State Roundup, October 8, 2019

Longtime Del. Tawanna Gaines resigns amid charges of wire fraud; Maryland state agencies are struggling to handle thousands of public records requests, survey finds; how will members of the General Assembly greet the latest plans for the Preakness and Pimlico? Despite the questions, so far, so good; Comptroller Franchot criticizes Bay Bridge resurfacing, wants work suspended; Maryland Live, Horseshoe casino revenues slow; with three contenders, GOP primary for Cecil County exec expected to heat up; in attempt to avoid further ‘Healthy Holly’ scandals, city bill proposed to require elected leaders disclose client lists; and more than 650 pit bulls euthanized in Prince George’s since January 2018.

Opinion: What students from low-income homes really need

Instead of spending close to $3 million dollars as that is the projected transportation cost associated with Dr. Martirano’s proposal, a prudent way to spend this money would be educating school staff about trauma. No curriculum or instruction provided by the best Howard County teachers will succeed if a student is under chronic stress. 

Analysis: A Bay bridge too many, some say

The cries of outrage and opposition by Anne Arundel officials of both parties were predictable when the Maryland Transportation Authority announced in August that it had narrowed it choices for a third Chesapeake Bay bridge.

Hundreds of new Maryland laws take effect Tuesday, Oct. 1

Hundreds of Maryland laws go into effect Tuesday, spanning subjects from increasing the age to buy cigarettes and vapes to taxing online sales and banning bump stocks for firearms. Here is a short summary of more than 70 of the new laws, including a link to their full legislative history and slug lines that make the list easy to scan.

Scientists witness dolphin give birth in the Potomac River

A team of researchers studying dolphins in the Potomac River got unexpected fruit from their labors last month when they witnessed a dolphin being born near the river’s confluence with the Chesapeake Bay. Bottlenose dolphins are among the most studied species in the world, but a wild birth has only been documented in scientific literature on one other occasion: in 2013 off the coast of Georgia. 

Opinion: Moving kids is no shortcut to educational equity

Psychiatrist Shobhit Negi writes that the recommended area adjustment plan for Howard County schools is a shortcut approach to a larger issue that our society faces.  It is analogous to applying a Band-Aid over a wound while letting it bleed internally.  His concerns are related to the biological and psychological ramifications associated with implementation of the superintendent’s recommendation.

Slight uptick in state revenues, but caution urged

The Maryland Board of Revenue Estimates voted unanimously Thursday to increase the state’s projected revenues for the current fiscal year by just under $130 million, but cautioned that the uptick “is not indicative of long-term economic growth.”

Opinion: Howard County is not segregated

The Howard County superintendent’s redistricting plan forces 7,300 students to switch schools, promoting equity by reducing the presence of low-income families at some schools and increasing their presence at other schools. Many of the plan’s proponents cannot defend it in good faith. Consider the example set by the County Council’s own segregation smear.

Opinion: We need to move more people over the Bay bridges, not more cars

Rather than a new vehicle-oriented Chesapeake Bay Bridge crossing, the Eastern Shore Land Conservancy strongly supports the research and immediate implementation of aggressive travel demand management (TDM) strategies to more easily cross the current Chesapeake Bay Bridge spans. Why not make the absolute best of what we currently have using technology and smart infrastructure-based planning, prior to embarking on a project that is literally years and billions of dollars away from happening? We need relief from congestion now.