Politics

  • December 14 // Hogan calls for expansion of tax-relief program aimed at job creation

    Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan (R) on Wednesday proposed expanding a state tax break for manufacturers that create new jobs, calling for lawmakers to extend the credits to more industries and jurisdictions. Hogan’s plan, which he will introduce during the 2018 legislative session, builds upon a measure he signed this year to boost employment in the state. (Wash. Post) Read Full Article

  • Maryland governor to push redistricting reform bill again

    Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan said Wednesday that he will try again for the fourth consecutive year to make congressional redistricting a nonpartisan process. Hogan, a Republican, said he will submit legislation in the next session to create an independent commission to draw congressional and state legislative districts. Now, the governor and lawmakers craft them. Hogan has made the reform proposal in each of his three years as governor, but it has not advanced. (AP) Read Full Article

  • Eight Democratic candidates for Md. governor to speak in Bethesda Thursday

    The eight Democrats vying to be Maryland's next governor are scheduled to make their pitches to a large crowd of political, business and civic leaders at a breakfast forum Thursday in Montgomery County. The hour-long program should provide an early glimpse of how the candidates are presenting themselves on the issues and their records, seven months ahead of the June 26 primary. It will be the second time they have appeared together; they also spoke at an AFL-CIO event before Thanksgiving. (Wash. Post) Read Full Article

  • El Salvador’s ambassador thanks County Council for resolution calling for protecting TPS, DACA

    The Montgomery County Council on Tuesday passed a symbolic resolution calling on the federal government to protect two immigration programs that let thousands of young undocumented immigrants and people fleeing their home countries stay in the U.S. The resolution asks Congress to extend the Temporary Protected Status (TPS) program for immigrants who have fled their countries due to war or natural disaster, as well as the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which enables young undocumented immigrants to obtain work permits. (Bethesda)Read Full Article

Center Maryland

  • Patients overpaying for prescriptions: save money by asking this one question

    You could be overpaying for your prescriptions and have no idea. In some cases, pharmacists can't tell you you're paying too much. Even if they wanted to, confidentiality agreements restrict them from notifying consumers of a cheaper price. This practice is called a clawback and Baltimore County Delegate Eric Bromwell likens it to theft. (WMAR-TV)Read Full Article

  • 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

Business

  • December 14 // Maryland plan to build toll lanes on Beltway, I-270 piques companies’ interest

      Maryland Transportation Secretary Pete K. Rahn dangled a $9 billion carrot Wednesday in front of more than 100 companies potentially interested in adding express toll lanes to the Capital Beltway, Interstate 270 and the Baltimore-Washington Parkway. “It’s amazing,” Rahn quipped to more than 320 highway engineers, designers and builders in a ballroom at the BWI Airport Marriott in Linthicum. “You can get a lot of attention when you put a nine in front of a ‘B.’” (Wash. Post) Read Full Article

  • Businesses from Baltimore to D.C. region will need 135K more workers in next 5 years — many in digital roles

    Employers participating in a business alliance that stretches from Baltimore to Richmond, Va., will need to hire more than 135,000 workers — including thousands of “digital tech” workers — over the next five years to fill open jobs, the group said in a report released Wednesday. About 20,000 of those open jobs will be for positions in 20 occupations with high levels of digital activity, such as software developers and programmers, computer support, database and systems, technology and engineering, and information systems, according to the Greater Washington Partnership, a civic alliance of CEOs of companies that employ more than 175,000 workers in the region. (Balt. Sun) Read Full Article

  • Cashless payments to be offered at some state medical marijuana dispensaries

    As Maryland’s first medical marijuana dispensaries began opening this month, some are turning to a cashless payment system they hope will make transactions safer and more convenient. CanPay, a mobile app designed to allow debit payments in the cash-heavy cannabis industry, has expanded into Maryland. It will be offered initially at about half of 10 state-licensed dispensaries, all of which have opened or are set to open within the next few months. (Balt. Sun) Read Full Article

  • Royal Farms Arena operator SMG Holdings to be acquired

    SMG Holdings Inc., which operates the Royal Farms Arena in Baltimore and many other venues, will be acquired by Canadian private equity fund Onex Corp. The deal, which Onex announced this week, is expected to close early next year. Financial terms were not disclosed. “SMG is the global gold standard in venue management,” Amir Motamedi, a managing director with Onex, said in a statement. (Balt. Sun) Read Full Article

Education

  • December 14 // City finalizes plan to make community college free for graduating students

    Baltimore City Community College will be free for all graduating high school students next year under a plan announced by Mayor Catherine Pugh on Wednesday. After months of publicly discussing the idea, the mayor, along with officials from Baltimore City Community College, showed off the details of the plan at a press conference Wednesday. All students from Baltimore City public high schools who graduate will be eligible for free tuition, regardless of income or grade-point average. The students must be residents of Baltimore to be eligible. (Balt. Bus. Journal) Read Full Article

  • University of Maryland, Capital One announce data analytics and machine learning partnership

    University of Maryland and Capital One on Tuesday announced a partnership to develop a workforce pipeline in data analytics, machine learning and cybersecurity. Capital One is investing $3 million through an endowment gift to advance machine learning and the two plan to create an innovation lab where students will apply classroom lessons to real-world problems. (Balt. Sun) Read Full Article

  • Supporters say school recommended for closure is important hub for West Baltimore neighborhood

    In the tall brick building on Gold Street where her daughter attends fifth grade, Kiquana Downer says she has found something like an extended family. If she’s running low on food stamps, the single mother can pick up canned foods and fresh produce from the food pantry at William Pinderhughes Elementary/Middle School in West Baltimore. There’s a closet in the school library where she can find a free winter coat for Heaven, her 10-year-old daughter. She has taken a financial literacy course at the school, at which she learned the importance of building wealth — even if just by saving $5 a month. The school also offers after-school and mental health programs, among other resources. But the future of the school is now in doubt. (Balt. Sun) Read Full Article

  • CCPS bus report shows minor increases in miles traveled, bus costs

    With the 2016-2017 school year came operating budget increases and more miles traveled, as well as a small uptick in bus accidents and disciplinary referrals, the yearly Carroll County Public Schools Transportation Benchmarks Report showed this week. The report, in addition to a change in leadership, were the bulk of CCPS’s December school board meeting discussion. (Carr. Co. Times) Read Full Article

Around Maryland

  • December 14 // Anti-violence program Roca, funded by private donors, coming to Baltimore, Mayor Pugh says

    Mayor Catherine Pugh said Wednesday that an anti-violence program that focuses on the most troubled teenage boys and young men is coming to Baltimore, thanks to $10 million donated by charities and business leaders. Pugh had been seeking $16 million to bring the program, called Roca, to Baltimore for four years. She received commitments from several private foundations totaling $3.5 million, and at a meeting with the Greater Baltimore Committee last week secured $6.5 million more from businesses. (Balt. Sun) Read Full Article

  • CareFirst initiates programming, funding efforts to combat opioid problem

    CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield is committing new programming and $1.5 million to help combat the region's ongoing opioid epidemic. The state's largest insurer announced several initiatives during a press conference at City Hall Wednesday, all aimed at addressing opioid use and addiction problems among its members. The programs include developing a network of addiction recovery centers to which members in need of treatment can be referred, enhanced prescription drug monitoring and new limits on allowable prescription quantities and durations for certain drugs. (Balt. Bus. Journal) Read Full Article

  • Mayor approves $10 million for affordable housing

    Mayor Catherine Pugh and the Board of Estimates Wednesday approved the allotment of $10 million in future bond money for affordable housing. The money, which would start flowing in the summer of 2019 and continue through mid-2021, is higher than originally contemplated by the Pugh administration, but still far short of the $40 million sought by the Baltimore Housing Roundtable. (Brew) Read Full Article

  • Hopkins favored out-of-state patients over locals to increase revenue, lawsuit claims

    A former supervisor in the patient appointments department at the Johns Hopkins Health System Corp. has accused the medical system in a lawsuit of prioritizing out-of-state patients over Maryland residents to boost revenue. Anthony C. Campos said in the lawsuit filed Wednesday in U.S. District Court that his department was directed with the task of “filling the plane” with patients from outside Maryland. The directive to bring in more of these patients came from the highest ranks at the medical system, the lawsuit contends. (Balt. Sun) Read Full Article

Commentary

  • December 14 // John Fairhall: Choosing profits over patients in Baltimore

    Uncontrolled asthma keeps many kids from low-income communities out of school and their parents out of work, and in the worst cases puts them in the hospital — or the morgue. But it is among the most manageable diseases if patients are diagnosed, given medication (and education on how to use it), and empowered to live in environmentally-friendly homes. Yet two academic medical pillars in Baltimore — Johns Hopkins and the University of Maryland Medical Center — have chosen profit over public health in the city’s poorer neighborhoods. (Balt. Sun) Read Full Article

  • Nick Berry: Here's my bold plan for overdevelopment

    Overdevelopment is unquestionably a really big issue in the city and county alike. In Annapolis, the poster child for the issue is the proposed Crystal Spring development. The uproar has centered on traffic congestion, loss of trees and overcrowding of schools. But Anne Arundel County has the same issues in Edgewater, Arnold, Severna Park and elsewhere. There is concern about traffic peril from cars brought by the new housing developments, not to mention weekend tourists and new businesses. The major problem is that lots of people want to move here. (Capital)Read Full Article

  • Theater plans add to a long-running drama

    At the end of the year, Compass Rose Theater will transplant its current production of "Fiddler on the Roof" — appropriately, a show that ends with its characters uprooted and hitting the road — to a newly leased structure on Forest Drive. But founder and Producing Artistic Director Lucinda Merry-Browne is looking beyond that. She wants Compass Rose Theater to have its own permanent 6,800-square-foot building, for which she already has artists' renderings. Whether she gets it may depend on the outcome of another episode in one of Annapolis' longest-running dramas: residents vs. developers. (Capital)Read Full Article

  • December 13 // Laslo Boyd: A Gift for my Grandchildren

    When I was three years old, my mother gave me an extraordinary gift. Against incredible odds, she got the two of us to this country after the communist regime in Hungary executed my father. Fortunately, there was no ban at that time preventing refugees escaping dangerous places from entering the United States. I have always been grateful for the privilege of living in a nation that values individual freedom and liberty and strives to be a democracy. (fromacertainpointofview)Read Full Article