Sen. Kagan considers race for Montgomery County executive

Sen. Cheryl Kagan is an unconventional politician, particularly when it comes to fundraising. No breakfast fundraisers or evening receptions for the Gaithersburg senator. Kagan goes more for ice cream socials and afternoon concerts with the kind of singer-songwriters she’s been promoting in house concerts for years, as she did Sunday afternoon at an art gallery in the new Crown section of Gaithersburg, part of District 17.

Pension system investments earned 10% in FY ’17, but long term returns still lag

The investment portfolio of the Maryland State Retirement and Pension System returned 10.02% for the fiscal year that ended June 30, raising the assets of the system to $49 billion, an increase of $3.6 billion over last year. That still leaves an unfunded liability of at least $20 billion. The exact amount of the shortfall if all promised benefits had to be paid out immediately has yet to be calculated this year.The year’s performance exceeded the system’s 7.55% target for annual return, and raised the five-year average to 7.64%.

Stormwater rules help create a growing number of jobs

Stormwater management training programs seek to unite a willing yet underemployed workforce with a growing and insatiable need to maintain runoff control structures so Maryland can meet its Chesapeake Bay cleanup goals.

Maryland lags behind some states on school spending

Maryland often prides itself on how good its schools are and how much it spends on them. But the Kirwan Commission studying the state’s school funding and how it spends the money was told on Wednesday that Maryland actually lags behind several states with better test scores — Massachusetts, New Jersey and New Hampshire. On the other hand, compared to countries with top-performing students, U.S. schools spend far more per pupil. The conclusion, according to commission’s lead consultant, is that “money matters but how it is spent matters greatly.” He made a number of key recommendations.

Montgomery businesses ream County Council for reintroducing $15 minimum wage bill before impact study

The Montgomery County business community blasted the majority of the Montgomery County Council for re-introducing a revised $15 minimum wage bill without waiting for a county-ordered economic impact study. “This is a surprise,” said Gigi Godwin, president of the Montgomery County Chamber of Commerce. “And it’s disappointing. The County Council couldn’t wait for the county government’s report on the facts. Where’s the public policy process? This is baffling.”

A compromise on illegal gun possession in Baltimore: Treat minimum sentences like an emergency public health measure

To try to control the rapid growth in gun violence and get guns of the street, Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh and Police Commissioner Kevin Davis are pushing a new city ordinance that would impose a one-year minimum sentence for carrying an illegal firearm in Baltimore. But a sunset provision could make the measure more palatable, writes Nate Loewentheil.

Controlling the big, tasty and invasive wild blue catfish

People may not learn to love blue catfish in the Chesapeake Bay, but perhaps they will learn to love them on their plate. A draft report from a task force that spent more than a year looking for ways to deal with the large, voracious — and rapidly expanding — blue catfish population acknowledges that the invasive species has likely become a permanent resident of the Bay, and says action is needed to prevent “irreversible” harm to the ecosystem.

Photo Gallery: Hot and steamy under big tent at Tawes crab feast

The Ringling Brothers circus closed earlier this year, and it looked like lobbyist Bruce Bereano had bought one of their tents as the longtime Annapolis influencer hosted the biggest gathering at the annual J. Millard Tawes Clam Bake and Crab Feast in Crisfield Wednesday. Here’s a gallery of photos from the hot and steamy event.