SICK LEAVE PUSH: More than 700,000 Maryland residents do not receive any paid time off when they get sick, according to Working Matters, an advocacy group campaigning for compensated sick days. Senate Majority Leader Catherine Pugh is introducing a bill that would allow full-time workers to earn an hour of paid time off for every 30 hours they work, earning up to seven days of paid time off, reports CNS’s Rachel Bluth.
- Lawmakers in Annapolis are being urged to pass the revised bill that would mandate paid sick leave on all businesses in Maryland, writes Bryan Sears in the Daily Record. Supporters say many of the changes this year are “in the weeds” or technical but were identified last fall as important issues by some business groups.
TAX BREAKS & TERRORISM: Calling President Barack Obama’s planned visit to a Baltimore mosque today an endorsement of terrorism, a Republican lawmaker from Frederick County proposed legislation that would prohibit religious organizations with “known ties to terrorism” from claiming tax breaks, Michael Dresser of the Sun reports. Del. David Vogt, who is seeking the Republican nomination to Congress in the Sixth District, announced plans to introduce the bill.
- When President Obama steps shoeless into the prayer room at the Islamic Society of Baltimore today, he’ll be entering a mosque that began as a small Sunday gathering at the Johns Hopkins University but is now one of the largest and most influential Muslim communities in the Mid-Atlantic, according to a Sun report.
CHICKEN POOP CLEANUP BURDEN: CNS’s Josh Magness and Bryan Renbaum and MarylandReporter.com report that Maryland legislators and contract farmers hired by companies to grow chickens are proposing the Poultry Litter Management Act that would require major animal agriculture companies to pay the cost of properly disposing excess manure on their contract farms. “It’s a fairness issue, it has an adverse impact on our environment and we need to clean it up,” said Sen. Joan Carter Conway, D-Baltimore, “and those individuals who are making the mess need to clean up the mess.”
ENVIRONMENT DEPT. FACES SUIT: After losing her campground business to decades of raw sewage contamination, the Maryland Court of Appeals has ruled 4-3 that Gail Litz of Goldsboro in Caroline County can finally sue Maryland Department of the Environment for not enforcing a consent order that could have saved it, Dan Menefee reports in the Kent Guardian.
GUN OWNERS RALLY: Gun advocacy groups and several state lawmakers held a Second Amendment protection rally in Annapolis on Tuesday, Rachel Bluth and Connor Glowacki of CNS report. “We’re showing there’s grassroots support,” said John Mountjoy, vice president of advocacy group Maryland Shall Issue. “The goal is to communicate to our legislators to respect our rights.”
RAW MILK SALES: Maryland lawmakers are considering a measure to allow dairy farmers to sell unpasteurized milk, but only to consumers who have part ownership of the cows. The exemption would still prevent raw milk from being sold to restaurants, grocery stores or wholesalers, reports Elisha Sauers for the Annapolis Capital. If this sounds familiar, that may be because raw milk advocates have come before the legislature in some shape or form for several years.
‘DWYER AMENDMENT’ DIES: We missed this item from last week in the Annapolis Capital: Elisha Sauers reports that Anne Arundel Sen. Bryan Simonaire was unsuccessful Friday when he proposed to strip Senate President Mike Miller of his authority to take away voting power from any other state senator without two-thirds approval from the body. Simonaire’s measure, known by some as the “Dwyer amendment,” was based on the experience of former Republican Del. Don Dwyer two years ago.
HOGAN’S 2nd STATE OF STATE: His tone. The Democrats’ response. These are just two of the five things to watch as Gov. Larry Hogan will deliver his second State of the State speech at noon today, Erin Cox writes in the Sun.
- Senate President Mike Miller is hoping that Hogan will present a more upbeat picture of the state that will bring people together, writes Bryan Sears for the Daily Record.
FREDERICK PUSHES FOR STATE BONDS: Frederick County lawmakers are putting their weight behind proposals for state bond funding for local projects, though it will take some more political maneuvering before the money will be available, reports Danielle Gaines in the Frederick News Post. Frederick County’s General Assembly delegation voted last week to support bond bills introduced by Dels. Karen Lewis Young and Carol Krimm, Democrats who represent District 3A.
TOWSON PARKLAND FUNDING: Two state legislators are filing bond bills to help Baltimore County buy property owned by Radebaugh Florist & Greenhouses, in Towson, for use as a county park. State Sen. James Brochin said last week he filed a bill in the General Assembly seeking up to $200,000 “at the request of the community,” and that the legislation would require matching funds from the county or the community. Brochin’s bill authorizes a state loan called the Radebaugh Park Loan of 2016, and the issuance and sale of bonds, Larry Perl reports for the Towson Times.
STATE OK’s CHOPTANK CENTER: A project 14 years in the making took a major step forward in January when the state of Maryland approved the town of Denton’s plan to build the Choptank River Heritage and Visitors Center along the Choptank River at Crouse Park in Denton, writes Dustin Holt in the Easton Star Democrat.
MORE TAX PROCESSING SUSPENSIONS: Comptroller Peter Franchot has suspended processing returns at 16 more Liberty Tax franchises, including one in Glen Burnie. The suspension, which stems from a high volume of questionable returns, also includes four tax prep sites, Shantee Woodards of the Capital Gazette reports. Last week, Franchot identified seven Baltimore-area Liberty Tax Service franchises where it would no longer process returns.
TRONE FIRES CAMPAIGN STAFFERS: Two staff members and a supervisor working for businessman David Trone’s recently launched congressional campaign attempted to plant themselves as spies in the offices of his leading opponents, and have been fired by the Trone campaign, writes John Fritze for the Sun.
- Bill Turque of the Post is reporting that Trone announced that he had fired the three from his fledgling campaign for one of the oldest types of election-season deception — posing as volunteers for his two principal opponents, state Sen. Jamie B. Raskin and former Marriott executive Kathleen Matthews.
- Ethan Susseles, campaign manager for Matthews, wrote a letter to Kurt Staiger, campaign manager for Trone, in which he claimed the worker, identified only as Joseph, walked into Matthews’ campaign office on Monday offering to work as a volunteer, Aaron Kraut of Bethesda Beat reports.
REP. CUMMINGS TO SEEK RE-ELECTION: U.S. Rep. Elijah E. Cummings, the popular Baltimore congressman who has been weighing whether to run for Senate for nearly a year, has decided to seek re-election to the House instead — averting a shakeup in the contest to replace Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski, John Fritze of the Sun reports.
- Cummings, a 10-term congressman from Baltimore, had agonized publicly for months over whether to join two other House Democrats in a primary battle for the Senate, Rachel Weiner writes in the Post.
GLADDEN ENDORSES WARNOCK: Sen. Lisa Gladden, a Baltimore Democrat, endorsed businessman David Warnock for mayor of Baltimore, a move that she admitted was unpopular with her colleagues. “I don’t know David Warnock … but I believe Baltimore needs David Warnock,” Gladden said. Sen. Cathy Pugh, the Senate majority leader, is also running for mayor in a crowded field. “I know [Rep. Elijah Cummings] is incredibly disappointed with me,” she said. “I think you’ve got to do what is right.” Warnock, a philanthropist who co-founded the Green Street Academy, a public charter school in the city, unveiled his education plan.
DEL. DAVIS DROPS CONGRESSIONAL RACE: Del. Dereck E. Davis (D-Prince George’s) said Tuesday that he is dropping out of the 4th Congressional District race, leaving six candidates vying for the Democratic Party nomination to succeed U.S. Rep. Donna F. Edwards (D-Md.), Arelis Hernandez of the Post reports.
- The decision comes despite the fact that Davis was posting solid fundraising figures, but it follows several internal polls that placed him in lower standing than former Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown and former Prince George’s County State’s Attorney Glenn Ivey, writes John Fritze for the Sun.
ON O’MALLEY, PAST & FUTURE: Former Gov. Martin O’Malley’s future will be easier to predict if a Democrat wins the White House — particularly if it is Hillary Clinton, a onetime ally. In that case, O’Malley could reasonably be considered for a position in Clinton’s Cabinet — as secretary of homeland security, for instance, or transportation, writes John Fritze for the Sun.
- O’Malley, who suspended his presidential campaign after registering little more than a blip on the Iowa caucus radar, is still getting talked about in the press. Here’s a small sampling compiled by Sean Walsh of the Sun.
- Lawmakers in Annapolis said that O’Malley put up a good fight but that it was time for him to end his bid for the White House, Ovetta Wiggins of the Post reports.
- WYPR-FM’s Fraser Smith and Melissa Deckman, of Washington College’s political science department, analyze what happened to former Gov. Martin O’Malley in Iowa.