HOGAN SIGNS 144 BILLS: Gov. Larry Hogan signed legislation Thursday aimed at reducing the state prison population by more than 1,000 inmates while plowing millions of dollars into crime prevention., reports Michael Dresser for the Sun.
- Hogan also signed a bill renaming a portion of Md. 924 “Heroes Highway” in recognition of two Harford County senior deputies, Patrick Dailey and Mark Logsdon, killed in the line of duty in February, Tamela Baker of the Hagerstown Herald Mail reports.
- Hogan gave his blessing to measures that bring sweeping change to the state’s criminal justice system, ensure pay equity and require convicted drunken drivers to use ignition interlocks. But first, he recognized some of the people behind the initiatives, Amanda Yeager of the Annapolis Capital is reporting.
- The bills were among 144 pieces of legislation Hogan signed in his final bill-signing session of 2016, leaving about 100 other measures still awaiting action. Hogan has until the end of next week to decide whether to veto the remaining bills or let them take effect without his signature, Ovetta Wiggins of the Post reports.
- Included in the remaining bills are legislation limiting the use of pesticides linked to the decimation of bee colonies; a bill that increases the amount of renewable energy sources that must be used in generating electricity in the state; and a bill that sponsors say would help middle-class families deal with the rising costs of college education, Bryan Sears writes for the Daily Record.
PURPLE LINE PART 2: The $5.6 billion Purple Line transit project will connect to the red, green and orange Metro lines, as well as all three MARC Train lines and Amtrak, and is projected to create more than 23,000 jobs within the state over six years, according to Gov. Larry Hogan’s administration. The state transit administration plans for trains to begin running in the spring of 2022. But in the process, more than 150 homes will be impacted, Brittany Britto of CNS writes in MarylandReporter.com.
800 BALLOTS IMPROPERLY COUNTED: Maryland elections officials have uncovered nearly 800 improperly counted ballots from Baltimore residents who may not have been eligible to vote, calling into question how poll workers were trained for a new voting system in the April 26 primary, Fenit Nirappil of the Post reports.
HOGAN ADVISOR TAKES PRIVATE ROLE: A senior adviser to Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan plans to leave the administration later this month to be a part of a “nonprofit associated with the governor,” according to individuals familiar with the resignation, writes Ovetta Wiggins in the Post.
- Steve Crim, Hogan’s director of public affairs, will step down from his post May 27, writes Erin Cox in the Sun. Crim, who has spent his career in politics, helped Hogan found the Change Maryland organization in 2011 that eventually formed the basis of the Republican governor’s upset win in Maryland.
- Crim also served as campaign manager for Hogan after the then-Republican candidate officially filed to run and absorbed the Change Maryland organization into his campaign, Bryan Sears of the Daily Record writes.
NEALL A GOOD CHOICE: Donald Fry, self-professed good friend and former colleague of Bobby Neall, writes in Center Maryland that he sees Gov. Hogan’s appointment of Neall to streamline state government as a good step toward more efficiency.
SZELIGA SEEKS DEBATES WITH VAN HOLLEN: Kathy Szeliga, the Republican nominee for Maryland’s open Senate seat, on Thursday called for open negotiations for a series of debates with Democratic Rep. Chris Van Hollen, John Fritze of the Sun writes.
FIXING BALTIMORE CITY: Over a year has passed since Baltimore City erupted in violent protests following the death of Freddie Gray, and predictably, the respective political parties propose vastly different remedies for what ails “Charm City.” Former Gov. Bob Ehrlich and Jim Pettit, in a column for MarylandReporter.com, write that progressives seek to double down on the status quo. These folks focus on the need for increased social spending—and ever more government. On the other side of the aisle, many conservatives view the plight of Freddie Gray as one of welfare state (and, possibly, law enforcement) failure.
COUNCIL PRES DROPS GOP: Frederick County Council President Bud Otis changed his party affiliation from Republican to unaffiliated on Thursday, Danielle Gaines reports in the Frederick News Post. In a morning announcement at Winchester Hall, Otis said the path of the Frederick County Republican Party has become too extreme.
HIGH ON PUGH: Former GOP speech writer Richard Cross explains to Fraser Smith of WYPR-FM his high opinion of Democratic mayoral nominee Catherine Pugh.
TRUMP NO ABERRATION: Donald Trump’s Republican doubters like to think of him as an aberration, a one-time dalliance with a candidate who, once he’s defeated this fall, will be swept off the stage, leaving the GOP back in their rightful hands. But they are wrong, reports Kyle Cheney for Politico. “The one thing that I’ve seen across the country are change agents getting involved,” said Maryland’s David Bossie, the Trump ally and Citizens United CEO who ousted a 12-year member of the committee Saturday. “ …I think what Mr. Trump’s done is given voice to a whole bunch of people who are going to be heard.” In other words, when Republican elites lost control of their party during the 2016 primary, they lost it to a movement that has no intention of giving it back.
TRUMP DELEGATE INDICTED: Charles County man who was elected last month as a delegate for Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump has been indicted on child pornography and explosives charges, federal prosecutors said Thursday.