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 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.

Judges to get $20,000 pay raise over next 4 years, retired judges pensions go up too

The Maryland Senate Monday night gave final approval to a $20,000 pay raise for 312 Maryland judges over the next four years, $15,000 less than was recommended by the Judicial Compensation Commission in January. The pay raise in House Joint Resolution 3 as passed by the Senate and House also will boost the pensions for 417 retired judges and their surviving beneficiaries by as much as $13,340 a year since those payments are based on the salaries of current judges.

State paying more than appraised for some Purple Line properties

Maryland may be paying more for some properties in the main path of the Purple Line, state officials said, because one transit agency lacks purchasing leverage, and extended negotiations would cause costly delays. “In our enthusiasm and support for the Purple Line we’re getting put over a barrel by some of these landowners. And we are having to pay a lot more than the appraised values,” Comptroller Peter Franchot said at a Feb. 7 Board of Public Works meeting.

Bill to allow court evidence of repeat sex offenses advances in Senate, but fate in House appears dim

A bill to allow evidence in court of sexual predatory behavior by people accused of sex crimes advanced last week in the Senate, but chances of the legislation progressing in the House are dim, with one committee leader wanting judges to decide the issue. The Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee passed an amended bill Thursday that will effectively allow prosecutors to introduce evidence of other sexually assaultive behavior by defendants. Maryland courts typically never allow that unless it is for the same victim.

Madaleno calls for $15 minimum wage, phasing out tipped workers

Sen. Richard Madaleno made his case to fellow lawmakers Wednesday to raise the state’s minimum wage to $15 by 2024, increase pay for disability caregivers and phasing out a tip-based payment system for workers in the hospitality industry. “Raising the minimum wage to $15 would impact nearly 570,000 workers in our state,” Madaleno, D-Montgomery County, a candidate for governor, said. “Of those, 50% would be people of color and 55% would be women.” Opponents said it would have severe impact on small businesses.

Shore Power project aims to save tax dollars, environment

The Shore Power Project, launched several years ago at Washington College, has helped local governments on Maryland’s Eastern Shore find ways to reduce energy costs while also shrinking their carbon footprint. For students and staff at the private liberal arts college in Chestertown, the project offered a chance to help Shore communities address climate change by dealing with the shifting energy landscape.

Some Maryland taxpayers and corporations will pay higher state taxes due to federal tax changes

Perhaps 9% of Marylanders would pay $200 million more in state taxes next year under plans a Senate committee approved Tuesday to give most taxpayers relief from the consequences of recent federal tax cuts. But some corporations will likely pay as much as $75-100 million more in state taxes since there are no plans at the State House to try to grant them similar relief after the Trump cuts gave them big breaks on federal taxes.