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.

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.

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.

House votes to put sports gambling in Maryland on November ballot; dies in Senate

Bipartisan legislation calling for Maryland voters to weigh in on legalized sports betting in the state sailed through the House Thursday with a vote of 124 to 14. The bill, HB1014, sponsored by Del. Frank Turner, D-Howard, would place a law to allow sports betting at Maryland casinos and horse racing tracks on the November ballot through a voter referendum on a constitutional change. This bill died in the Senate.

Senate unanimously passes $44.5 billion state budget

The Maryland Senate on Thursday unanimously passed the state’s $44.5 billion budget for fiscal 2019, just 2.2% higher than this year’s spending plan. The senators heaped bipartisan praise on budget committee chairman Ed Kasemeyer, who is retiring from the Senate this year and got three standing ovations from his colleagues over the past three days as he presented the budget.

House Judiciary Committee unanimously approves repeat sex offender bill

The House Judiciary Committee Thursday unanimously approved legislation that would allow evidence of previous sexual predatory behavior by defendants to be admitted in court. The committee’s approval of the “prior bad acts” legislation happened only after advocates of the bill pressured committee leaders, who has been criticized for failing to advance similar legislation in previous years.

UPDATE Goners: 10 senators, 29 delegates leave their seats this year

This is the last legislative session for 10 senators and 29 delegates as they leave their seats to others, whether by retiring or running for other offices. (We missed two delegates in the first posting, and fixed a couple of incorrect party designations.) Primary and general elections may unseat other lawmakers, but here is the list of the lawmakers that will produce at least a 20% turnover in both chambers.

House Republicans issue ultimatum to Vallario on sexual predator bill; he promises vote

House Republican leaders on Tuesday vowed to circumvent a powerful House Judiciary chairman by using parliamentary rules to petition a full House vote for a sexual predator bill if the bill did not receive a committee vote by Friday. In an interview on the House floor Tuesday, Vallario told MarylandReporter.com that Del. Vanessa Atterbeary’s bill was in fact on the voting list. “It’s on the list,” Vallario said. “I worked on it over the weekend.