Guest Opinion: Comprehensive crime bill will take us back decades

Caryn York responds to Gov. Larry Hogan’s Sun op-ed on the comprehensive crime bill. She says the bill was rushed, and contains mandatory minimums that will again lead to mass incarceration, contradicting last year’s Justice Reinvestment Act which both she and the governor supported.

Equal justice under law Supreme Court

Opinion: Time for Supreme Court to limit gerrymandering

The U.S. Supreme Court on Wednesday is scheduled to hear the Maryland case of Benisek v. Lamone in what could be a landmark decision for—or against—political gerrymandering.  The decision will either inflame or temper partisan passions, but in either case, will shape the nation for generations to come.

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.

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.

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.

pills

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.

immigration line

Opinion: Rolling back Temporary Protected Status is good news for U.S. workers

There were an estimated 8 million unauthorized workers employed in the U.S. civilian labor force in 2014. Among authorized workers in the U.S. civilian labor force, there are hundreds of thousands of non-citizens who violated the U.S. border or other U.S. immigration laws but received U.S. work authorization permits anyway. The Temporary Protected Status (TPS) program is one of the reasons. Trump Administration efforts to roll back TPS for countries like El Salvador and Honduras many years after the “qualifying” natural disasters have drawn outrage from some quarters. But rollback is good news for American and lawful permanent resident alien workers, writes Richard Douglas in a guest commentary.