Lu Pierson of the League of Women Voters at microphone testifies to Gov. Hogan's Redistricting Reform Commission as Sen. Jim Brochin and Jennifer Bevan-Dangel of Common Cause wait to speak.

Rascovar: Gerrymandering is here to stay

Good intentions and wishful thinking will not get advocates of redistricting reform very far. They fail to grasp that the process is 100 percent political. The sweeping changes they seek won’t happen. Reporters, editors and editorialists are strongly on the side of the reformers. So are political science academics and supporters of “good government.” None of that matters one iota.

Art Baselice on the sidewalk in front of the Cathedral of Saints Peter and Paul in Philadelphia. Photo by Len Lazarick,

First Friday devotion: Child abusers, their victims and Pope Francis

In an old Catholic observance, First Fridays of the month were set aside for special devotions to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. For the last 10 years, Art Baselice, an ex-cop, First Fridays of the month have been set aside for another devotion.

From noon to 1 p.m., as he plans to do this Friday, he stands outside the Cathedral of Saints Peter and Paul in Philadelphia with a poster that says "Victim of Catholic Clergy Sex Abuse." The poster has a picture of his late son Arthur and the Franciscan priest and brother that abused him.

Maryland 2011 congressional districts

Redistricting should restore representative democracy

A critique of Maryland's gerrymandered districts should not be viewed as an attack on the Democratic Party. It’s not. It is an attack on a process that encourages both parties to substitute their needs and their agenda for those of the people and the voters. It’s an attack on a process that subverts the very nature of representative government by allowing those in office to choose their voters instead of allowing voters to choose those who will serve in office.

Gov. Larry Hogan, left, and Comptroller Peter Franchot announce tax refund. Photo by Governor's Office.

Hogan, Franchot tout $200M tax refund, but judges and Howard County couple deserve credit

Republican Gov. Larry Hogan and Democratic Comptroller Peter Franchot were at the podium in the State House Monday taking credit for a $200 million income tax refund that 55,000 Marylanders could apply for.

But it was actually judges on the U.S. Supreme Court and Maryland's Court of Appeals that should have been standing there, or even better Brian and Karen Wynne of Howard County who deserved the credit.

Gov. Larry Hogan with daughter Jaymie and cancer patients greet crowd at Ravens game Sunday. Photo from his Facebook page

Rascovar: Hogan raises cancer awareness

We’re coming to the end of Childhood Cancer Awareness Month and Leukemia and Lymphoma Awareness Month and Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan Jr. has played a big role in these campaigns. Throughout this ordeal Hogan has been an exemplary advocate for bringing awareness about cancer to the public and keeping spirits high among adults and children with cancer.

Conowingo dam after Tropical Storm Lee

Proposed moratorium on Eastern Shore chicken houses rekindles debate on Conowingo Dam

The Clean Chesapeake Coalition, a group of seven Maryland counties formed in 2012 to challenge the priorities and science of the $14.4 billion cleanup mandate for the Bay, is again sparring with environmental groups it says continue to ignore the Susquehanna River as the single largest source of pollution that flows into the Bay. This time the debate is over a proposed moratorium on chicken houses, the biggest industry on the shore.

Maryland State Board of Education

State school board to release new PARCC exam results in late fall with lower scores expected

Maryland's State Board of Education on Tuesday confirmed plans to release PARCC assessment scores in late October and early December. The PARCC, which stands for the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers, was administered for the first time in 11 states and the District of Columbia in the spring as a part of the Common Core Standards Initiative, a widespread but controversial effort to measure education in the United States.

Warren Deschenaux, second from left, referees this year's budget conference committee, with senators on the right, delegates and staff on the other side, and Hogan administration officials at the far end of the table.

Deschenaux to replace Aro as head of legislature’s nonpartisan staff

The Department of Legislative Services, the legislature's nonpartisan staff, will get new leadership and a reorganization next year as Executive Director Karl Aro retires, and Warren Deschenaux, director of policy analysis, takes his place. The move was announced late Monday afternoon by Senate President Mike Miller and House Speaker Michael Busch. With a staff of 384 and a budget of almost $48 million, Legislative Services performs most of the functions for the Maryland General Assembly