NEW PORTRAIT OF FRANCHOT AS HIS TENURE COMES TO AN END: On Thursday, a cast of characters from every corner of the state came to the capital to toast the 36-year political career of outgoing Comptroller Peter Franchot (D) — and see his newly painted portrait. Hours later, the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee unveiled a new portrait of an even more venerated Marylander, the late U.S. Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall. Josh Kurtz/Maryland Matters
- Bryan Sears of the Daily Record covers the unveiling of the Franchot portrait combined with an exit interview and a review of his long career.
- Paul Gessler of WJZ TV has video of the unveiling.
IN WASHINGTON, HOUSE SPEAKER VOTE TURMOIL CONTINUES: Maryland Republican Rep. Andy Harris, whose 1st District covers the Eastern Shore, Harford County and a portion of Baltimore County, is a key vote in the Congressional gridlock about choosing a new Speaker of the House. Dwight Weingarten/Salisbury Daily Times
- Pressure was building as Republican party leader Kevin McCarthy lost seventh, eighth and then historic ninth and 10th rounds of voting, surpassing the number it took the last time this happened, 100 years ago, in a prolonged fight to choose a speaker in a disputed election. Lisa Mascaro and Farnoush Amiri/AP in WBAL-AM
- Though not mentioned directly in the article, The Washington Post featured Harris in a photo of Congressional leaders close to working out a deal. Marianna Sotomayor, Jacqueline Alemany, Amy Wang/Washington Post
- Politico Playbook is reporting that McCarthy supporters on the House Appropriations Committee are opposed to letting Harris chair an Appropriations subcommittee as part of a deal to move forward.
MONTGOMERY LAWMAKER TAKES THE LEAD AS MARYLAND GENERAL ASSEMBLY MAJORITY LEADER: Del. Marc Korman (D-Dist. 16) has been tapped to serve as majority leader in the House of Delegates, succeeding another Montgomery County lawmaker, Eric Luedtke. Luedtke has been selected by Gov.-elect Wes Moore to serve as his chief legislative officer. Steve Bohnel/Bethesda Beat
BAY GIVEN D+ GRADE: An environmental group gave the Chesapeake Bay watershed a D-plus grade in an evaluation released on Thursday — the same grade earned in its last report two years ago. Brian Witte/AP on WYPR
MOORE’S HISTORIC START AS FIRST BLACK GOVERNOR: The name Westley Watende Omari Moore has been etched into the annals of time as the first Black man in Maryland– and only the third Black man in American history– to be elected as a state governor. “I’ve been very humbled, but also just feeling very ready,” Moore told the AFRO. “It’s exciting because I think the state spoke with a collective voice. We won in urban and rural and suburban communities all throughout the state of Maryland.” Alexis Taylor/AFRO
- As he prepares to take office, Moore has made comments about the history of the Maryland State House where all the action will take place as a site built by slaves. But little is known about the craftsman who actually erected the building, just that their owners were slaveowners. Rick Hutzell/Baltimore Banner
STATE APPROVES 15-YEAR RAVENS LEASE @ M&T BANK STADIUM: The Baltimore Ravens will call M&T Bank Stadium home for at least 15 more years after signing a new lease agreement. After the Maryland Stadium Authority Board of Directors’ unanimously approved the proposed new stadium lease agreement, it was then presented to the Maryland Board of Public Works and received unanimous approval as well. Latrice Hill/Baltimore Fishbowl
REPORT: CANNABIS DEMAND IS HIGHER IN MD THAN OTHER STATES: A research project for Maryland lawmakers found that demand for cannabis in Maryland is high. While adult residents use marijuana in rates similar to other states, Marylanders who do use consume about five grams more per month on average than their counterparts, a survey of thousands of Maryland residents found. Ovetta Wiggins/Washington Post
FRAUD VICTIMS LEFT WITHOUT RESOURCES: Maryland officials aren’t helping victims of the latest fraud scheme – vulnerable people who depend on the government for food assistance through SNAP and TDAP cards. Using electronic skimming devices, fraudsters strip the money off Electronic Benefits Transfer cards. Fern Shen/Baltimore Brew
BALTIMORE MAYOR ON GENERAL ASSEMBLY PRIORITIES: Mayor Brandon Scott announced Baltimore’s priorities Thursday for the upcoming Maryland General Assembly, outlining a slate of budget requests and policy proposals aimed at reforming tax saleS, shoring up public safety and tweaking local traffic enforcement. Adam Willis and Emily Sullivan/Baltimore Banner
HISTORIC CLOCK A FREDERICK PRIORITY: Restoring the Frederick city’s historic official clock in downtown Frederick is one priority city officials are hoping the county’s delegation to the General Assembly will champion when the legislature’s session begins next week. Ryan Marshall/Frederick News-Post
MARYLAND LAGGING BEHIND ON JOBS: The U.S. as a whole has not only recovered its job losses from the pandemic, but added 1 million more jobs than there were in February 2020. That is not the case for Maryland. Garrett Dvorkin/Baltimore Business Journal
NEW SENATOR WILL HAVE SHORT TENURE: Maryland’s newest state senator will likely be one of the shortest-serving senators in history. With zero fanfare or publicity, former state Del. Christian Miele (R) was sworn in by Senate President Bill Ferguson (D-Baltimore City) Thursday morning to represent Harford County’s 34th District until noon on Wednesday, when the new Senate term convenes. Josh Kurtz/Maryland Matters
BALL BECOMES NEW PRESIDENT OF MACO: Howard County Executive Calvin Ball was named the new president of the Maryland Association of Counties during the nonprofit’s winter conference this week in Cambridge. Sherry Greenfield/Baltimore Sun Media
COHEN EXPLORES BID FOR CITY COUNCIL PRESIDENT: Baltimore Councilman Zeke Cohen is exploring a bid for city council president. He announced the formation of the committee Wednesday night at a private event in Little Italy. Emily Opilo/Baltimore Sun
SUN NEWS PHOTOGRAPHER PHILLIPS REMEMBERED: Irving Henry Webster Phillips Jr., The Baltimore Sun’s first Black news photographer who shot Cal Ripken’s first home run and Johnny Unitas’ last game, as well as the 1968 riots, died of end-stage renal failure Dec. 22 at Loch Raven VA Medical Center. He was 79. Jacques Kelly/Baltimore Sun