Politics

  • Van Hollen leads unsuccessful first effort to preserve tax deduction popular in Maryland

    Senate Democrats, led by Sen. Chris Van Hollen, failed Thursday to preserve a state and local tax deduction in the Republican plan to overhaul the tax code — the first effort to maintain a deduction that is heavily used by Marylanders. The Republican-controlled Senate voted 52-47 to reject an amendment that would have prevented the Senate from considering any bill that repeals or limits the deduction as part of a planned tax overhaul. No Republicans supported the amendment. (Balt. Sun) Read Full Article

  • Hogan wants Congress to renew the Obamacare subsidies Trump cut

    Maryland's Republican Gov. Larry Hogan supports reviving the Obamacare subsidies cut by President Trump that help low-income people buy health insurance, according the governor’s spokesman. Hogan spokesman Doug Mayer said Thursday the governor supports federal legislation that would reinstate the subsidies. Those “cost-reduction” payments subsidies are paid to health insurance companies in exchange for offering savings to consumers. Republican President Trump, who campaigned on repealing Obamacare, announced last week he would stop making the payments. He called them an improper bailout to the insurance industry. (Balt. Sun) Read Full Article

  • State officials say Elon Musk is starting his high-speed NY-DC hyperloop project in Maryland

    Maryland has given transportation pioneer Elon Musk permission to dig tunnels for the high-speed, underground transit system known as a hyperloop that Musk wants to build between New York and Washington. Hogan administration officials said Thursday the state has issued a conditional utility permit to let Musk’s tunneling firm, The Boring Co., dig a 10.3-mile tunnel beneath the state-owned portion of the Baltimore-Washington Parkway, between the Baltimore city line and Maryland 175 in Hanover. It would be the first portion of the underground system that Musk says could eventually ferry passengers from Washington to New York, with stops in Baltimore and Philadelphia, in just 29 minutes. (Balt. Sun)Read Full Article

  • State panel finds demeaning remarks cause for Judge Nance to be expelled

    Baltimore Circuit Judge Alfred Nance has been investigated before for judicial misconduct. But a state commission’s recommendation this week means he could face the harshest possible punishment of his career — the abrupt end of his two decades on the bench. The state Commission on Judicial Disabilities voted unanimously to recommend that Maryland’s highest court strip Nance from his elected post just six months before the veteran judge reaches the mandatory retirement age of 70. Nance made such disparaging and demeaning comments during trials two years ago, the commission wrote, that he undermined the integrity of the court. (Balt. Sun) Read Full Article

Center Maryland

  • Gene M. Ransom III: Marylanders of All Ages Should Talk to Their Doctors About Getting Vaccinated

    As we enter fall, parents around Maryland have sent their children into the school year with everything they need to succeed, including their required school vaccinations. But immunizations aren’t just for our children – they are a lifelong, year-round medical necessity, and a critical public health tool for protecting against a broad range of dangerous and potentially deadly illnesses.Read Full Article

  • Wendy Davis Interview Series: Episode 2

    In this second of a two-part interview, Wendy Davis shares with KOFA Managing Partner Jamie Fontaine her thoughts on Betsy DeVos’ proposed dismantling of Title IX. Watch Video

  • Dr. Leana S. Wen: Graham-Cassidy Health Care Proposal Is Detrimental to Nation’s Health

    The Graham-Cassidy bill scheduled to be voted by the Senate next week is even more detrimental than previous attempts to dismantle the Affordable Care Act (ACA). It will take away health insurance coverage from millions of people, devastate Medicaid, and eliminate protections for patients, including coverage for pre-existing conditions.Read Full Article

  • Wendy Davis Interview Series: Episode 1

    KOFA Managing Partner Jamie Fontaine talks with Wendy Davis, former Texas State Senator and founder of the women’s advocacy initiative Deeds Not Words, about the opportunities and challenges facing today’s young women. Watch Video

Business

  • Maryland Live rebrands itself and takes other steps to regain ground lost to MGM

    The 17-story flagship hotel at Maryland Live Casino won’t open until the spring, but officials are betting that the 350,000-square-foot addition will deliver the winning card it needs to reclaim the lead in the state’s crowded gambling market. Monthly revenue for the casino in Anne Arundel County has dropped an average of 17.7 percent since MGM National Harbor opened in December — drawing gamblers from the Washington area and elsewhere to its Las Vegas-style resort along the Potomac River in southern Prince George’s County. (Wash. Post) Read Full Article

  • FCC extends review for Sinclair Broadcast deal to acquire Tribune Media

    Federal regulators have extended their review timeline for Sinclair Broadcast Group Inc.’s proposed $3.9 billion takeover of Tribune Media to allow for more input from the public. The Federal Communications Commission is giving the public until Nov. 2 to submit additional comments on the deal, which could give Hunt Valley-based Sinclair, the nation’s largest broadcaster, control of 233 television stations that reach 72 percent of U.S. households. “The commission has a strong interest in ensuring a full and complete record upon which to base its decision in this proceeding,” the FCC said in a public notice. (Balt. Sun) Read Full Article

  • Unions announce wage increases at Horseshoe Casino under new contract

    Table games dealers at Horseshoe Casino Baltimore, whose earnings come mainly from tips, are getting at least a 10 percent increase in hourly pay under a newly ratified contract negotiated by owner Caesar’s Entertainment and the National Gaming Workers’ Coalition, the coalition announced Thursday. The group of five unions had said Tuesday that it successfully unionized about 1,000 gaming and food and beverage workers at the casino and negotiated a five-year contract that took effect this month. “We’ve improved our working conditions across the board with this contract,” Aaron Carter, bargaining committee chairman of UAW Local 17, said in an announcement Thursday. (Balt. Sun) Read Full Article

  • Baltimore's Domino refinery to receive largest sugar shipment ever

    The Domino Sugar Refinery in Locust Point is scheduled to receive its largest ever shipment of sugar — and the biggest ever shipped to a port east of the Mississippi River — on Friday, announced ASR Group, which owns the Baltimore plant. The iconic Inner Harbor refinery will receive more than 98 million pounds of raw sugar from the southern Africa nations of Malawi, Mozambique, Swaziland and Zimbabwe aboard the Nord Maru. The 623-foot vessel sailed from Durban in South Africa on Sept. 23. The ship, which is transiting the Chesapeake Bay on Thursday, will be docked with the assistance of Maryland Pilots and two tugboats. (Balt. Sun)Read Full Article

Education

  • Science Center aims to 'create a spark,' bringing learning, electricity to life in STEM-focused program

    Samantha Blau counted down — “three, two, one” — as she held a device emitting electricity on an extendable pole to reach three red balloons floating at the front of the gym at Mount Airy Elementary School. After she placed the device against the balloons, the trio, which were filled with hydrogen, exploded with a loud bang and a ball of fire as students let out cheers of surprise and excitement. And while for many of the kids, the hourlong assembly brought from the Maryland Science Center was a fun-filled break from class, the traveling program was 60 minutes of science, technology, engineering and mathematics, or STEM, learning. (Carr. Co. Times) Read Full Article

  • McDaniel College reflects on past, keeps eye toward future heading into 150th anniversary

    McDaniel College alumni are expected to flock to Westminster this weekend for what President Roger Casey has described as a “big party.” McDaniel will celebrate its first 150 years on Friday and Saturday, Oct. 20 and 21, with an awards banquet Friday night, and a birthday party all day Saturday with live music, tours, historical games, food, drinks and much more. “We are excited,” Casey said of the weekend’s festivities. "It’s wonderful to be celebrating such a big birthday for the college, and it’s not a milestone a lot of other organizations or businesses get to," he said. (Carr. Co. Times) Read Full Article

  • Labor union, UMMC Midtown launch hospital apprenticeship program

    A labor union representing health care workers is working with the University of Maryland Medical Center Midtown Campus to develop an apprenticeship program to train entry-level hospital employees to fill in-demand patient care jobs. The effort is backed by $70,000 in grant funding, including $50,000 from the Maryland Department of Labor's Apprenticeship Innovation Fund and another $20,000 from the Health Career Advancement Program, a national labor organization. (Balt. Bus. Journal)Read Full Article

  • Commissioners agree to consider possible K-8 facility to replace East Middle, William Winchester

    Carroll County’s commissioners agreed Thursday to remain open to the possibility of a new building, different grade configurations and more school closures after the county’s school board reopened the possibility of a kindergarten through eighth-grade facility. The Board of County Commissioners voted 4-1, with Commissioner Richard Rothschild, R-District 4, in opposition, to consider the concept of a K-8 facility, though not without caveats. The commissioners agreed to look at a full range of options, including a K-8 facility, so long as Carroll County Public Schools provides a detailed analysis including costs and impact on education. Commissioners also said any direction forward must be accompanied by a plan and timetable for comprehensive redistricting. (Carr. Co. Times) Read Full Article

Around Maryland

  • FDA commissioner touts effort to reduce nicotine in cigarettes to Baltimore audience

    The head of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has a bold proposal to get people to quit smoking — reduce nicotine in cigarettes to nonaddictive levels. Dr. Scott Gottlieb, who promoted his plan Thursday at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, first announced his intention over the summer. He now faces an arduous regulatory process to try and make it happen. Nicotine isn’t the substance that causes cancer and other diseases that can kill people; tar and other pollutants found in tobacco products are responsible for that. But nicotine, a highly addictive drug, makes people become addicted to cigarettes and other products that contain it. (Balt. Sun) Read Full Article

  • Maryland water utility sues chemical companies over alleged price-fixing

    Maryland’s largest water utility filed a lawsuit in federal court Thursday against eight chemical firms and five company executives, alleging that they conspired to inflate the price of a water treatment chemical over more than 14 years. The price-fixing and bid-rigging scheme caused Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission (WSSC) to overpay by “many millions” for aluminum sulfate, the complaint alleges. WSSC supplies drinking water and treats sewage for nearly 2 million people in Montgomery and Prince George’s counties. (Wash. Post) Read Full Article

  • Baltimore City Council committee unanimously backs $2,500 tax credit for law enforcement

    A Baltimore City Council committee unanimously backed legislation Thursday that would provide $2,500 in tax credits to law enforcement officers who choose to live in Baltimore. The legislation — designed to lure more police, firefighters and sheriff’s deputies to the city — now advances to the full City Council for a vote. The committee amended the bill to automatically expire after 10 years. “This is a great tool to get more police officers in the city,” said Councilman Eric T. Costello, lead sponsor of the legislation. “It’s about making sure they’re invested in the city. It’s a great tool for recruitment and retention.” (Balt Sun) Read Full Article

  • Howard County moves forward with Columbia project financing

    Howard County officials are set to take the next step in the historic public financing deal for downtown Columbia today, when they sign on the closing of more than $48 million in bond sales. The sale is the latest step in the process to enact a $90 million public financing deal and affordable housing plan, meant to revamp Columbia’s core. The subsidy, called tax increment financing, or TIF, funds public infrastructure, including public roadways, stormwater management and other infrastructure in the Crescent, an undeveloped parcel between concert venue Merriweather Post Pavilion and Broken Land Parkway. (Columbia Flier)Read Full Article

Commentary

  • The right fit for a new high school

    A refreshing sense of urgency is engulfing discussions between the school board and county government leaders over where to build a new high school and how to pay for it. As the county formulates plans to some shift school district boundaries to ease crowding, the school system is expediting its review of the two east county sites – one near Rockburn Branch Park in Elkridge and the other in Jessup. The building, known as High School No. 13, is seen as a relief valve primarily for Howard and Long Reach high schools and by speeding up construction, some controversial redistricting proposals could be avoided. (Ho. Co. Times)Read Full Article

  • Athanasia Anagnostou: Md. is developing the next generation of life-saving vaccines

    Flu season is upon us and the influenza vaccination is the most effective way to protect you and your family from the virus and related complications. Each year, millions of people are sickened by the flu, hundreds of thousands are hospitalized, and thousands die. Receiving the vaccine is the first and most important step to protect yourself. In fact, the shot can reduce children’s risk of flu-related hospitalizations by 75 percent and by 57 percent for adults over 50. When getting your vaccination, it is a perfect opportunity to talk with your health care provider to make sure you and your family are up-to-date on all vaccinations. (Balt. Sun) Read Full Article

  • Hispanic outreach efforts strengthen Annapolis, Anne Arundel communities

    Immigration has always been a core strength of America, meaning that assimilation has always been a major challenge. And it’s one past waves of immigrants had to meet with little outside assistance. Still, it’s a good idea — for immigrants, for their children and grandchildren, and for the communities in which they live — for governments to mount outreach efforts for such groups. Our story on Wednesday reviewed successful or promising efforts by the county and the City of Annapolis for Hispanics, an ethnic group now accounting for about 7.5 percent of the county’s population. (Capital)Read Full Article

  • How did the Edgewood shooter get the gun?

    Now that police have apprehended Radee Prince, the man accused of killing three co-workers, injuring two others and later shooting a sixth man on Wednesday, we may get some answers about what would lead someone to unleash such a murderous outburst. Mr. Prince had been accused of workplace violence and threatening behavior before, and he reportedly had a dispute with the Delaware man he is accused of shooting later on Wednesday morning. Whatever the explanation is, it is certain to be unsatisfactory. Nothing but madness could prompt such evil. But one question for which we should be able to get a concrete answer is how he got the gun. He should not have been able to. (Balt. Sun) Read Full Article