Howard County citizens are seeking to reform Maryland petition law, after frustration when their time and energy spent collecting 6,000 signatures was tossed aside by a late ruling by the county’s Board of Elections. The bill will affect local petition drives throughout Maryland.
It was a foregone conclusion that the Special Joint Legislative Committee to Select the State Treasurer would recommend that Nancy Kopp get a fourth four-year term in one of the most powerful jobs in state government.
Even the only other candidate interviewed by the committee, Bill Campbell, the Republican nominee for comptroller in the last two elections, expected that outcome.
Among the items that got Gov. Larry Hogan’s attention at his second Board of Public Works meeting Wednesday was a $90,000 contract to search for a new chief investment officer (CIO) at the State Retirement and Pension System.
Online travel sites are challenging legislation that claims their companies, such as Expedia and Orbitz, “buy and sell hotel rooms” and as such, they should be paying the state and Maryland counties more sales and hotel taxes.
State’s chief public defender seeks limits on caseloads, funds for more attorneys; homicide rate in Maryland prisons was triple national average, now has fallen; Gov. Hogan appoints veteran trooper to head Maryland State Police; Del. McKay seeks to cut corporate income tax rate for Washington, Allegany counties; expansion of needle exchange program is sought; state Dems backing President Obama on national immigration action; Lt. Gov. Brown could have won governor’s race with higher turnout, poll finds; and Baltimore County approves natural burial sites.
Extra fees for electricity customers who refuse to accept “smart meters” because they are wary of the new technology would be eliminated by a bill heard by the Senate Finance Committee Tuesday, and any extra costs would be spread across all customers. Utility companies argue these fees are necessary because of the extra cost of continuing to read the old meters.
The Maryland State Retirement System suffers from chronic underfunding—facing an actuarial shortfall for existing participants of $19.6 billion as of July 1, 2014. Fixing the shortfall will require decades of contributions’ discipline even while major demographic impediments and a clear risk of economic downturns (during the next 25 years) loom.
While we can certainly agree with Mr. Hayward’s opening statement that the Maryland State Retirement and Pension System “suffers from chronic underfunding,” we must part company with his assertion that reforms to the System over the last four years have not addressed the problem.