Paid sick leave bills “dead in the water,” Hogan says, promising veto

The paid sick leave bills making their way through the legislature “are dead on arrival” if they reach his desk, Gov. Larry Hogan declared Wednesday. He promised reporters “I will veto them immediately” because they have the potential to kill thousands of jobs and “are disastrous for our economy.” This story compares who is covered in the legislative proposals and Hogan’s own bill.

Columbia at 50 Part 9 ENVIRONMENT: Respecting the Land While Building a City

“To respect the land” was one of the four basic goals for Columbia often repeated by developer James Rouse more than 50 years ago as he pitched his proposal “to build a complete city” on 14,000 acres of farmland, woods and stream valleys. The goals seem almost a contradiction. If he wanted to “respect the land,” why not just leave the fields and forest as they were? Because they were not going to stay that way for long as suburban development spread from Baltimore and Washington along the new interstate highways.

Hogan’s budget moves to House floor, growth in private school scholarships cut

The House Appropriations Committee on Friday sent Gov. Larry Hogan’s $43 billion budget to the House floor for votes this week. It made $90 million in trims to general fund spending while adding back $74 million in other areas, including $8.4 million more to fund a 3.5% pay hike for caregivers of the developmentally disabled and $15 million restored for a Prince George’s regional hospital. The longest and most substantial debate occurred over a nearly $5 million cut in Hogan’s proposed funding of the BOOST Program to pay for scholarships of low-income students to private schools, including religious ones.

Sick leave votes in Senate signal trouble for bill

A few Senate Democrats last week raised significant questions about paid sick leave legislation that had finally come to the floor. The votes on the dozen amendments to SB230 that were rejected also showed that the legislation does not have a veto-proof majority, with four or five Democrats joining with Republicans favoring less comprehensive coverage.

Redistricting reform gains some Senate support

Gov. Larry Hogan’s is again pushing to create an independent commission to draw congressional and legislative district lines. The retired federal judge Hogan appointed to head the commission that made the recommendation said the state needs to fix its oddly shaped, highly partisan congressional district lines or federal judges will do it for Maryland.

Hogan remains popular, but Marylanders disagree with him on some issues, poll finds

Gov. Larry Hogan remains very popular in the latest Goucher College poll, and a majority lean toward re-electing him, but Marylanders go further than he is willing to do on significant issues such as paid sick leave, raising the minimum wage and school funding. A strong majority does favor Hogan’s positions supporting an independent commission for redistricting and focusing transportation funding on roads and highways, not mass transit.

AG Frosh asks for $1 million to exercise new powers

Hours after the House of Delegates gave final approval to broad new powers for Attorney General Brian Frosh to sue the federal government, he was in front of a House committee asking for $1 million a year to hire five lawyers for his new mission. The delegates approved the new powers for the Democratic AG to go after the Trump administration without the permission of Republican Gov. Larry Hogan in a straight party line vote 89-50, with all Republicans opposed.

House defuses fireworks over Frosh’s power to sue Trump

By following normal legislative procedure, the House of Delegates Tuesday defused the political fireworks that went off in the Maryland Senate five days earlier when Democrats rammed through a broad expansion of the powers of the Democratic attorney to sue the federal government. A somewhat muted response by House Republicans also helped to reduce the heat by limiting their debate to a single amendment focusing on the constitutional authority legislators were handing over to the Democratic Attorney General Brian Frosh.

Columbia at 50 Part 8: RELIGION: Interfaith centers sought to bring congregations together  

These interfaith centers in Wilde Lake and Oakland Mills, the first religious facilities built in the planned new town, were among the unique features most often remarked on with wonder in media coverage of Columbia. While they were consistent with the open, integrated and forward-thinking city Jim Rouse had in mind, they were not part of the original planning process at all.

UPDATED: Senate rushes to approve expanded powers of Md. attorney general to challenge Trump policies

Over the strong protests of Republicans and a few Democrats, the Maryland Senate quickly gave preliminary approval to a bill to expand the powers of Maryland’s attorney general, allowing him to challenge any action by the federal government that harms the health and welfare of Maryland citizens. The measure, SJ5, the Maryland Defense Act, was sponsored by most Senate Democrats and its entire leadership and is clearly aimed at the Trump administration. The bill had a hearing just Wednesday, and was swiftly voted out of the Senate Budget and Taxation Committee on a party line vote hours later, and then was rushed to the Senate floor, where its Democratic sponsors refused to give opponents a day to look at the proposal and make possible amendments — a common courtesy at this point in the session.