State Roundup January 16, 2020

POSITIVE TONE ON HOGAN BUDGET PLAN: Lawmakers like what they see in Gov. Larry Hogan’s budget proposal, Pamela Wood and Luke Broadwater report in the Baltimore Sun’s key takeaways from the proposed budget.

  • The governor’s proposed budget includes nearly $198 million in direct aid to primary and secondary education in Washington County and capital funding for the next installment of Hagerstown’s Urban Improvement Project, Tamela Baker reports in the Hagerstown Herald-Mail’s budget story, which features local highlights.
  • The tone was upbeat Wednesday, reports Danielle Gaines for Maryland Matters. Democrats said they were pleased to hear that Hogan’s 2021 budget proposal fully funds a $350 million mandate to implement education reform initiatives from the Kirwan Commission, sets aside a chunk of the state’s capital budget for school construction, and funds critical transportation projects including the Howard Street Tunnel in Baltimore.
  • The proposal also limits tuition hikes at public universities to 2%, and Erin Cox at the Post reports positive response as well but notes legislative analysts are warning about a ballooning deficit in future years.

MOSBY SPEAKS OUT: Baltimore State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby condemned what she considers a backlash against black, female prosecutors, reports Tim Prudente for the Sun. Traveling to St. Louis to join other black, female prosecutors, she said Gov. Larry Hogan has undermined her by including money in his budget for the attorney general to hire more staff and prosecute crimes in the city.

  • Larry Hogan was in WBAL’s studio on Wednesday to discuss his budget proposal with C4, and said he has yet to see a “viable crime plan” from city leaders. Hogan dismissed calls for him to send in the National Guard, but said that showed how “out of control” the problem is.

MORE DEBATE ON BALTIMORE CRIME PROBLEM: City leaders responded after Gov. Larry Hogan had strong criticism Wednesday about Baltimore City and its effort to crack down on crime, reports Vanessa Herring for WBAL TV.

TAX PACKAGE UNVEILED: A coalition of unions and progressive Maryland Democrats announced a package of tax measures on Wednesday to raise money for a plan to improve education in the state, reports Brian Witte for the AP.

  • Supporters of the proposals estimate their plans would immediately generate $1.4 billion through changes to the tax code for LLCs, capital gains and tax increases to so-called higher-income earners, reports Bryan Sears for The Daily Record.

BACKGROUND CHECKS FOR LONG GUNS: The widow of slain Capital Gazette editor John McNamara gave emotional testimony to a panel of Maryland lawmakers on Wednesday in support of legislation that would require background checks for secondary transfers of “long guns” such as rifles and shotguns, reports Bryan Renbaum for MarylandReporter.com.

GUN BUYBACK PROPOSAL WITHDRAWN: Sen. Ron Young withdrew his bill to establish a statewide gun buyback program for assault weapons this session after he saw an estimate that it would cost the state roughly $2 million to run the program, reports Steve Bohnel for The Frederick News-Post.

AG CALLS FOR END TO SUSPENSIONS FOR TRAFFIC FINES: Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh called this week for an end to the practice of suspending licenses for unpaid court fines and fees, reports Ovetta Wiggins for the Post.

  • Frosh said such a suspension criminalizes poverty and forces low-income drivers to choose between missing work or tempting arrest by driving on a suspended license, reports Steve Lash for The Daily Record.

REFORM FOR EXONEREE COMPENSATION: Speaking about the devastating impacts of false convictions, a group of powerful lawmakers vowed to determine a fair compensation system for exonerees who had been jailed for crimes they didn’t commit, reports Bruce DePuyt for Maryland Matters.

RECESSION REPORTS: A Moody’s economist warns Maryland lawmakers that a recession in 2021 is “not definite” but it would be “extraordinary” if one does not occur, reports Holden Wilen for the Baltimore Business Journal.

DELEGATE NOMINATION PROCESS MIGHT BE CHALLENGED: Caylin Young will seek legal advice Wednesday to determine the best way to challenge the results of a controversial central committee vote nominating a House of Delegates candidate, reports Glynis Kazanjian for Maryland Matters. Young had sought the appointment to the House of Delegates this week but placed second behind Chanel Branch to fill a seat left vacant by former Del. Cheryl Glenn.

HOGAN, RUTHERFORD GREET RETURNING SOLDIERS: Gov. Larry Hogan and Lt. Governor Boyd Rutherford welcomed 150 soldiers from the Army National Guard’s 244th vertical construction company after being deployed for almost one year to the Middle East in support of Operation Spartan Shield.

WIND FARM PROTESTERS MEET FOR UPDATE: About 70 people attended a meeting for those who oppose a plan to place 17 wind turbines on Dan’s Mountain, reports Greg Larry for the Cumberland Times-News. The project has been filed for approval with Maryland’s Public Service Commission.

HOGAN WANTS TO HELP MILITARY FAMILIES: Gov. Larry Hogan proposed a package of legislation to benefit military families, reports Ryan Dickstein for WMAR. The bills would expand tuition assistance for Maryland National Guard members, provide tax relief for military retirees and reform occupational licensing laws to boost opportunities for military families.

FREDERICK ICE PARTNERSHIP AUDIT COMING: A draft of an audit involving a high-profile immigration enforcement program within the Frederick County Sheriff’s Office is expected to be finished next month, reports Steve Bohnel for The Frederick News-Post.

OPINION: STATE SHOULD PAY FOR ASSESSMENTS: The Maryland Association of Counties blog Conduit Street reports that the governor’s budget legislation would shift a greater percentage of costs for the State Department of Assessments and Taxation to the counties. This proposed permanent cost shift not only imposes a high fiscal burden on counties, but threatens the objective nature of having assessment functions managed and funded by an entity that does not meaningfully, directly benefit from the results of those assessments, Kevin Kinally opines.

HOSPITAL PAYMENT SYSTEM CONSIDERED: Maryland lawmakers plan to take a look at how the state’s hospitals determine whether patients can pay and how hospitals collect payment from patients who struggle with their bills, reports Tim Curtis for The Daily Record.

BSO FUTURE: State and local leaders met Wednesday in Annapolis to talk about long-term funding solutions for the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, reports Rachel Menitoff for WJZ.

INTERVIEW WITH MILLER: Senate President Emeritus Mike Miller the longest-serving state Senate president in U.S. history, is adjusting back to life as one of 47 state senators, reports Sheilah Kast and Maureen Harvie on WYPR. During On The Record, he reflects on the changes he has seen and made in Maryland.

TOLLS CHANGING ON BAY BRIDGE: Vacationers heading to Ocean City this summer will pay their toll as they get off the Chesapeake Bay Bridge under new plans announced by Maryland transportation officials, reports Kamieshkumar Desai for the Salisbury Daily Times. The Maryland Transportation Authority said overhead tolling gantries are coming to the Eastern Shore side of the Bay Bridge as part of the plans to switch to full-time cashless tolls by this summer.

About The Author

Meg Tully

Meg@MarylandReporter.com
http://MarylandReporter.com

Contributing Editor Meg Tully has been covering Maryland politics for more than five years. She has worked for The Frederick News-Post, where she reported during the General Assembly session in Annapolis. She has also worked for The (Hanover) Evening Sun and interned at Baltimore Magazine. Meg has won awards from the Maryland-Delaware-D.C. Press Association for her state and county writing, and a Keystone Press Award for feature writing from the Pennsylvania Newspaper Association. She is a graduate of Franklin & Marshall College in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. If you have additional questions or comments contact Meg at: Meg@MarylandReporter.com

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