IN 1991, CATHOLIC CHURCH PUSHED FOR PROVISION IT NOW OPPOSES: In 1991, the Maryland Catholic Conference lobbied lawmakers, which passed legislation to allow for the right to file retroactive lawsuits against those who built Catholic schools using asbestos. However, the Catholic Church suggests the same legal avenue it sought in 1991 should now be considered unconstitutional as it fights sexual abuse cases, with the Maryland Catholic Conference citing a letter from the attorney general’s office that questions whether lookback windows are permissible under the Maryland Constitution. Lee O. Sanderlin/The Baltimore Sun.
BILL WOULD TIGHTEN CONCEALED CARRY LAW: As Democratic members of Maryland’s General Assembly scramble to implement a new concealed carry gun policy for the state, House lawmakers heard testimony Wednesday on a bill to tighten restrictions on who can carry a firearm in public. Hannah Gaskill/The Baltimore Sun.
REPUBLICANS QUESTION MOORE OVER EXEC ORDER CREATING CABINET POST: Senate Republicans are balking at Gov. Wes Moore’s sidestepping of the legislature to implement one of his signature plans by using an executive order to create a new cabinet-level Department of Service and Civic Innovation, meant to be the realization of the new governor’s vision for a service year option for students between high school and college. Bryan Sears/Maryland Matters.
- Republican Sen. Jason Gallion of Harford and Cecil counties asked Moore why he didn’t create the office through emergency legislation, thus allowing the General Assembly to have a say. Matt Bush/WYPR-FM.
SENATE PANEL CONSIDERS WORK GROUP ON TUITION SAVINGS PLAN: Months after parents first began agitating for legislative action, a Maryland Senate committee is considering a work group to address ongoing problems with a state education financing agency and held a hearing to discuss related legislation, one day after the state treasurer said he would support efforts to bring the agency under the control of his office. Lia Russell/The Baltimore Sun.
- Dozens of parents demanding relief were set to testify about the problem Wednesday afternoon in Annapolis, and the Maryland 529 board is scheduled to meet Thursday. One expert in state-backed college savings plans said she has never seen anything like what’s unfolding now in Maryland. Jessica Calefati/The Baltimore Banner.
PARENTS COMPLAIN OF CUT TO PRIVATE SCHOOL VOUCHER PROGRAM: A mother of two pleaded with House delegates about the importance of a state school voucher program that enables her children to attend private school. The program was enacted in 2016. While campaigning, Gov. Wes Moore vowed to end the program, which over seven years has given about 20,000 students scholarships to state-approved private and parochial schools. Moore allocated $8 million for the program, $2 million less than Gov. Hogan did last cycle.
SEN. SMITH SEEKS ANSWERS ON GAS EXPLOSION FROM PSC NOMINEE: State Sen. Will Smith of Montgomery County plans to place a hold on one of Gov. Wes Moore’s nominees to serve on the Maryland Public Service Commission, as he seeks answers about the nominee’s role in the oversight and investigation of a Silver Spring apartment complex where a gas explosion in 2016 killed seven residents and injured dozens more. Josh Kurtz/Maryland Matters.
GOP HEAD TO SUBMIT NEW ELECTION BOARD NOMINEE: The leader of the state Republican Party said she will offer up a new nomination to fill a spot on the Maryland State Board of Elections but criticized Gov. Wes Moore (D) for “sneaky, hyper-partisan attacks.” Bryan Sears/Maryland Matters.
POLITICAL NOTES: HOGAN COMES IN 3rd; SUPREMES REJECT COX CHALLENGE: Former Gov. Larry Hogan (R) was running third behind former President Donald Trump and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis in a new poll of likely presidential primary voters in Maryland. The U.S. Supreme Court rejected without comment a challenge to Maryland’s early counting of votes filed by an attorney representing Dan Cox. And a think tank with an innocuous sounding name but a conservative industry base is pushing against legislation to accelerate the $15 minimum wage. Danielle E. Gaines, Bryan P. Sears and Josh Kurtz/Maryland Matters.
- In a petition, Cox’s attorney argued a Montgomery County circuit judge incorrectly granted a State Board of Elections request in September to permit ballot counting as early as Oct. 1 to accommodate an expected deluge of mail-in ballots. Jeff Barker/The Baltimore Sun.
STATE CENTER COVID SITE TO CLOSE: State Center, a mainstay for COVID-19 tests and vaccines in the Baltimore region during the pandemic, is slated to close Saturday, state health officials said. Meredith Cohn/The Baltimore Banner.
MOORES PUT B’MORE MANSION ON THE MARKET: Gov. Wes Moore and his wife Dawn Flythe Moore have put their nearly 8,000-square-foot mansion in Baltimore’s Guilford neighborhood on the market for a cool $2.75 million. Pamela Wood/The Baltimore Banner.
UPBEAT RASKIN SAYS HE’S MIDWAY THROUGH CANCER TREATMENT: Appearing in his now-signature bandanna and in high spirits, Rep. Jamie B. Raskin (D-Md.) told supporters in a video message Wednesday that he was midway through his cancer chemotherapy treatment. Meagan Flynn/The Washington Post.