BLACK CAUCUS PUSHES BACK ON MAGLEV PLAN: Top officials with the firm looking to bring “the fastest trains in the world” to Maryland encountered resistance from members of the Legislative Black Caucus on Thursday, as lawmakers expressed concern that the proposed Baltimore to Washington, D.C., maglev train would cut through, but not serve, the communities they represent, Bruce DePuyt of Maryland Matters reports. And legislators sharply challenged company claims that residents in the effected communities support construction of the high-speed transit link.
REPORT: SEA LEVEL RISE RATE TO INCREASE: A new report warns that Maryland will face a dramatic increase in the rate of sea level rise later this century, with nuisance flooding becoming a daily occurrence in many waterfront areas if nations fail to curb greenhouse gas emissions. If emissions continue to rise, sea level in Maryland would likely increase 2.0 to 4.2 feet by 2100, which is two to four times the rate seen during the last century, Karl Blankenship of the Bay Journal reports in MarylandReporter.
BILL WOULD LIFT BAN ON DEVELOPER DONATIONS IN PG: The powerful chairman of the House Economic Matters Committee has sponsored a bill that would lift a ban on developer contributions in Prince George’s County – a law that went into effect following a widespread corruption scandal that rocked the county for several years, Josh Kurtz of Maryland Matters reports.
BALTIMORE SEEKS FULL CONTROL OVER POLICE: Del. Talmadge Branch submitted legislation Thursday to give Baltimore full control over its police department — a change Baltimore City Council members have been seeking for years, reports Luke Broadwater in the Sun. Branch, an East Baltimore Democrat, said he sees no reason why the city should be the only jurisdiction in Maryland with a police department that is technically a state agency.
LAWMAKERS GET LOOK AT KIRWAN PLAN: Maryland can either continue on a path of mediocrity in K-12 education, or invest in putting schools on track toward performing with the world’s best, the chairman of a state commission told lawmakers Thursday. Brian Witte of the AP reports that William Kirwan, a former chancellor of the state’s university system, outlined recommendations from the Maryland Commission on Innovation and Excellence in Education.
- Kirwan called on lawmakers to not make a la carte changes to its recommendations for sweeping changes to schools in Maryland, reports Bryan Sears for the Daily Record.
- Lawmakers in Annapolis on Thursday had their first opportunity to be formally briefed and to ask questions about the major education policy and funding report that calls for $3.8 billion a year in added funding to support recommendations that touch on everything from teacher salaries to early childhood education, Emma Kerr of the Frederick News-Post reports.
FREE RIDES FOR FURLOUGHED WORKERS: The Maryland Transit Administration is offering free bus, Light RailLink, Metro and MARC service to unpaid federal government workers until the end of the partial government shutdown. Gov. Larry Hogan announced the move at Baltimore-Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport during a visit Thursday to thank Transportation Security Administration agents and other federal employees at the airport who are working without pay, Colin Campbell of the Sun reports.
- Metro will offer free rail and bus rides for federal workers affected by the government shutdown, provided the board approves the measure in an emergency vote set for Friday afternoon. Metro Board Chairman Jack Evans said the decision came at the urging of Gov. Larry Hogan (R), who announced Thursday that Maryland would waive fares for state transportation services, including MARC commuter rail, and called on Metro to follow suit, Faiz Siddiqui of the Post reports.
- “It is important that we support those federal employees working without pay by waiving transit fares during the federal government shutdown,” Transportation Secretary Pete Rahn said Thursday. Workers who show their federal government IDs can ride for free for the duration of the shutdown, Danielle Gaines of Maryland Matters reports.
- Here’s Rachel Baye’s story for WYPR-FM.
- Here’s a Sun video of Hogan making the announcement at BWI.
BILL FILING: A trickle of bills were introduced to the General Assembly in the first two weeks of the session, but the hopper is filling as lawmakers feel the pinch to guarantee at least a hearing for their legislation, writes Samantha Hogan for the Frederick News-Post. Legislators needed to have filed a request to have their bills written by Tuesday to guarantee a hearing.
OPINION: PUBLIC OPINION MATTERS: In an op-ed for the Sun, Mileah Kromer of the Goucher Poll writes that Marylanders opposed to the proposed Washington Redskins stadium for Oxen Cove can thank Gov. Larry Hogan’s change of heart on his planned land swap to build it on the strength of public opinion against the move.
HOGAN CHASTISES TRUMP, PELOSI: Gov. Larry Hogan (R) compared President Trump and congressional leaders to “a bunch of 2-year-olds” on Thursday and said they should stop playing “stupid political games” amid the longest-ever partial closure of the federal government, reports Arelis Hernandez for the Post. “It’s crazy. ‘If I don’t get my wall, I’m going to shut down the government.’ ‘If we don’t open the government, you can’t speak in our chamber,’ ” Hogan said, mocking the postures the president and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi have taken.
OPINION: MORE LIKE HOGAN: In an opinion piece in the Post, Jennifer Rubin writes, “The question for pundits and politicians is not why Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan (R) may be considering a primary run against President Trump in 2020, but rather, why there aren’t many more who are doing the same. … Hogan, 10 years younger than Trump, appeals to the very groups Trump has alienated. ”
BROWN SEEKS JOBLESS BENEFITS FOR FED WORKERS: Rep. Anthony G. Brown on Thursday introduced a bill that would allow federal employees working without pay to collect unemployment benefits during the government shutdown. His bill would reverse guidance from the Trump administration that says only employees prevented from working until the federal government reopens are eligible for unemployment compensation, Jenna Portnoy of the Post reports.
ARUNDEL COLLEGE GETS CHILD CARE GRANT: Thanks to a federal grant designed to help colleges and universities expand childcare services, Anne Arundel Community College this semester will start offering free daytime and evening care to low-income students. More than $98,000 will be pumped into the program, Lauren Lumpkin of the Annapolis Capital reports. “The main goal of this is to help keep student-parents in school and moving toward graduation and their goals,” said Janet Klenkel, director of the college’s Child Development Center.