AS HOGAN TAKES OFFICE: As Gov.-elect Larry Hogan gets ready to take office on Wednesday, John Wagner writes about five things to watch in Annapolis, including what tone Hogan will set in his inaugural address and just how deep his budget knife will cut.
- Political pundit Barry Rascovar writes in MarylandReporter.com that Larry Hogan takes a businessman’s approach to governing. He holds definite conservative views, but is far from an extremist. He’s no friend of tea party fanatics. He’s not about to take Maryland back to the Stone Age. That could be seen clearly in many of his appointments.
O’MALLEY SUGGESTS CUTS: Ovetta Wiggins is reporting in the Post that, in his final days in office, Gov. Martin O’Malley (D) is suggesting $640 million in cuts for Gov.-elect Larry Hogan (R) to balance the state’s books. Hogan, who takes office on Wednesday, will inherit a nearly $767 million shortfall for the upcoming fiscal year, a deficit that has grown in the past month. Previously, the shortfall was estimated to be closer to $750 million.
EDUCATION WORRIES: Gov.-elect Larry Hogan’s transition team has curtains pulled tight over the budget until after he takes office, but many education groups are gearing up to fight for school programs they feel are particularly endangered this year, writes CNS’s Deidre McPhillips for the Cecil Whig. The Maryland State Education Association, previously known as the Maryland State Teachers Association, is running a radio campaign and petition drive to protect school funding in Maryland.
MTA SUED OVER ADA COMPLIANCE: Telephone and call center operations at the Maryland Transit Administration’s paratransit system are so inadequate that the system is violating the Americans with Disabilities Act, according to a class-action lawsuit filed Friday. Danny Jacobs of the Daily Record reports that the complaint, filed by the Maryland Disability Law Center, alleges problems with the system have left many of its 32,000 riders unable to schedule rides or report late rides, and cause patrons to lose “untold hours of time” waiting to speak to an operator.
HACKERS HIT MD BIZ: Scores of hacks have affected Marylanders in the past year, according to records released by the state attorney general’s office. Companies told the state that in 2014 the personal information of as many as 26,000 Marylanders had been compromised by hackers or malicious software. The true number is likely far greater, reports Ian Duncan in the Sun.
MO CO, PG TEAM FOR SUPPORT: Bill Turque and Arelis Hernandez of the Post report that Montgomery and Prince George’s officials are trying to make sure their counties are not forgotten by Gov.-elect Larry Hogan. The Anne Arundel County Republican, who will be sworn in Wednesday, has pledged to pay more attention to rural Maryland, which he says was neglected during the administration of outgoing Gov. Martin O’Malley (D). Those rural counties also voted for Hogan by overwhelming margins.
ECONOMIC ALARM BELLS: Post columnist Robert McCartney writes that a pair of loud alarm bells sounded last week for the Washington area’s economy, and political leaders from Richmond to Annapolis should take them seriously. The warning of immediate concern came Thursday at an annual conference of 750 business and civic leaders in McLean. Economics mavens led by George Mason University professor Steve Fuller presented eye-opening data showing that our region has trailed almost every other major U.S. metropolitan area in job growth for the past three years.
RED & PURPLE QUESTIONS: Donald Fry of the Greater Baltimore Committee, writing in a column for the Daily Record, says that sometime after Gov.-elect Larry Hogan’s inauguration on Jan. 21, both the new governor and transportation advocates for Baltimore City’s Red Line, as well as for the Purple Line in Maryland’s D.C. suburbs, will face a moment of truth. At issue is whether the governor will allow both projects to remain funded, as they are now, in the state’s six-year capital budget for transportation projects or whether he will opt to divert, defer or eliminate budgeted funding for the projects.
- It’s not clear if Gov.-elect Larry Hogan’s intent to favor roads in transportation planning will mean scrapping the Red and Purple Lines, but several members of Congress are encouraging him to support the transit projects, writes Kelsi Loos for the Frederick News Post.
REFORMING COPS BILL OF RIGHTS: Maryland and the nation are grappling with how to restore trust that law enforcement officers will treat all the people they serve fairly and equally, and that the officers can be and will be held accountable when they do not. One critical component of reform locally has to be reform of Maryland’s Law Enforcement Officers’ Bill of Rights, opines Susan Goering for the ACLU in an op-ed for the Sun.
FRACKING DEBATE IN GARRETT: Virtually all of Garrett County’s elected leaders and many residents generally favor allowing fracking, arguing it’s not so different from logging, coal mining and similar industries that have long operated in the county. But others are leery of the industry. Some residents of Mountain Lake Park recall the last gas boom in the 1950s, when there was little regulation and some wells were drilled inside the town limits, reports Timothy Wheeler in an article in the Sun.
GROWING SHORE DELEGATION: The Eastern Shore Delegation has grown, writes Josh Bollinger for the Easton Star Democrat. Joining the Eastern Shore Delegation, which previously consisted of legislators from parts of Cecil County south to Worcester and Somerset counties, are Senate District 35 and House Districts 35A — the other part of Cecil County — and 35B — part of Harford County.
ISSUES IN ARUNDEL: Some Anne Arundel delegates and senators hit the ground running last week, filing legislation to keep the Department of Housing and Community Development in Crownsville, cut the number of cash toll lanes at the Bay Bridge and increase the time child abuse allegations are kept on file, writes Chase Cook for the Annapolis Capital.
- Anne Arundel residents looking to get involved in local politics should take a gander at the schedule for its lawmakers in the House of Delegates — its full of meaty subjects like county government priorities, heroin overdoses and public schools, Chase Cook of the Annapolis Capital reports.
SELLING BALTIMORE CITY: Center Maryland columnist Laslo Boyd looks ahead to what the new governor and new General Assembly may mean for state support for Baltimore City.
REPLACING LAWMAKERS: WYPR’s Nathan Sterner and Karen Hosler discuss the process for replacing the lawmakers who are now part of Gov.-elect Hogan’s cabinet. Will the voters elect these new legislators? Will Maryland’s Republican Central Committee decide?
STATE HOUSE REHAB: The restoration of the room where George Washington resigned his military commission as commander-in-chief of the Continental Army is nearly finished in the Maryland State House, according to an AP report in the Daily Record.
O’MALLEY CELEBRATION: As his Republican successor prepares for next week’s inaugural celebration, supporters of outgoing Gov. Martin O’Malley (D) are planning to gather one last time before he leaves office. O’Malley was scheduled to be feted at an invitation-only cocktail reception Sunday night at Baltimore’s Hippodrome Theatre in recognition of his 23 years of public service, according to the invitation, writes John Wagner for the Post.
O’MALLEY’S NEXT GIG: Martin O’Malley is the newest addition to the Johns Hopkins University faculty, reports Alissa Gulin for the Daily Record. The outgoing Maryland governor and former mayor of Baltimore city will join Hopkins’ Carey Business School on Feb. 2 as a visiting professor teaching topics on government, business and urban issues.
- Joe Burris and Timothy Wheeler of the Sun write that O’Malley, a former Baltimore mayor, won’t be teaching courses on his own, but participating in classes that cover topics such as leadership, infrastructure, entrepreneurship and ethics, school officials said.
- Nick Anderson writes in the Post that Hopkins President Ronald Daniels said in a statement, “His (O’Malley’s) insights and experience will be of enormous benefit to our students and faculty.”
A FEW REGRETS: Bryan Sears of the Daily Record speaks with outgoing Gov. Martin O’Malley as he reflects on his past eight years in office and looks forward to possibly to a run for president in 2016. O’Malley said he has some regrets.
- The Sun’s Erin Cox and John Fritze write that as O’Malley turns over the reins of power Wednesday to a leader who won by criticizing his tenure, the big question for the outgoing governor is whether his political career will continue. In the short term, O’Malley will deliver paid speeches, seek a publisher for his book and become a visiting professor – all part of the governor’s plan “to get my family back home and secure.”
- At his final news conference as the governor of Maryland, O’Malley answered questions about the biggest issues the state and country face. He also fielded questions his potential presidential run, writes CNS’s Anjali Shastry in the Salisbury Daily Times. “I’m very seriously considering running in 2016,” he said, taking questions in the Governor’s Reception Room.
- Here is a video report on the press briefing from Brad Bell at WJLA in Washington, including the text of Brian Witte’s coverage for the Associated Press.
- WBAL TV’s Dave Collins reports on the exit interview in this video and text.
- Here’s the link to coverage by John Rydell at Fox 45, WBFF.
***Happy Birthday a day late to Gov. Martin O’Malley, 52, and Rep. Elijah Cummings, 64, who celebrated their birthdays Sunday. They are just two of 200 birthdays in MarylandReporter.com’s State House Birthday Calendar, listing all the members of the General Assembly, the congressional delegation and statewide officials. If you don’t want to miss Larry Hogan’s birthday in May, you can buy one of the calendars by clicking here. Just a few are left.***
MOSBY & MOSBY: How much is Baltimore City Councilman Nick Mosby involved in the job of his wife, new Baltimore State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby? It’s a question a lot of Baltimoreans asked this week, after a former employee of the prosecutor’s office posted an open letter online, alleging Nick Mosby was involved in decisions about personnel changes in the office, Luke Broadwater reports the story for the Sun.
CITY COUNCIL INFIGHTING: Heather Norris of the Baltimore Jewish Times writes that when Northwest Baltimore City Councilwoman Rikki Spector was removed from all but one of her committee assignments last month, the official message from City Council was that Council President Jack Young wanted to get some fresh blood into the city’s 14 committees. This week, that message changed. “What Rikki did, she crossed a line of decorum with the Council,” said Young in a Jan. 15 phone interview. “Rikki has been disrespectful to me as council president.”