Opinion: A tipped server from Seattle says Madaleno’s $15 minimum wage bill cuts incomes

Sen. Richard Madaleno just called for tipped service workers to “complain if they think they should be getting more” in MarylandReporter.com’s March 9 story.  
His attempt to eliminate the industry standard of tipping in favor of a flat $15 an hour minimum wage, Madaleno sited the minimum wage increase in Washington State as an example of success. That’s not true for tipped workers in full-service restaurants.

Congress faces deadline Friday for Bay funding, EPA authority

Congress faces deadlines this Friday to determine how much authority the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency will have to enforce Bay cleanup efforts — and how much money it will have to spend on that work during this fiscal year that began Oct. 1.

Opinion: Maryland should not “one-click order” huge subsidies for Amazon

The Maryland General Assembly is considering a bill intended to attract Amazon to Montgomery County. If this legislation is fast tracked after last week’s hearings, Maryland will lack some of the information it needs in order to make a smart decision about whether it should subsidize Amazon.

OP-ED: The unintended victims of a $15 minimum wage are small businesses and their employees

As the Maryland General Assembly considers increasing the state’s minimum wage to $15 an hour, HB664 with a hearing Tuesday, the low wage workers those bills are intended to help may end up out of a job. The latest minimum wage research shows there is a tipping point where the resulting job losses are so significant, that people at the low end of the pay scale are hurt far more than they are helped.

Just retired Bay Program director left a better Chesapeake than the one he inherited

While kayaking in a couple of Chesapeake Bay tributaries last fall, Nick DiPasquale experienced some good news firsthand — by nearly getting stuck.  “The grass beds were so thick you basically got hung up in them,” he recalled of his excursions to the Mattawoman and Gunpowder rivers. “It was almost like being on land.” As DiPasquale wrapped up his 6 1/2-year tenure at the helm of the state-federal Chesapeake Bay Program partnership, the Bay has had some of its best water quality in years. Underwater grass beds have surged to their highest level in decades.

Committee cuts judicial pay raise to $20K; Strong support for term limits for legislators, more education funding, $15 minimum wage

All 313 Maryland judges would get a $20,000 pay raise — $5,000 for each of the next four years, the House Appropriations Committee is recommending. The committee cut $15,000 from the raises proposed by the Judicial Compensation Commission. Three-quarters of Marylanders (75%) support term limits for state legislators, and a majority (56%) support the two-term, 8-year limit proposed by Gov. Larry Hogan, according to part 2 of a Goucher College poll taken last week.

The real story about Supervised Consumption Facilities for drugs

Supervised Consumption Facilities (SCF) are proven effective in reducing drug use, reducing disease, reducing discarded needles, reducing crime, and getting people into treatment. Equally important, there have been no overdose deaths in any of the facilities in operation because a trained rescuer is present at all times.

Opinion: Annapolis should keep hands off local pensions

About a year ago, I wrote an essay for the Maryland Reporter suggesting the state legislature look to local governments for ideas on how to successfully manage pension systems.  Naturally, the opposite has happened. A delegate is sponsoring legislation that would require local government pensions to provide a potentially budget-breaking disability benefit for some public safety employees.

Chesapeake’s historic waterways paying the price of nutrient trading

Both Maryland and the city of Frederick promote kayaking and fishing on the Monocacy Rive3r. But beyond this advertising to tourists, the state’s and local governments’ oversight of the river have been more passive-aggressive than respectful. On the banks of the Monocacy, the Frederick City Wastewater Treatment Plant disgorges a waterfall of partially treated human waste carrying a gut-wrenching reek of ammonia and illegal amounts of pollution down black-stained boulders into the river.

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Opinion: Pharmacy Benefit Managers (PBMs) are advocates for quality, affordable prescription drugs

There is so much rancor and finger pointing these days over prescription drug prices that consumers are often left to wonder: who is fighting on their behalf? The answer: Pharmacy Benefit Managers, or PBMs. Companies and public programs providing prescription drug coverage hire PBMs for their expertise, and ability to reduce drug costs by negotiating for rebates and discounts from big drug companies and drugstores.