Moore picks first black state police superintendent; Maryland’s homicide rates outpaces Baltimore’s; lawmakers grill BGE officials

Moore picks first black state police superintendent; Maryland’s homicide rates outpaces Baltimore’s; lawmakers grill BGE officials

Gov. Wes Moore named Lt. Col. Roland Butler, far right, to be the new superintendent of the Maryland State Police. Governor's Office photo

MOORE PICKS STATE POLICE VETERAN TO HEAD AGENCY: Gov. Wes Moore (D) has tapped Lt. Col. Roland L. Butler Jr. to lead the Maryland State Police, an agency in the throes of a federal probe of its hiring and promotional practices and questions as to whether those practices have been racially discriminatory against Black troopers. If confirmed by the Senate, Butler, who has served as acting superintendent since last month, would become the first Black person to lead the agency. Ovetta Wiggins/The Washington Post

  • At a news conference on Thursday announcing his pick, Moore praised Butler as a trooper who “rose through the ranks” and understands the culture and challenges within the Maryland State Police. Butler has spent nearly 29 years with the agency, according to his online resume. Pamela Wood/The Baltimore Banner
  • Moore noted that state police recruitment has stagnated. In previous years, class sizes might have reached up to 90 recruits, but the current average class size is 35. Last year 80 troopers left the agency while only 47 joined, the governor said. Hannah Gaskill and Darcy Costello/The Baltimore Sun

LAWMAKERS GRILL BGE ABOUT CONDUIT DEAL: The back and forth over BGE continued in Baltimore on Thursday as representatives from the energy company fielded questions from lawmakers about its grab for control over the city’s underground conduit system. Mayor Brandon Scott has been at odds with City Comptroller Bill Henry and City Council President Nick Mosby over a multimillion-dollar agreement that gives BGE exclusive rights to the system. Kelsey Kushner/WJZ-13

  • The deal calls for BGE to pay $134 million over four years for capital improvements to the conduit as well as a $1.5 million annual “occupancy fee.” City attorneys previously claimed Baltimore is losing $7 million annually on the conduit system, but city finance officials backed away from that figure on Thursday. Emily Opilo/The Baltimore Sun

STATE’S HOMICIDE RATE OUTPACES BALTIMORE’S: During his news conference on Thursday, Gov. Wes Moore unveiled a series of initiatives and funding to fight crime. Data shows that homicides have increased across Maryland,  outpacing Baltimore City’s rate,  and that gun violence is overwhelming the state health care system, the governor said. “This is not a Baltimore problem alone,” he said. “This is a Maryland problem.” Barry Simms/WBAL-TV 11

STATE WILL REDO BIDS FOR BWI CONCESSION MANAGER: Undoing a controversial procurement saga from last year, Gov. Wes Moore has directed the Maryland Aviation Administration to start over its solicitation process to find a company to manage concessions at BWI Marshall Airport. The aviation department also will ask the state’s Board of Public Works to renew a contract with BWI’s current concessionaire, Fraport, on a month-to-month basis after the current contract expires at the end of March. Fraport has held the lucrative contract since 2004. Dan Belson/The Baltimore Sun

MD. ATTORNEY GENERAL SAYS HE COULD DEFEND CHILD VICTIMS ACT:  Maryland Attorney General Anthony Brown (D) said he would defend a change  that would allow victims of long-ago sexual abuse to bring cases against perpetrators. Senate Bill 686 would repeal statutes of limitation on lawsuits by plaintiffs who claim they suffered sexual abuse when they were children. William J. Ford/Maryland Matters

HOWARD CO. AUDITOR IS ACCUSED OF SMEARING LIBRARY CEO: Several Black Howard County organizations have put their support behind calls to fire the county auditor, saying he attempted to smear the president and CEO of the Howard County Library System in a recent report because she is Black. The organizations also demanded that County Auditor Craig Glendenning’s report be removed from the county’s website and that he publicly apologize to Tonya Aikens. Tim Swift/Baltimore Fishbowl

MORE ENVIRONMENTAL CITATIONS IN BLACK AREAS: Baltimore City officials issue more environmental citations in Black neighborhoods with lower-than-average median household income, according to data made available via Open Baltimore. The five Baltimore neighborhoods that receive the most citations per capita are all at least 75% Black, according to the nonprofit Baltimore Neighborhood Indicators Alliance. Jon Meltzer/ Capital News Service/Maryland Reporter

HOWARD CO. ADJUSTS SCHOOL START TIMES: At a meeting on Thursday, the Howard County Board of Education adjusted the official school start times for the 2023-2024 academic year. High schools will begin at 8 a.m. Middle schools and some elementary schools will start at 8:40 a.m., with staggered dismissal times. The remaining elementary schools will start at 9 a.m. Dominick Philippe-Auguste/ WMAR-2

HOWARD CO. EXEC MAKES 2 EDUCATION PICKS: Howard County Executive Calvin Ball on Thursday announced two county educational appointments, nominating Elkridge resident and attorney Robyn Scates to fill the vacant District 1 school board seat and appointing Yousuf Ahmad as senior adviser for education policy and performance. Ethan Ehrenhaft/Howard County Times/The Baltimore Sun

NEW DATE SOUGHT FOR 2024 PRIMARY DUE TO RELIGIOUS CONFLICT: Baltimore Mayor Brandon Scott and Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewski Jr. are asking legislative leaders of the Maryland General Assembly to consider moving the 2024 primary election date because it overlaps with a major Jewish holiday. The Democrats said in a letter that Jewish residents who strictly observe Passover would be precluded from voting on April 23, 2024. Emily Sullivan/The Baltimore Banner

STATE CHANGES STANCE ON REPLACING STOLEN SNAP BENEFITS: During a Senate bill hearing in Annapolis on Thursday, Maryland Department of Human Services Secretary Rafael Lopez testified in favor of a bill that would restore over $1 million in stolen federal SNAP food benefits as well as require the vendor that distributes these benefits to enhance the security features. One fraud victim who testified said she and her family are now homeless. Mallory Sofastaii/WMAR-2

WEST BALTIMORE RESIDENTS SEEK MORATORIUM ON DEMOLISHMENTS: Residents of Baltimore’s Poppleton neighborhood are seeking a moratorium on tearing down buildings in a block of West Saratoga Street, telling city Housing Commissioner Alice Kennedy in a letter sent Thursday that city officials have reneged on a promise to reset redevelopment plans. Fern Shen/Baltimore Brew

BILL WOULD BAN TRANSGENDER BIAS AT JAILS: A trans woman who was jailed in Baltimore City heard powerful testimony before the Maryland House Judiciary Committee about a bill that would protect transgender, nonbinary, and intersex individuals from discrimination while housed in correctional facilities. Michelle Larkin/Capital News Service/ Maryland Reporter

GOVERNOR DEFENDS MOVE TO CUT SCHOLARSHIP PROGRAM: Gov. Wes Moore defended his decision to cut funding to a scholarship program that provides low-income families opportunities to send their child to private schools instead of struggling schools. In his first budget proposal, Moore is seeking to cut $2 million from the $10 million BOOST Program. He denied that teachers’ unions influenced his decision and said public dollars should not be spent on private schools. Mikenzie Frost/WBFF-45

HEARING ON CANNABIS BILL DRAWS NUMEROUS SPEAKERS: More than 100 people showed up to speak at a recent hearing on the legislation to create a legal market for cannabis in Maryland. The speakers came mostly to propose amendments to the 88-page omnibus bill, which creates a framework for the legal sale of cannabis in Maryland after voters approved legalization in last November’s election. Greg Morton/Capital News Service/Maryland Reporter

About The Author

Regina Holmes

Contributing editor Regina Holmes has worked as a journalist for over 30 years. She was an assistant business editor at the Miami Herald and an assistant city editor at Newsday in New York City, where she helped supervise coverage of 9/11, anthrax attacks and the August 2003 Northeast Blackout. As an assistant managing editor of the Baltimore Examiner, she helped launch the free tabloid in 2006. Before joining Maryland Reporter, she was the managing editor for Washington, D.C.-based Talk Media News, where she supervised digital, radio and video production of news reports for over 400 radio stations. The Baltimore native is a graduate of Vassar College and Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism.

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