Politics

  • Hogan vetoes Maryland Democrats' paid sick leave bill

    Gov. Larry Hogan on Thursday vetoed legislation that would have required employers with more than 15 workers to allow them to earn paid sick leave, setting up a potential veto override fight when state lawmakers return to Annapolis later this year or next. The Republican governor blamed the Democrat-dominated General Assembly for rejecting what he called his "common-sense" bill that would have created incentives for employers to offer sick leave. Instead, they passed a measure he said would force small businesses to lay off employees or shut their doors. "I cannot and will not support this jobs-killing bill passed by the legislature," Hogan said. (Balt. Sun) Read Full Article

  • Rep. Elijah Cummings expected to return to normal schedule after heart surgery

    Rep. Elijah E. Cummings (D-Md.) has undergone heart surgery and is expected to return to his normal schedule after a few days in the hospital, according to his office. The procedure, which took place Wednesday at Johns Hopkins Hospital, was to correct a narrowing of his aortic valve. The valve was replaced. A statement from Cummings’s office described the surgery as “minimally invasive.” The procedure was previously scheduled, not an emergency operation, a spokesman said. Cummings, 66, is the ranking Democrat on the House Oversight Committee. He is a frequent critic of the Trump administration and has pressed the Republican-led committee to aggressively investigate the Trump campaign over potential collusion with Russian efforts to interfere with the 2016 presidential election. (Wash. Post) Read Full Article...

  • Anne Arundel Indivisible growing, merges with Women's March group

    Inside Asbury United Methodist Church Thursday evening, people lined up between the pews to ask questions, many with a tone of concern in their voice. County residents and others came to ask Rep. John Sarbanes and Sen. Ben Cardin, both Democrats, about the future of health care, an investigation into Russia's alleged influence on the 2016 election, environmental concerns and diversity in local government. In his opening statement, Sarbanes gave a nod to the people in attendance. "We need your energy, we need your leadership, we need to work together to make sure that we achieve the goal of getting back to the vision of America that we hold dear," Sarbanes said. (Capital) Read Full Article

  • Pugh names new director of Baltimore recreation and parks

    Mayor Catherine Pugh on Thursday named a new director of Baltimore's Recreation and Parks Department. Pugh hired Reginald Moore, the director of the Macon-Bibb County Parks and Recreation Department in Georgia, to take over Baltimore's agency starting July 3. He will be paid $155,000. Moore has worked at the Macon-Bibb County Parks and Recreation Department since 2002. He also is an adjunct professor at Mercer College, and previously led sports administration for the Atlanta Falcons and the World Basketball League, according to the mayor's office. (Balt. Sun) Read Full Article

Center Maryland

  • Dr. Leana Wen: President Trump’s Proposed Federal Budget Harms the Health of Baltimoreans

    The federal budget proposal released on Tuesday by President Trump cuts life-saving services and will harm the health and well-being of hundreds of thousands of Baltimoreans. It will particularly affect the following individuals: Seniors, children, individuals with substance use and mental health disorders, and people with chronic diseases, including heart disease, diabetes, and cancer.Read Full Article 

  • Dr. Leana Wen: How the Republican House Bill to Replace the ACA Will Harm Millions of Americans

    Yesterday, the House passed legislation to replace the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA). This current bill worsens an already critically-flawed piece of legislation that was introduced in March and failed to pass. The bill will endanger millions of Americans, who will lose coverage for life-saving services. Millions more—including seniors—will no longer be able to pay for healthcare.Read Full Article

  • Tessemae's scouts for larger HQ, seeks Maryland assistance to stay local

    Tessemae's All Natural, the homegrown salad dressing and condiment maker, is on the hunt for larger space and not ruling out a move to outside the state. The eight-year-old company currently occupies 36,000 square feet of manufacturing and office space in Essex. Tessemae's lease is set to expire at the end of May, CEO Greg Vetter said, and is looking for new digs of between 100,000 square feet to 150,000 square feet. (Balt. Bus. Journal) Read Full Article

  • Dundalk Renaissance Corporation Invites Next Generation of Home Buyers to Bayside Baltimore County

    Diane Lesman, Marketing and Development Director for the Dundalk Renassiance Corporation, discusses the tremendous job growth and rising home values in Dundalk. The DRC's housing fair on Saturday, April 22 will provide information and exhibits on housing and financing, including grants for first-time home buyers, to welcome new families and professionals to Bayside Baltimore County.  Watch Full Video

Business

  • Judge orders temporary halt to new Maryland medical marijuana licensing

    Maryland’s medical marijuana program faces a potential new delay after a judge Thursday ordered a temporary halt to the program pending a hearing as part of a lawsuit that alleges regulators failed to consider racial diversity in licensing businesses. Baltimore Circuit Court Judge Barry Williams granted a temporary restraining order barring the Maryland Medical Cannabis Commission from granting new li­censes to grow medical marijuana until a June 2 hearing. The lawsuit by Alternative Medicine Maryland, a majority-black-owned company that failed to get didn’t get a license, argues that regulators failed to consider minority ownership despite a legal mandate to “actively seek to achieve” racial and ethnic diversity. (Wash. Post) Read Full Article

  • Poverni Sheikh Group moves forward with plans to redevelop North Howard Street property

    Poverni Sheikh Group has been selected by the Baltimore Development Corp. to move forward with plans to redevelop five blighted properties on North Howard Street. The Baltimore-based developer has proposed redeveloping the connected properties in the 400 block of N. Howard St. into five street-level storefronts topped with 39 market-rate apartments called Howard Row. Poverni has proposed purchasing the set of three-story buildings for $75,000. The proposal was one of five responses to a request for proposals from BDC and one of three proposals the board considered for bringing life to a vacant and blighted property. (Balt. Sun) Read Full Article

  • Wind farm developers accept Maryland's terms to move forward with projects off Ocean City

    The developers of two wind farms planned off the coast of Ocean City are moving forward with their projects, accepting terms Maryland regulators laid out earlier this month in allowing them to collect subsidies from the state's electricity customers. Deepwater Wind and U.S. Wind have both notified the Public Service Commission that they have agreed to invest a collective $115 million in manufacturing facilities and port upgrades around Sparrows Point in southeastern Baltimore County, and to contribute $6 million to a state offshore wind business development fund. That spending was among the conditions the commission placed on the companies if they wanted to collect millions of dollars in ratepayer subsidies each year. (Balt. Sun) Read Full Article

  • Knorr Brake to add 200 jobs to Westminster facility

    Westminster-based Knorr Brake Co., which makes brakes, doors and HVAC systems for mass-transit rail lines, will add 200 new jobs over the next six years, the Maryland Department of Commerce announced Thursday. The company will add 30,000 square feet of space to its facility at the Westminster Technology Park, investing $2.2 million. The company built its facility there in 2013. The Maryland Department of Commerce will provide a $700,000 conditional loan through the Maryland Economic Development Assistance Authority and Fund to help the company expand. (Balt. Sun) Read Full Article

Education

  • Santelises Discusses Planned Layoffs, School Performance

    Baltimore City schools CEO Sonja Santelises joined C4 by phone Thursday to talk about the impact planned layoffs will have on the system and recent reports that six city schools have no students proficient on state tests. While the central office, she said, will bear a sizable portion of the burden of layoffs and eliminated positions necessitated by a budget gap, Santelises said that's not necessarily good news for schools. "It's really a continual trend that's and an unfortunate one of just a reduction of staff at the central office," Santelises said. (WBAL)Read Full Article

  • Despite support of less testing, local schools unsure of 'More Learning, Less Testing' law

    A bill signed into law Thursday by Gov. Larry Hogan aimed at reducing testing in schools actually adds another mandated test for middle-schoolers, leaving local school officials wary over whether the legislation will help curb concerns over too many assessments. The More Learning, Less Testing Act of 2017 requires the Maryland State Board of Education to "develop, in collaboration with certain entities and individuals, a middle school level social studies assessment that meets certain requirements and for implementation in a certain school year," according to the legislation. (Carr. Co. Times) Read Full Article

  • Kittleman appoints special education advocate to Board of Education

    Long-time Howard County resident Ananta Hejeebu, an advocate for special education, was appointed by County Executive Allan Kittleman on Wednesday to fill the vacant seat on the Howard County Board of Education. The County Council will review Hejeebu's appointment at its legislative session on June 5 and during a public hearing on June 19 before confirmation. Hejeebu's appointment comes three weeks after the resignation of former board member Christine O'Connor, who left her position on the seven-member panel one day after the departure of schools Superintendent Renee Foose. A career teacher and former board chairwoman, O'Connor served on the board since 2014, with one year remaining in her term. (Ho. Co. Times) Read Full Article

  • Martin and Murray finalists for Washington County Board of Education vacancy

    Al Martin and Linda Murray are finalists for the vacant seat on the seven-member Washington County Board of Education after a nominating commission voted 6-0 Thursday night to forward their names to the Board of County Commissioners for consideration. Both ran for school board seats last year, with Murray and Martin finishing sixth and seventh, respectively, for the four open seats at the time. Twelve people shared their opinions during a public hearing Thursday night regarding potential candidates and/or the process to fill the school-board vacancy left after the Maryland State Board of Education's April 25 order to remove Karen Harshman from the local school board. (Herald-Mail) Read Full Article

Around Maryland

  • Maryland says it needs decision in entire Purple Line lawsuit before it can appeal ruling that would add more delays

    The Maryland Attorney General’s Office says the state needs a speedy decision in all aspects of a lawsuit opposing the light-rail Purple Line project before it can appeal a recent ruling that could add months of more delay, according to a court brief filed Thursday. The state’s lawyers also reiterated that the Maryland Department of Transportation plans to suspend pre-construction work — surveying, soil borings and design — on the project June 1 and potentially cancel it completely by early August if the lawsuit continues to linger. The state made the legal arguments Thursday as part of asking the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit to issue a “writ of mandamus” requiring the federal judge handling the case to decide the entire lawsuit by a certain date. (Wash. Post) Read Full Article

  • Baltimore County passes $3.5B budget package that holds tax rates steady

    The Baltimore County Council approved the county government's $3.5 billion budget on Thursday, but the vote exposed a rare rift among council members. Councilman Wade Kach voted against the budget after criticizing portions of the package and county policies. He cited what he described as the poor state of Dulaney and Towson high schools, declining SAT scores, spending on student laptops and staffing concerns at the county's jail and 911 center. "Budgets are all about priorities," the Cockeysville Republican said. "As well as priorities, we need to look at the tax burden that's placed on our Baltimore County residents." (Balt. Sun) Read Full Article

  • Commissioners unanimously approve FY18 budget, call it 'smoothest' process in recent years

    Voting for Carroll County's fiscal year 2018 budget was so easy this year, even the most conservative commissioner could do it. Thursday marked the first time in five years Commissioner Richard Rothschild, R-District 4, joined with the other four commissioners to unanimously approve the county's spending plan for the next year. "Overall I'm pleased with this budget," Rothschild said. The FY18 operating budget — which includes $186.9 million for Carroll County Public Schools, a $5 million increase over the current fiscal year, and money for new county staff positions and increased length of service benefits for emergency responders — totals $400 million. That's a $11.6 million, or 3 percent, increase over FY17. (Carr. Co. Times)Read Full Article

  • Annapolis police want $150K for more overtime

    The Annapolis Police Department has requested an additional $150,000 for overtime in the year ahead. This increase still won't be enough to fund the department's overtime expenditures, which hit about $1.2 million a year annually, said Maj. Scott Baker, acting chief. There is $760,000 currently proposed for overtime in the fiscal year that starts July 1. These costs cover officers working big events, like the Military Bowl, as well as officers that have to work past scheduled shifts due to an incident or other overtime needs. The department is working to reduce overtime expenses, but this money is still needed, Baker said. (Capital)Read Full Article

Commentary

  • Take heed

    West Virginia’s Legislature has legalized medical marijuana, and state officials have begun trying to figure out how to make the process work. We have a two-part suggestion for them: 1. Study very carefully all of what Maryland has done with regard to the medical marijuana program it legalized four years ago but still has yet to fully implement. 2. Don’t do what Maryland did. Attempting to briefly describe the way Maryland’s medical marijuana program has been beset by changes in policies and procedures, legal challenges, unasked or unanswered questions and bureaucratic delays would be about like trying to sum up World War II in 100 words or less. (Times-News)Read Full Article

  • The poverty 'mind-set'

    There's a grain of truth and a mountain of myopia in Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson's assertion during a radio interview that having the "right mind-set" can bring a person out of poverty and the "wrong mind-set" can condemn him or her to it despite all the advantages in the world. No doubt that talented, driven and lucky individuals can, through sheer will and hard work, lift themselves out of poverty. Dr. Carson is a prime example. He overcame enormous odds in life and rightly serves as an inspiration to many. But his moralistic view of poverty discounts the long history of injustice that makes the path out of it so difficult. (Balt. Sun) Read Full Article

  • Jeananne Sciabarra, Leni Preston: Fight to protect health benefits

    The intentional attack on the Affordable Care Act, which is playing out in Washington, is both cruel and immoral. It would undermine the progress in health care we have made while 23 million Americans would lose their coverage. In Maryland alone, based upon the new Congressional Budget Office score, 181,204 individuals in the private market would lose coverage, Medicaid would be eviscerated and premiums would rise even more. This is unacceptable. Equally so is the enormous market anxiety being created by the Trump administration as it refuses to commit to continuing cost-sharing reduction payments. These are absolutely critical to making health care services affordable for lower-income people and keeping insurers in the marketplace. In Maryland, more than 83,000 individuals are projected to benefit from over $97 million in cost-sharing reduction payments in 2017. (Balt. Sun) Read Full...

  • Congratulations, Naval Academy Class of 2017

    It's a high honor for a Naval Academy graduating class to be addressed by one of the officials who take turns doing so — this year, for the Class of 2017, it's Vice President Mike Pence. But the occasion should also be important to the speaker. It's good for ranking decision-makers in our government to get a first-person reminder that military force isn't an abstraction or an element in a geopolitical equation. It requires sending into harm's way some of the best people this nation has ever produced, the majority of them young people. This is not a resource to be risked lightly. (Capital)Read Full Article