Lt. Gov. Boyd Rutherford presents a governor's citation to Japanese Ambassador Kenichiro Sasae at the envoy's residence Monday night.

Japan recognizes new ties to Maryland — and drivers licenses too

Japanese Ambassador Kenichiro Sasae hosted scores of Maryland senators and delegates at his official residence in Washington Monday night to celebrate increasing business ties with Maryland. "More than 6,000 Japanese already live in Maryland," Sasae told a crowd of several hundred that included many of those residents. "Roughly 600 Japanese companies operate there, providing about 10,000 jobs for the citizens of Maryland."

Center for Public Integrity graphic

Maryland gets D grade in 2015 State Integrity Investigation

Maryland’s disastrous health exchange rollout combined two elements — procurement problems and lack of transparency — that are among several recurring themes that led to the state earning a score of 64, or a D grade,ranking it 23rd among the 50 states in the State Integrity Investigation, a data-driven assessment of state government accountability and transparency by the Center for Public Integrity and Global Integrity. While Maryland moved up in the state rankings this year, it was due to other states falling, not because of any significant improvements in such areas as government transparency and financial disclosure.

Warren Deschenaux at podium briefs newly elected legislators in December.

Md.’s chronic structural deficits recur in 2 years

Democratic legislators proudly proclaimed on Monday they had cured Maryland's structural deficits with a big surplus this year, but it turns out it is only a temporary respite from a chronic budget disease. On Friday, the legislature's top nonpartisan staffer told legislative leaders in a letter that structural deficits are forecast to recur again in two years, growing from $37 million in fiscal 2018 to $465 million in fiscal 2021.

House Appropriations Chair Maggie McIntosh with other legislative leaders Nov. 2.

Rascovar: Transparent political ploy on surplus

When Democratic legislators announced last week that a huge budget surplus would make it possible for Republican Gov. Larry Hogan, Jr. to reverse his earlier decision to cut $68 million in school aid, it was the equivalent of beating a dead horse to death. Asking a politician of the opposite party to recant his prior action is a waste of time and energy. It’s not going to happen. Democrats are doing it only to gain propaganda points.

Sam Faddis with volunteers for his congressional campaign.

Ex-CIA agent hopes to unseat Hoyer

Republican Sam Faddis, a retired operations manager for the Central Intelligence Agency and an author, on Monday will formally launch his campaign to unseat Maryland's longest serving and highest ranking member of the U.S, House of Representatives, House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer. Democrat Hoyer, 76, has been in Congress for 34 years representing the 5th Congressional District. “We have ended up with a class of professional politicians, men who have never done anything else in their lives,” and Hoyer is “a poster child” for that class, said Faddis.

Gaithersburg High School

Hogan, Franchot criticize spending on school construction

In a heated discussion with the head of the school construction program, Gov. Larry Hogan and Comptroller Peter Franchot aired serious concerns about the state’s spending on public school projects at Wednesday's Board of Public Works meeting. “We can’t just keep shoveling more and more money without accountability,” Hogan said. “The taxpayers are getting pretty frustrated with the results.”

Redistricting Reform Commission discusses final report

No politicians would draw lines under final redistricting plan

The governor's Redistricting Reform Commission wrapped up its final report Tuesday calling for an independent, bipartisan commission of nine people to draw congressional and legislative district lines, with no politicians involved. All but two Democratic legislators on the 11-member reform group voted for the final report setting up the kind of independent commission Gov. Larry Hogan had called for.

Senate President Mike Miller and other senators and delegates press Gov. Hogan to release school aid.

Democrats repeat plea for Hogan to release school aid; governor again says no

Democratic legislators are yet again asking Gov. Larry Hogan to release the final $68 million of school aid they appropriated now that the state has a larger surplus and higher revenue projections than expected when they passed the budget in April. Yet again, the Republican governor has rejected their plea, as he has throughout the year, citing structural deficits looming in the future and pension liabilities. The Democrats insist those deficits have been cured.