HOGAN WITHHOLDS $80M: With state revenue lagging behind projections, Gov. Larry Hogan’s budget chief said Wednesday the governor would not spend $80 million the General Assembly authorized him to use this year to reduce violence, renovate older schools and fund other programs, reports Michael Dresser for the Sun. Budget Secretary David Brinkley said, it would be “shortsighted” to spend money that should go into the state’s savings account.
- Maryland’s Board of Revenue Estimates projected in March that the state would collect $51.4 million less than expected for fiscal years 2016 and 2017. The difference is small relative to the state’s $17 billion general fund, but it could disrupt the anticipated $360 million surplus for the current budget cycle, Josh Hicks reports in the Post.
- Hogan earlier this year drew a line in the sand, saying he would let the $80 million revert to the general fund and be used to build the state’s surplus. And Brinkley on Wednesday accused the legislature of playing politics with important programs. He cited concerns about a recently announced budget deficit in Virginia as well as concerns about what he said was lower than expected tax collections in Maryland as reasons for the administration’s caution, Bryan Sears reports for the Daily Record.
- Rachel Baye of WYPR-FM also reports the story.
TRANSIT PROJECTS DEADLINE: Maryland jurisdictions have two weeks to submit new information about major transportation projects seeking state support or else those projects could lose funding, according to a recent directive from the Maryland Department of Transportation, writes Amanda Yeager of the Annapolis Capital. The request was necessitated, said MDOT Deputy Secretary of Operations Jim Ports, by a contentious transportation project scoring law passed this year by the General Assembly and opposed by Gov. Larry Hogan.
KEEP OYSTER SANCTUARIES: In urging the state to continue with its oyster sanctuary program, the editorial board for the Sun writes that as massive as it is at more than 900 pages, the latest report on Chesapeake Bay oyster management by the DNR can be distilled to one major finding — sanctuaries work. The dozens of oyster beds permanently closed to harvest but targeted for restoration efforts are showing signs of paying off. DNR scientists and a handful of outside experts have concluded that oysters are thriving in sanctuaries and not doing nearly as well in areas where the bivalve is still harvested. The editorial is topped by a video on the history of oysters and the Bay.
MD DEMS RUNNING SCARED: In a state that has not been competitive in presidential politics since 1988, Maryland Democrats are keeping their volunteer resources and money here. While the spin they give is that the national election isn’t close and they want a “landslide victory” for Hillary Clinton in Maryland, the truth laid pretty bare is that they are scared to death of the possibility of Gov. Hogan’s reelection in 2018, writes Greg Kline of Red Maryland.
NONE OF THE ABOVE: Maryland has never had a strong movement to put “none of the above” on election ballots, but perhaps the nominations of Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump could change that, writes Len Lazarick for MarylandReporter.com. Only one state, Nevada, has “none of these candidates” as a non-binding option on the ballot, though a judge recently struck down this 40-year old law. California voters rejected a proposition creating “none of the above” as an election choice in 2000.
GLASSMAN SPEAKS: Tom Hall of WYPR-FM interviews morning Harford County Executive Barry Glassman, who was a member of the Harford County Council in the 1990s, a state delegate from 1999 to 2008 and a state senator from 2008 to 2014. The discuss water quality issues, managing the Susquehanna watershed and Harford County’s Chesapeake Bay shoreline and his efforts to foster both rural interests and suburban development,
***SEEKING ASSESSMENT ADMINISTRATORS: Seeking motivated individuals to proctor assessment sessions with 4th- and 8th-grade students in schools for the National Assessment of Educational Progress. Must be available to work January 30 –March 10, 2017. Paid training, paid time and mileage reimbursement for local driving, and weekly paychecks. This is a part-time, temporary position. To apply, visit our website at www.westat.com/CAREERS and select “Search Field Positions.” Search for your state, find the NAEP Assessment Administrator position, and select the “apply to job” button. For more information email NAEPrecruit@westat.com or call 1-888-237-8036.***
GOP SNUBS URBAN LEAGUE: The National Urban League’s four-day conference in Baltimore opened Wednesday with Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake saying Donald Trump’s decision not to attend is an indication of how he would govern, Yvonne Wenger of the Sun writes. The organization — expected to draw 10,000 to the city and contribute $10 million to the local economy — bills the conference as the nation’s largest civil rights and social justice event. Nominees for both major parties typically attend the annual conference.
- The editorial board of the Sun addresses the Republican Party’s 2nd snubbing of the Urban League conference during a presidential election cycle as well as Donald Trump’s assertions that the election is going to be “rigged,” writing If Republican candidates are going to ignore the interests of black voters, attempt to illegally block their access to the voting booth and not even engage them in a dialogue, how can they be shocked when inner city precincts vote overwhelmingly (and in some cases even unanimously) against them? The lack of support in 2012 was no statistical anomaly — it was well-earned.
MO CO POLICE TASER STUDY: An independent review of Taser incidents in Montgomery County determined that police there are not overusing the electronic weapon — a finding that drew criticism from civil liberties activists and relatives of a Gaithersburg man who died in 2013 after being shot by Tasers far more than safety limits allowed, Doug Donovan of the Sun writes.
- Andrew Metcalf of Bethesda Beat writes that the review written a criminology professor at the University of South Carolina recommended that county police refer to Tasers as a weapon rather than a device and training should include more scenario-based exercises. It also suggested the department update its policy to include more information after a court ruling in January established new guidelines for using the electrical weapons.
SEWAGE DUMP AFTER STORM: An estimated 5 million gallons of sewage a day has flooded the Patapsco River since a deadly rain storm caused extensive damage Saturday night, prompting a new health alert along the river in Anne Arundel County, Lauren Loricchio reports for the Annapolis Capital. The sewer main break was reported to the Maryland Department of the Environment by the Howard County Department of Public Works, MDE spokesman Jay Apperson said in an email. An MDE inspector went to the area in response to the report, Apperson said.
LEAD PAINT CASE MANAGEMENT: Members of the lead-paint bar will sit down with the committee overseeing changes to Baltimore City Circuit Court’s differentiated case management plan after attorneys raised questions about a draft of the plan at a hearing last week, Heather Cobun reports for the Daily Record.
CORN-FED BEARS: Bears in Garrett County have been feeding on farmers’ corn and other crops to the tune of $24,000 in losses for 2015, Michael Sawyers writes in the Cumberland Times News. And the reimbursement they get from the state amounts to 16%.