State Roundup: Water pollution oversight drops during Hogan reign; abortion protection bills hit House floor; 10 gov hopefuls debate

State Roundup: Water pollution oversight drops during Hogan reign; abortion protection bills hit House floor; 10 gov hopefuls debate

The state Department of the Environment took 422 water pollution enforcement actions between 2016 and 2021, significantly lower than the 1,280 it took between 2010 and 2015. Photo by Aviavlad for Pixabay.

WATER POLLUTION OVERSIGHT PLUMMETED UNDER HOGAN: Last year, when Blue Water Baltimore discovered that two city wastewater treatment plants had been releasing millions of gallons of partially treated human waste into area waterways the natural question arose: “Where has the oversight been?” A new report likely has the answer. It has steadily declined over the last two decades and plummeted sharply during the Hogan administration. Fern Shen/Baltimore Brew.

  • Environmental groups found that the Maryland Department of the Environment took 422 water pollution enforcement actions between 2016 and 2021, which was significantly lower than the 1,280 enforcement actions between 2010 and 2015, during the administration of Gov. Martin J. O’Malley (D). Elizabeth Shwe/Maryland Matters.

Pictured: Abortion rights supporters gather in Washington at the Supreme Court. Maryland legislators are proposing legislation they say will ensure abortion rights in the state. (Brittany N. Gaddy/Capital News Service)

ABORTION RIGHTS BILLS HIT HOUSE FLOOR: With the possibility that a U.S. Supreme Court conservative majority could reverse or severely limit women’s abortion rights, Democratic legislators have proposed laws in the General Assembly to create a bulwark against erosion of those rights in Maryland and to expand access to the procedure. Vanessa Sanchez of Capital News Service/Maryland Reporter.

  • Two abortion bills were at the center of an hourlong debate in the House of Delegates Wednesday. One bill, The Right to Reproductive Liberty, proposes a state constitutional amendment that would preserve a woman’s right to an abortion in Maryland. The second bill, the Abortion Care Access Act, would, among other things, fund training for more medical providers to perform abortions in the state. Callan Tansill-Suddath/WYPR-FM.
  • The only attempt to amend one bill on the floor was made by Del. William J. Wivell (R-Washington) who wanted to enshrine in the state Constitution that fetuses, which he called “the pre-born,” have a right to life. Hannah Gaskill/Maryland Matters.

DELEGATES TAKE ON PAINT, GHOST GUNS: Lawmakers on Wednesday got into some passionate debates on the House floor over legislation concerning topics ranging from paint to guns. Before hearing several amendments on ghost guns, the House of Delegates had a pretty intense debate over some amendments to HB18, named the Maryland Paint Stewardship. Amanda Engel/WMAR-TV.

HOMESCHOOLING ROSE 53.6% DURING PANDEMIC: In the spring of 2020, the face of education changed drastically throughout the United States as the COVID-19 pandemic spread throughout the country. The Maryland Homeschool Association anticipated increasing numbers of homeschooling parents, but the 53.6% increase that came was “unprecedented,” MHA founder Alessa Keener. Melena DiNenna of Capital News Service/Maryland Reporter.

STUDENTS’ PANDEMIC LEARNING LOSS SEVERE: The most recent state test scores show Maryland students experienced a stunning amount of learning loss from the Covid shutdowns. Education experts made dire predictions during the last two years, and it appears they were right. Chris Papst/WBFF-TV.

THE CATS MEOW: MARYLAND SET TO BAN DECLAWING: Move over, liquor lobby. Step aside, Big Pharma. The cat lobby has arrived in Annapolis and already notched a win: Maryland is poised to become the second state in the country to ban declawing. Ovetta Wiggins/The Washington Post.

JUDGE TO DECIDE IF NEW BA CO MAP IS FAIR: A federal judge must decide now whether the Baltimore County Council’s newly redrawn map of council district boundaries is fair to Black voters. U. S. District Judge Lydia Kay Griggsby asked attorneys for civil rights organizations and a group of county residents Wednesday to file a report by 5 p.m. Thursday “stating their views on whether the County’s proposed map complies with Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act.” Jeff Barker/The Baltimore Sun.

THE HIDDEN COST OF POLICE MISCONDUCT: More than $1.5 billion has been spent to settle claims of police misconduct involving thousands of officers repeatedly accused of wrongdoing. Taxpayers are often in the dark. Scroll down to view the data by jurisdiction, including Baltimore and Prince George’s County. Keith L. Alexander, Steven Rich and Hannah Thacker/The Washington Post.

ARUNDEL NOW MAY BE ABLE TO TAKE CROWNSVILLE CAMPUS: The Maryland Board of Public Works voted 2-1 on Wednesday to declare the majority of the Crownsville Hospital Center campus surplus property, perhaps clearing the way for Anne Arundel County to obtain the land. 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 It needs to be exclusive to Maryland Reporter and 700 words or less.

RESIDENTS SUE LABOR DEPT FOR PANDEMIC-RELATED JOBLESS BENEFITS: The Unemployed Workers Union is back in court battling the Maryland Department of Labor to settle unpaid unemployment benefits for a group of people who have lost their jobs during the coronavirus pandemic. McKenna Oxenden/The Baltimore Sun.

Democrat John B. King, center, goes after fellow Democratic candidates for not being aggressive enough in their timelines for reducing greenhouse gas emissions. (Christine Zhu/University of Maryland)

10 CANDIDATES FOR GOVERNOR TALK CLIMATE CRISIS: Ten Maryland governor candidates laid out their plans for slashing carbon emissions, building mass transit projects, protecting the Chesapeake Bay and improving air quality in the state at a climate forum Tuesday at the University of Maryland in College Park. The pool of candidates at the event included eight Democrats, one Republican and one Libertarian. Stephen Neukam of Capital News Service/Maryland Reporter.

  • Maryland Matters founding editor Josh Kurtz, Tonya Harrison Edwards of the NAACP Prince George’s County and Rona Kobell of the Environmental Justice Journalism Initiative asked candidates a wide range of questions on how they would address the impending climate crisis. Elizabeth Shwe/Maryland Matters.

DiPAULA STEPS DOWN AS UMMS CHAIR: James “Chip” DiPaula Jr. has stepped down as chairman of the University of Maryland Medical System after nearly three years in the position that was punctuated by the coronavirus pandemic. DiPaula, however, may be best remembered as taking the helm of the 13-hospital system’s board in the wake of a major scandal involving lucrative contracts for board members, including former Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh. Meredith Cohn/The Baltimore Sun.

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)


About The Author

Cynthia Prairie

Contributing Editor Cynthia Prairie has been a newspaper editor since 1979, when she began working at The Raleigh Times. Since then, she has worked for The Baltimore News American, The Chicago Sun-Times, The Prince George’s Journal and Baltimore County newspapers in the Patuxent Publishing chain, including overseeing The Jeffersonian when it was a two-day a week business publication. Cynthia has won numerous state awards, including the Maryland State Bar Association’s Gavel Award. Besides compiling and editing the daily State Roundup, she runs her own online newspaper, The Chester Telegraph. If you have additional questions or comments contact Cynthia at:

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