Politics

  • Instead of Trump proposal to cut Chesapeake Bay Program, U.S. House panel passes bill increasing its budget

    Instead of adopting President Donald Trump's proposal to all but eliminate the Chesapeake Bay Program, a U.S. House committee voted Wednesday to increase its budget. The federal program that guides state-by-state efforts to clean up the Chesapeake would get $85 million in fiscal year 2020, up from its longtime funding level of $73 million. Trump has repeatedly proposed cutting the program’s budget by 90%, if not zeroing it out entirely. The House Appropriations Committee voted 30-21 to approve the budget, along with $17 million in dredging projects around the Port of Baltimore, as part of a larger bill on interior and environment spending. (Balt. Sun) Read Full Article

  • Van Hollen, other Maryland lawmakers seek FBI briefing on ransomware attack

    U.S. Sen. Chris Van Hollen and other Maryland lawmakers have lots of questions for the FBI about the ransomware attack on Baltimore City government computer systems. The lawmakers are seeking a briefing on, among other topics, what federal resources were provided to respond to the attack and how the city can enhance its cybersecurity.  In a letter being sent Thursday to FBI Director Christopher Wray and Secret Service Director James Murray, the legislators also ask for the attackers’ identities and details about similar cases in other states. (Balt. Sun)Read Full Article  

  • Maryland bill mandating 50% renewable energy by 2030 to become law, but without Gov. Larry Hogan's signature

    Half of Maryland’s energy will come from renewable sources by 2030 under a bill that is set to become law Friday — without Gov. Larry Hogan's signature. The General Assembly passed the measure last month, requiring utilities in the state to subsidize solar and wind farms. Controversially, it also maintains incentives for trash incinerators and paper mills even though they generate pollution and greenhouse gases. The legislation brings Maryland to the forefront of states using energy policy to promote investment in green technology. The state joins seven others with renewable energy goals of 50% or higher, reducing dependence on fossil fuels and thus reducing greenhouse gas emissions. (Balt. Sun) Read Full Article

  • Rep. Elijah Cummings denies that wife's charity poses conflict of interest, tax violation

    Rep. Elijah Cummings denied that corporate donations to his wife’s charity posed a conflict of interest with his House Oversight Committee chairmanship and denounced an IRS complaint filed against the organization as “a fabricated distraction” on Wednesday. The National Legal and Policy Center, a government watchdog group, filed an IRS complaint against Cummings’ wife Maya Rockeymoore’s nonprofit organization on Monday, the Washington Examiner first reported. The complaint asked the IRS to investigate the overlap between Rockeymoore’s nonprofit Center for Global Policy Solutions and her for-profit consulting firm Global Policy Solutions LLC to determine whether the arrangement was used for “illegal private benefit.” (Examiner) Read Full Article

Center Maryland

  • Report: The Unintended Consequences of Impact Fees in Baltimore County

    Baltimore County has an opportunity to appeal to young professional families, including people who presently live in high-rent city apartments.  That would expand the county’s tax base, stimulate commercial activity, and help rebalance the county demographically. However, proposed tax and development fee increases could induce many young people to opt for residences in other counties.  That would serve to limit Baltimore County’s tax base growth, and hurt the local construction industry, local retailers and other commercial enterprises. Proposed impact fees would also potentially impact the pace of commercial development, resulting in even more burden placed on shrinking numbers of prime age workers/households.  Such outcomes would be inconsistent with long-term investment in infrastructure, including schools.Read Full Report Here...

  • Cailey Locklair - MDRA Op-Ed

    The Maryland Retailers Association supports the firm stance Governor Hogan and the Maryland legislature took against selling Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems, or “ENDS,” to minors. Maryland retailers provide adult smokers access to healthier and safer alternatives to cigarettes, and these products were never intended to encourage teen smoking. We believe ENDS products should not be marketed towards children, and will continue to fight for common sense measures against this practice.Read Full Article

  • Delegate Nick Mosby - No More Taxpayer Money Until Stronach Replaces Laurel Park Housing

    On Friday, March 29, I had the opportunity to tour the worker housing at the Laurel Park racetrack with Anne Arundel County Executive Steuart Pittman, as the Maryland General Assembly considers taking the unusual action of mandating that MEDCO provide a $120 million loan to the Stronach Group.Read Full Article

  • Consumer Energy Alliance Supports the Independence Energy Connection Project

    Washington, D.C - As Maryland legislators consider the future of energy infrastructure and regulatory changes in the state’s electric market, Consumer Energy Alliance (CEA) Mid-Atlantic Executive Director Mike Butler reinforced the consumer group’s support for an energy policy that can bring affordable and reliable power to the region for consumers.Read Full Article

Business

  • Six digital health startups reach LifeBridge Innovation Challenge finals

    Six startups were named finalists Wednesday for the inaugural LifeBridge Health and CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield Innovation Challenge, giving the digital health companies the chance to receive up to $50,000 for research and development of their ideas. The startups will compete in a “Shark Tank”-style competition June 5 at 8 a.m. at CareFirst’s headquarters in Canton to pitch their innovative digital health care solutions to address current industry needs. Expected to attend the event are Baltimore Health Commissioner Dr. Letitia Dzirasa, CareFirst CEO Brian D. Pieninck, LifeBridge Health CIO Tressa Springmann, other CareFirst and LifeBridge Health executives, panelists and judges. (Daily Record) Read Full Article

  • Maryland Port Administration expanding auto import area with $4.6M project

    The Maryland Port Administration is developing land that used to be an area for offloading bananas into space for handling the growing number of cars and other imports coming into the Port of Baltimore. A 1.5-acre swath of land at the Locust Point Marine Terminal known as the "fruit pier slip" has been unproductive space. The Maryland Board of Public Works approved a $4.6 million contract Wednesday for Cianbro Corp. to develop the site into a suitable cargo-handling space. (Balt. Bus. Journal) Read Full Article

  • Md. Closely Watching Court Case That Could Impact Future of State Lotteries — and Revenues

    The attention of lottery directors across the country is turned to a courthouse in New Hampshire, where a federal judge could issue a decision that would have a multi-billion-dollar effect on state budgets. At issue is a new Justice Department interpretation of The Wire Act that calls into question interstate transmissions related to all bets or wagers – or multi-state lottery games like Mega Millions, though virtually all lottery operations involve interstate transactions. (Md. Matters)Read Full Article  

  • The Takeaway: Association of Baltimore Area Grantmakers rebrands as Maryland Philanthropy Network

    For nearly 40 years, the Association of Baltimore Area Grantmakers has been helping the philanthropic community stayed connected. But as the organization has evolved over the decades, its name has stayed the same. Now the nonprofit is unveiling a new name, Maryland Philanthropy Network, that better reflects its work. (Balt. Bus. Journal) Read Full Article

Education

  • Who is Baltimore County's new school superintendent Darryl L. Williams?

    The Baltimore County school board this week named longtime Montgomery County administrator Darryl L. Williams to be its next superintendent. The board announced its decision a week after saying it was beginning to interview six finalists. Williams’ appointment will be contingent on the approval of Maryland State Superintendent Karen Salmon. The board is legally required to have a permanent superintendent in place by July 1. (Balt. Sun) Read Full Article

  • 'That is not how things have operated': Baltimore County school board kept vote on superintendent secret

    The Baltimore County school board kept the name of its new superintendent unusually secret until a quick vote was taken at a regularly scheduled meeting Tuesday night. Even County Executive Johnny Olszewski Jr. had no idea. He wasn’t alone. School board chair Kathleen Causey announced shortly before 8 p.m. Tuesday that the board would vote on the appointment of Darryl L. Williams, a Montgomery County administrator. The teachers union president, PTA president and county leaders were all in the room and surprised. Just minutes before, two legislators had made a public plea to the board to make Interim Superintendent Verletta White the new superintendent, unaware that the decision had been made behind closed doors and that the formal vote was imminent. (Balt. Sun) Read Full Article

  • Naval Academy, ousted Professor Bruce Fleming present cases on whether he's fit for the classroom

    The midshipman stared across the courtroom at his fired English professor. With anger in his voice, the young man said it three times: “I don’t want to be anything like him.” Midshipman Matthew DeSantis saw no role model in Professor Bruce Fleming and he told the court so. His testimony brought tense moments Wednesday to the reinstatement hearing for one of the U.S. Naval Academy’s most senior and controversial professors. DeSantis’ 16-page complaint in January 2018 — he notes Fleming called him a “right-wing extremist” — launched a seven-month investigation that resulted in Fleming being fired after 31 years at the Annapolis institution. (Balt. Sun)Read Full Article  

  • Marriotts Ridge High student tackles floodwater reduction, builds Ellicott City scale model

    Legos in a variety colors, shapes and sizes were scattered across Michael Wade’s desk in his bedroom. He moved swiftly, picking up pieces in front of him and searching for ones in his many drawers filled with even more interlocking plastic bricks. To the right of him was a Lego neighborhood he had once built, leading off with a scale model of his home in Woodbine. However, on a Monday afternoon after school, Michael, 16, wasn’t playing with Legos to add to his neighborhood. He was building old Ellicott City. (Ho. Co. Times) Read Full Article

Around Maryland

  • Md. sees moderate fall in senior health rankings

    Maryland’s ranking in UnitedHealthcare’s annual senior health report fell outside of the top 10, a sign of poor outcomes in some areas like obesity despite improvement in other areas, like more home health workers. The state placed 11th in UnitedHealthcare’s 2019 America’s Health Rankings Senior Report, a year after it placed 9th. The state has generally fallen between 9th and 15th in the rankings since 2013. The rankings look at more than 30 metrics in four broad determinants of health categories that can affect health outcomes for seniors. Those categories include behaviors, the environment and community, health policies and clinical care. (Daily Record) Read Full Article

  • What will it take to transform Baltimore’s anemic IT?

    City leaders vowed after the May 7 ransomware attack on Baltimore that the city’s IT would not only recover, but return stronger than ever. But what, beyond boosting the budget for the Baltimore Office of Information & Technology, must they do to ensure the money is well-spent and city IT is not only hardened against crooks but made more functional for citizens? “It’s going to require more than just investment. It’s going to require a holistic view. It’s going to require a view across all the city’s agencies and a reckoning with 20 years of crud – information technology crud – that’s out there,” says tech journalist Sean Gallagher in Part 2 of his interview with The Brew. (Brew) Read Full Article

  • 'Left in dilapidated ghettos:' Faces of the federal lawsuit against HACA, Annapolis

    “Out daily.” Those are the keywords of a medical script Glenn Rogers, 55, has on his refrigerator. The doctor wrote those instructions, he said, “because being in here is killing me.” Rogers for years has been living in public housing managed by the Housing Authority of the City of Annapolis. But after moving to Morris H. Blum Senior Apartments — one of six public housing properties owned and operated by the housing authority — Rogers said in an interview with The Capital that his health took a turn for the worse. (Balt. Sun) Read Full Article

  • Marylanders traveling for Memorial Day expected to rise

    The number of Marylanders expected to travel over Memorial Day weekend this year is at its highest point to date, AAA Mid-Atlantic estimates. An estimated 918,000 people will travel at least 50 miles on more between Thursday, May 23 and Monday, May 27. The figure marks a 3.4 percent increase over last year, and is the highest forecast AAA started tracking holiday travel in 2000. It is also the fifth consecutive year the state's travel volume over the holiday weekend is expected to exceed 800,000. (Balt. Bus. Journal) Read Full Article

Commentary

  • Balt. Co. superintendent: Promising choice, horrible process

    Darryl L. Williams gets high marks from his co-workers in Montgomery County Public Schools, Maryland’s largest school system and one of its best. He is a career Maryland educator with experience as an assistant principal, principal and, most recently, an area associate superintendent supervising 67 schools. But perhaps most important, he is widely seen as someone of integrity, a quality that should serve him well in his new job as superintendent of Baltimore County Public Schools. (Balt. Sun) Read Full Article

  • The Cybersecurity 202: Baltimore's slow recovery shows far-reaching consequences of ransomware

    Baltimore still isn’t able to provide basic city services two weeks after a powerful ransomware attack. And a full recovery may take months, Mayor Bernard C. “Jack” Young says. The damage includes police surveillance cameras that are shut down and utilities payment systems that were forced offline. Broad phone and email outages are also forcing city workers to do what work they can with personal laptops and email accounts, Ars Technica’s Sean Gallagher reports. Baltimore’s real estate market was effectively shut down for two weeks, leaving people unable to buy or sell homes before the city developed a paper-based workaround Tuesday, the Baltimore Sun’s Ian Duncan reports. (Wash. Post)Read Full Article  

  • Instead of Banning Polystyrene Foam, Enhance State’s Ability to Recycle It

    Our company has provided jobs and opportunities in Maryland for more than 44 years. Today, we operate a manufacturing facility in Federalsburg and distribution centers in Hampstead and Havre de Grace employing more than 700 hard-working Marylanders. Aside from providing good manufacturing jobs for our employees, here in the USA, and contributing to the state and local tax base, we proudly help to keep the community clean by volunteering for roadside cleanups around our facilities. We are Dart Container Corp., a family-owned manufacturer of a broad range of plastic, paper and compostable to-go containers. (Md. Matters) Read Full Article

  • Thanks to Maryland, the entire DMV region is a giant nanny state

    On May 13, Gov. Larry Hogan, R-Md., signed legislation raising the legal age for buying tobacco products to 21. Maryland now stands among neighbors, such as the District of Columbia and Virginia, as well as states such as New York and California in its embrace of the nanny state. The new policy is a mistake. Raising the smoking age fails to improve public health, sends a harrowing message about maturity and adulthood to those under 21, and gives the tobacco industry an opportunity to protect themselves from meaningful reforms. (Examiner) Read Full Article