CIVIL RIGHTS LEADERS WANT ANSWERS ON OC POLICE INCIDENTS: Civil rights leaders want answers to what they say was the use of excessive force against a group of African-American teenagers by Ocean City police on the boardwalk this past Saturday. The incident occurred as the officers were enforcing a vaping ban that is in effect on certain parts of the boardwalk, Bryan Renbaum of Maryland Reporter is reporting.
- More than 50 activists gathered at Lawyers’ Mall at the State House in Annapolis, expressing their outrage and alarm over incidents captured on video that showed police tasing and hog-tying Black teenagers who had apparently violated Ocean City’s ban on vaping on the boardwalk, Josh Kurtz reports for Maryland Matters.
- Videos show the arrest of one 18-year-old on June 6 and of four teens on June 13, in which officers confront them for vaping outside of designated areas. The June 6 video shows the teen holding his hands in the air while he is shot with a Taser. In the June 13 video, a 19-year-old is repeatedly kneed by an officer as a group of officers hold him face down on the ground, Rose Wagner of the Sun reports.
CRISIS COUNSELORS CONCERNED ABOUT FUTURE AS FACE OF PUBLIC SAFETY: Amid a nationwide reckoning over police brutality, crisis centers like one in Montgomery County are being hailed as a vital alternative to having officers respond to mental health emergencies — a way to keep police and their guns away from people in need of help, rather than arrest, Rebecca Tan reports for the Post. But staff are ambivalent about being cast as the new face of public safety.
HOGAN TOLL ROAD PLAN NOW IN RISKY SPOT: Leaders in the Washington region on Wednesday removed Gov. Larry Hogan’s toll lanes plan for the Capital Beltway and Interstate 270 from a key list of long-term transportation projects, leaving it at greater risk of not securing federal environmental approval, Katherine Shaver reports for the Post.
BPW OKs FUNDS FOR PURPLE LINE MANAGEMENT: The Maryland Department of Transportation continues to grapple with the abrupt departure of the Purple Line’s prime subcontractor last year, Bruce DePuyt reports for Maryland Matters. On Wednesday, the Board of Public Works approved an agency request to add $183.5 million to a management contract for the partially-built project. The request was approved unanimously.
FRANCHOT WANTS SOFTER APPROACH TO GETTING PEOPLE BACK TO WORK: Maryland’s top tax collector is calling for a statewide incentive to coax out-of-work residents to return to the workplace. Comptroller Peter Franchot, speaking at Wednesday’s Board of Public Works meeting, called on Gov. Larry Hogan to offer the carrot rather than a stick — the cancellation of the state’s participation in a federal program that offers additional pandemic-related weekly payments to displaced workers.
ADVOCATES WORRY ABOUT LOSS OF HOMES: State and federal eviction protections will soon expire in Maryland, and fair housing advocates say many tenants could lose their homes as courts work through lengthy eviction backlogs, Bennett Leckrone reports in Maryland Matters. Gov. Larry Hogan announced Tuesday that Maryland’s state of emergency will end July 1st — and after an additional 45-day grace period, the state’s eviction protections will also phase out.
IN STATE GOV’T, WHO GETS PAID WHAT? More than 1 out of every 8 dollars Maryland spent last year went to compensating its employees. How that pot is divvied up speaks to how state government is defining its mission and how it is executing it. The Sun staff offers an overview of the top paid workers and comparisons among organizations as well as the raw data.
- Just 40% of the top-paying state jobs in Maryland are held by women, a figure that has barely budged in nearly 10 years, according to a Baltimore Sun analysis of records from the state comptroller’s office, Jeff Barker reports for the Sun.
NATIONAL PTA GETS RESTRAINING ORDER AGAINST MD GROUP: A year-long dispute between what was formerly the Maryland PTA and the National PTA has reached a boiling point, with Montgomery County Circuit Court granting the national organization a temporary restraining order against the state group. Johanna Alonso of the Daily Record reports that the National PTA’s complaint against what is now called the Alliance for Maryland Parents, Teachers and Students alleges that the latter organization converted National, Maryland and local PTA funds; interfered with the National PTA’s business relationship with local councils; and breached its fiduciary duties to local PTAs.
HARRIS OBJECTS TO ‘INSURRECTION’ IN BILL HONORING CAPITOL POLICE: Maryland Rep. Andy Harris says that he objected to legislation awarding medals to police officers protecting the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 because he believes the bill incorrectly used the word “insurrection.” The Baltimore County Republican was one of 21 House members, all Republicans, voting against a measure Tuesday to award the Congressional Gold Medal to U.S. Capitol Police and other officers at the Capitol during the violent attack and occupation by a mob loyal to former President Donald Trump, Jeff Barker of the Sun reports.
RETIRING JUDGE BARBERA: THANKS FOR WONDERFUL RIDE: Maryland’s retiring top jurist Wednesday ended her last public appearance on the bench by thanking the state’s judiciary and more than 40,000 attorneys for “keeping the rule of law strong,” reports Steve Lash for the Daily Record. “I am gratified beyond words to do the work of justice,” said Court of Appeals Judge Mary Ellen Barbera, who reaches Maryland’s mandatory judicial retirement age of 70 on Sept. 10. “It has been a wonderful ride.”
U.S. SENATE CONFIRMS GRIGGSBY AS FEDERAL JUDGE: The U.S. Senate voted 59-39 on Wednesday to confirm Maryland judicial nominee Lydia Griggsby, making her the first woman of color to serve as a federal judge in the state, Jeff Barker reports in the Sun. Griggsby, a Baltimore native and former chief counsel for Democratic U.S. Sen. Patrick Leahy of Vermont, has been a judge on the U.S. Court of Federal Claims since 2014.
HAIRE JOINS GOP RACE FOR ARUNDEL EXEC: Republican Arundel Councilwoman Jessica Haire announced her candidacy for county executive Wednesday, making her the third to officially throw her hat in the ring in what will be a contentious Republican primary, Ada Romano reports for the Capital Gazette.
WOMEN RETURN IN FORCE TO RUN FOR MO CO COUNCIL: In 2018, when a historic number of women were elected to Congress, a liberal suburb outside Washington chose just one woman for its nine-member county council. Four seats vacated by term-limited lawmakers were filled by men, creating the starkest gender imbalance on the legislative body since the 1980s. Three years later, the race for the Montgomery County Council is underway again — and female candidates have returned in force, Rebecca Tan reports for the Post.
PG HEALTH DEPT TAKES VAXX TO HOMES: Prince George’s County’s health department, along with the Department of Homeland Security, conducted a mobile vaccination clinic at Southview Apartments, a 1,402-unit property that is one of the biggest complexes in the county, William Ford reports for the Washington Informer. In Prince George’s, roughly 402,000 people 12 and older have been fully vaccinated so far. The positivity rate stands at 1.1% for the week of June 6-12, a decrease of 8.3% from the following week.
B’MORE TO FOLLOW STATE, LIFTING MASK RULE ON JULY 1: Baltimore will follow the state and end both its state of emergency and mask mandates on July 1, Bryan Sears reports in the Daily Record. The announcement by Mayor Brandon Scott Wednesday comes one day after Republican Gov. Larry Hogan said state vaccination rates had driven coronavirus infections to sufficiently low levels to warrant the state ending its state of emergency and lifting all remaining masking requirements.
OPINION: MOSBY DISTRACTED BY PERSONAL ISSUES: In a column for the Sun, Roya Hanna, a former Baltimore assistant state’s attorney, opines that “We are on track for another year of more than 350 homicides in Baltimore, yet city State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby seems more concerned with personal investigations and other distractions rather than with prosecuting cases.”
FORMER NONPROFIT HEAD SAYS PRACTICE UNDER PROBE WAS COMMON: Emily Opilo of the Sun reports that a Baltimore nonprofit conspired with city officials to give itself an unfair advantage over other developers to acquire property through the city’s annual tax sale, according to an inspector general report released this week. The former head of the nonprofit says it was a common practice for development groups to ask for properties to be set aside dating to the 1980s.