Relief for toll road penalties put on hold, Senate chairman says

A Senate bill to address “predatory” toll penalties, technical problems with transponders and poor customer service at E-ZPass will die in the Senate Finance Committee this session, its chairman said Tuesday, along with a watered down House version that delegates supported unanimously on Monday. Instead, Senate Finance Committee Chair Thomas “Mac” Middleton said he is holding off legislation for a year to give the Maryland Transportation Authority time to improve customer service and pursue new contracts with vendors to operate Maryland’s toll system.

Opinion: It’s great to be a gangster in Maryland!

Open borders. Marijuana. Relaxed rules on bail, lifer parole, and criminal sentencing. Anti-police legislators. It’s great to be a gangster in Maryland! Aspirations to make Maryland a sanctuary for undocumented migrants are getting rave reviews from the “maras” and the transnational human trafficking cartels which smuggle men, women, and children into our state.

Rascovar: Saving the Preakness and Pimlico’s future

Thanks to revenue from Maryland’s successful slots casinos, the state’s thoroughbred racing industry has seen a re-birth that hints at prosperity for the Free State’s billion-dollar horse industry in future decades. To keep those good times a-rollin’, though, will require a major investment by Annapolis political leaders and by their counterparts in Baltimore City.

Senate approves extra funding for Md. Public TV if Trump cuts aid

Starting next year live C-Span style deliberations of the Maryland House and Senate could be televised and live streamed during the last two weeks of each session, under a provision in a bill to support Maryland Public Television should Congress cut funding to the Corporation for Public Broadcasting as President Trump has proposed.

Paid sick leave bills “dead in the water,” Hogan says, promising veto

The paid sick leave bills making their way through the legislature “are dead on arrival” if they reach his desk, Gov. Larry Hogan declared Wednesday. He promised reporters “I will veto them immediately” because they have the potential to kill thousands of jobs and “are disastrous for our economy.” This story compares who is covered in the legislative proposals and Hogan’s own bill.

Columbia at 50 Part 9 ENVIRONMENT: Respecting the Land While Building a City

“To respect the land” was one of the four basic goals for Columbia often repeated by developer James Rouse more than 50 years ago as he pitched his proposal “to build a complete city” on 14,000 acres of farmland, woods and stream valleys. The goals seem almost a contradiction. If he wanted to “respect the land,” why not just leave the fields and forest as they were? Because they were not going to stay that way for long as suburban development spread from Baltimore and Washington along the new interstate highways.

Trump and Clinton voters in Maryland followed 2012 pattern

By William G. Rothstein

For MarylandReporter.com

The reasons for the election of Donald Trump as president can be better understood by an analysis of voting patterns in Maryland counties. Hillary Clinton received 60% of the total Maryland vote and President Trump 36%. However, 17 of the 24 Maryland counties voted for Trump and 7 voted for Clinton. An analysis of the counties that voted for each candidate found little influence of campaign issues and little change in voter behavior compared to the 2012 presidential election. Maryland is distinguished by the great variety in its regional economies.

Collins: “Trust Act” means flouting immigration law

By Michael Collins

For MarylandReporter.com

Many communities in Maryland are openly flouting federal laws regarding immigration by establishing themselves as “sanctuary cities,” and, by doing so; they are creating a troublesome precedent. These “sanctuary cities” often prohibit their police from notifying federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) if they have detained an illegal immigrant. They encourage local police not to turn over illegal immigrants in their custody to federal officials because they might start deportation proceedings against them. The stated purpose of these policies is to make illegal immigrants feel safe and welcome.  That they thwart the enforcement of duly enacted federal immigration laws—and that immigration policy is the exclusive bailiwick of the federal government—doesn’t enter into the mix. Nor, it seems, do broader public safety concerns.  The news frequently includes stories about illegal immigrants who were protected by these policies going on to commit crimes—often with tragic consequences.

Hogan’s budget moves to House floor, growth in private school scholarships cut

The House Appropriations Committee on Friday sent Gov. Larry Hogan’s $43 billion budget to the House floor for votes this week. It made $90 million in trims to general fund spending while adding back $74 million in other areas, including $8.4 million more to fund a 3.5% pay hike for caregivers of the developmentally disabled and $15 million restored for a Prince George’s regional hospital. The longest and most substantial debate occurred over a nearly $5 million cut in Hogan’s proposed funding of the BOOST Program to pay for scholarships of low-income students to private schools, including religious ones.