Maryland State Board of Elections

Maryland makes getting on statewide ballot easy

How do you get your name on hundreds of thousands ballots in Maryland, get listed in multiple voters guides, get invited to candidate forums across the state, and all with very little effort? Plunk down $290 to the State Board of Elections, fill out a few forms and wait for the candidate questionnaires and forum invitations to roll in. That’s how you do it if you’re a registered Democrat or Republican wanting to run for governor, U.S. senator, attorney general or comptroller.  

Chesapeake’s historic waterways paying the price of nutrient trading

Both Maryland and the city of Frederick promote kayaking and fishing on the Monocacy Rive3r. But beyond this advertising to tourists, the state’s and local governments’ oversight of the river have been more passive-aggressive than respectful. On the banks of the Monocacy, the Frederick City Wastewater Treatment Plant disgorges a waterfall of partially treated human waste carrying a gut-wrenching reek of ammonia and illegal amounts of pollution down black-stained boulders into the river.

Election year politics fuels competing lockbox plans

When Gov. Larry Hogan strode to the podium Wednesday, and started talking about a lockbox for the Education Trust Fund from casino revenues, it had a familiar ring to it. Didn’t Democratic legislators propose a similar lockbox just two weeks ago? The two proposals have somewhat similar goals, but different approaches for increasing education spending. The Democrats want a constitutional amendment that they will send to the voters for approval in November. The governor wants to do his lockbox by statute without any additional voter approval.

Happy Birthday, Frederick Douglass. It’s his year in Maryland

Today, February 14, marks the 200th birthday of Frederick Douglass, or at least the day the famed abolitionist, writer and orator marked as his birthdate in 1818, since there were no records kept of the enslaved people in Talbot County on the Eastern Shore. Gov. Larry Hogan proclaimed 2018 “The Year of Frederick Douglass” in Maryland and announced a new 131-mile driving tour of sites significant in the life of Douglass, the most photographed American of the 19th century.

Judges defend big pay hike

Maryland’s top judges told the House Appropriations Committee Tuesday that increasing the pay of all 313 Maryland judges in the state was necessary to retain the quality and diversity of Maryland’s judiciary. The Judicial Compensation Commission recommended that all the judges get a $35,000 pay hike phased in over the next four years. This would bring the salaries of 173 circuit court judges up to $189,433 and the pay for 117 district court judges, the lowest paid of the jurists, up to $176,333. “I know it sounds outlandish what we propose,” said Elizabeth Buck, who chairs the independent commission. “I know it sounds crazy.”

The State House meal ticket and other General Assembly factoids

The 150-page report of the General Assembly Compensation Commission released last month contains gobs of interesting data about how the legislature operates and compares to those in other states, even while it recommended no raise for lawmakers during the next four years. One of the more interesting factoids is that last year more than four out of five legislators (82%, 155 senators and delegates) took 100% of the daily per diem meal limit. This is a bit surprising since there are receptions and lobbyist-paid committee dinners virtually every night of the week.

Montgomery County Candidates List for local, state, federal office 2/12/18

This is an updated list of candidates for local, state and federal office in Montgomery County as best as we could determine as of Feb. 12, 2018. Three Republicans have filed for candidacy in the U.S. Senate race, and Independent Neal Simon officially launched his campaign last week. Incumbent Sen. Ben Cardin has three Democrat opponents in the primary election, including convicted U.S. Army intelligence officer Chelsea Manning. Incumbent Attorney General Brian Frosh, D, will be challenged by Republican Craig Wolf in the general election. John Rea of Anne Arundel County is the third Democrat to enter the 3rd Congressional District race to challenge incumbent Congressman John Sarbanes in the June 26 primary election. Just when we thought the County Council At-Large race couldn’t get any larger, Democrat David Lipscomb filed for candidacy, bringing the total number of Democrat candidates to 31. Legislative District 15 has a new Republican candidate – Marc A. King – and a new Democrat candidate – Amy Frieder. There are now 3 Republicans and 8 Democrats vying to fill one vacant House seat in this district. Democrat Marc Lande joined the Legislative District 16 House Delegate race and David Jeang of the Green Party joined the Legislative District 19 Senate race. 

gold gavel

$35,000 pay raise proposed for all 313 Maryland judges

A proposal to give all 313 Maryland judges a $35,000 raise over the next four years faces a hearing Tuesday in the House Appropriations Committee.
The recommendations of the Judicial Compensation Commission will take effect automatically if the legislature does not reject or amend them by March 15 —  and  lawmakers have not hesitated to reject or reduce judicial pay hikes in the past. Salaries for the 173 circuit court judges would go up to $189,433 and the pay for 117 district court judges, the lowest paid of the jurists, would go up to $176,333.

High Tide in Dorchester: New documentary focuses on the rising waters taking land on the Shore

Though it begins with aerial shots of the seemingly endless tidal marshes in Maryland’s Dorchester County, the latest Bay Journal documentary is about a fast-approaching future in which that landscape could be entirely underwater. High Tide starts with the image that inspired it: Horton standing waist-deep in water — in what was once a field outside his father’s hunting cabin on the Honga River, where he played baseball as a child. That field is long gone, as are thousands of acres of land that have been lost in recent decades to a mixture of rising seas, erosion and high tides across the county.

A walk in the Eastern Shore woods with a different kind of forester

It was a chill November morning, the rising sun sloshing light on the tree tops. Larry Walton and I were about half a mile into the woods that line the Nanticoke River near Vienna, Md., when he wrapped his arms around a great old Atlantic white cedar. That tree species once shaded thousands of acres of Delmarva Peninsula swamps with its dense, evergreen canopies, until rampant logging and wetlands destruction made cedars relatively rare. Today, you seldom see specimens like this.