Maryland speaker’s legislation would force settlement of long-running HBCU lawsuit

Maryland House of Delegates Speaker Adrienne A. Jones is hoping to force the state to settle a long-running lawsuit that alleges it made decisions that harmed the viability of historically black colleges and universities. A federal court has already ruled against the state in parts of the lawsuit, which four state universities filed in 2006. (Balt. Sun)

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7th District field narrows; Dels. Terri Hill and Talmadge Branch won’t compete in April for full term

Maryland House of Delegates Majority Whip Talmadge Branch, state Del. Terri Hill and University of Baltimore law professor F. Michael Higginbotham say they won’t be candidates in an April primary for a full term representing the 7th Congressional District seat long held by the late Rep. Elijah Cummings. None finished in the top three Tuesday in a separate primary — this one to select Democratic and Republican nominees who will vie to finish Cummings’ term. (Balt. Sun)

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How Kweisi Mfume steamrolled the opposition

Turnout was light at West Baltimore’s Harlem Park Recreation Center yesterday, but most of those who did show up to vote for a successor to the late Rep. Elijah Cummings were senior citizens – and most said they voted for Kweisi Mfume. “I don’t think that he would play politics,” said Kwesi Gray, 65, a retired city employee. “I think he’ll represent the community well.” (Balt. Brew)

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Maryland Gov. Hogan presses lawmakers to act on ‘out of control crime’ in Baltimore

During his annual State of the State speech on Wednesday, Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan pressed lawmakers to act on the “out of control crime” that is “destroying Baltimore City.” “People are being shot every single day in Baltimore City,” the Republican governor told Maryland’s General Assembly in Annapolis. “This is an urgent crisis and we have an obligation to do something about it right now.” Baltimore, the state’s largest city, has suffered from more than 300 homicides a year for five consecutive years. (Balt. Sun)

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Democrats Challenge Hogan to Put Up Solutions on Crime

Democratic lawmakers pressed for a stronger government response to the public safety crisis gripping the state’s largest city on Tuesday, offering a package of bills they said would bring greater resources to distressed communities. They also accused Gov. Lawrence J. Hogan Jr. (R) of pulling resources from low-income areas. Last year saw a record 348 murders in Baltimore City, more than occurred in New York City, a jurisdiction more than 10 times as large. It was the fifth year in a row that the homicide rate topped 300 — or nearly one a day. (Md. Matters)

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Baltimore comptroller’s vote to sell city lots to her church was conflict of interest, inspector general says

Baltimore Comptroller Joan Pratt voted to sell city property to the church where she worships, which the city’s inspector general said was a conflict of interest on Pratt’s part that stemmed from “administrative oversights” in the comptroller’s office. A Wednesday report from Inspector General Isabel Mercedes Cumming outlines how Pratt voted in 2017 as a member of Baltimore’s powerful spending board to approve the sale of 15 city-owned vacant lots to Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church, where Pratt has long been a member and trustee. (Balt. Sun)

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Maglev Backers, Foes Square Off Over State Funding

Maryland would be barred from spending public funds to build or operate a proposed high-speed rail line linking Washington, D.C., and New York if a measure advanced by a Senate committee chairman becomes law. Sen. Paul G. Pinsky (D-Prince George’s) told the Budget and Taxation Committee on Wednesday that the proposed Magnetic Levitation train would benefit “mostly lobbyists and bankers,” and not the general public. (Md. Matters)

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Kweisi Mfume says it would be ‘surreal’ to return to Congress. He has a new strategy to get there.

After an 11-week sprint to a primary victory, Kweisi Mfume allowed himself to pause momentarily Wednesday and imagine how it would feel to return to Congress after stepping down a generation ago. “It’s going to be surreal the first day I walk back into the congressional office that I walked out of,” said Mfume, 71, who left the House in 1996 to become president of the NAACP. (Balt. Sun)

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