State Roundup, January 8, 2018

Women lawmakers say harassment in Annapolis is pervasive, not adequately addressed; Gov. Hogan backs stripping parental rights from rapists, bill has better shot of passing; Hogan says overturning sick leave bill veto would open door for workers to be mandated to reveal reasons; U.S. Rep. Cummings hospitalized, as his wife, a candidate for governor, drops out of race; feds say state Sen. Oaks had confessed to corruption; Maryland schools have been a ratings decline for several years; lawmakers in Annapolis expected to address Metro funding; medical marijuana users face dilemma of giving up treatment or gun; and new poll finds strong support for renewable energy on Eastern Shore and in Baltimore County.

Students wait to board school buses.

Md. schools not as good as we think

A key Democratic narrative this election year is that Maryland used to have the best public schools in the country, but Republican Gov. Larry Hogan has short changed them so much that they have now slipped to 5th place. The problem with this partisan talking point is that the Education Week Quality County report card on which the claim is based has always been a dubious indicator of how good the schools were. Weeks before Hogan took office in 2015, Maryland had already slipped to third place as Education Week began to give more weight to student outcomes.Even if the complicated rating standards were not questionable, Maryland’s slipping ratings are based mostly on lagging data from test scores in O’Malley budget years.

State Roundup, January 5, 2018

Gov. Larry Hogan opposing Trump administration plan to significantly expand offshore oil, gas drilling along Atlantic coastline; emerging Maryland medical marijuana industry concerned about U.S. Attorney General Sessions’ rescinding of policy; animal, plant populations up in Bay, new report card shows; controversy over cold schools heats up, report finds delays, failures forced Baltimore City schools to return millions in state repair funds; Baltimore scrapyard settles environmental violations; and former Gov. O’Malley backs Johnny Olszewski Jr. for Baltimore County exec.

Saving Md. forests again on State House environmental agenda

As they return to their chambers this month, state legislators across the Chesapeake watershed face some of the same Bay-centric environmental issues they’ve seen before. In Maryland, they’ll debate what more, if anything, should be done to conserve the state’s forestland from development and whether air pollution from chicken houses deserves a closer look.

State Roundup, January 4, 2018

Most Md. schools closed because of snow today; Anne Arundel County is suing wide swath of players as it attacks its opioid crisis; Comptroller Franchot to release report on how federal tax impacts state; Gov. Hogan to announce plans on Conowingo Dam; Worcester judicial appointee involved in racial bias lawsuit; China’s decision to cut waste stream from United States to impact states that recycle; Sen. Oaks’ hearing set for day after session opens; labor candidates enter Democratic primary; and Montgomery County faces $120 million budget shortfall.

State Roundup, January 3, 2018

A poultry supplier’s 2014 donation to the gubernatorial campaign of Larry Hogan is raising questions among Democrats as he plans for re-election fight; a diverse coalition of wholesalers, retailers and public health advocates are mobilizing to fight Franchot’s craft beer recommendations; southwest Baltimore County delegates to the General Assembly gearing up to address education, healthcare and criminal justice reform; Del. McKay eyes legislative success as he hopes to play off of last year’s support; rebuffed by EPA, Atty. Gen. Frosh to hold hearing on clean air; former Gov. O’Malley still hasn’t sat for his official portrait; and Senate President Miller to headline fund-raiser for Democratic gubernatorial candidate Baker.

State Roundup, January 2, 2018

Lower birth control costs, stronger smoke alarm requirements among new laws that took effect Jan. 1; legislators begin to pre-file bills, including ones to address human trafficking; inmate mental health issues to come up again in Annapolis; Sen. Edwards working with Gov. Hogan to expand business growth incentives; Hogan to update or repeal 657 “outdated” regulations; FBI won’t take over probe into Baltimore Police detectives slaying; President Trump’s first, tumultuous year leaves impact on Maryland; on a tight schedule, legislators are packing in the fundraisers; Arundel searches for new ways to help addicts recover; 30 people run for at-large seats on Montgomery Council; and conservative radio DJ out at WBAL-AM.

Follow-up: Baltimore scrapyard settles enforcement action, agrees to curb polluted runoff

A Baltimore metal recycling business has agreed to pay a $50,000 penalty and upgrade stormwater pollution controls at its facility near the harbor to settle a string of alleged violations first discovered by Maryland regulators nearly two years ago. In a settlement agreement released Thursday, Baltimore Scrap Corp. pledged to submit a “site improvement plan” within 60 days for reducing polluted runoff from its scrapyard.

State Roundup, December 22, 2017

Gov. Larry Hogan names Robert Neall as Health Secretary, replacing Dennis Schrader, who will stay on as department COO; Maryland’s Legislative Black Caucus sets agenda for next session, focusing on HBCUs, sentencing reforms among others; open enrollment for ACA ends today; Hogan proposes plan to mitigate federal tax reform; counties wrestle with accepting early property tax payments to avoid federal deduction cap; CASA backs Marc Elrich for Montgomery exec; and, happy holidays, Arundel pays off public school students’ cafeteria debt.