REDISTRICTING REFORM: Nearly two dozen House Democrats have signed on to a Republican-sponsored bill that seeks to reduce the role of partisan intent in the drawing of congressional boundaries. The bill would place a referendum on the November 2020 ballot,
Josh Kurtz Bruce DePuyt reports in Maryland Matters. If approved, the Maryland Constitution would be amended to require that “due regard be given to natural boundaries and boundaries of political subdivisions.”
- During a public hearing held by Gov. Larry Hogan’s nine-member nonpartisan redistricting commission, voters in Montgomery County expressed confusion over the lines that had been draw for the 6th Congressional District, reports Dan Schere in Bethesda Beat. The commission was created in response to a federal court ruling in November that states Maryland must redraw its congressional districts in time for the 2020 election.
BILLS TARGET CORPORATIONS: Two bills that would affect corporations are up for debate. SB37 would lower the corporate tax rate from the current 8.25%, with a reduction to be phased in: The rate dropping to 8% for tax year 2019, 7.5% for tax year 2020, and 7.0% for tax year 2021 and beyond. And the Small Business Fairness Act (SB76) would require retail and restaurant chains with locations in Maryland to compute Maryland taxable income using a combined reporting method, reports Diane Rey for MarylandReporter.
- SB76 would require retail and restaurant chains in Maryland to use combined reporting for corporate income taxes. Combined reporting would require companies with subsidiaries in different states to account for those subsidiaries when filing their income taxes in Maryland, reports Holden Wilen in the Baltimore Business Journal.
FACT-CHECKING PURPLE LINE SUPERLATIVES: During his state-of-the-state speech, Gov. Larry Hogan dropped the biggest superlatives in the dictionary when touting his efforts to provide traffic relief to state drivers. “We began construction of the Purple Line, the largest public-private transit project in the nation,” he said and he didn’t stop there. But are his contentions true? asks Doug Donovan of the Sun as he fact-checks the statement.
JUDGES DISMISSES MARYLAND ACA SUIT: A federal judge on Friday dismissed Maryland’s attempt to protect the Affordable Care Act, known as “Obamacare,” from any Trump administration efforts to dismantle it. The Maryland attorney general’s office had sought a declaration that the national health care act is constitutional, Jeff Barker reports in the Sun.
LITTLE UPSIDE SEEN TO TITLE IX CHANGES: Some of Maryland’s top higher education leaders told a state Senate panel Thursday that they do not see a lot of positives in the federal Department of Education’s proposed regulations on handling sexual assault and misconduct allegations under Title IX, Tim Curtis reports in the Daily Record. The Department of Education proposed Title IX regulations that could force universities to alter sexual misconduct policies that previously had been revamped under the Obama administration.
GARRETT, ALLEGANY PROJECTS: Gov. Larry Hogan’s fiscal year 2020 budget includes about $88 million for capital projects in Allegany County and nearly $60 million for projects in Garrett County, the Cumberland Times-News reports.
MINNICK TREASURER SENTENCED: A former Glen Burnie principal was sentenced to 18 months of probation after he pleaded guilty to stealing about $13,000 from the campaign fund of former Del. Joseph J. Minnick, who died in October 2015, Phil Davis of the Annapolis Capital reports.
- Anamika Roy of the Daily Record reports that the the Office of the State Prosecutor claimed that Ronald Chesek, while serving as treasurer for “Friends of Joseph J. Minnick,” wrote and cashed numerous unauthorized checks from the campaign bank account and used the money for personal expenses, stealing $13,045 between July 9, 2013, and Sept. 17, 2017.
HEARING SCHEDULE: Joel McCord of WYPR-FM offers up a partial schedule of committee hearings in Annapolis this week.
CHILD PORN & SEXTING: Attorneys for an embattled youngster and the state clashed before Maryland’s top court Friday over whether the girl, then 16, was “involved” in distributing child pornography in violation of state law when she texted a video of herself engaging in a consensual sex act with a man, Steve Lash reports in the Daily Record.
HOGAN APPOINTMENTS: Gov. Larry Hogan appointed two deputy chiefs of staff Friday to replace staffers who are moving to other agencies, Pamela Wood of the Sun writes.
OPINION: OUTGUNNED: In a column for Red Maryland, Brian Griffiths heavily pulls from a Baltimore Sun story without crediting it to opine that gun proponents are being “outgunned” by such groups as Moms Demand Action when it comes to the latest gun control push.
OPINION: GAGGING ON MIDDLEMANIA: In a column for Maryland Matters, true blue Frank DeFilippo derides Gov. Larry Hogan’s middle of the road stands and “both parties are to blame” attitude that he expressed in his State of the State address and an op-ed in the Washington Post. And, he writes, “there were many times during his first four-year term when the State House wasn’t running as smoothly as Hogan’s speeches pretend.”
JEALOUS, DELANEY CALL FOR Va. GOV. TO RESIGN: Former NAACP president Ben Jealous and presidential hopeful John Delaney, both Maryland Democrats, joined the chorus of people calling for Virginia’s governor to resign after a racist photo from his medical school yearbook emerged, Talia Richman reports for the Sun.
DEMOCRATS RUNNING FOR PRESIDENT: In the Sun, the Tribune pulls together all the Democrats who have said they are running for their party’s nomination to run against President Donald Trump. Marylander John Delaney is among them.
HOGAN PREZ WATCH: The editorial board of the Frederick News-Post opines that Gov. Larry Hogan will be walking a political tightrope for most of this year as he contemplates seeking the Republican nomination for president in 2020. His planned path was on open display in the State of the State address on Wednesday, as he laid out policies that strive for bipartisan support on topics that are important to Maryland voters of both parties: crime, traffic and taxes.
- Sun editorial cartoonist KAL shows us that Gov. Larry Hogan is running, however.
OPINION: OLSZEWSKI’s GOOD MOVES: The editorial board of the Sun praises Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewski for two initiatives that it says could go a long way toward assuring Baltimore County residents that their local government is neither corrupt nor beholden to special interests. One proposal would give the county authority to create a voluntary public financing system. The other would establish an independent Office of Ethics and Accountability that would have the authority to investigate allegations of fraud, abuse and corruption.