Briefs: Martin O’Malley, Lindsey Graham on fundraising trail

Former Gov. Martin O’Malley was the star attraction at a fundraiser for Howard County Councilmember Calvin Ball and his campaign for county executive against incumbent Republican Allan Kittleman, And U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina gave a laugh-filled speech to the Maryland Republican Party’s annual Red White and Blue dinner at the BWI Marriott Tuesday night.

Teachers give Jealous a boost over Baker in campaign for governor

Theresa Mitchell Dudley, president of the Prince George’s County teachers union, was standing on a chilly street corner in West Baltimore Tuesday morning, helping to promote the state union’s endorsement of Democrat Ben Jealous for governor that she and her members helped engineer. The endorsement of Jealous on Saturday by teachers from across the state was a major boost for him and a firm rejection of Rushern Baker, the Prince George’s county executive who the teachers there detest for multiple reasons — one of the few points of view they share with Republican Gov. Larry Hogan.

Final tally in record year: 890 bills passed, 142 already law

In a record year in which 3,127 bills and joint resolutions were introduced, 890 bills or 28% were passed and 142 have already become laws, most of them (114) in Tuesday’s bill signing. At the signing ceremony, Republican Gov. Larry Hogan continued to tout bipartisan cooperation and the contrast with Washington inaction, a theme he plans to carry through his reelection campaign in heavily Democratic Maryland.

Gallery: A cold and cloudy final day of a four-year term

It was the coldest final day of the Maryland General Assembly that anyone could remember. Sine Die (sign-ee die) in State House speak is usually warm and sunny. For at least nine senators and 29 delegates, it will be the last session in their current posts. Here is a gallery of photos to give a flavor of the day.

School construction funding fight is part of ongoing drive to strip power from the governor

Maryland’s governor has long been considered one of the most powerful in the country, mainly because of his control over spending and appointments. The Maryland General Assembly has for decades sought to chip away at the governor’s power, mainly through spending mandates and other legal restraints. Last week’s action in the Senate and House to pass a new mandate on school construction and take the governor out of the decisions on what schools should be funded is just another chapter in that ongoing drive to shift the balance of power.

More House Republicans vote against budget

A few more Republican delegates than usual voted against the House version of Gov. Hogan’s $44.5 billion budget Thursday. The final vote was 126-11. The GOP members repeatedly tried to take $1 million away from Democratic Attorney General Brian Frosh and his lawsuits against the Trump administration, and they also attempted to provide more income tax relief than Democrats were willing to offer from the windfall the state will reap from the federal tax cuts.