PROTECTING THE BAY, OYSTERS: The influence of a few vocal oyster watermen over the direction of the Maryland Department of Natural Resources is getting embarrassing, writes the Bay Journal’s Tom Horton in MarylandReporter.com. Not only has DNR caved in to demands to fire certain respected scientists who have helped protect the bay and oysters, DNR’s most recent cave-in seemed the worst yet, because the agency opposed carrying out the very science upon which state law requires it to base sustainable management of oysters.
- Rona Kobell of the Bay Journal is reporting that U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Gina McCarthy acknowledged Wednesday that Pennsylvania had not done enough to control pollution flowing into the Chesapeake Bay, and said that her agency needed to coordinate with agriculture officials to change the course.
- Native Americans around the Chesapeake Bay may have lived hand to mouth in prehistoric times, but they apparently never got so desperate or greedy that they depleted a readily available food source: the estuary’s once-abundant oysters. That’s the upshot of a new study looking at Bay oyster sizes and harvesting activity through the ages, which was published May 23 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, writes the Bay Journal’s Timothy Wheeler for MarylandReporter.com.
GETTY TAPPED FOR COURT: Gov. Larry Hogan appointed his top legislative lobbyist to the state’s highest court Wednesday. The Republican governor elevated Joseph Getty, his chief legislative officer and a former Republican state senator, to a vacant post on the seven-member Court of Appeals. His appointment is effective immediately, but subject to confirmation by the state Senate, which won’t meet until next year’s General Assembly session, Erin Cox and Ian Duncan of the Sun report.
- Getty left the state Senate in 2015 to become Hogan’s chief legislative officer. He replaces Judge Lynne A. Battaglia, who retired in April after reaching the mandatory judicial retirement age of 70, writes Bryan Sears for the Daily Record.
- The governor said he also tapped circuit court judges Donald E. Beachley and Melanie M. Shaw Geter to serve on Maryland’s Court of Special Appeals, the state’s intermediate appellate court, Josh Hicks of the Post writes.
- Beachley, 59, who was appointed to the circuit court in 1997, has previously submitted his name twice for appointment to the Court of Special Appeals, the state’s intermediate appellate court, which hears most appeals from circuit courts around the state, writes Don Aines for the Hagerstown Herald Mail.
BOARD DIVERSITY SOUGHT: Two Maryland officials are joining the call for more diversity on corporate boards of directors and are hoping to use the state’s pension system as leverage to get it. Comptroller Peter Franchot and Treasurer Nancy Kopp joined a dozen other state and local comptrollers and treasurers calling for more racial, gender and LGBT diversity on corporate boards. Those officials represent a combined 6 million public retirement system participants with $1 trillion in total managed assets, writes Bryan Sears in the Daily Record.
DEER POACHING FINES: Legislation mandating significant amounts of financial restitution for illegally killing deer in Maryland became law on Wednesday, without Gov. Larry Hogan’s signature, Michael Sawyer reports for the Cumberland Times News.
PRIVATE SCHOOL SCHOLARSHIP BUCKS: There is new state scholarship money – $5 million – available for K-12 students who wish to attend non-public schools, including Catholic schools, and the Archdiocese of Baltimore wants families to know about it, reports Erik Zymont of the Catholic Review.
GREEN ENDORSEMENTS: Former Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown, Rep. Chris Van Hollen and state Sen. Jamie Raskin all received endorsements from the League of Conservation Voters Action Fund, a leading environmental advocacy group which funds political campaigns, writes Phil Davis in the Annapolis Capital.
DIXON WON’T SUE: Former Baltimore City Mayor Sheila Dixon will not file a lawsuit to challenge the April primary election for mayor, her spokeswoman said Wednesday, ending a month of uncertainty following the close contest, writes Yvonne Wenger for the Sun.
$94M FOR CURTIS BAY YARD: The Annapolis Capital is reporting that U.S. Sen. Barbara Mikulski on Tuesday announced that she successfully included $94 million in federal funds in a Senate-passed appropriations bill to support work at the U.S. Coast Guard Yard in Curtis Bay.