MARYLAND POISED TO POUR BIG BUCKS IN STATE PARKS: Maryland is set to invest tens of millions of dollars in its state parks at a time they are most needed. The number of people visiting them has more than doubled in less than a decade, with the sharpest surge coming just since the COVID-19 pandemic hit — to a record 21.7 million visitors last year. Meanwhile, the number of rangers has stagnated, and the price tag for a backlog of maintenance projects is $68 million and growing. Scott Dance/The Baltimore Sun.
NEW BAY BRIDGE STUDY GETS FEDERAL OK: A study says a 2-mile wide corridor surrounding U.S. 50/301 is the recommended route for a new potential Chesapeake Bay crossing. An initial environmental study for identifying the corridor received the seal of approval from the Federal Highway Administration, the Maryland Transportation Authority announced Thursday. Dana Munro/The Capital Gazette.
SCRAMBLING TO GET READY FOR PRIMARY: With the delayed July 19 primary just 12 weeks away and redistricting challenges settled, Maryland election officials are working overtime to get ready for the fast-approaching election. Earlier this year — amid challenges to local, state and federal maps — election officials warned that the workload would be heavy. The Court of Appeals postponed the primary from June 28 to July 19 as those challenges worked their way through the courts. Bennett Leckrone/Maryland Matters.
DEADLINE TO FORM POLICE ACCOUNTABILITY BOARDS: Under a new state law, county police accountability boards will receive complaints of officer misconduct, review disciplinary outcomes, issue suggestions for policy improvements, and appoint civilian members to administrative charging committees. Specifics of membership, board powers and funding are left to the counties themselves — and each is facing a looming July 1 deadline, leaving a tight timeline to hash out the details of consequential oversight bodies. Alison Knezevich and Darcy Costello /The Baltimore Sun.
ATTY GEN, HARFORD SHERIFF CLASH OVER PROBE OF MAN’s DEATH: The Maryland Attorney General’s Office, which is tasked with investigating civilian deaths involving police officers under a state law passed in 2021, clashed with Sheriff Jeff Gahler about access to evidence and the scene as well as who investigates such incidents. Christine Condon/The Aegis.
- Deputies with the Harford County Sheriff’s Office fatally shot a man in a Forest Hill shopping center Saturday, the first deputy-involved shooting in the county in several years. The incident might be an early test for a new Maryland law meant to increase the transparency of investigations into police-involved deaths. Christina Tkacik/The Baltimore Sun.
HOPE LIES WITH BLACK MALE TEACHERS TO PLUG GAP: The pandemic has exacerbated Maryland’s teacher shortage, a situation that already had been worsening for years. To address the problem, four Maryland universities are working to recruit and train Black male teachers, who nationwide make up only 2% of teachers. Meanwhile, in western Maryland, one school is preparing students to teach in rural areas. Pete Pichaske/The Daily Record.
BILL TO REINSTATE RIVERKEEPER AWAITS HOGAN SIGNATURE: Earlier this month, the General Assembly unanimously passed a bill that would make the Patuxent Riverkeeper a permanent voting member of the Patuxent River Commission, which has seen a number of members booted over their stance on development issues. Gov. Larry Hogan has about a month to sign the legislation, veto it or let it take effect without his signature. Elizabeth Shwe/Maryland Matters.
GAMBLING OFFICIALS PUSH FOR MOBILE BETTING: Maryland gambling officials hope to bring mobile betting to the state in time for the kickoff of the National Football League’s 2022 season. And more so than in any state in the country, analysts say, Maryland has gone the extra mile to give minority- and female-led businesses the opportunity to crack into the new industry. Bruce DePuyt/Maryland Matters.
DEL. KRIMM MISSED MOST OF 2022 SESSION: State Del. Carol Krimm’s family said a medical condition caused her to miss most of the 2022 Maryland General Assembly session. Krimm, 71, was absent from the General Assembly starting in January, shortly after the 90-day session began. Other members of the county’s delegation to Annapolis have said recently that neither they nor their offices have heard from the delegate for months. Jack Hogan/The Frederick News Post.
POLITICAL NOTES: WOMEN’S CAUCUS; JEALOUS & MOORE; SCHULTZ SUPPORT: It was a tough General Assembly session for the Women Legislators of Maryland. But the caucus still released a celebratory video recently marking its 50th anniversary, featuring both Democrats and Republicans. Ben Jealous, the 2018 Democratic nominee for governor, endorsed author and former nonprofit CEO Wes Moore in this year’s Democratic gubernatorial primary. Former Maryland Commerce Secretary Kelly Schulz (R) has the backing of the Kent County Commissioner in the gubernatorial primary — including a county leader who earlier withdrew an endorsement from Peter Franchot. Josh Kurtz, Bennett Leckrone and Danielle Gaines/Maryland Matters.
OPINION: MO CO NEEDS INNOVATIVE TRANSIT OPTIONS, NOT BUSES: Montgomery County Executive Marc Elricha and the County Council have approved plans to expand their Bus Rapid Transit system despite its failure to attract riders. The BRT is an expensive solution for a bygone time. Riders do not like buses. Meantime, county leadership turns a blind eye to alternative transit options.
Peter James, candidate for Montgomery County executive/MarylandReporter.
B’MORE WANTS TO RENEW DEVELOPERS’ PRICEY TAX BREAK: The city of Baltimore wants to renew and expand an expiring tax break for developers and businesses that costs tens of millions of dollars annually. Giacomo Bologna/The Baltimore Sun.
B’MORE ‘DEFUND’ SUPPORTERS WANT MONEY FOR OTHER SERVICES: When asked whether they supported calls to defund police, only about 30% of more than 1,000 Baltimore city residents interviewed by the Citizens Policing Project said yes, according to a recent report that founder Ray Kelly wrote based on findings from the study. Defund supporters want to transfer money directly from the police budget to schools, affordable housing, drug treatment and mental health programs — services meant to address the root causes of violence. Lea Skene/The Baltimore Sun.
BUTTIGIEG TOURS MORGAN TRANSIT RESEARCH FACILITY: U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg toured one of Morgan State University’s trailblazing research facilities Wednesday, the Center for the Built Environment and Infrastructure Studies. There he tested Maryland’s only driving simulator that took him from I-95 to the Baltimore Convention Center. The program is being used to study things such as reaction times and human-computer interaction. The projects play a key role in what he said is the future of transportation infrastructure. Callan Tansill-Suddath/WYPR-FM.
RETIRED JUDGE TO PEN COURT HISTORY BOOK: Recently retired Court of Appeals Chief Judge Joseph M. Getty, who often regales visitors to Maryland’s high court with stories of its history, said he plans to put his words to paper within the next few years as a “retirement project.” Steve Lash/The Daily Record.