State Roundup: Education Blueprint funding battle heats up; redistricting appeals might delay primary

State Roundup: Education Blueprint funding battle heats up; redistricting appeals might delay primary

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CRITICS SAY BLUEPRINT EDUCATION PLAN IS NOT BEING IMPLEMENTED: The Blueprint Coalition, a group of education advocates, is charging that Gov. Larry Hogan shortchanged schools by nearly $140 million in his budget and they want him to restore it. A spokesman for the governor says the money being asked for wasn’t due until next year. Joel McCord/WYPR

  • State leaders and education advocates say that if the plan passed by the General Assembly last year over Hogan’s veto is successful, Maryland students will rank among the best in the world. But timeline delays and disputes over the amount of mandated funding have hampered the Blueprint’s first steps. Lillian Reed/The Baltimore Sun
  • On the local level, The Board of Education of Anne Arundel County approved a $1.6 billion operating budget proposal with an increase attributed to the requirements of the Blueprint plan, which now will be considered by County Executive Steuart Pittman and the County Council. Rachael Pacella/Capital Gazette

ELECTIONS OFFICIALS CONCERNED OVER REDESTRICTING TIMELINE: A court challenge to Maryland’s new state legislative district map has placed the state in “uncharted territory” on whether the primary election can be held June 28 as scheduled, a state lawyer said Thursday. Jeff Barker/The Baltimore Sun

  • The lawyer didn’t specifically ask for a delayed election or a further postponed candidate filing deadline but said it’s “impossible to speak in absolutes” over what timeframe election officials would need to implement any possible changes to the legislative map. The hearing is proceeding on an expedited timeline. Bennett Leckrone/Maryland Matters 

JUDGE ORDERS TOLL LANE CONTRACTORS RECONSIDERED: A Montgomery County judge ruled Thursday that a losing bidder on the Maryland toll lanes initiative filed most of its bid protest in time, allowing a legal challenge to proceed on one of the state’s largest infrastructure projects. Katherine Shaver/Washington Post

  • The judge ordered the state to reconsider its decision to award a lucrative contract to an international conglomerate comprised of Transurban and another firm. Bruce DePuyt/Maryland Matters

FRANCHOT CALLS FOR BUSINESS HELP: Comptroller Peter Franchot urged the governor and the General Assembly on Thursday to approve more financial relief for Maryland small businesses. Franchot, a Democratic candidate for governor, is seeking to provide $500 million in emergency grants to those in the hardest-hit industries, such as retail and hospitality. Lorraine Mirabella/The Baltimore Sun

GOP INTRODUCES VOTER ID, VERIFICATION BILLS: Republican state lawmakers announced legislation Thursday to require voter identification and signature verification, though those measures have repeatedly failed in the General Assembly. Bennett Leckrone/Maryland Matters

  • Republican leaders focused on security and integrity of elections, while others said the measures don’t do enough to make sure disenfranchised voters have access to polls. Callan Tansill-Suddath/WYPR

DIGITAL TAX CHALLENGED BY BIG TECH IN COURT: Attorneys in a federal court challenge to Maryland’s first-in-the-nation digital ad tax argued Thursday about whether the law is a tax or an unconstitutional penalty targeting Big Tech. Brian Witte/Associated Press on CBC Local

BILLS TO STRENGTHEN RAIL TRANSIT: Maryland legislators have introduced a pair of bills that aim to strengthen Maryland’s rail transit infrastructure and better connect its railway system to neighboring states. Johanna Alonso/Daily Record

SCHOOLS VACCINE MANDATE POWER UNCLEAR: A recent poll of Howard County voters taken by a local foundation that works on education and public health issues found a strong majority of residents said they would favor a COVID vaccine mandate in the schools. But it’s not clear who has the power to impose such a mandate. Josh Kurtz/Maryland Matters

 WASHINGTON CO SCHOOL BOARD WANTS MASKING DECISION MAKING AUTHORITY: The Washington County Board of Education wants the authority to decide how it will handle rules pertaining to COVID-19, such as when students are required to wear masks to school. Sherry Greenfield/The Herald-Mail

AUTOPSY LIMIT PROPOSED: A bill being proposed in the House of Delegates would limit the number of autopsies each medical examiner can perform. This comes as state lawmakers are finding bodies are piling up at the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner in Baltimore. Kai Reed/WBALTV

BALTIMORE AERIAL SURVEILLANCE PROGRAM TO BE EXPUNGED: Records and data collected by a now-defunct aerial surveillance program in Baltimore will be expunged as part of a federal lawsuit settlement filed this week. Associated Press in Cumberland Times-News

HBCUS TESTIFY ON BOMB THREATS: Leaders of the nation’s historically black colleges and universities are speaking out in testimony to congressional committees after a recent series of bomb threats disrupting schools and classrooms nationwide. Kelsey Kushner/WJZ

 TWO JUDGES APPOINTED: Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan announced the appointments of two judges to the state’s highest court on Thursday, including the state’s first Hispanic judge on the Maryland Court of Appeals. Associated Press in the Sun

 HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO: Dels. C.T. Wilson, Mike Rogers and Sid Saab, all celebrating on Sunday, Feb. 20.

About The Author

Meg Tully

megctully@gmail.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: megctully@gmail.com

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