From Gov. Larry Hogan Facebook page, pre-Halloween. The guv as Captain Picard from Star Trek.

Rascovar on Hogan’s curious Facebook blasts

Gov. Larry Hogan uses his Facebook page for generally positive statements about his administration and his fight against cancer. But last week, a staff writer went too far with a negative comment about a legislative hearing that turned out to be plus for the administration.

The Redistricting Reform Commission. Photo by Howard Gorrell

Is redistricting reform a waste of time?

To some politicians and pundits, the governor's Redistricting Reform Commission is a waste of time. Certainly covering its hearings and deliberations as much as has done is seen as a huge waste of time and space. Len Lazarick writes that propositions that face uphill fights often take years to pass. It is part of the process of educating the legislators and their constituents, changing minds and influencing public opinion.

Interim State Superintendent Jack Smith, upper right, talks to state Board of Education Tuesday about new test scores. Photo by Melody Simmons,

Majority of high school students didn’t pass new standardized tests

A majority of Maryland high school students who took the state’s first Common Core standardized assessment exams last spring did not meet standards for 10th grade English and about 70% didn’t meet the bar for Algebra I, state education leaders learned Tuesday. Few minority students met the new standards.

Sens. Cory Booker and Barbara Mikulski. Photo copyright by Kevin Gillogly, mocokevin on Flickr

Mikulski whips up Democratic crowd

Stung by the loss of the governorship to Republican Larry Hogan, Sen. Barbara Mikulski told a crowd of 500 cheering Democrats, "We take a pledge that we will never again lose a statewide election." Beyond that, she said it is not enough that nine out of 10 members of Maryland's congressional delegation are Democrats. She wanted a "100% Maryland delegation" of Democrats.

Maryland's 1967 Constitutional Convention met in the House of Delegates chamber. Photo by Rebecca Lessner,

Well-aged solutions to Maryland’s redistricting problems

As we look back to the future this week, the problems of congressional and legislative redistricting are not new in Maryland, and potential solutions aren't particularly new either. Maryland's Constitutional Convention of 1967 dealt with the same issues Gov. Larry Hogan's Redistricting Reform Commission is grappling with this week: what kind of group should draw the lines, who should serve on it, what standards for the districts should they follow and even whether all the members of the House of Delegates should serve in single-member districts.

Redistricting Reform Commission at final hearing in Laurel.

Senator pushes pragmatic change to congressional redistricting, while commission seeks broader reform

While her colleagues debated how they might come up with an independent nonpartisan redistricting commission -- as the governor instructed them to do -- the highest ranking legislator among them urged them to propose something lawmakers might actually pass: Rational standards for compact and contiguous congressional districts. "Don't you want to come out of this with something?" asked Sen. Joan Carter Conway, a Baltimore Democrat who chairs the Senate committee that would likely handle any legislation the commission might recommend. "We want something that works."