Budget conference approves alternative approach to rain tax

House and Senate conferees working on the state budget tentatively approved an alternative to the contentious stormwater remediation fee dubbed the “rain tax” by opponents.

The surprise move offered by Sen. James Ed DeGrange of Anne Arundel County appears to be an end-run around environmentalists and the House Environmental Matters Committee, which has blocked any changes to the requirement that nine counties and Baltimore City impose a separate tax to clean up stormwater polluting the bay.

Senate votes 20% pay raise for top state officials

The Senate voted Tuesday to provide a 20% salary increase over the next four years to the attorney general, comptroller, state treasurer and secretary of state. Under the bill, which Senate members approved 36-10, the attorney general, comptroller and treasurer would earn $149,500 in 2018, and the secretary of state would earn $109,500.

Jared Knight-Hopkins and Charlene Smith-Scott

Disability support staff do demanding jobs with low pay

Support staff who work for mostly nonprofit agencies provide care for people with developmental disabilities. The state reimburses their agencies at $9.82 per hour. With proposals to raise the minimum wage above that, the workers and their agencies are concerned about high turnover and the value placed on the work they do.

Praying hands

WWJD? Pray in secret, He says

A federal judge this week told the Carroll County commissioners to stop praying in Jesus' name at their meetings. One of the commissioners defied the order, and said she's willing to go to jail over it. They tackled this problem some time ago at the State House, But what would Jesus do?

Del. Charles Barkley

Every GOP budget cut clobbered by Dems

Republican legislators applied their usual persistence in trying to trim the Maryland budget Wednesday and were rewarded with their usual result: Every one of the dozen amendments they offered to reduce spending were defeated by overwhelming Democratic majorities.