FERGUSON SHAKES UP SENATE COMMITTEES: Senate President Bill Ferguson (D-Baltimore City) unveiled his long-awaited restructuring plan for the upper chamber late Wednesday afternoon, shifting the missions of two standing committees and selecting respected leaders to head them. Josh Kurtz/Maryland Matters.
- Sen. Brian Feldman of Montgomery County has been selected by Ferguson to serve as chair of the Committee on Education, Energy and the Environment. Feldman joins state Sen. Will Smith also of Montgomery County at the helm of a state Senate committee; Smith will continue to chair Judicial Proceedings.
- Senate Finance will also get a new chairwoman. Sen. Melony Griffith, D-Prince George’s, will take over for Sen. Delores Kelley, who is retiring at the end of this term. Griffith takes over a committee she had never served on previously. “I am thrilled that Senator Griffith will lead the Senate Finance Committee,” Ferguson said. “Her thoughtfulness, expertise in health policy and business affairs, and ability to build consensus will be a great asset to the committee.” Bryan Sears/The Daily Record.
GROUPS FIGHT SEALING OF COURT CASE TESTING ANTON’S LAW: A judge deemed some arguments by a Montgomery County police union attempting to block public access to court filings “not very strong,” but did not rule on the issue Wednesday in a case widely seen as an early test of Anton’s Law, passed by Maryland lawmakers last year to ensure public access to complaints of police misconduct. Steve Thompson/The Washington Post.
CONSTELLATION ‘SURPRISED, DISAPPOINTED’ IN COURT RULING: With a U.S. Court of Appeals ruling on Tuesday, the license granted to Constellation Energy over the controversial Conowingo Dam has been vacated. “While we are still reviewing the order, we are surprised and disappointed in the D.C. court’s decision to vacate Conowingo’s license renewal,” said a Constellation spokesperson. “No one who cares about clean air and the health of the Chesapeake Bay should be cheering this decision, which potentially jeopardizes the state’s largest source of renewable energy.” Kristian Jaime/The Salisbury Daily Times.
FEAR & HOPE: VICTIMS OF PRIEST ABUSE AWAIT RELEASE OF AG REPORT: More than 600 Maryland victims of sex abuse at the hands of Catholic priests are waiting for Maryland Attorney General’s Office to speak out on their behalf, many of them now grown-up children. Some have hope that the probe will finally be made public. Others point to how the archdiocese is paying lawyers to represent some members of an anonymous group who are named in the report, although not as abusers. That group has intervened to keep the court proceedings secret. Jean Marbella/The Baltimore Sun.
OPINION: INCOMING AG MUST RELEASE PRIEST SEX ABUSE REPORT: Once Anthony Brown is sworn in as Maryland’s attorney general Jan. 3, he must move expeditiously to seek permission to release the delayed report on alleged sexual abuse by priests in the Catholic Archdiocese of Baltimore. DeWayne Wickham/The Baltimore Banner.
THOUSANDS OF MARYLANDERS LOSE SNAP BENEFITS: Hundreds of thousands of Marylanders were dropped from the state’s food assistance program earlier this year. While the state agency responsible for delivering the crucial funds blamed the steep participation decline on people returning to work, outreach workers across the state fielded calls from eligible recipients who had lost their benefits at the hands of agency obstacles. Brenda Wintrode/The Baltimore Banner.
BPW OKs FUNDS TO MOVE FORWARD WITH STATE CENTER REDEVELOPMENT: Maryland officials approved a $500,000 grant Wednesday for Baltimore to move forward with a redevelopment plan for the city’s State Center complex. The Board of Public Works also approved leases Wednesday for the Department of Labor and the Department of Information Technology — the last two state agencies remaining at State Center — to move to office spaces on Charles Street downtown, clearing the way for the complex to be officially vacated next fall. Hannah Gaskill/The Baltimore Sun.
TUBMAN STATUE DEFACED IN ANNAPOLIS: A Harriet Tubman statue recently lent to an Annapolis museum by a Baltimore gallery was defaced Saturday, museum officials announced,. “Araminta with Rifle and Vévé” was transported in September from the Goya Contemporary Gallery in Baltimore to the front of the Banneker-Douglass Museum, the State of Maryland’s official museum of African American heritage. Luke Parker/The Capital Gazette.
CCB SUFFERS PHISHING ATTACK: The Community College of Baltimore County was the victim of a phishing attack that did not compromise student or faculty personal data, but has left the college with “a slight financial loss,” according to a statement from the college. Liz Bowie/The Baltimore Banner.