TRANSPORTATION CUTS SPARK IRE OF STATE, COUNTY OFFICIALS: County officials and legislators are lashing out at a plan to cut billions in transportation projects across the state. State Transportation Secretary Paul Wiedefeld, in an interview Tuesday, said the department is forced to address $3.3 billion in shortfalls. To close the gap over the current six-year spending plan, the agency will impose across the board budget cuts, hiring freezes, fee and parking rate increases as well as defer hundreds of millions in projects across the state. Bryan Sears/Maryland Matters.
- Maryland transportation projects could be delayed and local commuter bus service and roadway maintenance face significant cuts as a result of a more-than-$3 billion shortfall in funding the state’s six-year transportation plan, state officials said Tuesday. Daniel Zawodny and Pamela Wood/The Baltimore Banner.
O’s COULD END UP ON MONTH-TO-MONTH LEASE, MSA CHIEF SAYS: The final scheduled Maryland Stadium Authority meeting of the year came and went on Tuesday with no action on a lease for the Baltimore Orioles at Camden Yards. The stadium authority’s executive director said negotiations continue between the team and the state — and he said a month-to-month or short-term deal may be necessary if an agreement isn’t executed by the end of the current lease on Dec. 31. Pamela Wood/The Baltimore Banner.
HOUSE OVERSIGHT PANEL JUMPS INTO FBI HQ DISPUTE: The chair of the U.S. House Oversight Committee is calling on a government watchdog to investigate any “political interference” in the site selection process for the new FBI headquarters. In addition, as House Republicans step up their interest in the growing dispute between Maryland and Virginia over where the headquarters should be moved from its current location on Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington, D.C., another House panel has scheduled a hearing for next week on the site selection. Jennifer Shutt/Maryland Matters.
SOME VENDORS WORRY STATE WILL EVICT THEM FROM BWI: Three weeks ago, eight Maryland-based vendors who operate businesses at BWI under a federal program for historically disadvantaged contractors wrote to Gov. Wes Moore (D) and other state officials, expressing concerns that they may soon be evicted from the airport. They say the Maryland Department of Transportation and the Maryland Aviation Administration are making very few provisions to ensure their long-term security and success. Josh Kurtz/Maryland Matters.
WES MOORE’s POSITIVITY A COUNTER TO CURRENT RHETORIC: Gov. Wes Moore’s hopeful message and positive language are a counterpoint to national politics, where political speech has become increasingly caustic and crude and party lines have hardened. “Here’s a politician who is a throwback to (Barack) Obama and to be bipartisan about it, to (Ronald) Reagan, and to (John F.) Kennedy…. who is preaching and practicing the politics of hope, and it’s sort of a counter-trend right now,” said Michael Cornfield, research director of the Global Center for Political Engagement at George Washington University. “So that’s sort of remarkable.” Kiersten Hacker of Capital News Service/MarylandReporter.com.
AG BROWN ASKS FULL APPEALS COURT TO REHEAR HANDGUN CASE: Maryland Attorney General Anthony Brown on Tuesday asked the full U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit to rehear a case in which a panel of three judges ruled that a law requiring handgun buyers to get a license is unconstitutional. Dylan Segelbaum/The Baltimore Banner.
NUMBER OF 5-STAR PUBLIC SCHOOLS DROPS: The number of schools that received a five-star rating in Maryland dropped last year, according to preliminary Maryland Report Card data shared at Tuesday’s State Board of Education meeting. The final results of the Maryland Report Card, the state’s school rating system, will be released next week. Lilly Price/The Baltimore Sun.
PHARMACIES SHORT ON ADDICTION TREATMENT DRUG: Maryland pharmacies aren’t stocking enough of the addiction treatment drug buprenorphine – also known by the brand name Suboxone — threatening efforts to stem the growing number of overdose deaths from opioids like fentanyl. The drug has been proven to reduce cravings and withdrawal symptoms that can send people to buy untrustworthy street drugs. Meredith Cohn/The Baltimore Banner.
MONTGOMERY DELEGATION OUTLINES LEGISLATIVE PRIORITIES: With the start of the Maryland General Assembly session just a month away, Montgomery County legislators have been at work readying their agendas. At a Zoom meeting of the Bethesda-Chevy Chase Democratic Breakfast Club Monday morning, members of the District 16 delegation shared some of their priorities and expectations for the session, which will start in Annapolis on Jan. 10 and run until April 8. Ginny Bixby/MoCo 360.
CHANG SEEKS SARBANES’ SEAT; CHARLES TO BECOME STATE SENATOR: Del. Mark S. Chang (D-Anne Arundel) will become the sixth state legislator to seek the 3rd District congressional seat, which U.S. Rep. John Sarbanes (D) is giving up at the end of next year after serving for nine terms. Del. Nick Charles (D-Prince George’s) will be sworn in Tuesday as the next state senator to represent legislative District 25. Charles will replace former Sen. Melony G. Griffth (D), who resigned earlier this fall to become president and CEO of the Maryland Hospital Association. Josh Kurtz and William Ford/Maryland Matters.
SPANISH SPEAKERS HIT BARRIERS TO DISABILITY SERVICES: Spanish speakers in Maryland, among other non-native English speakers, have long struggled to access disability services for themselves and their children, according to advocate for adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities in Montgomery County. A recent analysis of state data showed that while 14% of Maryland public school students who are diagnosed with autism are Hispanic, that’s only true of 4% of Marylanders participating in the state’s autism waiver program, which provides home and community-based support for kids with the disability. Angela Roberts/The Baltimore Sun.
HARFORD MAN FACES JAN. 6 CHARGES: Harford County man is facing federal felony and misdemeanor charges for joining the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection at the U.S. Capitol, where authorities say he blocked police from leaving the building. Dressed in black tactical gear, a helmet and a backpack, Brandon Keith Heffner, 38, and other rioters could be seen in video footage from the social media application Parler blocking an exterior door on the U.S. Capitol’s lower west terrace and holding it shut, preventing police from exiting to deploy tear gas, federal authorities said in a news release Tuesday. Lillian Reed/The Baltimore Banner.
TOO MANY P’s ON ONE ANNAPPOLIS PPOLICE CRUISER: Annapolis police need to mind their p’s and q’s. Or at least their p’s. Some city residents have taken note recently of a patrol car in which the city’s name is misspelled on one side as “Annappolis.” That’s one p too many. Annapolis Police spokesman Bernie Bennett said there’s a simple explanation for how the errant p wiggled into the city’s name on the patrol car. The rear passenger-side door was damaged and needed to be replaced. Royale Bonds/The Baltimore Banner.