Wednesday, February 8, 2023 |


Moore commits funding for 67 hires in state’s embattled environment department

Gov. Wes Moore said Thursday he is committed to filling vacancies as quickly as possible at the Maryland Department of the Environment, the state’s troubled regulator of drinking water and wastewater treatment, which has been plagued by staff shortages and extensive backlogs of expired pollution control permits. For years, environmentalists and advocates have called for rebuilding the state’s primary environmental enforcement agency, whose staff numbers plummeted and performance deteriorated under the administration of former Gov. Larry Hogan, a Republican who served for eight years.

Bill to help Maryland police departments afford body cameras wins bipartisan support in the General Assembly

Legislation to help local law enforcement agencies afford body cameras and storage for thousands of hours of footage has bipartisan support in Maryland’s legislature. Under a law passed during the 2021 General Assembly session, police agencies in Maryland are required to have on-duty officers wear cameras by July 1, 2025. But smaller agencies have struggled to come up with funding to buy cameras and store digital files.

Read More: Baltimore Sun
Maryland bill would end vehicle searches based on cannabis odor

Rusty Carr took to the podium in the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee hearing room Thursday holding two glass jars. “Ladies and gentleman, I hold in front of you: hemp,” the Mount Airy resident said. “It’s also called cannabis, but this is legal and it’s not impairing. I invite you to smell it.” Carr was testifying in favor of a bill to stop warrantless vehicle searches by police that are based solely on the odor of cannabis.

Read More: Baltimore Sun
Moore administration’s new Bay leadership team making the rounds in the legislature

Tracking the health of the Chesapeake Bay is a massive undertaking. It involves multiple agencies in federal, state and local governments monitoring the health of the air, land and water, of trees, vegetation and aquatic life. Measuring Bay health can also become a mind-numbing amalgam of statistics and reports, most designed to gauge how Maryland and the six other Bay jurisdictions — Virginia, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, Delaware, New York and the District of Columbia — are progressing to meet federal pollution control standards.

Read More: WTOP
Maryland lawmakers propose choking off invasive running bamboo

Annapolis — Running bamboo grows so fast and is so invasive that it’s rooting up headstones in cemeteries, crossing neighborhood property lines and becoming a “major issue” in Maryland parks. Bamboo overgrowth was so bad for one Maryland resident that the constituent contacted Del. Linda Foley, D-Montgomery, for help with a neighbor’s bamboo crossing the property boundary. Now Foley, a member of the Environment and Transportation Committee, has introduced a bill to regulate the invasive species.

Read More: Baltimore Sun
Bill would create task force to investigate why Maryland ER wait times are so long

A Maryland Senate bill would create a task force to diagnose what’s causing long wait times at hospital emergency departments and make recommendations to resolve it. According to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, Maryland has ranked last with the longest average wait times in the country over the past seven years. Candice Akbar, of Anne Arundel County, recently waited for hours to be seen by a doctor in a hospital emergency room.

Read More: WBAL
A plan for legal recreational cannabis sales in Maryland is coming soon. Here’s what to know.

Annapolis has been abuzz since the start of the 2023 Maryland General Assembly in anticipation of the state’s recreational cannabis bill, one of the headline items on this year’s agenda. Legislative leaders have said the bill will be introduced soon — possibly Friday. While in wait, here’s a quick round up on how Maryland got here, where the state intends to go and what we know so far.

Gun 9mm
Wes Moore joins Democratic legislative leaders in calling for stricter gun policies in Maryland

Without an umbrella, Gov. Wes Moore moved his way through a sea of rain-soaked red shirts Tuesday at Lawyers Mall in Annapolis to show his support for forthcoming legislation to further regulate where Marylanders can carry and how they store firearms. “There are people in our society who have not just the intent, but the accessibility to firearms — to weapons of war — that are not allowing our children to grow up in peace and safety,” the Democratic governor said. “We have an obligation to take this personally.” This legislative session, Democratic lawmakers are prioritizing bills to raise the age for access rifles and shotguns, prohibit guns from being carried in certain settings and end civil immunity for arms manufacturers.

Read More: Baltimore Sun
Maryland House majority leader sets sights, again, on new plan for rail management in the state

A bill that would create a Maryland Rail Administration to expand the state’s rail network and oversee financing, construction and maintenance of the system is likely facing strong headwinds in the Maryland General Assembly this session. The bill, introduced for a second year by House Majority Leader Marc Korman (D-Montgomery), would create a funding source for expansion of the state’s rail program by increasing tolls around the state and tapping into toll revenues collected by the Maryland Transportation Authority. That money, however, is already dedicated to pay for upkeep of the state’s toll tunnels, bridges and the Intercounty Connector, and used as a dedicated revenue source to pay the debt service of bonds that transportation authority sells to fund projects.

Baltimore Mayor Brandon Scott moving quickly on deal for BGE to take over conduit maintenance

A proposed agreement for Baltimore Gas and Electric Co. to maintain the city’s underground conduit system is moving quickly and could be put to Baltimore’s spending board for consideration in the next month, city officials said Wednesday. The details of the agreement, which have yet to be fully released and which officials say are still being negotiated, call for BGE to take over maintenance of the 700-mile terra cotta pipe system that runs beneath the city and contains telephone, electric and fiber-optic cables. In exchange, BGE would no longer pay to rent space in the system. BGE is the largest user to the system, which dates to 1898, and it currently occupies 76% of the conduit.

Read More: Baltimore Sun

The Morning Rundown

We’re staying up to the minute on the issues shaping the future. Join us on the newsletter of choice for Maryland politicos and business leaders. It’s always free to join and never a hassle to leave. See you on the inside.