TRUMP BUDGET & MARYLAND: President Donald Trump unveiled a budget Thursday that calls for eliminating spending on the Chesapeake Bay, reducing medical research and slashing the federal workforce to levels not seen in decades — part of an effort to force a historic resizing of the government he now leads. In Maryland, a state where the economy is closely tied to federal spending, the $1.15 trillion budget could put thousands of civilian government employees out of work but also boost defense activity in the state, writes John Fritze for the Sun.
- President Trump has proposed to drain the Chesapeake Bay Program in his budget — released Thursday — with a requested funding cut from $73 million to $0, reports Chase Cook in the Annapolis Capital.
- Will Baker, president of the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, said in a morning conference call the cuts “make no sense” and that EPA’s role in the bay clean-up is “fundamental,” Pamela D’Angelo reports in this short audio piece for WYPR-FM.
- Maryland Public Television would lose about $3 million under the budget cuts proposed by the Trump administration, the state network said. That’s the amount of MPT’s grant from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting for fiscal year 2017 — roughly 9% of its budget, David Zurawik reports for the Sun.
- Starting next year live C-Span style deliberations of the Maryland House and Senate could be televised and live streamed during the last two weeks of each session, under a provision in a bill to support Maryland Public Television should Congress cut funding to the Corporation for Public Broadcasting as President Trump has proposed. Dan Menefee reports in MarylandReporter.com
- Anamika Roy of the Daily Record reports that the proposed elimination of the federal Legal Services Corp. under Trump’s 2018 budget would have “catastrophic” effects on Maryland Legal Aid, the state organization’s leader said Thursday.
- Workers at federal agencies in Montgomery County would most likely be affected if proposed spending cuts. Trump’s budget outline proposes cuts to several federal agencies headquartered in the county ranging from the National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration in Silver Spring to the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Andrew Metcalf of Bethesda Beat writes.
- Amanda Yeager of the Annapolis Capital writes about the Trump budget’s impact on Anne Arundel County, saying it could mean increased military spending as well as slashed support for the arts, among others.
- Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh encouraged federal lawmakers Thursday to maintain current funding for disaster preparedness, arguing that recent cuts had forced the city to scale back some of its efforts to plan for the worst, John Fritze of the Sun reports.
BAIL REFORM: The Maryland Legislative Black Caucus voted Thursday to recommend that the General Assembly take no action on any of the bail reform bills before it this year and let a landmark rule adopted by the state’s high court take effect without alteration. The narrow vote was a victory for Attorney General Brian E. Frosh and a setback for the bail bond industry, which has been supporting a bill in the Senate. However, a Senate committee rejected the caucus position Thursday night and approved a bill backing off parts of the rule, Michael Dresser of the Sun reports.
- The Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee on Thursday night approved a bill, sponsored by Sen. C. Anthony Muse that would redesign the state’s bail system, allowing only those charged with misdemeanors to be released on personal recognizance, Ovetta Wiggins of the Post reports.
HOUSE PASSES HOGAN BUDGET: The House of Delegates passed a revised version of Gov. Larry Hogan’s $43.5 billion state budget on a strong bipartisan vote Thursday, sending it to the state Senate, Michael Dresser of the Sun reports. The vote on the budget bill was 135-6, with only a handful of the most conservative Republicans dissenting. There was no debate.
PAID SICK LEAVE: A day after Gov. Larry Hogan promised to veto it, the Maryland Senate approved a mandatory paid sick time bill by a veto-proof margin, writes Erin Cox for the Sun.
- The state Senate passed its version of the Maryland Healthy Working Families Act on Thursday by a 29-18 vote, reports Tamela Baker for the Hagerstown Herald Mail. That is exactly the number of votes that would be needed to override the promised veto. But the bill has differences from a version passed earlier this month in the House of Delegates, and those differences will have to be worked out before any bill gets to Hogan’s desk.
- The Senate version requires companies of 15 or more employees to provide five days of sick leave. A House version, now in the Senate, requires seven. The House and Senate will have to work out those differences and vote again before sending the bill to Gov. Larry Hogan, reports Bryan Sears for the Daily Record.
- Del. Luke Clippinger is right when he says the effort in the General Assembly to require employers to provide paid sick leave for most workers is not a nefarious Democratic plot to “get” Gov. Larry Hogan. Advocates were pushing the issue long before Mr. Hogan was elected, and they have finally arrived at the point where their goal is within sight. But, opines the editorial board of the Sun, unless some pragmatism rules the day, sick leave backers risk having their efforts stymied this year and potentially for years to come.
CHANGES TO MARRIOTT DEAL: A group of Maryland senators from Montgomery County are attempting to change the way the state will fund its portion of an incentive package being given to Marriott International Inc. — a move that has Gov. Larry Hogan’s administration up in arms, Holden Wilen of the Baltimore Business Journal is reporting.
ANTI-FRACKERS ARRESTED: About a dozen activists were arrested Thursday morning for blocking an entrance to the State House during a demonstration against fracking. Pamela Wood of the Sun reports that dozens of people stood in front of the State House steps, holding anti-fracking signs and singing, “We shall not be moved.” Then, a smaller group moved in front of an entranceway into the ground floor of the State House and didn’t move.
- The protest came four days before “crossover day,” the date by which bills must pass out of at least one chamber to have a realistic chance of landing on the desk of Gov. Larry Hogan (R). Ovetta Wiggins and Josh Hicks of the Post report that participants said they were concerned that state Sen. Joan Carter Conway (D-Baltimore), who heads the Senate Education, Health and Environmental Affairs Committee, will not allow a vote on the ban bill in time for that deadline.
- However, Carter Conway told Bryan Sears that competing bills that ban fracking or extend the current moratorium on the controversial natural gas extraction process are both likely headed to the Senate for a vote. “Both bills are coming out of my committee if I have anything to do with it.” Conway said Thursday. “If I stand here saying, ‘They’re coming out,’ they’re coming out.”
BROUHAHA OVER BEER ON TAP: A “brewhaha” is brewing in Annapolis over brews, writes Danielle Gaines for the Frederick News Post. Lawmakers in Maryland’s Senate and House of Delegates are moving forward in different ways on two bills to let Maryland’s Class 5 breweries — such as Flying Dog and Monocacy Brewing Co. in Frederick — increase the number of barrels they may pour annually for on-site consumption. One bill is preferred by the Brewers Association of Maryland and its members. The other is preferred by the state’s alcohol retail and beer wholesalers associations.
CURBING EXPULSIONS: The House of Delegates approved legislation Thursday that would significantly curb the practice of suspending or expelling the youngest public school students without first taking other steps to improve their behavior. The measure now goes to the state Senate, where a committee approved a similar bill Thursday.
MIKES MUST TESTIFY: The General Assembly’s Democratic leaders must provide testimony in a challenge by Republicans to a Maryland congressional district they allege was unconstitutionally redrawn to favor Democrats, Steve Lash of the Daily Record writes. A three-judge U.S. District Court panel this week rejected arguments by Senate President Mike Miller and House Speaker Michael Busch that they cannot be compelled to testify regarding what their motives were in voting to approve the redrawn 6th District in 2011.
SCHOOL CONCERNS IN MO CO: Gov. Larry Hogan this week got a rundown of complications, including lost teacher planning and training time, that Montgomery County Public Schools will face after designing an academic calendar around his mandate to end classes by mid-June, writes Bethany Rodgers for Bethesda Beat.
SENATE OKs PUGH MEASURE: The Sun’s Erin Cox reports that the Maryland Senate unanimously voted Thursday to grant Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh sole authority to appoint and dismiss members of the city school board. Granting mayoral control to Pugh was the former state senator’s top priority for the General Assembly session, which ends in about three weeks. The House of Delegates has not advanced the measure yet.
MD JUDGE RULES AGAINST TRAVEL BAN: Maryland U.S. District Judge Theodore D. Chuang ruled Thursday against President Donald Trump’s revised travel ban, establishing a double barrier preventing the policy from going into effect, Ian Duncan reports in the Sun.
REMOVING TANEY: The entrance of Frederick City Hall could look much different after Saturday, if all goes as planned and the long-standing busts of Roger Brooke Taney and Gov. Thomas Johnson are hauled off to a new location, Mallory Panuska reports for the Frederick News Post.
GOP SEEKS RESIGNATIONS: The Baltimore County Republican Central Committee is calling for the resignations of Del. Dan Morhaim and Sen. Bobby Zirkin over ethical concerns. Both are Democrats. Morhaim was reprimanded by the House of Delegates for conflict of interest over medical marijuana. Zirkin was criticized by a Baltimore judge for his late entry into a lawsuit, but strongly defended by Senate President Mike Miller.