State Roundup: FBI official questions HQ siting process; Del. Lewis floats ‘itty bit of a fee’ to aid transit needs

State Roundup: FBI official questions HQ siting process; Del. Lewis floats ‘itty bit of a fee’ to aid transit needs

The Statehouse in Annapolis. Governor's office file photo.

FBI OFFICIAL QUESTIONS HQ SITE PROCESS BEFORE HOUSE PANEL: An FBI official testifying before a U.S. House panel on Tuesday questioned the process that led to the Biden administration choosing a Maryland location for a new bureau headquarters instead of a competing site in Virginia. Jacob Fischler/Maryland Matters.

DEL. LEWIS SUGGESTS ‘ITTY BIT OF A FEE’ TO AID TRANSIT: Del. Robbyn Lewis (D-Baltimore) floated the increase in the state sales tax that could be dedicated to paying for transit, during a meeting Tuesday with Baltimore-based Transit Choices. Lewis, the only “car-free” lawmaker in the General Assembly, said she has had discussions with at least one other lawmaker about “whether we could raise revenue for transit through a statewide ballot initiative. Ask the people of Maryland, whether they would be open to paying a little itty bit of a fee or tax… if those funds were funneled directly into our transit needs.” Bryan Sears/Maryland Matters.

PORT SEES CONTINUED GROWTH FOR THIRD-QUARTER: Cargo volumes continued an upward trend through the third quarter of 2023 for key targeted commodities at the Helen Delich Bentley Port of Baltimore. From January through September at the Port’s state-owned terminals, roll on/roll off farm and construction machinery recorded a 28 percent increase compared to the record numbers of 2022, with container volumes rising 6 percent. Overall, general cargo was up 3 percent. Mark Smith/Business Monthly.

YOUGH RIVER CORRIDOR PLANS TO BE DISCUSSED AT PUBLIC MEETING: The state’s most recent known approval of activity within the protected Wild Youghiogheny River corridor is among topics to be discussed at a public meeting next week. It will discuss how it can get notice in advance of actions that could harm the environment the group was formed to protect. Teresa McMinn/Cumberland Times News.

IG OVERSIGHT PANEL FAILING TO GARNER BA CO COUNCIL SUPPORT: A proposal by Baltimore County Council Chairman Julian Jones to establish an advisory board for the inspector general appears to be dead in the water. His six fellow council members told WYPR they either will not support it or have grave reservations. John Lee/WYPR-FM.

  • In fiery exchanges with Baltimore City and County’s inspectors general and a fellow councilman Tuesday evening, council Chair Julian Jones defended his proposal for an inspector general oversight board and weakened subpoena power. Taylor DeVille/The Baltimore Banner.
  • Jones faced criticism from numerous government officials and watchdog groups Tuesday. He has been the subject of two previous inspector general investigations, circulated an amending bill to council members last week, less than two hours before the Baltimore County Council was set to pass legislation enshrining the inspector general’s office into the county charter and expanding its ability to access records during an investigation. The council voted to postpone a vote on the legislation to its Dec. 18 meeting. Lia Russell/The Baltimore Sun.
  • The League of Women Voters said in a statement that it opposed changes to a bill proposed by Baltimore County Council Chair Julian Jones that would strip power from the Office of the Inspector General. Chris Berinato/WBFF-TV.

OP-ED: BA CO COUNCIL SHOULD COME CLEAN ABOUT SECRET MEETING: There is no doubt that it was wrong for Baltimore County Council Chair Julian E. Jones Jr. to invite Council members to a private, off-the-record meeting to discuss amendments that Jones wanted to make to two bills affecting the Office of Inspector General. But what about the five members of the Baltimore County Council who, according to The Brew, attended the meeting? They can be forgiven if they committed an error in judgment by meeting with Jones in apparent violation of the Maryland Open Meetings Act. They won’t be forgiven if it looks like they are trying to cover it up. David Plymyer/The Baltimore Brew.

MO CO REQUIRING SUICIDE PREVENTION LITERATURE FOR NEW GUN SALES: Firearms retailers in Montgomery County will be required to distribute suicide prevention literature to customers under new legislation passed by the Montgomery County Council on Tuesday. Ginny Bixby/MoCo 360.

B’MORE SETS TO TACKLING 13,649 VACANT HOMES: The historic agreement to remediate Baltimore’s stock of vacant and abandoned house outlines a massive, speculative spending plan, using $3 billion in public funds to leverage another $5 billion in private funds. Scott committed the city to contributing at least $300 million, and the coalition has set its sights on landing another $900 million from the state over 15 years. Hallie Miller/The Baltimore Banner.

  • As of Nov. 30, 13,649 homes were officially vacant, according to the city’s count of vacant building notices. On Monday, Mayor Brandon Scott unveiled a plan to invest $300 million over the next 15 years to help purchase and redevelop Baltimore’s vacant and abandoned properties. Hugo Kugiya/The Baltimore Banner.

HOWARD SCHOOL BUS DRIVERS SAY NO TO UNION: Zum, the company contracted to operate school buses for the Howard County Public School System, said Tuesday evening that drivers have chosen to continue to work without union representation. Hugo Kugiya/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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