Dems blast Hogan’s silence on Bay cleanup cuts; administration fires back

Democrats in Annapolis Thursday railed against Republican Gov. Larry Hogan for not doing enough to protect the Chesapeake Bay under the Trump administration’s proposed cuts to the Bay cleanup plan and under a new EPA administrator historically hostile to environmental regulations. The administration fires back with sarcasm over partisan politics and past Democratic cuts to Bay restoration.

Opinion: Baltimore’s ‘most elegant’ new community not fit for a fish

It has been his joy and anguish through the last five decades to keep track of little Dipping Pond Run, a rare and trouty tributary of Baltimore’s central drainage way, the Jones Falls, says environmental writer Tom Horton. He details the fate of brook trout and other trout that might be wiped out by development.

Relief for toll road penalties put on hold, Senate chairman says

A Senate bill to address “predatory” toll penalties, technical problems with transponders and poor customer service at E-ZPass will die in the Senate Finance Committee this session, its chairman said Tuesday, along with a watered down House version that delegates supported unanimously on Monday. Instead, Senate Finance Committee Chair Thomas “Mac” Middleton said he is holding off legislation for a year to give the Maryland Transportation Authority time to improve customer service and pursue new contracts with vendors to operate Maryland’s toll system.

Senate approves extra funding for Md. Public TV if Trump cuts aid

Starting next year live C-Span style deliberations of the Maryland House and Senate could be televised and live streamed during the last two weeks of each session, under a provision in a bill to support Maryland Public Television should Congress cut funding to the Corporation for Public Broadcasting as President Trump has proposed.

Paid sick leave bills “dead in the water,” Hogan says, promising veto

The paid sick leave bills making their way through the legislature “are dead on arrival” if they reach his desk, Gov. Larry Hogan declared Wednesday. He promised reporters “I will veto them immediately” because they have the potential to kill thousands of jobs and “are disastrous for our economy.” This story compares who is covered in the legislative proposals and Hogan’s own bill.

Columbia at 50 Part 9 ENVIRONMENT: Respecting the Land While Building a City

“To respect the land” was one of the four basic goals for Columbia often repeated by developer James Rouse more than 50 years ago as he pitched his proposal “to build a complete city” on 14,000 acres of farmland, woods and stream valleys. The goals seem almost a contradiction. If he wanted to “respect the land,” why not just leave the fields and forest as they were? Because they were not going to stay that way for long as suburban development spread from Baltimore and Washington along the new interstate highways.

Hogan’s budget moves to House floor, growth in private school scholarships cut

The House Appropriations Committee on Friday sent Gov. Larry Hogan’s $43 billion budget to the House floor for votes this week. It made $90 million in trims to general fund spending while adding back $74 million in other areas, including $8.4 million more to fund a 3.5% pay hike for caregivers of the developmentally disabled and $15 million restored for a Prince George’s regional hospital. The longest and most substantial debate occurred over a nearly $5 million cut in Hogan’s proposed funding of the BOOST Program to pay for scholarships of low-income students to private schools, including religious ones.

Sick leave votes in Senate signal trouble for bill

A few Senate Democrats last week raised significant questions about paid sick leave legislation that had finally come to the floor. The votes on the dozen amendments to SB230 that were rejected also showed that the legislation does not have a veto-proof majority, with four or five Democrats joining with Republicans favoring less comprehensive coverage.