Maryland Divided Part 1: Rural counties hope to gain political clout

The first in a five-part series in the divide between rural Maryland and the rest of the state. Earlier this year when Gov. Larry Hogan took the stage in Annapolis at P.A.C.E., a conference dedicated to Western Maryland, he opened with the following: “When I was sworn in two years ago, I said the war on rural Maryland was over — and I meant what I said.”

Opinion: Small business implores Gov. Hogan to keep veto promise on sick leave

While the administration continues to focus on pro-business policies, the legislature proved this year with the passage of House Bill 1 that they are determined to run interference, writes Mike O’Halloran of the National Federation of Independent Business. While the governor and his team focus on deregulation, legislators are attempting to mandate the amount of time off an employee can take from their job.

Rascovar: Preakness Week and Pimlico’s future

Kentucky may have the biggest horse race of the year but Maryland has the most entertaining “people’s party” on the infield at Pimlico Race Course on Preakness Day, which takes place Saturday. It’s an important day for the city and state’s economy, but how can it continue in those antiquated facilities?

Collins: Medical marijuana goes up in smoke

Just when you thought the cloud surrounding Maryland’s “medical” marijuana scheme couldn’t get any worse … it did. State auditors recently found that the Maryland Medical Cannabis Commission may have violated state procurement law and is overpaying for consulting services … and has not paid its bills. This type of bungling really should not shock anybody. Maryland’s “medical” marijuana program has been rife with conflicts since its inception.

Collins: Legislators failed rape victims

It probably will shock many that uber-progressive Maryland is one of a handful of states in which rapists have parental rights over children born as a result of their crime. It probably will shock them even more to know that, for the ninth time, a bill to deny parental rights to rapists died in the legislature on its final day.

Rascovar: Maryland’s balanced budget – for now

Another Maryland General Assembly session has come and gone with Gov. Larry Hogan proclaiming victory and legislative leaders breathing a positive sigh of relief. There were no big wins for Hogan but no shocking defeats, either. His agenda may sell well with die-hard Hogan backers but it was a non-starter with Democratic lawmakers.