, a charter amendment will be placed on the 2020 ballot for voters to weigh whether to establish the program starting in 2026. (Balt. Sun)

Read Full Article