SICK LEAVE ABSENT FROM BILL SIGNING: Gov. Larry Hogan will sign 209 bills today in what is believed to be his eighth and final bill signing of the 2017 legislative session, reports Ovetta Wiggins for the Post. The list includes a package of measures to address the state’s growing heroin epidemic. But missing from the hundreds of bills are several high-profile measures that are awaiting action from Hogan, including a top priority of Democratic legislative leaders that requires employers to provide paid sick leave benefits to their workers.
- With paid sick leave conspicuously absent from those bills Hogan intends to sign, it means that between now and Saturday, Hogan has two choices: veto a bill that polls well with the electorate, handing Democrats an issue they are sure to exploit; or let the legislation become law without his signature, disappointing business groups and many of his fellow Republicans, Josh Kurtz writes for Maryland Matters.
FUTURE OF PURPLE LINE: The Trump administration is continuing to consider Maryland’s Purple Line for federal construction aid even as the project remains stalled in a court battle, according to a budget document released Wednesday. Katherine Shaver of the Post reports the story.
- As for that court battle, the editorial board of the Post takes to task the recent ruling by a federal judge, saying it is an excellent candidate for reversal on appeal. Unfortunately, as the judge surely understood, that may not come soon enough to save the Purple Line, whose future is threatened owing to his decision.
TRUMP CUTS IN MARYLAND: The Trump administration makes a straightforward case for slashing $427 million in federal spending to heal ailing regional water bodies such as the Great Lakes, Chesapeake Bay and Puget Sound: State and local governments should do the work and foot the bill. John Flesher of the AP reports the story.
- The new budget plan includes all the same ominous proposals that prompted warnings that the spending plan would worsen economic inequality and possibly tip the area into recession. The White House still wants to shrink the local federal workforce by thousands of jobs and slash spending for affordable housing, job training, environmental protection and the National Institutes of Health, Robert McCartney writes in an analysis for the Post. But the president has gone further by urging historic cuts in entitlement programs including Medicaid, which provides health care for the poor, and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or food stamps.
- Tom Hall is joined by Dr. Leana Wen, Baltimore City health commissioner to discuss what effect these cuts have on the most vulnerable folks living in the city who rely on programs like Medicaid and food stamps to survive.
GUESTS AT STATE’s PREAKNESS TENT: Executives in defense contracting, law, technology and economic development were among the guests the Maryland Department of Commerce hosted Saturday inside its Preakness hospitality tent, reports Ryan Sharrow for the Baltimore Business Journal. The state agency released the list names to the BBJ at its request. Some attendees hosted by the Department of Commerce were withheld from the list because they represent active economic development projects, a spokeswoman for the agency said.
MD GOVERNOR’s RACE IS ONE TO WATCH: Goucher College’s Mileah Kromer, in an op-ed for the Sun, writes that Maryland rarely is the main dish in national politics. Yet our gubernatorial race is set to answer some of the most persistent and important political questions generated by the 2016 presidential election. This midterm election cycle, the country would be wise to pull up a chair and dig in.
ATTY JAILED AFTER DEPORTATION THREAT: A Baltimore defense attorney was arraigned Wednesday on charges of obstruction of justice and witness intimidation for allegedly trying to dissuade a rape victim from testifying against his client by telling her she risked deportation by the Trump administration. The attorney also offered $3,000 cash if she did not show up to court and suggested that the victim’s husband just beat up his client, reports Justin Fenton for the Sun.
$8 MILLION TRASHED: The Maryland Department of Transportation State Highway Administration maintains 2,500 bridges and 17,000 miles of non-toll state roads, the interstate, and U.S. and state numbered routes, MDOT SHA administrator Greg Slater writes in an op-ed for the Sun. On top of all that, he opines, the agency spends nearly $8 million every year to remove litter along Maryland highways. That’s $8 million of taxpayer money. Your money. My money. Every single year. Litter removal also pulls skilled MDOT SHA workers away from other functions like highway repairs.
MO CO MUSICAL CHAIRS: June 26, 2018, could bring a sea change in Montgomery County politics, Andrew Metcalf of Bethesda Beat writes. That’s the day of the Maryland primary election. With more than two dozen candidates so far eyeing political office at the county and state level, there will be several winners and probably even more losers.
WEIGHING IN ON TRUMP PRESIDENCY: In Dan Rodricks’ Roughly Speaking podcast for the Sun, he interviews Richard Cross, a Maryland-based Republican political analyst and speechwriter, talks about the issues raised just before the president’s trip abroad, then has a longer conversation with Rep. John Sarbanes, D-3rd, who says the Trump presidency presents “a maximum stress test for the democracy,” with numerous conflicts of interest and now a “draconian” federal budget that could be “cataclysmic to the core functions of government.”
INTERIM SUPER HOPES JOB IS PERMANENT: Hours after she was named Baltimore County’s interim schools superintendent, Verletta White wanted to make one thing clear: She wants the job on a permanent basis, Liz Bowie reports for the Sun. The county school board voted to give her the interim job Tuesday, a month after Superintendent Dallas Dance announced his resignation at the end of the school year. Without time to complete a national search before Dance leaves June 30, the board appointed White, the chief academic officer, as interim superintendent for one year.
MO CO JOINS CITIZENSHIP EFFORT: Montgomery County Executive Ike Leggett joined nonprofit leaders on Tuesday in Silver Spring to announce the county was joining a national effort to encourage residents who are immigrants to go through the citizenship naturalization process, reports Andrew Metcalf for Bethesda Beat.
VANISHED CEMETERY: Tensions over a long-vanished African American cemetery in Bethesda turned into a confrontation Tuesday evening at a meeting of Montgomery County’s NAACP branch, Bill Turque of the Post reports.The site, which was paved over decades ago for use as a parking lot, is in the middle of an area targeted for redevelopment.
PEROUTKA CHALLENGED: Progressive and civil rights groups are asking Anne Arundel County Councilman Michael Peroutka to make a public statement against racism after a white man from his district was charged in the stabbing death of a black Bowie State University student on the University of Maryland campus. Peroutka was a member of an organization labeled as a hate group. His district includes Severna Park, which is also the home of the man accused in the killing, Amanda Yeager reports in the Annapolis Capital.
NEW ELECTION BOARD SITE: Julie Greene of the Hagerstown Herald-Mail reports that Washington County officials are reconsidering using part of the former Macy’s building at Valley Mall for the county election board and early voting.
SUN HQ SOLD: Adam Bednar of the Daily Record reports that Atapco Properties has purchased the Baltimore Sun’s headquarters on Calvert Street for an undisclosed price. “The Baltimore Sun has been leasing the building (from its corporate owner) since 2014 and our lease will be transferred to the new owners. This lease takes us through June 2018 with an option to renew. We currently are exploring leasing options for the future,” Renee Mutchnik, a spokeswoman for The Baltimore Sun, said in a statement.