Alyssa Bevan Dangel in costume as a broken-winged pterodactyl, as one federal judge described the shape of the gerrymandered 3rd Congressional District.

Redistricting reform tries to stay alive despite leadership opposition

Reforming the way congressional and legislative districts are carved up in Maryland may have been declared dead on arrival by Democratic leaders, but the Hogan administration and a few progressive Democratic legislators are keeping the issue alive at hearings this week. The co-chairs of the governor’s redistricting commission presented their proposal for a new commission completely independent of politicians to the House Rules Committee. Del. Kirill Reznik, D-Montgomery, is proposing his own version of an independent commission to be made up of the nonpartisan legislative staff.

Barbera Staton judicial elections

Judges and lawyers battle over judicial elections

Maryland’s top judges and lawyers sparred Thursday over a series of Maryland constitutional amendments changing how judges face the voters, removing the chance that sitting Circuit Court judges can be challenged in elections.

Police body cameras get overwhelming support in new poll

An overwhelming majority of Marylanders support requiring police to wear body cameras, according to a new statewide poll. With police behavior gaining new attention in the past year, especially in Maryland after the death of Freddie Gray in police custody, the new Goucher College poll asked residents a series of question about policing in their communities. Some of the responses showed sharp divisions between whites and blacks on some issues.

Lawyer Dan Clements testifies to theSenate  Judicial Proceedings Committee.

Senate president again proposes later retirement age for judges

Senate President Mike Miller is proposing legislation to boost the mandatory retirement age of Maryland judges from 70 to 73. VA similar bill -- originally proposing 75 as the retirement age -- unanimously passed the Senate last year and was subsequently sent to the House Judiciary Committee where it ultimately passed after amendments. It never received a final vote before the legislative session ended.

Seizure of cash, property by police in drug crime would get harder

A proposal to reform the process by which police seize property like cash and cars from suspected criminals in drug cases is pitting law enforcement against civil liberties groups. Sen. Michael Hough, a Frederick Republican, told the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee during a hearing Thursday that current procedures contradict constitutional protections such as due process.

Lt. Gov. Boyd Rutherford will head new commission on procurement, while the legislature already has proposed reform.

Rascovar: Procurement clash may be coming

First, the good news: Gov. Larry Hogan last week created a 19-member commission to come up with ways to fix Maryland’s maddeningly inefficient system for purchasing $7 billion worth of goods and services each year. Here comes the bad news: This group may wind up trying to re-invent the wheel because state legislators appear ready to pass legislation, based on three years of study, that could dramatically change state purchasing practices.

Democrats introduce more gun control legislation

Days after the U.S. Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals sent Maryland’s assault weapon ban back to a lower court for strict review, top Democrats in the state legislature announced new measures to strengthen gun safety laws. One bans guns on college campuses; one bans anyone on the FBI’s terrorist watch list from purchasing a gun in Maryland; and the third requires judges to inform anyone convicted of a domestic violence offense that they must surrender their weapons