STATE CENTER PLAN NIXED FOR NEW ARENA: Gov. Larry Hogan pledged Wednesday to work with city officials to craft a new plan for the State Center after canceling a $1.5 billion redevelopment that was expected to revitalize midtown Baltimore. The Board of Public Works voted unanimously Wednesday to void the leases that underpinned the state’s agreement with the developer of the 28-acre site near North Eutaw Street and Martin Luther King Boulevard, Michael Dresser reports for the Sun.
- A long-anticipated $1.5 billion plan to redevelop an aging Baltimore state government office complex will be nixed in favor of a proposal that could bring a new sports arena to the city, writes Bryan Sears in the Daily Record. Gov. Larry Hogan said he was directing the Maryland Stadium Authority to fast-track a study that would include a potential new arena. The Hogan-led Board of Public Works then unanimously voted to rescind more than a half-dozen lease agreements with State Center LLC, effectively killing the mixed-use office complex development.
- Maryland’s stadium authority will explore the possibility of building a professional sports arena at the site of a long-stalled redevelopment project in Baltimore after the state canceled its lease agreements for that project on Wednesday, Josh Hicks reports in the Post.
KAMENETZ URGES BPW TO OK HORSE CENTER: Pamela Wood of the Sun is reporting that Baltimore County officials are urging the state’s Board of Public Works to rethink a decision to delay approval for a proposed equestrian center in Cockeysville. County Executive Kevin Kamenetz wants to build the $3 million facility at the Baltimore County Center for Maryland Agriculture and Farm Park. About $2.3 million of the cost would come from Program Open Space money, which requires the state board’s approval.
KAMENETZ WARNS HOGAN ON BELTWAY FUNDING: The political fighting over funding for transportation projects continued Wednesday, with Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz warning that Gov. Larry Hogan will face blowback if he cancels Baltimore Beltway projects, Pamela Wood of the Sun reports. “I challenge the governor to try and not fund the Beltway expansion projects that have already been placed in the six-year master plan for funding,” Kamenetz said. “I’m sure he’ll hear from frustrated drivers.”
DRIVERLESS CARS ON I-95? Scott Dance of the Sun reports that Interstate 95 and other major arteries around the Baltimore region could become a testing ground for driverless cars starting in 2018 under a proposal Gov. Larry Hogan’s administration announced Wednesday. The state has applied for a U.S. Department of Transportation program that aims to work out the kinks in “autonomous vehicle” technology, speed its arrival on roadways across the country and help grow companies that are developing it.
FRACKING BAN DEBATE: The debate over a ban on fracking in Maryland moves to the 2017 General Assembly session even as a legislative committee debates delaying proposed regulations for the controversial gas extraction process. Members of the joint Administrative, Executive and Legislative Review Committee are faced with whether to accept proposed regulations that would govern the industry as early as October. The panel cannot, however, ban the activity — something environmental advocates and other fracking opponents say is the safer option, reports Bryan Sears for the Daily Record.
PG LAWMAKERS GO AFTER BAKER’s SCHOOL CHANGES: Two state lawmakers from Prince George’s County are trying to scale back or eliminate many of the school system’s changes that County Executive Rushern Baker championed early in his administration. In response to public concern over allegations of abuse involving school staff and volunteers, Del. Carolyn Howard and Sen. Anthony Muse want to repeal major portions of the 2013 state law that was intended to counteract years of school board dysfunction and ensure accountability, writes Arelis Hernandez in the Post..
POETIC JUSTICE? It’s getting hot in Whoville as the war of words between Del. Herb McMillan and House Speaker Michael Busch takes a poetic turn with a letter from McMillan, published in the Annapolis Capital, that is a takeoff on the Dr. Seuss Christmas classic How The Grinch Stole Christmas.
NEW MO CO JUDGES: Gov. Larry Hogan on Wednesday filled three judicial vacancies in Montgomery County District Court. Hogan picked prosecutor Sherri D. Koch, administrative law judge Marina L. Sabett and solo practitioner Rand L. Gelber for the open positions, Bethany Rodgers reports for Bethesda Beat.
DATA BREACHES IN FREDERICK SCHOOLS: Brandi Bottalico of the Frederick News-Post is covering the data breach that has occurred in Frederick County Public Schools. She has two stories:
- A state legislator said he has been “stonewalled” in getting information about the data breach affecting about 1,000 former Frederick County students and will introduce legislation addressing what went wrong. “If I, as a member of the Maryland General Assembly, cannot get answers, then I cannot imagine how the young adults facing a life of looking over their shoulders must feel,” Del. David E. Vogt III wrote in a statement his office sent to the paper on Wednesday.
- And last year, a glitch in Frederick County Public Schools’ information system allowed more than 8,500 W-2 tax form recipients’ private information to be accessed by other employees, Bottalico reports. The school system — currently investigating a separate breach affecting about 1,000 students — said last year’s glitch prompted it to pay a security consultant to help handle the repercussions.
BRYAN MCINTIRE, 86: Former Carroll County State’s Attorney T. Bryan McIntire died Friday at the age of 86 in his Baltimore County home. His wife, Doris Poehler, said he died after a struggle with health issues that included heart disease and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. McIntire served two terms as the Carroll County state’s attorney from 1962 to 1970, writes Jacob DeNobel in the Carroll County Times.
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