State Roundup: Next steps on Beltway project uncertain; court expected to strike handgun requirements; Senate panel advances bill repealing time limit on church sex abuse suits

State Roundup: Next steps on Beltway project uncertain; court expected to strike handgun requirements; Senate panel advances bill repealing time limit on church sex abuse suits

A 2019 photo of the Capital Beltway -- I-495 -- during rush hour. By Bethesda Beat staff with Flickr Creative Commons License.

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NEXT STEPS ON BELTWAY PROJECT UNCERTAIN: When a private consortium backed out of Maryland’s controversial, $6 billion plan to relieve Beltway congestion late Thursday, the costly and complicated problem grew even more so. The public-private partnership to rebuild the American Legion Bridge and add high occupancy toll-lanes to parts of the Capital Beltway and I-270 was billed by former Gov.Larry Hogan (R) as solution that ultimately would come at no cost to taxpayers. Erin Cox and Luz Lazo/The Washington Post.

  • Montgomery County and Maryland officials called urgently for solutions but expressed mixed reactions to the announcement that toll road operating company Transurban had withdrawn its proposal to expand the Capital Beltway and Interstate 270 in Maryland, leaving the project up in the air for now. Ginny Bixby and Steve Bohnel/MoCo360.

STADIUM AUTHORITY APPOINTEE HAS TROUBLED FINANCIAL PAST: One of Gov. Wes Moore’s appointees to the board of the Maryland Stadium Authority – an agency charged with overseeing hundreds of millions of dollars in projects and leases – has a troubled 35-year financial history that includes a $7.2 million personal bankruptcy and scores of lawsuits filed against her for unpaid debts, records show. William Zorzi/Maryland Matters.

GENDER ED BILL EXPANDS AS CONSERVATIVES PUSH BACK: At first, Democratic lawmakers in Maryland wanted to ensure gender identity was taught the way the state Board of Education intended — even in conservative counties that might have resisted. But as the opposition to that legislation grew louder, with opponents casting the measure as a state overreach into local affairs, the bill sponsors’ vision became more expansive, requiring local curriculums — everything from health to social studies — to align with state policy or face losing a major chunk of its state funding. Ovetta Wiggins and Nicole Asbury/The Washington Post.

APPEALS COURT EXPECTED TO STRIKE STATE HANDGUN REQUIREMENTS: A three-judge federal appeals court panel appears poised to strike down as unconstitutional Maryland’s training and licensing requirement for would-be handgun purchasers because the state’s mandate has no historical roots from when the right to keep and bear arms was ratified in 1791 or extended to the states in 1868. Steve Lash/The Daily Record.

SENATE PANEL ADVANCES BILL REPEALING TIME LIMIT ON SEX ABUSE SUITS: A Senate committee voted 10-1 on Friday to advance a bill that would retroactively, as well as prospectively, repeal statutes of limitation on lawsuits by plaintiffs who claim they suffered child sexual abuse. William Ford/Maryland Matters.

RELEASE NEARS OF ATTY GEN REPORT ON CHURCH SEX ABUSE: Monday is the deadline for the Maryland Attorney General’s Office to give a Baltimore judge a redacted version of its 456-page report into the history of sexual abuse within the Catholic Archdiocese of Baltimore, clearing the way for its public release. Lee O. Sanderlin/The Baltimore Sun.

FEW JAILS COMPLY WITH OPIOID TREATMENT LAW: A first-in-the-nation law passed in 2019 required all Maryland jails to have opioid treatment programs in place by January, but fewer than half of the affected local governments — 11 counties and Baltimore City — were fully compliant as of late February, according to the Governor’s Office of Crime Prevention, Youth and Victim Services. Alissa Zhu, Meredith Cohn and Ben Conarck/The Baltimore Banner.

EHRLICH SAYS MARYLAND GOP HAS A WAY FORWARD: Former Gov. Bob Ehrlich, had a message of hope for forlorn Howard County conservatives, and put some historical perspective on the GOP’s plight. Until the last 15 to 20 years, Ehrlich said, “Maryland generally ran in a moderate temperament.Len Lazarick/MarylandReporter.

MOORE STANDS FIRM ON STATE POLICE NOMINEE: Gov. Wes Moore (D) is standing behind his nominee to lead the Maryland State Police, even as some lawmakers are pushing back in what is so far the biggest fight over a Cabinet-level appointment for the new administration. Two weeks ago, Moore nominated Lt. Col. Roland L. Butler Jr. to serve as Maryland State Police superintendent. Bryan Sears/Maryland Matters.

ABOUT ARUNA MILLER: A pioneer in politics, Aruna Miller this year became the nation’s first Asian-American to be elected lieutenant governor and the first immigrant to earn statewide berth in Maryland. A native of India and a transportation engineer by trade, the 58-year-old Miller served in the Maryland House of Delegates before her election with Gov. Wes Moore last year. Married and the mother of three, she lives in Darnestown. Mike Klingaman/The Capital Gazette.

ROY McGRATH HEADS TO FEDERAL COURT: Roy McGrath, the former chief of staff to former Gov. Larry Hogan (R) who resigned from the post on Aug. 17, 2020 — about a week after news of his large severance package became public, heads to federal court in Baltimore on Monday to face fraud and embezzlement charges. Bryan Sears/Maryland Matters.

  • Before his abbreviated stint as chief of staff, McGrath had led the Maryland Environmental Service, an independent state agency that carries out public works and environmental projects for local governments and other state agencies. It also receives funding from the federal government. Pamela Wood/The Baltimore Banner.

MOORE HOPES TO SHORE UP ORIOLES RELATIONSHIP: During Gov. Wes Moore’s visit Friday to the Orioles’ Ed Smith Stadium complex, he was scheduled to take batting practice and throw out the ceremonial first pitch. But the visit to Sarasota on Friday and to Atlanta’s Truist Park on Thursday were a strategic move to show the Orioles how much they mean to Baltimore and make progress on securing a long-term commitment from the Major League Baseball organization to Camden Yards and the city. Andy Kostka/The Baltimore Banner.

SUNSHINE WEEK: GATHERING SCHOOL DATA ONLINE CAN BE DIFFICULT: Most school systems make it easy to check in on school board meetings — all of them livestream their sessions. But in many systems, getting agenda packets the board would analyze at an upcoming meeting or figuring out ongoing expenditures for a school renovation proved more difficult. Miranda S. Spivack of Maryland-Delaware-D.C. Press Association/The Baltimore Sun.

MIDDLE SCHOOL MATH PROFICIENCY DROPS IN MO CO: Academic achievement data reported to the state by Montgomery County Public Schools shows that middle school math proficiency dropped by nearly half since the last pre-pandemic state report, with Black students, Hispanic/Latino students and students with disabilities scoring the lowest. Em Espey/MoCo360.

About The Author

Cynthia Prairie

Contributing Editor Cynthia Prairie has been a newspaper editor since 1979, when she began working at The Raleigh Times. Since then, she has worked for The Baltimore News American, The Chicago Sun-Times, The Prince George’s Journal and Baltimore County newspapers in the Patuxent Publishing chain, including overseeing The Jeffersonian when it was a two-day a week business publication. Cynthia has won numerous state awards, including the Maryland State Bar Association’s Gavel Award. Besides compiling and editing the daily State Roundup, she runs her own online newspaper, The Chester Telegraph. If you have additional questions or comments contact Cynthia at:

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