State Roundup: Bay quality, MSDE enforcement declined in Hogan era; cycling advocates decry Nice Bridge proposal; food insecurity continues

State Roundup: Bay quality, MSDE enforcement declined in Hogan era; cycling advocates decry Nice Bridge proposal; food insecurity continues

Maryland Department of the Environment’s water-related enforcement actions and identification of major polluters plummeted during former Gov. Larry Hogan’s time in office. Photo by Colin Maynard on Unsplash

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REPORT: MDSE ENFORCEMENT, BAY QUALITY DECLINED DURING HOGAN: The Maryland Department of the Environment’s water-related enforcement actions and identification of major polluters plummeted during former Gov. Larry Hogan’s time in office.  During this same period, water quality standards in the Chesapeake Bay declined significantly, falling to the same levels as those observed in the early 1990s, according to data from Chesapeake Progress. Hunter Savery and Jon Meltzer of Capital News Service/MarylandReporter.

E. PALESTINE WATER TO BE TREATED IN B’MORE, RETURNED TO OHIO: Contaminated water from the Norfolk Southern train derailment site in East Palestine, Ohio, is about to be shipped to Baltimore, a state environmental spokesman confirmed Saturday night. But the treated effluent will be returned to Ohio for final disposal rather than be discharged into Baltimore’s sewer system as originally planned. Mark Reutter and Fern Shen/Baltimore Brew.

CYCLING ADVOCATES DECRY NICE BRIDGE PROPOSAL: A proposal to allow cyclists to cross the Potomac via the recently opened Governor Harry W. Nice Memorial/Senator Thomas ‘Mac’ Middleton Bridge is being rejected as too dangerous by cycling advocates from around the states. They described the proposal, which includes a light system warning motorists that a cyclist is on the bridge, as “ludicrous” and “unconscionable” and “malpractice,” and unlikely to be used by cycling enthusiasts because of safety concerns. Bryan Sears/Maryland Matters.

RECREATIONAL CANNABIS, WHAT TO KNOW: State officials are scrambling to not just ensure that recreational cannabis sales start July 1 — the date voters approved in the November referendum — but that the entire next year goes as planned to build a robust and equitable market. It’s a quick turnaround, but one officials say they’ve been preparing for since the referendum passed. It helps that they’re tapping the resources of the medical cannabis program that began in 2017 and grew to around half a billion dollars in annual revenue. Sam Janesch/The Baltimore Sun.

  • Cannabis consumption may be legal throughout the Washington region, but your employer may not be as tolerant as your local government. Whether using marijuana in your free time gets you in trouble at the office largely depends on where you work, and even what type of work you do. Katie Shepherd/The Washington Post.

STATE DIGITAL TAX BEFORE COURT EVEN AS SOME FIRMS VOLUNTARILY PAY: Attorneys debated the proper jurisdiction for settling a legal challenge to the first-in-the-nation tax on digital advertising during arguments before Maryland’s highest court on Friday. Meanwhile, an attorney for the state appeared to surprise judges when she said Maryland has already collected some taxes from companies that voluntarily submitted revenues to the state under the tax aimed at Big Tech. Staff/The Associated Press

FOOD INSECURITY CONTINUES IN MARYLAND: With the federal health emergency nearing its end in mid-May, low-income Marylanders are still struggling with food insecurity and the costs of everyday household items, according to the Maryland Food Bank, the statewide hunger-relief non-profit. “Between inflation and the end of government pandemic emergency aid, the need for food assistance in Maryland remains high as the rates of food affordability, financial hardship, and food insufficiency continue to trend upward across all income groups,” it said in a press release. Danielle Brown/Maryland Matters.

STATE CALLS CITY JAILS DYSFUNCTIONAL IN HEALTH & MENTAL CARE: In Baltimore’s sprawling jail system, those in severe mental health crises languish in solitary confinement, medical care is dysfunctional, and people with disabilities are still not being properly identified or accommodated, even after a deaf man was killed in his cell while being housed with an accused murderer. Those are among the findings of the latest federal monitor reports on the city’s jail system, which is run by the Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services and has been under court-ordered oversight for eight years. Ben Conarck/The Baltimore Banner.

OPINION: THE INSANITY OF MARYLAND’s INSANITY PLEA: The suspect in the killing of three workers in Smithsburg, Md., has been found “not criminally responsible,” a term that references the current state of the insanity plea in Maryland.  In order to be held responsible for a crime, two things must be present: mens rea, or the intention to commit the crime, and actus reus, meaning the criminal act. Mens rea is the operative criterion here. It is important to remember that “insanity” is a legal term. It is not a medical or psychiatric term. Richard E. Vatz and Jeffrey A. Schaler/MarylandReporter.

CHURCH ABUSE SURVIVORS REACT TO NAMES OF THOSE WHO COVERED UP: Victims of abuse at the hands of priests and other officials in the Archdiocese of Baltimore are experiencing mixed emotions over the revelations of the names of five of the top officials within the church are who worked to cover up the abusers’ crimes. Jean Marbella, Alex Mann and Lee O. Sanderlin/The Baltimore Sun.

DELAWARE BISHOP ID’d AS ABUSER SHIELD: Former Catholic Diocese of Wilmington Bishop W. Francis Malooly was one of several past high-ranking Archdiocese of Baltimore officials identified as those who helped cover up sexual abuse, according to a Baltimore Sun exclusive article published online late Thursday. Esteban Parra/The Delaware News Journal.

DEL. MUNOZ TALKS CANCER DIAGNOSIS, TREATMENT: Del. Rachel Muñoz (R-Anne Arundel) recently became one of an estimated 35,000 Marylanders who will be diagnosed with a form of cancer this year. The 36-year-old Anne Arundel County mother of five children — the oldest age 10 and the youngest who turned 1 on Monday — announced her cancer diagnosis April 20. William Ford/Maryland Matters.

HARFORD RESIDENTS PUSH AGAINST CASSILLY’s SCHOOL BUDGET CUTS: A majority of Harford County residents who spoke at Thursday’s public hearing on County Executive Bob Cassilly’s proposed fiscal 2024 budget were highly critical of Cassilly’s plans to cut funding for the public schools. Jason Fontelieu/The Aegis.

STATE SUES TV TOWER FIRMS OVER LEAD PAINT: Almost a year after Baltimore residents raised alarms over possible lead paint chips falling from the red television tower that stands high above their neighborhood, the Maryland Department of the Environment has filed a lawsuit against two corporations for violating state law: Television Tower Inc., the owner of the tower on Baltimore’s Television Hill, and Skyline Tower Painting Inc. Clara Longo de Freitas/The Baltimore Banner.

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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