House passes bill limiting police seizures of property

The House of Delegates ultimately passed a bill to change requirements for police property seizures, with fierce debate about whether the bill was helping “the small people” of Maryland, or handing drug dealers another tool in their belt.

HB 360, sponsored by Del. Joseph Vallario, chair of the House Judiciary Committee, passed with 81-54. Six Democrats joined all of the House Republicans in opposing the bill.

MTA Mobility van

Md. Transit Admin. plagued by cost-control problems

Since 2005, the Maryland Transit Administration, or MTA, has fallen short of the goal to bring in 35 cents in fares for every dollar spent. While state law mandates the goal and tasks the MTA to control costs while keeping fares low, the Office of Legislative Audits just reported a litany of cost-containment controls the transit agency failed to exercise.

Rascovar: Rating Maryland’s Senate contenders

U.S. Sen. Barbara Mikulski knew her announcement last week would shake up political Maryland and give ambitious younger officials an opportunity to consider entering the race to succeed her next year. Many are mulling the possibilities, but in the end most will choose to remain in their present jobs. Here’s rundown of their prospects.

Proposed birth injury fund pits hospitals against trial lawyers

A bill to create a no-fault birth injury fund in Maryland pits two traditional opponents — hospitals and the trial lawyers who sue them for malpractice.

Sponsored by Sen. Catherine Pugh and 22 delegates in House, including three doctors, SB585 and HB553 would set up a fund paid for by the hospitals that would finance the living and care expenses of any baby suffering a neurological injury from actions at the hospitals.

Rain tax repeal gets hearing

Republican Gov. Larry Hogan’s office joined senators in presenting three identical bills at a Senate committee hearing Tuesday to repeal the “rain tax,” the pejorative nickname for stormwater remediation fee.