STATE PENSION SYSTEM PAYS $1B A YEAR TO WALL STREET MONEY MANAGERS: The Maryland State Retirement and Pension System is now at its healthiest funding level in a decade and it has grown most years since the Great Recession. The system’s assets more than doubled from $27 billion 20 years ago to $64 billion now. But what it pays to Wall Street to manage those investments has increased much more rapidly. The system now pays money managers about $1 billion a year in fees and incentives, 25 times the $40 million it paid two decades ago. Giacomo Bologna/The Baltimore Sun.
TREASURER DAVIS VOWS TO BE MORE VOCAL ON STATE SETTLEMENTS: Maryland’s treasurer said he will no longer keep quiet when voting on some settlements of lawsuits against the state despite admonitions that he not divulge details. Since joining the board in December 2021, Treasurer Dereck Davis has raised concerns about settlements involving the state, many involving law enforcement agencies or correctional officers. Some attorneys representing the state, however, want some details kept out of the public view. Bryan Sears/Maryland Matters.
BRINGING HBCUs INTO THE CANNABIS INDUSTRY: The final version of House Bill 556 setting up a recreational cannabis industry in Maryland includes funding in the form of grants for historically Black colleges and universities like Coppin State in West Baltimore to be used for “cannabis-related programs and business development organizations, including incubators.” The HBCU funding is just one of the ways lawmakers are attempting to ensure the recreational cannabis industry is more diverse than the medical market, which largely left out Black Baltimoreans. Sanya Kamidi and Maya Lora/The Baltimore Sun.
PREPARING TO LAUNCH: Throughout Maryland, participants in its new cannabis industry are preparing for the launch of recreational adult-use. Firms are hiring more workers, growing more plants and building out new spaces. Giacomo Bologna/The Baltimore Sun.
FAQs ON RECREATIONAL CANNABIS INDUSTRY: There still remains some confusion about how the recreational cannabis industry will work. The Banner asked readers what they still needed to know and answered those questions. Brenda Wintrode/The Baltimore Sun.
MOORE IN D.C.; TRONE GEARS FOR SENATE RUN?; RUTHERFORD AT TOWSON: Gov. Wes Moore hit the Washington, D.C., policy circuit Wednesday morning, rubbing shoulders with a national media personality and corporate executives and government officials. As he prepares for a likely U.S. Senate run in 2024 should Sen. Ben Cardin announce his retirement, Rep. David Trone (D-6th) has hired Daniel Morrocco to be his campaign manager. Former Lt. Gov. Boyd Rutherford has joined the Dr. Nancy Grasmick Leadership Institute at Towson University as its inaugural senior fellow. Josh Kurtz and Danielle Gaines/Maryland Matters.
A FAKE DINNER WITH THE DONALD: MAN FACES FEDERAL CHARGES: A Catonsville man is facing a federal charge stemming from income he received in 2016 when he set up a super PAC offering a chance to win dinner with Donald Trump. Nobody won dinner with the now-former president, who was the GOP front-runner when Ian Richard Hawes formed American Horizons, the super PAC that offered entries for a chance to win the dinner. Dan Belson/The Baltimore Sun.
- Hawes instead paid off personal credit card debt and student loans, bought an engagement ring and rented a yacht to propose to his fiancée, purchased an Audi and put a down payment on a home, federal prosecutors say. Justin Fenton/The Baltimore Banner.
OPINION: MISSED OPPORTUNITY TO PROTECT PUBLIC HEALTH: This legislative session, the Maryland General Assembly considered but failed to pass a resolution that would have sought solutions to daunting public health and environmental challenges. House Joint Resolution 1 would have spurred the legislature to reaffirm the fundamental goal of a statute known as the Maryland Environmental Policy Act, which they passed fifty years ago. Members of the University of Baltimore’s Environmental Law Society/Maryland Matters.
HARBORPLACE REDEVELOPMENT NEARER TO REALITY: Developer P. David Bramble on Wednesday cleared a key hurdle in his efforts to “reimagine” Harborplace when Baltimore’s Board of Estimates voted to amend a ground lease between his company and the city, paving the way for the property’s redevelopment. Ed Gunts/Baltimore Fishbowl.