HOUSE OKs SCHOOL BUILDING SPENDING: A bill that would provide more money to repair and build schools to ease crowding and replace aging buildings received final approval in the Maryland House of Delegates on Friday, Ovetta Wiggins of the Post reports.
- The bill would add $2.2 billion to the state’s existing school construction funding over five years, reports Rachel Baye for WYPR-FM and is a priority for House Speaker Adrienne Jones, who is the legislation’s primary sponsor, and Senate President Bill Ferguson.
- The $2.2 billion would be distributed to counties over five years from bonds issued by the Maryland Stadium Authority, Luke Broadwater of the Sun reports. The bonds would be paid back over 30 years using $125 million a year in casino revenues set aside in a so-called “education lockbox.”
KIRWAN HEARING TODAY: Legislation to implement the recommendations of the Kirwan Commission gets a formal hearing today, Robert Lang reports for WBAL-AM. Four committees will hold a joint hearing on bills introduced in the House and Senate that will implement reforms such as expanded preschool, curriculum changes and pay raises for teachers over 10 years.
CLASH CONTINUES OVER TOLL ROADS VETO BILL: For the second time in about two weeks, friends and foes of legislation to give counties effective veto power over toll roads and bridges crossed swords on Thursday in Annapolis, Louis Peck of Bethesda Beat reports.
FALSE CALL LEGISLATION: Legislation to enable people targeted by false police calls to sue the callers for damages drew praise Friday as a way to protect minorities from people who irrationally believe they are all criminals. The bill also drew concern that victims of and witnesses to domestic violence would be discouraged from calling law enforcement lest they be sued, Steve Lash reports in the Daily Record.
SCHUH DEFENDS OPIOID EXPENDITURES: The head of Maryland’s Opioid Operational Command Center defended financial practices in the office’s first years of existence on Friday afternoon during a tense legislative hearing sparked by an audit that raised concerns about questionable grant activity, Danielle Gaines reports in Maryland Matters.
- Steve Schuh, who has headed the Opioid Operational Command Center since late 2018, said state auditors were correct in identifying a lack of policies and procedures. But he told lawmakers he believes the money was well spent on treatment, prevention and education programs, Pamela Wood of the Sun reports.
HALF OF ‘GREEN BAG’ POSTS GO TO WOMEN: Gov. Larry Hogan announced 168 Green Bag appointments on Friday – half of them women, Josh Kurtz writes for Maryland Matters. He nominated people to serve on everything from the Agricultural and Resource-Based Industry Development Corp. to the Advisory Council on Youth Camp Safety. The appointments the governor makes during the General Assembly are traditionally called “Green Bag” posts because they are delivered to the Senate in a green satchel.
OPINION: FIXES FOR WRONGFUL CONVICTIONS: In a column for the Sun, three Marylanders who were wrongfully convicted and served prison time – Walter Lomax, Clarence Shipley and Eric Simmons – urged legislators to fix two problems in the system: using jailhouse informants and overhaul the exoneree compensation law.
NEW REDSKINS STADIUM AT CURRENT SITE? Washington Redskins owner Daniel Snyder has begun wooing state and county officials in the Maryland and Virginia suburbs. And, reports Robert McCartney for the Post, early signs suggest the most likely outcome will be a new stadium at the site of the current one, FedEx Field, in Landover in Prince George’s County.
PET OWNERS COULD BE COMPENSATED FOR BEAR ATTACKS: Maryland pet owners could be compensated for black-bear attacks under new legislation heard last week in a Senate committee. Maryland’s Black Bear Damage Reimbursement Fund would be expanded under Senate bill 353 to add pets to the list of reimbursable “items” damaged by the state’s growing black bear population, Jeff Barnes of Capital News Service reports.
ARUNDEL DELEGATION REVAMPS LOCAL LIQUOR RULES: More than a dozen bills relating to the county liquor board sailed through the Anne Arundel County Delegation Friday. The bills ranged from substantial changes to the board’s membership, to how application notices must be posted, how licenses work and which types of businesses can obtain them, Olivia Sanchez reports for the Capital Gazette.
STATE, LOCAL SOLUTION SOUGHT TO HEMP FARM STENCH: Some Baltimore County residents have complained for months of an overpowering stench coming from an industrial hemp farm. The neighbors say they were not opposed to industrial hemp. Rather, the group wants the county or the state to impose restrictions that would prohibit industrial hemp farming within two miles of a residential area, Cody Boteler of the Sun reports.
PUGH ATTORNEYS SEEK YEAR & A DAY: Attorneys for former Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh are asking a federal judge to sentence her to serve one year and one day in prison, calling her a “tragic figure” who “has lost everything that she had,” Heather Cobun of the Daily Record reports.
- Lawyers representing Pugh are asking for a prison sentence of nearly four years less than what prosecutors are recommending, Ryan Dickstein reports for WMAR-TV.
- Pugh’s attorneys base the lighter sentencing on her having continued to suffer damage to her reputation, emotional distress and economic loss due to the fraudulent behavior tied to sales and donations related to her “Healthy Holly” children’s book series, Marcus Dieterle reports for Baltimore Fishbowl.
CARTER URGES NO JAIL TIME FOR PUGH: After federal prosecutors called for sending former Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh to prison for nearly five years, state Sen. Jill Carter, D-Baltimore City, said she does not believe there is any “public utility” to locking up the disgraced politician.
MFUME ASKS FOR LENIENCY FOR PUGH: Emily Opilo of the Sun writes that Kweisi Mfume, the Democratic nominee for the 7th Congressional District, was among dozens of friends, relatives and neighbors who pleaded for leniency for former Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh ahead of her sentencing in federal court.
METRO SAFETY PROBLEMS: The new safety commission overseeing Metrorail found several problems with how Metro maintains its tracks, including a failure to consistently check for heat-related buckling and kinks that could lead to derailments, the Post’s Justin George reports.
YOUNG KICKS OFF TV AD CAMPAIGN: Baltimore Mayor Jack Young started a TV ad campaign Friday, painting himself as the solution to corruption in City Hall, Emily Opilo of the Sun reports.
RODRICKS: MARY MILLER A SERIOUS CANDIDATE: Sun columnist Dan Rodricks writes about a little known candidate for mayor who is spending big to get the word out. Mary Miller is a high-credential candidate in the most important Baltimore election of the 21st century, he writes.
ARUNDEL TOP COP SEEKS DIALOGUE ON GUN RIGHTS: Second Amendment advocates dominated the mic at the final town hall for Anne Arundel County’s Gun Violence Prevention Task Force, prompting Anne Arundel Police Chief Timothy Altomare to defend the task force in an impassioned speech about law enforcement’s role and the need for thoughtful dialogue, Olivia Sanchez of the Capital Gazette reports.