UNIVERSAL VOTER REGISTERING: Maryland’s top Democrats are looking at legislation that would automatically put every eligible state resident on the voting rolls, abandoning the traditional registration system, reports Erin Cox for the Sun. Senate President Mike Miller and House Speaker Michael Busch say they are seriously considering putting their weight behind a “universal voter registration” plan. If a change were approved, Maryland would join a small number of state legislatures, all led by Democrats, that passed laws to register people who did not take the initiative to register.
AFSCME PROTESTS: Members of Maryland’s largest public-employees union demonstrated outside the governor’s mansion Thursday to protest what they described as stonewalling by the Hogan administration in recent negotiations over salaries and other issues, Josh Hicks reports for the Post.
HOGAN ON JOB GROWTH: In a wide-ranging interview with the editorial board of the Hagerstown Herald Mail, Gov. Larry Hogan addresses job growth in Western Maryland and the state- and nationwide drug and gun problem. Tamela Baker reports the story.
HOGAN ADDRESSES MACO: Erin Cox of the Sun reports that Gov. Larry Hogan promised a gathering of county officials Thursday that he would champion their concerns in Annapolis and reminded them he already had paid for the top road projects in each of their jurisdictions. “You have my commitment that with our administration, you will have a friend in the governor’s office,” Hogan told the local officials from across the state who gathered in Cambridge for the winter conference of the Maryland Association of Counties.
- Hogan got an unusually warm welcome from the county officials, a majority of them Republican, Len Lazarick writes in MarylandReporter.com.
- Josh Bollinger of the Easton Star Democrat writes that the governor’s administration has invested nearly $2 million in infrastructure, tackling every county’s top priorities, Hogan said. Among those Eastern Shore infrastructure improvements include the dualization of Route 404, something long advocated by locals for safety reasons and funded by Hogan’s administration in June.
CHAMBER READYING FOR SESSION: The Maryland Chamber of Commerce is in full gear in preparation for the upcoming legislative session, with an eye on paid sick leave and retirement mandate proposals that are due to get another shot in Annapolis next year, Anamika Roy writes in the Daily Record.
PROXY BATTLE FOR 2018 GOV. RACE: Fraser Smith and WYPR’s John Lee talk about air conditioning in Baltimore County Schools and how that relates to the 2018 governor’s race.
POT BIZ, FSU TEAM UP: Medical cannabis manufacturing company Peak Harvest Health and Frostburg State University will partner in a program that could lead to job opportunities for some of the school’s graduates, reports Greg Larry for the Cumberland Times News. “FSU has the only ethnobotany major in the U.S., as well as an extensive program focusing on understanding the medicinal value of plants,” said Ethan Ruby, CEO of PHH.
RENAME BYRD STADIUM: The editorial board for the Sun urges the University of Maryland to accept President Wallace Loh’s suggestion and rename Byrd Stadium. No one can deny that Harry C. “Curley” Byrd, the school’s president, athletic director and head football coach, did much for the institution. But no one can deny that he has history as an ardent segregationist.
MAYORAL CANDIDATES INTERVIEWED: Sheilah Kast of WYPR-FM interviews state Sen. Catherine Pugh, one of many contenders for the Baltimore City mayor’s seat.
- And Marc Steiner of WEAA-FM speaks with candidate Joshua Harris about his vision for the city.