SENATE POT FOCUS IS PROFITABILITY: With the House of Delegates having passed proposals to legalize recreational marijuana, the Senate has taken up the issue with a decidedly different focus. While bills in the Senate are also aimed at making recreational use legal, they want to make it profitable. The Senate Finance Committee is discussing a pair of bills that would allow the state to collect tax from recreational marijuana processors and dispensaries. E.A. Breeden of Capital News Service/Maryland Reporter.
SHORE DELEGATION: BAY BRIDGE STUDY IS STATE PRIORITY: Members of the Eastern Shore delegation Friday discussed their desire to secure funding for the next phase of the Chesapeake Bay Crossing Study, calling the effort a statewide priority despite the number of large-population jurisdictions uninvolved with the project. Luke Parker/The Easton Star-Democrat.
FRANCHOT SEEKS TAX CREDIT FOR DONATIONS TO UKRANE RELIEF: Comptroller Peter Franchot is urging legislative leaders to pass a state income tax credit for contributions to humanitarian aid for Ukranians, as over 1 million refugees flee the country amid Russian attacks. The tax credit would be a way to incentivize further support from Marylanders for the crisis in Eastern Europe, Franchot said. Steven Neukam of Capital News Service/Maryland Reporter.
BILLS WOULD MAKE CHILD CARE MORE ACCESSIBLE: Legislators in the House Ways and Means Committee were presented with four bills related to making child care more accessible to Maryland families on Friday afternoon, with several child care providers and advocates speaking in support of the bills. Johanna Alonso/The Daily Record.
MOST MARYLANDERS CAN GO MASKLESS: Two years and multiple waves into the coronavirus pandemic, and state and local leaders now say most Marylanders can reenter society and do it without a mask. And the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that 90% of the country now falls in the low to moderate categories for levels and spread of COVID-19, sufficient to ditch the masks. For Kim Cross, a Howard County veterinarian and mother of three, it’s mostly status quo until her two children under age 5 can be vaccinated. Meredith Cohn/The Baltimore Sun.
MTA CHIEF ADDRESSES E-ZPASS PROBLEMS: During a Friday meeting with the Eastern Shore Delegation, the Maryland Transportation Authority’s acting executive director William Pines addressed the agency’s attempts to rectify the controversial E-ZPass billing situation. The presentation from Pines explained the newly implemented customer assistance plan, updated legislators on the toll transaction backlog and discussed the possibility of customer refunds. Natalie Jones/The Easton Star Democrat.
ALSOBROOKS BACKS MOORE FOR GOVERNOR: Prince George’s County Executive Angela D. Alsobrooks (D) on Saturday declared her support for Wes Moore in his bid to become Maryland’s next governor, giving him a coveted endorsement in the crowded Democratic primary. Ovetta Wiggins/The Washington Post.
- Alsobrooks, once considered a top contender for the governor’s seat herself, called Moore “the leader we need in this moment.” Danielle Gaines/Maryland Matters.
GOP GOV CANDIDATE FICKER DISBARRED: Republican gubernatorial candidate Robin Ficker was disbarred from practicing law under a ruling from the state’s top court after a complaint initiated by the Attorney Grievance Commission. Ovetta Wiggins/The Washington Post.
- The colorful Montgomery County defense attorney, was recommended for disbarment following his handling of a 2018 District Court case in which he represented a man accused of driving without a license. Ficker was accused of “a slate of violations of the Maryland Attorneys’ Rules of Professional Conduct.” Bruce DePuyt/Maryland Matters.
ARUNDEL COUNCIL TO REVIEW POLICE REFORM BILL: Anne Arundel County will move a step closer to implementing the sweeping law enforcement reform legislation passed by the General Assembly in 2021 when the County Council reviews a Police Accountability Board proposal Monday. Dana Munro/The Capital Gazette.
Get your commentary published: In recent weeks, Maryland Reporter has published a wide range of opinion on issues that are before the General Assembly — or should be, writers say. Subjects like soft drinks for kiddie meals, security of mail-in ballots, car pricing on the internet, the hazards of corporate taxation and the fears of people with disabilities about assisted dying, If you have a commentary about Maryland government and politics you’d like to see published, send it along to Len@MarylandReporter.com. It needs to be exclusive to Maryland Reporter and 700 words or less.
LEGAL QUESTION: IS A RESOLUTION ENOUGH TO PASS REDISTRICTING? The distinction between a law and a resolution is at the heart of a Prince George’s County redistricting battle that Maryland’s top court heard Friday. The Court of Appeals must decide whether Prince George’s County Council had the right to pass its controversial redistricting plan by a simple resolution, which avoided the possibility of a veto by the county executive. Madeleine O’Neill/The Daily Record.
COVID PROTEST CONVOY HITS CAPITAL BELTWAY FOR 2nd DAY: An armada of drivers calling themselves the “People’s Convoy” on Sunday was circling the Capital Beltway at a deliberately slow speed Sunday as an act of protest against pandemic restrictions. The convoy of hundreds of trucks, cars and SUVs was moving in a single file line that stretches roughly 30 miles. Organizers’ said their goal was to be a “huge pain.” The vehicles are slowing traffic where Interstates 270 and 495 meet. Ellie Silverman, Steve Thompson and Jessica Contrera/The Washington Post.
- The People’s Convoy plans to leave the Hagerstown Speedway on Monday about 9:30 a.m. and head to the Capital Beltway for a second day of demonstrations in the D.C. area, an organizer said. Ellie Silverman and Karina Ellwood/The Washington Post.
PETITION SEEKS TO EXPAND BA CO COUNCIL BY 4 MEMBERS: A petition drive is on to expand the Baltimore County Council from seven members to 11. Baltimore County’s Council has had just seven members since it was created in 1956 and a coalition of residents and local advocacy groups says it’s time to expand representation. Bennett Leckrone/Maryland Matters. Editor’s Note: The last easily accessible information on council salaries was from The Baltimore Sun in 2014, when members’ annual pay was raised to $62,500.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY: To Sen. Obie Patterson
MARYLANDERS FOR AFFORDABLE RX: Marylanders for Affordable Rx is educating policymakers and the public on the real reasons behind high prescription drug costs and exposing special interests that are out to pad their bottom line at the expense of Maryland’s hardworking people. Across the country and in our state, we see special interests, like Big Pharma and the independent pharmacy lobby, push agendas that would make it harder for patient advocates like pharmacy benefit managers to negotiate for lower prescription drug costs. Learn more and help us stop special interests from increasing our Rx costs. (Paid Advertising)