MARYLAND’s FEDERAL WORKFORCE BRACES FOR SHUTDOWN: More than 3.5 million federal employees and military personnel — 139,000 from Maryland alone, but also scattered across the states and around the globe — are bracing for another partial government shutdown, as U.S. House Republicans struggle to produce a short-term plan to fund the government past the end of the month. Jennifer Shutt/Maryland Matters.
WITH PENDING BUDGET WOES, WHAT PROGRAMS ARE PRIORITIZED? After Gov. Wes Moore cautioned state and local officials last month about impending budget woes due to a slowing economy, many are wondering what programs will be prioritized and how the newly elected Democratic governor will keep major promises he made to the state. Hannah Gaskill and Sam Janesch/The Baltimore Sun.
STATE’s DIGITAL AD TAX GOES TO COURT: A case regarding how education will be funded returned to the courtroom Wednesday, resuming the controversy over how large, lucrative technology companies should contribute to the state’s education system. Judges in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit in Richmond heard arguments in Chamber of Commerce of the United States, et al. v. Brooke E. Lierman. Dwight Weingarten/The Hagerstown Herald-Mail.
PARK SYSTEM UNDERGOES MAJOR REFORMS AFTER TOXIC CULTURE REVEALED: Maryland Department of Natural Resources leaders have undertaken sweeping reforms of the state’s park system in the wake of complaints about sexual harassment and a toxic work culture, as well as the highly publicized rape trial of a former park manager, the agency’s top official told lawmakers Wednesday. Julie Scharper/The Baltimore Banner.
STATE POLICE HEAD SAYS AGENCY WORKING ON BIAS ISSUES: The head of the Maryland State Police promised lawmakers that his department is doing everything it can to root out discrimination and increase diversity among the ranks. The policing agency is subject to at least two lawsuits and two Department of Justice investigations involving allegations of racial discrimination. A recent culture survey commissioned by the department was largely ignored by most of the 2,200-employee agency. Even so, Maryland State Police Superintendent Col. Roland Butler expressed optimism for the results of the ongoing litigation. Bryan Sears/Maryland Matters.
GOP 6th DISTRICT HOUSE CANDIDATES BLAST BIDEN: Six Republicans seeking to replace U.S. Rep. David Trone (D-6th) next year substantially agreed on a range of issues at their first candidate forum of the election cycle Wednesday night. With national conservative provocateur David Bossie, the Republican National committeeman for Maryland, serving as moderator, offering questions that could have come from any Fox News prime time host, the candidates picked apart President Biden’s record managing the economy, protecting the U.S. border, and competing with China. Josh Kurtz/Maryland Matters.
WRONGLY CONVICTED, DEMETRIUS SMITH AWARDED $300,000, GETS APOLOGY: Gov. Wes Moore apologized Wednesday to a Baltimore man who was wrongfully imprisoned on an erroneous murder conviction after the man was awarded more than $300,000 in compensation by the Board of Public Works. “I am deeply sorry for the fact that our justice system failed you not once, but our justice system failed you twice,” Moore said to Demetrius Smith. Lucy Hubbard of Capital News Service/MarylandReporter.com.
- Moore noted that at Smith’s bail hearing, the judge said the case before him was “probably the thinnest case” he had ever seen. But, Moore said, “the prosecution was determined to press forward, relying on testimony from a witness who was later found to have not even been at the scene of the crime.” Brian Witte/The Associated Press.
- Demetrius Smith lost five years of his life, wrongly imprisoned for a murder and assault he did not commit. And even after the actual murderers were convicted, he’s spent years seeking an apology and compensation from the state. Pamela Wood/The Baltimore Banner.
HARFORD STATE’S ATTY, COUNTY EXEC REACH AGREEMENT ON EMAILS: A change of heart involving a request by the Harford County state’s attorney will keep County Executive Robert Cassilly (R) out of a potential court battle. Harford County State’s Attorney Alison Healey (R) threatened Monday to seek a court order that would require Cassilly to grant access to the email account of an employee of the prosecutor. Two days later, both sides appear to have reached an agreement. Bryan Sears/Maryland Matters.
QUICK TURNAROUND FOR CANNABIS LICENSES CRITICIZED: Some potential cannabis businesses are criticizing the tight turnaround to obtain new licenses to grow, process or distribute marijuana, after the Maryland Cannabis Administration announced applications will open on Nov. 13, with distribution set to start just six weeks later on Jan. 1. Angelique Gingras of CNS/MarylandReporter.com.
HOWARD PARENTS PROTEST SCHOOL BUS ISSUES: Dozens of concerned parents met in Columbia Tuesday night to express frustrations with Howard County Public School System officials and their handling of new school start times, canceled bus routes, consistently late buses and other issues, three weeks into the new school year. Howard Board of Education members Jennifer Mallo and Linfeng Chen attended the meeting, and Mallo said the meeting reflected an urgent need for transportation solutions. Thomas Goodwin Smith/Baltimore Sun Media.
WA CO ELECTIONS BOARD SETS TWO EARLY VOTING SITES: The Washington County Board of Elections voted Tuesday to conduct early voting for the 2024 elections at two sites, according to Election Director Barry Jackson. Staff/The Hagerstown Herald-Mail.
CELESTE KNIGHT, STATE ASSESSMENTS ADMINISTRATOR, DIES AT 77: Celestine Knight, an administrator in the Maryland Department of Assessments and Taxation who was active in the Gillis Memorial Christian Community Church, died of acute myeloma leukemia Sept. 1 at her sister’s Gwynn Oak home. The Randallstown resident was 77. Jacques Kelly/The Baltimore Sun.