STATE REPUBLICANS SEEK DEM HELP TO REVERSE ‘SOFT ON CRIME POLICIES:’ State Senate and House Republicans vowed Tuesday to redress what House Minority Leader Jason Buckel, R-Allegany, called Maryland’s “soft on crime policies” with a 2024 public safety agenda that would intensify punishment for adults accused of gun-related and violent crimes and reverse reforms to the youth legal system passed by the General Assembly in 2022. Steph Quinn of The Capital News Service/MarylandReporter.com
- Calling crime a growing crisis, Republican leaders said it is incumbent that lawmakers act in the coming session. They called on Democrats to join with them to pass measures that stiffen penalties for some crimes or in some cases roll back portions of recently enacted laws. Bryan Sears/Maryland Matters.
U.S. HOUSE PANEL GRILLS GSA ON PICKING MARYLAND FOR FBI HQ: Members of a U.S. House committee on Tuesday grilled the head of the General Services Administration over the agency’s recent decision to place the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s new headquarters in Maryland instead of Virginia. “The process — or lack thereof — raises many questions that need to be answered,” said James Comer of Kentucky, chair of the House Oversight and Accountability Committee. Maryland and Virginia members of the committee also battled over the decision at the hearing. Ariana Fiqueroa/Maryland Matters.
LAWMAKERS WEIGH STEPS TO ADDRESS FINANCIAL WOES AT HEALTH DEPT: Maryland legislators and audit officials pointed to staffing shortages and a lack of proper accounting at Tuesday’s meeting of the General Assembly’s Joint Audit and Evaluation Committee as the cause for the Maryland Department of Health’s money woes. Hannah Gaskill/The Baltimore Sun.
- Following the meeting, a multitude of unanswered questions remain regarding exactly how much money was mismanaged at the Department of Health, how large of a deficit the department is facing, and what steps will be taken to avoid financial troubles in the future. “Folks should be held responsible for this. I’m not sure if this rises to criminality, but this was an incredible waste of money,” Sen. Clarence K. Lam (D-Anne Arundel and Howard) said. Danielle Brown/Maryland Matters.
- But the Department of Health says it has recouped a majority of the $1.4 billion that the agency may have missed out of from the federal government during the pandemic. Health Secretary Laura Herrera Scott told state lawmakers Tuesday that MDH accounted for all but about $244 million of the funds and expects to get almost all of the money back by the end of 2024. Scott Maucione/WYPR-FM.
D.C. ARCHDIOCESE CHALLENGES MARYLAND SEX ABUSE LAW: Maryland’s landmark law allowing people sexually abused as children to sue those responsible, no matter how much time has passed, faces its first known constitutional challenge, from the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Washington. Alex Mann/The Baltimore Sun.
9,000 LOSE MEDICAID COVERAGE IN OCTOBER: Fewer than 9,000 Marylanders lost Medicaid coverage last month, the lowest number of terminations since April, when the state began discontinuing coverage on a monthly basis in what’s called the “Medicaid unwinding.” Danielle Brown/Maryland Matters.
MARYLAND LAWMAKERS VOTE TO HELP AVOID GOVT SHUTDOWN: The U.S. House voted Tuesday to prevent a government shutdown after new Republican Speaker Mike Johnson was forced to reach across the aisle to Democrats when hard-right conservatives revolted against his plan. The stopgap funding measure, which was broadly endorsed by Maryland lawmakers, was approved on a bipartisan vote, 336-95. Stephen Groves and Lisa Mascaro/The Associated Press.
- Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, a New York Democrat, said Tuesday that he and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Kentucky Republican, both agree that the Senate needs to pass the bill quickly to avoid a funding lapse. Jennifer Shutt/Maryland Matters.
1,000 GRANTED SOCIAL EQUITY STATUS FOR CANNABIS LICENSES: The application process for Maryland’s first round of cannabis business licenses, set aside for social equity candidates, opened Monday after over 1,000 people were granted the status. Caitlyn Freeman/The Baltimore Sun.
STOLEN VEHICLES SLATED TO BE HOT TOPIC IN B’MORE MAYOR’s RACE: Both Baltimore Mayor Brandon Scott and challenger Sheila Dixon see the spike in stolen vehicles, and the widespread concern it has driven, as potentially consequential factors in May’s Democratic primary election. Adam Willis/The Baltimore Banner.
BA CO SCHOOL TO BEGIN USING OMNILERT GUN DETECTION SYSTEM: The first Baltimore County high school will start using the Omnilert gun detection system by the end of this week, with all others following suit by the end of the school year. April Lewis, executive director of the county’s Office of School Safety, announced the rollout Monday in a county senate delegation meeting. Omnilert will pair with over 6,000 existing security cameras to identify unconcealed guns on the interior and exterior of county school buildings. Bri Hatch/WYPR-FM.
MOORE VISIT PLANNED FREDERICK HOTEL/CONFERENCE CENTER SITE: Gov. Wes Moore visited the site of a proposed hotel and conference center in downtown Frederick on Tuesday, in what local leaders see as a positive suggestion that the governor will include state money for the long-stalled project in his upcoming budget. Neither Moore nor Lt. Gov. Aruna Miller offered details on the project’s future. Ryan Marshall/The Frederick News Post.
FREDERICK OPENS ASIAN AMERICAN FAMILY SUPPORT CENTER: The Asian American Center of Frederick’s new Family Support Services Center officially opened its Family Support Services Center on Tuesday morning, with Gov. Wes Moore, Lt. Gov. Aruna Miller, the AACF staff, county and state officials, and several families who use AACF’s resources. After touring the center and meeting with families and staff, Moore said he said he saw dreams being realized. Gabrielle Lewis/The Frederick News Post.