Redistricting Reform Commission holds first meeting. Photo by Rebecca Lessner, MarylandReporter.com

Redistricting Reform Commission holds first meeting with just 10 weeks to act

Gov. Larry Hogan’s 11-member Redistricting Reform Commission, created on Aug. 6 by executive order, met for first time near the State House Thursday where they outlined their first steps to reform the process of drawing Maryland’s congressional and legislative district lines. They have less than 10 weeks to finish their work and make recommendations to the governor and legislature.

From left: Min Xu, counselor at Chinese embassy; Nobuko Sasae, wife of Japan's ambassador; First Lady Yumi Hogan; Seon-Hwa Lee, wife of Korea's ambassador; Mi Schill Kim, chair Maryland-Gyeongsangnam Sister State Committee; Kikko Murray, chair of Maryland-Kanagawa Sister State Committee; and Bob Zhang, chair of Maryland-Anhui Sister State Committee.

Asian Sister State programs honor First Lady Yumi Hogan

Maryland's Asian Sister States program, along with representatives of the ambassadors of China, Korea and Japan, honored First Lady Yumi Hogan at a welcome reception Thursday hosted by UMBC's Asian Studies Program. Mrs. Hogan, a native of South Korea, is the first Asian American to serve as a state's first lady in the country.

Comptroller Peter Franchot

Franchot flips out over standardized testing contract

Gov. Hogan said, "I share a lot of concerns that the comptroller has with respect to Pearson, PARCC, and over-testing. We still think we're over-tested." Hogan noted that he had signed into a law a commission to study and make recommendations about the amount of testing in public schools. "Everything [Franchot] said, I agree with," Hogan said. But "if we don't do it, it could be worse."

Gov. Larry Hogan in July with members of the regulatory reform commission he had just appointed. Photo by Governor's Office

Maryland needs to improve its regulatory climate

Not all regulations are bad, of course. Many serve important purposes, most especially those directly related to protecting public health and safety in carefully targeted ways. But all regulations impose costs upon those they affect, be they ordinary citizens or business. And, this is the important point: these regulatory costs -- although 'off-budget' -- have the same economic effect as taxes."
So, just as reducing unnecessary spending is important to improving Maryland's fiscal health, so too is eliminating unnecessary or unduly burdensome regulations.

Baltimore aerial photo by the Greater Baltimore Committee

Adding 9,200 jobs in July gives Marylanders reason to celebrate, economist says

Job numbers released on Friday (Aug. 21) gave Marylanders a reason to celebrate this past July’s activity. The revision of the June job numbers moved figures from an initial loss of 6,200 jobs between May and June to a loss of 3,400 jobs. However, July preliminary job estimates reported a 9,200 job increase from June to July.
Maryland’s economy has grown significantly since July 2014, adding an estimated 53,700 jobs to payrolls.

Laptop computer by mmole on Flickr

Md. savings on new standardized school tests are questioned

This fall, as Maryland schools enter a third year using the Common Core curriculum, state education leaders are touting a trend toward big savings on annual testing. But out in the field, some in local districts say they are not so sure about the thrift.

Housing Secretary Ken Holt, left, addresses MACo session, with Economic Development Secretary Mike Gill, right, and Sen. Ed Kasemeyer, moderator.

Rascovar: Hogan’s Holt Problem

Maryland Housing Secretary Ken Holt may be a nice guy, a financial expert, a former member of the House of Delegates from Baltimore County, a cattle rancher and a breeder of thoroughbred race horses, but he has turned himself into a giant liability for Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan, Jr.

Gov. Larry Hogan and cabinet members meet with the members of Maryland's congressional delegation in March.

Questioning Md. Democrats’ new found religion on redistricting reform

Professor Todd Eberly writes: In response to Gov. Hogan's call for redistricting reform, Democratic members of Maryland's congressional delegation have argued instead for national reform. Forgive me for not placing much stock in Maryland Democrats' new found redistricting faith. Rather I think they are calling for national reform in an effort to provide cover for state Democrats who don't want to give up the power to pick and choose their voters.

Blue crabs by Sky Noir with Flickr Creative Commons License

Revisiting ‘Beautiful Swimmers': Pollution, hardened shores threaten crabs as much as overfishing

We’re closing on 40 years since William Warner, a New York-New Jersey boy, awakened us Chesapeake natives to the fascinating commerce, ecology and sociology attached to Callinectes sapidus, that beautiful swimmer, the blue crab.
Perhaps it took an outsider to appreciate what us born-heres grew up with.
Warner won a 1977 Pulitzer Prize for General Nonfiction for his efforts, and put the Chesapeake on the map in a way that should endure as long as crab feasts and crabcakes.

Marcatus Center fiscal solvency map

Don’t misinterpret Mercatus low ranking of Maryland’s fiscal health

In a piece published last week by MarylandReporter.com, Randolph May of the Free State Foundation touted a recent Mercatus Center study that ranked Maryland only 37th best among the 50 states for its fiscal health. It’s important to understand whether this ranking makes sense, particularly when it is so low compared to the state’s AAA bond rating. Maryland is one of 10 states that now have that highest rating from all three major bond rating agencies.