Hayley Evans, Gov. Larry Hogan and Gerry Evans. From Evans Facebook page

$19M spent to lobby legislature; Evans stays on top for session; Perry and firm led 12-month figure

Gerry Evans was again the top grossing lobbyist during this year’s General Assembly session, billing close to $2 million. He got a significant boost from his top client, the second highest spending lobbyist employer, the Law Offices of Peter Angelos, which spent $380,000 to lobby the legislature. “It was a great year,” Evans said, but “I question the importance of the figure …. It’s still better than being last.”

Hogan Miller Busch signing

Big news is bills Hogan signed, not his vetoes

With the media’s typical focus on controversy and drama, a big story at the end of May was that Gov. Larry Hogan vetoed five bills for policy reasons, sometimes with harsh language. The really big news is how many bills Hogan signed (621) and the unusually large number (84) he allowed to become law without his signature. Some of those signed and unsigned bills had run into fierce opposition by Republican legislators. A few certainly violated Hogan’s own governing principles — especially his opposition to new mandated spending and increased business regulation.

girl at white board math class school (by mrcharly on Flickr)

New commission will likely lead to renewed battles over school funding

Quietly and unanimously, with brief hearings and practically no news coverage, the Maryland General Assembly passed bills that will likely set up one of the most contentious legislative fights of its election year session in 2018. The companion bills set up the Commission on Innovation and Excellence in Education, a 25-member panel charged with examining a long list of issues about public school funding. Its recommendations are due in October 2017.

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.