Maryland State Board of Elections

Maryland makes getting on statewide ballot easy

How do you get your name on hundreds of thousands ballots in Maryland, get listed in multiple voters guides, get invited to candidate forums across the state, and all with very little effort? Plunk down $290 to the State Board of Elections, fill out a few forms and wait for the candidate questionnaires and forum invitations to roll in. That’s how you do it if you’re a registered Democrat or Republican wanting to run for governor, U.S. senator, attorney general or comptroller.  

Opinion: Annapolis should keep hands off local pensions

About a year ago, I wrote an essay for the Maryland Reporter suggesting the state legislature look to local governments for ideas on how to successfully manage pension systems.  Naturally, the opposite has happened. A delegate is sponsoring legislation that would require local government pensions to provide a potentially budget-breaking disability benefit for some public safety employees.

State Roundup, February 16, 2018

Kirwan education panel comes out with preliminary report as lawmakers propose $33 million in education fixes; Gov. Hogan urges leaders of the U.S. Senate to kill a House spending provision that would strip the EPA of its authority over the Chesapeake Bay cleanup; new report finds Frederick sewage treatment plant along the Monocacy problematic; protesters circle Government House to oppose gas pipeline beneath the Potomac; House panel effectively kills sick leave law delay; gun rights protesters sue Capital police; Hogans tout Korean dishes in honor of Winter Olympics and Sen. Klausmeier leads Republican rival in new Democratic poll.

Chesapeake’s historic waterways paying the price of nutrient trading

Both Maryland and the city of Frederick promote kayaking and fishing on the Monocacy Rive3r. But beyond this advertising to tourists, the state’s and local governments’ oversight of the river have been more passive-aggressive than respectful. On the banks of the Monocacy, the Frederick City Wastewater Treatment Plant disgorges a waterfall of partially treated human waste carrying a gut-wrenching reek of ammonia and illegal amounts of pollution down black-stained boulders into the river.

State Roundup, February 15, 2018

Gov. Hogan backing financial lockbox for school funding from casino revenues, but won’t seek constitutional amendment; women’s rights advocates sympathize with parents of slain pregnant woman but ask lawmakers to keep homicide law to just viable fetuses; after perpetrator of noose incident is found not guilty of a hate crime, Sen. Astle seeks to expand its definition; Del. Kipke pushes to give parents of addicted adult children ability to intercede; Baltimore Mayor Pugh won’t disband police force despite legislator’s suggestion; and gubernatorial hopeful Jim Shea picks running mate from Baltimore City council.

Election year politics fuels competing lockbox plans

When Gov. Larry Hogan strode to the podium Wednesday, and started talking about a lockbox for the Education Trust Fund from casino revenues, it had a familiar ring to it. Didn’t Democratic legislators propose a similar lockbox just two weeks ago? The two proposals have somewhat similar goals, but different approaches for increasing education spending. The Democrats want a constitutional amendment that they will send to the voters for approval in November. The governor wants to do his lockbox by statute without any additional voter approval.

State Roundup, February 14, 2018

Baltimore City delegate suggests disbanding entire Baltimore City Police Department following federal corruption convictions, slew of guilty pleas; get a glimpse of the social calendar of Maryland lawmakers; judges defend large pay hike before Appropriations Committee; proposed legislation would ensure female inmates are fully supplied with tampons and pads; Del. Young proposes bill to even out the wage gap; Gov. Hogan declares “Year of Frederick Douglass,” announces new statewide tour of his life in Maryland; Del. Lam to run for retiring Sen. Kasemeyer’s seat; and Maryland senators call on Trump administration to protect authority within Consumer Protection Division.

Happy Birthday, Frederick Douglass. It’s his year in Maryland

Today, February 14, marks the 200th birthday of Frederick Douglass, or at least the day the famed abolitionist, writer and orator marked as his birthdate in 1818, since there were no records kept of the enslaved people in Talbot County on the Eastern Shore. Gov. Larry Hogan proclaimed 2018 “The Year of Frederick Douglass” in Maryland and announced a new 131-mile driving tour of sites significant in the life of Douglass, the most photographed American of the 19th century.

Judges defend big pay hike

Maryland’s top judges told the House Appropriations Committee Tuesday that increasing the pay of all 313 Maryland judges in the state was necessary to retain the quality and diversity of Maryland’s judiciary. The Judicial Compensation Commission recommended that all the judges get a $35,000 pay hike phased in over the next four years. This would bring the salaries of 173 circuit court judges up to $189,433 and the pay for 117 district court judges, the lowest paid of the jurists, up to $176,333. “I know it sounds outlandish what we propose,” said Elizabeth Buck, who chairs the independent commission. “I know it sounds crazy.”

State Roundup, February 13, 2018

The Trump administration is walking away from proposals to build new FBI headquarters in D.C. burbs; despite lobbyist-paid dinners, most legislators take 100% of per diem meal; Gov. Hogan set to sign bill to allow victims to terminate rapists’ parental rights today; 2nd Amendment advocates rally in Annapolis; Hogan, cabinet meet in Baltimore County, fan out to get to know voters; moderate Democrats are disappearing from the State House; and David Trone gets support from Rushern Baker in run for U.S. House.