Politics

  • February 16 // Council candidate who is an aide to Baker was accused of harassment years ago

    A Prince George’s County Council candidate who is a senior adviser to County Executive Rushern L. Baker III was accused of sexually harassing a colleague a decade ago while working in a different county government office. The allegations led to a nearly $150,000 civil judgment against Prince George’s, after a jury found the government knew or should have known about the harassment and a judge ruled that the county must pay attorney’s fees for the victim, Tonya Hairston. (Wash. Post) Read Full Article

  • Election year politics fuels competing lockbox plans

    When Gov. Larry Hogan strode to the podium Wednesday, and started talking about a lockbox for the Education Trust Fund from casino revenues, it had a familiar ring to it. Didn’t Democratic legislators propose a similar lockbox just two weeks ago? The two proposals have somewhat similar goals, but different approaches for increasing education spending. The Democrats want a constitutional amendment that they will send to the voters for approval in November. The governor wants to do his lockbox by statute without any additional voter approval. (Md. Reporter) Read Full Article

  • Is Chelsea Manning's Senate campaign for real?

    When Chelsea Manning leaked hundreds of thousands of military and diplomatic documents to the anti-secrecy site WikiLeaks eight years ago, she said she hoped the decision would provoke a debate about U.S. foreign policy. Now the 30-year-old transgender woman, running for the Democratic nomination for Senate in Maryland, says there is another urgent discussion voters must face: How a burgeoning military apparatus is gradually creeping into domestic life in places like Baltimore. (Balt. Sun) Read Full Article

  • MD AG Brian Frosh files for Re-election

    Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh has filed to run for a second term. Frosh, a Democrat from Montgomery County, announced his re-election bid Thursday. Frosh has occasionally clashed with Republican Gov. Larry Hogan. Last year, after Donald Trump's election, the Democrat-controlled Maryland legislature gave Frosh expanded authority to sue the federal government without the governor's permission. In 2014, Frosh defeated Republican Jeffrey Pritzker with 56 percent of the vote. Before that, the 71-year-old Frosh served more than 25 years in the legislature, developing a reputation as an environmental advocate. (WMAR-AP) Read Full Article

Center Maryland

  • Express Scripts goes right ahead and makes PhRMA's point

    PhRMA has long pointed out that drug spending is among the smallest and slowest-growing facets of U.S. health care expenditures, and the industry's latest tack is that drugs that work actually save the system money by reducing hospitalizations and forestalling surgeries. (The Readout)Read Full Article

  • 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

Business

  • February 16 // Amid protest of Potomac River gas pipeline, Maryland seeks delay of federal review

    The same day protesters circled the governor's mansion in opposition to a gas pipeline proposed to run beneath the Potomac River, Maryland officials asked the Army Corps of Engineers not to give the project a permit until a state review is completed. Maryland Department of the Environment Secretary Ben Grumbles told the Corps in a letter that the state “has identified potential water quality and public interest factors” that could warrant special conditions being placed on the TransCanada Corp. project. (Balt. Sun) Read Full Article

  • Many Maryland workers can now accrue paid sick time off as law takes effect

    Maryland’s new paid sick time law is now in effect, requiring employers for as many as 700,000 workers to start tracking earned leave. Under the law, full-time workers would be able to take a full day off within six weeks. Although the legislation requiring all businesses with 15 workers or more technically took effect Sunday, several business groups had pinned hopes on a five-month delay of the law that was approved by the Maryland Senate last week. (Balt. Sun) Read Full Article

  • CSX giving Howard Street Tunnel project another look, Maryland's port chief says

    The Maryland Port Administration is studying two alternatives for the previously killed Howard Street Tunnel project, while CSX Corp. staff is preparing a possible proposal for the company's new CEO. James J. White, executive director of the Port Administration, provided an update on the Howard Street Tunnel to a House of Delegates budget committee on Wednesday. The 1.7-mile long tunnel's current height restricts double-stacked container railcars from traveling to and from the Port of Baltimore, a hurdler officials say hampers economic development at the port. (Balt. Bus. Journal) Read Full Article

  • Craft beer in Maryland: Brewers bash one bill, get behind another

    Craft beer aficionados came together on Thursday night to discuss Maryland's evolving craft beer industry and how two proposed bills create opposing futures for it.  The "Craft Beer Legislation Roundtable" held at the Salisbury University Art Galleries in downtown Salisbury on Feb. 15 brought out craft beer leaders to talk about the latest legislation and what they see as ways to keep the industry a vital economic driver. Currently, House Bill 518 or Reform on Tap Act of 2018 and House Bill 1052 have both been proposed to the Maryland Legislature. (Daily Times)Read Full Article

Education

  • February 16 // Maryland legislative leaders unveil broad education bill based on Kirwan panel's recommendations

    The Democratic leaders of the General Assembly vowed Thursday to pass legislation implementing a broad range of improvements to Maryland’s public schools recommended by a commission that Gov. Larry Hogan wrote off the previous day as lost. The bill’s unveiling, coming one day after Hogan proposed a $4.4 billion plan to protect casino revenues for education, highlights an escalating competition between the Republican governor and Democrats eager to claim education as an election year issue. (Balt. Sun)Read Full Article

  • Pressure points: Howard County schools look to address mounting mental health concerns

    Hammond High School senior Mandi Bhatt woke at 6:20 on a recent Wednesday morning, in time to be in class at 7:25 a.m. She had a special guest to meet at the Columbia school. Mandi had invited school Superintendent Michael Martirano to shadow her for a day — from first period Italian to the dance class she helps lead, to a student government session and her Advanced Placement calculus test. She extended the invitation after they met at a student leadership conference, to give him a glimpse into the lives — and stresses— of students. (Columbia Flier) Read Full Article

  • Report anything 'troubling,' especially seen on social media, Maryland lieutenant governor tells Harford Tech students

    A day after another horrific school massacre, this one at a high school in Florida, Maryland Lt. Gov. Boyd Rutherford had a message for students at Harford Technical High School Thursday. Rutherford encouraged students and parents to report anything “troubling” from a classmate or friend that they see on social media. “In most cases, it’ not going to mean anything, but we just want to be careful,” he said. “Incidents like this, we see that sometimes young people are troubled, and it could be a warning sign that they need some help right now before it gets worse.” (Aegis) Read Full Article

  • Wiley H. Bates High School teacher's memories subject of documentary

    A new documentary about Wiley H. Bates High School from the perspective of its teachers will be shown this weekend and next at the Wiley H. Bates Legacy Center. “Bates, Center of Excellence: Memories of Bates Teachers” is a one-hour documentary put together under the auspices of the Alex Haley/Kunte Kinte Foundation. Wiley H. Bates, the only high school for African-Americans in the era of segregation, remains a source of honor and pride for generations of city and county residents. (Capital)Read Full Article

Around Maryland

  • February 16 // MTA says excessive wear prompted shutdown of Baltimore's Metro

    The Maryland Transit Administration has released additional details about what caused the recent system-wide shutdown of Baltimore’s Metro. A report made public Thursday says there was excessive wear on the Gauge Face Angle (GFA) — a situation that can lead to derailment. MTA had previously calculated that the city’s subway rails would be functional until this coming summer, when track replacement was planned. “We thought that the rail was going to last,” said MTA administrator Kevin Quinn. (Balt. Sun) Read Full Article

  • Baltimore Police commissioner to bring in outside consultant to review killing of Det. Sean Suiter

    Acting Baltimore Police Commissioner Darryl De Sousa has decided to bring in an outside consultant to review last year’s unsolved killing of Detective Sean Suiter, police officials confirmed Thursday. T.J. Smith, a police spokesman, said the outside review would put “a fresh set of eyes” on the Suiter case. He offered no further information. Suiter, a homicide detective, was fatally shot with his own gun on Nov. 15 while investigating a triple homicide in a vacant lot in West Baltimore. No one has been charged in his death. (Balt. Sun) Read Full Article

  • DelFest organizers to bring world to Allegany County with second festival

    Organizers of DelFest, a bluegrass festival held each year on Memorial Day weekend at the Allegany County Fairgrounds, plan to bring the world to the county by adding a second annual music event to the fairgrounds, slated to begin in early fall next year. “We’re going to have another festival,” DelFest namesake and bluegrass legend Del McCoury said, “and what better place to have it than Allegany County. “If you would let us stay here. We would like to stay here forever.” (Times-News) Read Full Article

  • Harford council president says he's a human climate change denier

    The president of the Harford County Council says changes in climate occur naturally and are not directly a result of human activity and arguments for the latter are “bogus.” Speaking during the business from the president portion of Tuesday night’s council meeting in Bel Air, Council President Richard Slutzky blamed the United Nations in particular for stoking the worldwide concerns about climate in order to effect the transfer of wealth from richer countries like the United States to poorer ones. (Aegis) Read Full Article

Commentary

  • February 16 // Josh Tzuker: Eight years ago I wrote the last successful Federal Gun Bill, here’s what I learned. Here’s what is possible

    When Seung-Hui Cho killed 32 people at Viginia Tech I was counsel for Congressman John Dingell, a pragmatic, yet stalwart, supporter of gun rights. Democrats had recently taken control of the Congress, primarily by taking over districts that were once, and are now again, Republican. Then, as now, the tragedy was met with calls to do something. Yet unlike the numbing repetitive futility that has followed other spree killings, the Democratic Congress passed legislation to strengthen the background check system. It was signed by a Republican president. And believe it or not, it was supported by both the Brady Campaign and the NRA. (Medium)Read Full Article

  • Wesley Pegden and Ariel D. Procaccia: There’s another way to solve gerrymandering. It’s as simple as cake.

    Once a relatively obscure phenomenon, gerrymandering is having its moment. In the past year, there have been legal challenges to election district lines in Wisconsin, Maryland, North Carolina and in our home state of Pennsylvania. Regardless of the outcome of these cases, it’s clear the methods we use to draw our political maps are broken. Where new maps are drawn by state legislatures, majority parties have few checks on their ability to shape districts as they please, creating a circular process that keeps them in power, even when winning a minority of statewide votes. (Wash. Post) Read Full Article

  • Hogan vs. Dems: Whose lockbox is better? How about none of the above

    Gov. Larry Hogan says his “lockbox” for Maryland casino revenue is better because it wouldn’t take a voter referendum to enact. Democratic leaders say theirs is better because future lawmakers wouldn’t be able to raid it with a simple majority vote. Besides, they say, they suggested it first. But wait, Governor Hogan says, we wouldn’t be in this spot at all if they and former Gov. Martin O’Malley hadn’t lied to voters about where casino revenues went in the first place. (Balt. Sun) Read Full Article

  • Effort underway to fix hate crime law

    We’re sure most of the state legislators who passed the current hate crime law intended it to apply to defendants like the two 19-year-olds who last year trespassed onto the grounds of Crofton Middle School — which has minority students and an African-American principal — to hang a noose. But intentions don’t always come through when judges scrutinize the actual wording of the laws. So it’s up to the General Assembly to try again. (Capital)Read Full Article