House votes to put sports gambling in Maryland on November ballot; dies in Senate

Bipartisan legislation calling for Maryland voters to weigh in on legalized sports betting in the state sailed through the House Thursday with a vote of 124 to 14. The bill, HB1014, sponsored by Del. Frank Turner, D-Howard, would place a law to allow sports betting at Maryland casinos and horse racing tracks on the November ballot through a voter referendum on a constitutional change. This bill died in the Senate.

House Judiciary Committee unanimously approves repeat sex offender bill

The House Judiciary Committee Thursday unanimously approved legislation that would allow evidence of previous sexual predatory behavior by defendants to be admitted in court. The committee’s approval of the “prior bad acts” legislation happened only after advocates of the bill pressured committee leaders, who has been criticized for failing to advance similar legislation in previous years.

House Republicans issue ultimatum to Vallario on sexual predator bill; he promises vote

House Republican leaders on Tuesday vowed to circumvent a powerful House Judiciary chairman by using parliamentary rules to petition a full House vote for a sexual predator bill if the bill did not receive a committee vote by Friday. In an interview on the House floor Tuesday, Vallario told MarylandReporter.com that Del. Vanessa Atterbeary’s bill was in fact on the voting list. “It’s on the list,” Vallario said. “I worked on it over the weekend.

Bill to allow court evidence of repeat sex offenses advances in Senate, but fate in House appears dim

A bill to allow evidence in court of sexual predatory behavior by people accused of sex crimes advanced last week in the Senate, but chances of the legislation progressing in the House are dim, with one committee leader wanting judges to decide the issue. The Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee passed an amended bill Thursday that will effectively allow prosecutors to introduce evidence of other sexually assaultive behavior by defendants. Maryland courts typically never allow that unless it is for the same victim.

Madaleno calls for $15 minimum wage, phasing out tipped workers

Sen. Richard Madaleno made his case to fellow lawmakers Wednesday to raise the state’s minimum wage to $15 by 2024, increase pay for disability caregivers and phasing out a tip-based payment system for workers in the hospitality industry. “Raising the minimum wage to $15 would impact nearly 570,000 workers in our state,” Madaleno, D-Montgomery County, a candidate for governor, said. “Of those, 50% would be people of color and 55% would be women.” Opponents said it would have severe impact on small businesses.

Sen. Kagan scolds state school board veep for disparaging students

A Democratic senator scolded the Republican vice president of the state school board for his choice of words at an Annapolis hearing Wednesday when describing what he called Maryland’s low-ranking accountability standard used to measure student academic achievement. Chester Finn, vice president of the Maryland State Board of Education, said legislation approved by the state legislature last year placed Maryland “in the cellar” in terms of how U.S. schools rate student academic outcomes, which makes Maryland “second lowest” in the country.