School construction funding fight is part of ongoing drive to strip power from the governor

Maryland’s governor has long been considered one of the most powerful in the country, mainly because of his control over spending and appointments. The Maryland General Assembly has for decades sought to chip away at the governor’s power, mainly through spending mandates and other legal restraints. Last week’s action in the Senate and House to pass a new mandate on school construction and take the governor out of the decisions on what schools should be funded is just another chapter in that ongoing drive to shift the balance of power.

Bill would put an armed officer in every school

Determined to pass meaningful legislation in the wake of the Parkland and Great Mills high school shootings, Maryland lawmakers are considering a measure to put an armed school resource officer in every public school. The bill comes as part of a four-bill package being rushed through the General Assembly as session nears end. 

Republican lawmakers cry foul over union ‘evergreen’ contract, other pro-union measures

Republican lawmakers are crying foul over Democratic efforts to pass a bill extending “evergreen” employment terms for thousands of unionized state employees after negotiating parties agreed not to make statutory changes. The proposed bill would allow contract terms for approximately 30,000 state employees to stay in place after a negotiated employment contract has expired if the two parties — the state and its public employee unions  — are unable to come to agreement on new terms. The Senate passed this and several other union-backed measures Monday night in party line votes of 33-14 on each of them.

Equal justice under law Supreme Court

Opinion: Time for Supreme Court to limit gerrymandering

The U.S. Supreme Court on Wednesday is scheduled to hear the Maryland case of Benisek v. Lamone in what could be a landmark decision for—or against—political gerrymandering.  The decision will either inflame or temper partisan passions, but in either case, will shape the nation for generations to come.

More House Republicans vote against budget

A few more Republican delegates than usual voted against the House version of Gov. Hogan’s $44.5 billion budget Thursday. The final vote was 126-11. The GOP members repeatedly tried to take $1 million away from Democratic Attorney General Brian Frosh and his lawsuits against the Trump administration, and they also attempted to provide more income tax relief than Democrats were willing to offer from the windfall the state will reap from the federal tax cuts.

Opinion: A tipped server from Seattle says Madaleno’s $15 minimum wage bill cuts incomes

Sen. Richard Madaleno just called for tipped service workers to “complain if they think they should be getting more” in MarylandReporter.com’s March 9 story.  
His attempt to eliminate the industry standard of tipping in favor of a flat $15 an hour minimum wage, Madaleno sited the minimum wage increase in Washington State as an example of success. That’s not true for tipped workers in full-service restaurants.

Congress faces deadline Friday for Bay funding, EPA authority

Congress faces deadlines this Friday to determine how much authority the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency will have to enforce Bay cleanup efforts — and how much money it will have to spend on that work during this fiscal year that began Oct. 1.