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Commission Considering General Assembly Pay Increases; How Md. Pay Stacks Up to Other States

Maryland lawmakers currently earn a yearly salary of $50,330 — but that figure could be increasing soon as the General Assembly Compensation Commission considers whether to raise pay for state legislators over the next four years. That commission, which convenes every four years to decide on lawmakers’ compensation, kicked off its work with an informational meeting last week. Simon G. Powell, a budget analyst with the nonpartisan Department of Legislative Services, told commission members that lawmakers have been taking on more work in recent years despite the fact that Maryland is not considered a full-time legislature like neighboring Pennsylvania.

Maryland lawmakers to weigh decriminalizing needles and other drug paraphernalia

When state lawmakers return to Annapolis for a special legislative session next month, they’ll face a question that has vexed some of them: Should they decriminalize needles, syringes and other supplies used by people who use drugs? A majority of lawmakers approved a bill last spring that removes certain supplies from the list of banned drug paraphernalia in Maryland. But it was not approved by a big enough margin to ensure the legislature could overturn the veto from Gov. Larry Hogan that came soon after.

Read More: Baltimore Sun
Hogan, Officials Will Break Ground On Howard Street Tunnel Project On Monday

Gov. Larry Hogan and transportation officials on Monday will break ground for the Howard Street Tunnel Expansion Project, which will enlarge the 126-year-old tunnel to accommodate trains with double-stacked containers traveling to and from the Port of Baltimore. The Maryland Port Administration said Friday that Hogan will be joined by CSX CEO Jim Foote, Federal Railroad Administration deputy administrator Amit Bose, Maryland Transportation Secretary Greg Slater, and Maryland Port Administration executive director William P. Doyle at the 1 p.m. groundbreaking ceremony.

Read More: WJZ-TV
Child care emerges as a priority for business in 2022 Md. legislative session 

While many of the challenges faced by Maryland businesses earlier in the pandemic — from shutdowns to liability concerns related to the coronavirus — are now essentially over, struggles like supply chain slowdowns and labor shortages have taken over as their chief concerns. Few in the business community point to state-level legislative solutions to these problems, but many are concerned about potential legislation that could worsen the supply chain crisis or otherwise place more strain on businesses as they struggle to hire workers and meet high consumer demand.

Baltimore spending board approves contract for speed cameras on I-83

Baltimore’s Board of Estimates approved a $6.6 million contract extension Wednesday to fund speed cameras on Interstate 83. The contract, which was approved by a vote of 4-1, calls for six cameras to be installed at various locations along the Jones Falls Expressway. Only two will be operational at any given time, based upon a plan approved by state lawmakers earlier this year.

Read More: Baltimore Sun
Maryland lawmakers settle on draft congressional map ahead of redistricting special session

Maryland Democratic lawmakers settled on a new proposed congressional map that would continue to give Democrats strong advantages in seven of Maryland’s eight congressional districts and make the state’s final district, currently a Republican stronghold, more competitive as well. The Maryland Legislative Redistricting Advisory Commission selected the map on a 4-2 party-line vote during a virtual hearing Tuesday night, over the objections of the panel’s Republican members.

Read More: Baltimore Sun
Bus lanes a priority in $22 million grant touted by Buttigieg to improve Baltimore public transit

U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg returned to Baltimore on Tuesday to tout a $22 million transit grant that state and local officials said will include 10 miles of critically-needed, dedicated bus lanes. “I think the bus lanes are really, really a priority,” said Maryland Transportation Secretary Greg Slater following a news briefing at Library Square in East Baltimore with Buttigieg, Mayor Brandon Scott, U.S. Sen. Chris Van Hollen and other officials.

Read More: Baltimore Sun
Gov. Hogan Announces Investigation Of Marilyn Mosby’s Office, Threatens Hold On Funding Amid Crime Wave
Citing a wave of violent crime in Baltimore City, Gov. Larry Hogan on Tuesday announced a review of state funds provided to Baltimore City State’s Attorney’s Office, emergency legislation to toughen criminal sentences and funding for community security. Hogan’s announcement comes after Baltimore surpassed 300 homicides for the seventh year in a row. A string of homicides rocked the city in the last 10 days including the killing of a barber, a church employee, a 5-year-old girl and a 13-year-old girl.
Read More: WJZ-TV
Mosby fires back at Gov. Hogan calling his remarks a ‘political stunt’

Baltimore City States’ Attorney Marilyn Mosby fired back at Gov. Larry Hogan during a news conference on Tuesday in which he said Mosby was not doing enough to prosecute violent offenders and called for an audit of her office. Mosby addressed Hogan’s remarks as a “political stunt.’ “I regret even having to respond to the likes of this governor. For the past seven years, just like Donald Trump, Larry Hogan has used Baltimore City as a punching bag,” Mosby said.

Read More: WBAL NewsRadio
Poll book error led to three Annapolis voters casting ballots twice, Maryland elections board says

A review completed Monday by the Maryland State Board of Elections into three voters from Ward 8 each casting two ballots in the 2021 Annapolis general election found certain records were not updated in electronic poll books on Election Day, which allowed them to vote in person despite also returning ballots by mail.

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