WATCHDOG SEEKS GREATER TRANSPARENCY IN ELECTIONS ADMIN SEARCH: An expedited effort to hire a new state elections administrator should include publicly naming the candidates who will be interviewed, according to one public watchdog group. The Maryland State Board of Elections hopes to name a successor to long-time Elections Administrator Linda Lamone by June 5. It’s the first time in over two decades that the state has sought a new elections chief. The rare opening and compressed job search has some calling for greater transparency. Bryan Sears/Maryland Matters.
DOCTORS ON TRIAL CHARGED WITH CONSPIRACY, DISCLOSING HIPAA INFO TO RUSSIA: Two doctors – a married couple – are now standing trial this week in U.S. District Court in Baltimore on charges of conspiracy and wrongful disclosure of individually identifiable health information under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, or HIPAA. Federal prosecutors allege that the couple broke the law to help a foreign adversary – Russia in its war in Ukraine. Dylan Segelbaum/The Baltimore Banner.
- The attorneys for the couple contend Gabrielian’s email underscores the doctors’ actual intent: to help preserve lives, regardless of nationality, at the beginning of a violent conflict. That matters, the defense lawyers say, because the government has to prove they communicated with someone they believed to be a Russian official for personal gain or with malicious intentions. Alex Mann/The Baltimore Sun.
CHOUDHURY’s FUTURE IN MARYLAND SCHOOLS STILL IN QUESTION: The Maryland State Board of Education must decide this year whether to extend a new contract to State Superintendent of Schools Mohammed Choudhury, whose continuity or lack thereof could be especially important as he continues to help lead implementation of the state’s multi-billion-dollar education reform plan. While he has been praised for being “incredibly intelligent,” “very bright,” knowledgeable on policy and “committed to working on behalf of students,” he has also alienated some education advocates and state lawmakers. William Ford/Maryland Matters.
COLLEGE STUDENT HEALTH PROJECT BECOMES STATE LAW: A graduate student’s class project got a real-world application and was turned into state law that will go into effect starting July 1 across University System of Maryland schools. Expanding reproductive health care on the Bowie State campus became Jakeya Johnson’s new mission. The bill passed and “The end result was University System of Maryland schools were required to have 24-hour access to emergency contraception on college campuses,” Johnson said. John Domen/WTOP-FM.
STATE’s SAFE HARBOR LAW PROTECTS VICTIMS OF CHILD TRAFFICKING: Supporters had long sought to make Maryland a ‘safe harbor’ state for child victims of sex and human trafficking. They got close in 2022, when both chambers passed differing versions of a bill, but that then failed in conference committee on the final day lawmakers were in session. A new year, new lawmakers and a new governor got it across the finish line in 2023, meaning this fall, Maryland will join close to 40 other states in passing a safe harbor law. Child victims will no longer face criminal charges for a variety of crimes in Maryland starting Oct. 1. Matt Bush/WYPR-FM.
WHAT’s UNDER THE TENT: Maryland’s political elite, in a tradition that goes hand-in-hand with the state’s top annual sporting attraction, racked up a $200,000 tab over the weekend as they took in the Preakness Stakes and hosted business executives, family and friends in an invitation only tent. Sam Janesch/The Baltimore Sun.
MO CO’s $6.7 BILLION BUDGET HOLDS PROPERTY TAX INCREASE: The Montgomery County Council is slated to vote Thursday on a $6.7 billion operating budget built on a property tax increase for residential and commercial properties that galvanized debate over how best to meet the county’s growing needs and who should pay. Katie Shepherd/The Washington Post.
ALSOBROOKS TO TAP RAINY DAY FUND TO FILL $60M BUDGET GAP: Prince George’s County Executive Angela Alsobrooks (D) plans to plug a $60 million hole in her next budget with rainy-day funds to avoid raising taxes even as she faces calls to increase county spending. Lateshia Beachum/The Washington Post.
CECIL RESIDENTS CONCERNED OVER SCHOOL FUNDING: School funding was the hot topic on Thursday as 200 Cecil County residents attended the fiscal year 2024 budget public hearing at Elkton High School, with 60 speakers signed up to provide their thoughts on the budget. More than 45 speakers spoke about funding Cecil County Public Schools as members of the county government and the County Council listened to their comments. Matt Hubbard/The Cecil Whig.