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Maryland again sets its sights on Baltimore east-west transit plan

The 50 or so Baltimoreans who’ve logged on for the Maryland Transit Administration’s pair of summer online public meetings are buzzing. As MTA’s planners sift through seven recently unveiled visions of light rail, heavy rail and Bus Rapid Transit that would extend from the county across the city’s east-west axis, meeting goers’ hopes, fears and outright impatience all bubble to the surface. “Making it faster, getting it off the street seems like the way to go,” says Bill Marker of Barre Circle, nodding to several light or heavy rail proposals.

Farm bill season arrives: What’s the outlook for 2023?

Over the course of the next year, lawmakers on the U.S. House and Senate Agriculture committees will draft a new federal farm bill that will shape food, farm, conservation and nutrition programs across the country for the next five years. The omnibus law that began 90 years ago as crop supports now has an impact far beyond the farm, with programs to create wildlife habitat, address climate change and run the nation’s largest federal nutrition program. “Any number of economic policies that we establish in farm bills impact everybody’s daily lives,” said former Sen. Saxby Chambliss, the top Republican on the Senate Agriculture Committee during the 2008 farm bill.

Hogan calls for transparency from DOJ, end to violent rhetoric from GOP

On Sunday, Maryland’s Republican Gov. Larry Hogan appeared on ABC’s “This Week,” where he said the Department of Justice needs to be transparent in their investigation of former President Donald Trump, while members of his own party need to stop with the violent rhetoric. Hogan said that, while he was relieved U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland provided more information and had unsealed the warrant regarding the Aug. 6 FBI raid on Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida, the seriousness of the investigation against the former president, especially where it concerns espionage and treason, requires more transparency.

 

Read More: WTOP News
Internship program that shows Annapolis youth how city government works continues to grow

Zion Rice, a 16-year-old rising junior at Annapolis High School, was walking around downtown Annapolis this summer when a man pulled up in a car and handed him a business card. The man was William Rowel, a senior adviser to Mayor Gavin Buckley. “I was walking a friend home from a sleepover not far from City Hall when Mr. Rowel pulled up beside us,” Rice said. “He talked to us about our future and told us about an internship he was heading up in the mayor’s office. My friend said he was too lazy but I applied and here I am.”

Read More: Baltimore Sun
Under water: Could latest internal dissension at WSSC prompt changes?

On its best days, WSSC Water, the largest water and sewer utility in Maryland, seamlessly serves 2 million residents in Prince George’s and Montgomery counties. But it’s also a sprawling organization with 1,700 employees that receives very little public scrutiny. The leaders of the two counties appoint WSSC’s governing commission, which in turn hires and oversees its general manager, but the lines of authority and accountability are often blurred. Some policies and operational procedures are set by state government, rather than the counties WSSC serves. And the agency’s gleaming headquarters overlooking Interstate 95 in Laurel is often the object of wonder and resentment in the quotidian world of local government.

Baltimore State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby found in civil contempt of court and fined $1,500 for violating gag order in Keith Davis Jr. case

Baltimore State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby was held in constructive civil contempt of court on Friday and fined $1,500 after a judge found that she willfully violated a gag order for commenting on Instagram about the controversial case of Keith Davis Jr., a man who’s awaiting a fifth murder trial. Mosby’s office requested the gag order, which a judge granted on June 7. She later appeared on “Midday” with Tom Hall on WYPR, mentioned the gag order and made remarks including, “I can just tell you, in that particular case, I’m concerned about the victim. And I’m going to fight for them the same way I fight for every victim in the city of Baltimore.”

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Political Notes: Certified election results in Montgomery show 35-vote win for Elrich, uncertainty remains in Frederick council race

The Montgomery County Board of Elections on Saturday certified the results of the July 19 primary election, with County Executive Marc Elrich leading the democratic primary for that office by 35 votes over challenger David Blair. Blair, who narrowly lost the party nomination to Elrich four years ago by 77 votes, has indicated he will seek a recount in the close contest. His campaign has 72 hours from the election’s certification to make a formal request.

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City delays leave Baltimore nonprofits waiting up to two years for needed funds

Baltimore City’s backlog of payments to local nonprofits for federal housing grants ballooned during the pandemic, leaving many organizations to wait between 18 months and two years to receive their promised funds. It’s a delay that advocates for Baltimore nonprofits say can hobble organizations, especially those with shoestring staffs, who rely on the federal grant funding to meet basic needs such as paying employees and providing them with health care benefits. The problem really goes to the heart of an organization’s ability to deliver critical services,” said Heather Iliff, the president of Maryland Nonprofits, who said the housing funds are just the most extreme point in broader grant processing issues for the city. 

Baltimore County exec shoots down school board request to tap $50M surplus for pay raises

A Baltimore County school board request to use $50 million in surplus funds for teacher and staff pay raises is on shaky ground after County Executive Johnny Olszewski Jr. said the request was fiscally irresponsible and would cost taxpayers a half-million dollars over five years. The board of education on Tuesday voted unanimously to ask Olszewski, a Democrat, to use millions of leftover funds to raise salaries for teachers, administrators, bus drivers and other school employees. The money would cover raises for just one year, and the school system would need to scrounge up millions more within its existing budget to sustain the higher pay in subsequent years without added cost to taxpayers.

From lower prescription costs to cleaner power, here’s what the federal ‘Inflation Reduction Act’ means for Maryland

A landmark federal climate and health bill making its way to the finish line includes everything from a cap on Medicare patients’ costs for insulin to tax credits for manufacturing solar panels and support for offshore wind power. The U.S. House of Representatives is poised to pass the $740 billion package Friday, after the Senate approved it along party lines earlier this week. “It’s been a long and winding road, but the Inflation Reduction Act is almost at the White House door,” U.S. Sen. Chris Van Hollen of Maryland said Thursday in Baltimore.

Read More: Baltimore Sun

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