Brian Beckham, a custodial worker with disabilities at Melwood, finishes tying up the final trash bag during a demonstration of the now-obsolete time trials  in the Melwood center. Capital News Service photo by Josh Magness.

Ending subminimum wages for workers with disabilities passes

As of January, 36 in-state organizations were authorized to pay just over 3,600 workers with disabilities less than the minimum wage, according to a legislative analysis. But the Minimum Wage and Community Integration Act -- a pair of bills that passed both the Maryland House and Senate with wide, bipartisan majorities -- aims to end that practice.

Gov. Larry Hogan talks to reporters after the session, as members of his staff stand behind him on the stairway.

Tax cuts, paid sick leave fail in final hours, but hundreds of bills enacted

What would a 90-day legislative session with its turn-into-a-pumpkin midnight deadline be without a little high drama at the finale? Competing Senate and House tax-cut packages turned into no tax cuts at all, except for a select few, including a multibillion-dollar defense contractor. Parts of a firearms safety package backed by the Democratic leadership wound up being scuttled for overreach after they were combined in a conference committee on the final day. A paid sick leave mandate, declared dead than resuscitated as part of an attempted tax cut deal, died again as the deal fell apart.

Prison by Zlatko Vickovic with Flickr Creative Commons License

Opinion: Let’s get it right on Justice Reinvestment

After a long day of intense conference committee negotiations Saturday, Maryland's House and Senate -- recently at odds over key provisions of the Justice Reinvestment Act -- finally agreed to strong compromise legislation that changes the way we treat those who have committed crimes in the best interests of a just society. As the only nonprofit representative of the Justice Reinvestment Coordinating Council, Caryn York urges lawmakers to approve and adopt this thoughtfully developed legislation.

Senate rejects automatic voter registration

The Maryland Senate Thursday rejected a bill to automatically register every eligible adult in the state to vote amid concerns about privacy and the possibility that non-citizens might get registered. The vote was 21-24, with seven Democrats joining Republicans in killing the measure.

Sam Eig Highway by dougtone on Flickr

Opinion: Transportation scoring bill sends officials on wild goose chase

Del. Bob Flanagan was Maryland's secretary of transportation from 2003 to 2007. In this article, he describes how the current transportation planning process works and compares it under HB1013, Maryland Open Transportation Investment Decision Act of 2016, which the governor vetoed Friday. The House will attempt to override the veto Thursday. It passed both houses just shy of the super-majorities needed to override a veto. In the accompanying article, "Scoring the transportation scoring system in HB1013", Flanagan analyzes the impact of the proposed new scoring system.

Justice Reinvestment closer to final passage, but House, Senate remain apart

With just five days left until the end of the Maryland legislative session, the House of Delegates and state Senate have a long road of negotiations ahead on criminal justice reform. However, with only days left to reach consensus, each chamber isn’t even agreeing on what the largest differences between the House and Senate versions are.

Sponsor Luke Clippinger talks to the House about his paid sick leave bill.

Paid sick leave bill passes House

The House of Delegates easily passed a bill requiring paid sick leave for all but the smallest businesses in Maryland, rejecting Republican warnings that it was job killer. In the 84-54 vote, five Democrats joined all 49 Republicans present opposing the bill, which faces an uncertain fate in the Senate Finance Committee.