37 SUE STATE ALLEGING SEXUAL ABUSE AT YOUTH DETENTION CENTER: Staff at a youth detention center in Baltimore County systemically raped boys incarcerated at the facility, according to a lawsuit filed Wednesday. The civil complaint and request for a jury trial center on the Charles H. Hickey Jr. School near Loch Raven, where 37 victims, now men between 30 and 66 years old, allege sexual abuse from the 1970s through 2009. Dillon Mullan/The Baltimore Sun.
- The complaint, filed in Circuit Court for Baltimore City, claims the school “has been a hotbed of sexual abuse” and that the state has allowed Hickey’s “culture of abuse to flourish unabated” despite federal and state investigations into the home, reports of abuse, and public demands to close the facility. Hugo Kugiya/The Baltimore Banner.
SERIES OF BILLS WOULD AID MILITARY SPOUSES, FAMILIES: With less than a month before Maryland’s legislative session begins, Gov. Wes Moore rolled out a series of bills Wednesday that aim to assist military spouses and their families. Moore, a Democrat and veteran U.S. Army captain, announced Wednesday his plans to sponsor a set of bills that will benefit military spouses and members of Maryland’s National Guard. Hannah Gaskill/The Baltimore Sun.
- Moore will advocate next session for state and private employers to practice preferential hiring for military spouses and for the state to offer more military leave to its employees serving in the National Guard or reserves. Jack Hogan/The Daily Record.
- The Time to Serve Act would expand military leave and disaster service leave for state employees who serve in the National Guard or military reserves from 15 days to 30 days. The expansion would benefit military families by giving service members paid time off to be with family, rather than at military drills, the administration said. Danielle Gaines/Maryland Matters.
- The state Department of Veterans Affairs will sponsor two more bills including one that would waive vehicle registration fees for drivers with Gold Star Families license plates, which are for families who have lost a loved one in military service. Pamela Wood/The Baltimore Banner.
MOORE: O’s LEASE DEAL ‘IMMINENT:’ Less than three weeks from a looming deadline, Gov. Wes Moore (D) said Wednesday he is confident the state will reach a long-term lease agreement with the Baltimore Orioles. “A deal is imminent,” Moore told reporters following a meeting of the Board of Public Works, a message he repeated during a news conference later in the day. The ball club’s lease with the state to remain at Orioles Park at Camden Yards, which the state owns, expires on Dec. 31, and Moore has repeatedly said he will not agree to anything less than a long-term agreement. Bryan Sears and Josh Kurtz/Maryland Matters.
MDE GREENHOUSE GAS REDUCTION PLAN ON HORIZON: The Maryland Department of the Environment’s Greenhouse Gas Reduction plan is scheduled to be turned in to the governor any day and with the General Assembly scheduled to convene on Jan. 10, 2024 for its 90-day session, bills on electric vehicles, solar, and wind energy could again be before the legislature. Dwight Weingarten/The Hagerstown Herald Mail.
STATE SEEKS SOLUTIONS TO TRANSPORTATION FUNDING GAP: Maryland transportation officials have sounded the alarm this year over the long-term health of the well the state taps for funding transportation — as Marylanders hop in more electric and fuel-efficient vehicles over gas guzzlers, the state has brought in less revenue from the gas tax factored into the price at the pump. One proposal to help fill the gap is an additional registration fee on fully electric and hybrid vehicles. Daniel Zawodny and Brenda Wintrode/The Baltimore Banner.
MARYLAND REPORT CARD: NUMBER OF 5-STAR SCHOOLS PLUMMETS: Although the majority of Maryland’s public schools experienced no change this year in the state Department of Education’s five-star rating system, there was a statewide decrease of schools to receive top-star status. According to data released Wednesday, 85 schools received five stars during the 2022-23 school year, compared to 215 schools from the 2021-22 school year. William Ford/Maryland Matters.
- It’s unlikely the region’s schools are getting worse. Chronic absenteeism, defined as a student missing 10% of school days a year, became such a problem during the pandemic that the Maryland State Department of Education changed its school-rating formula for a year. This year, it’s back to normal. Greg Morton/The Baltimore Banner.
PERFORMANCE SCORES DROP FOR 20 HARFORD SCHOOLS: Twenty Harford County Public Schools saw a decrease in their overall school performance score for the 2022-23 school year, while four schools saw an increase, according to data released by the Maryland State Department of Education on Wednesday. Caitlyn Freeman/The Aegis.
A THIRD OF ARUNDEL SCHOOLS SEE DROP IN PERFORMANCE RATING: More than a third of Anne Arundel County Public Schools’ 116 institutions saw a drop in their school performance rating last year, according to Maryland State Department of Education data. The Maryland Report Card showed 44 Anne Arundel schools had received a worse score in the 2022-23 school year compared to the year before. Despite the dip, the school system still boasts the most four- and five-star schools in the region — 45 and nine, respectively —and nearly 90% of schools maintain a rating of three or higher. Brian Jeffries/The Baltimore Sun.
MORE B’MORE SCHOOLS GET 3-STAR RATINGS: The Baltimore City Public School System saw improvement in the number of schools that scored a three-star grade or above on Maryland’s school performance rating system, according to 2022-23 data released Wednesday. Lilly Price, Steve Earley and Dan Belson/The Baltimore Sun.
POLITICAL NOTES: PG COUNTY COUNCIL TAPS IVEY AS CHAIR: Prince George’s County Council member Jolene Ivey, who served two terms in the House of Delegates, has been elected by her colleagues to serve as the chair for the body’s 2024 legislative year. And, during a three-hour hearing with the Prince George’s delegation, legislators took input from the public and their colleagues to refine legislation before future voting procedures. Richard Elliott/The Washington Informer.
BA CO COUNCIL CHAIR DEFENDS IG AMENDMENTS: Baltimore County Council Chairman Julian E. Jones Jr. spent the better part of two hours citing accountability, transparency and protecting the U.S. Constitution as his motivations for introducing amendments that experts say would strip Inspector General Kelly Madigan of effective ways to investigate waste, fraud and abuse in county government. Mark Reutter/Baltimore Brew.
‘BOOTSIE’ MANDEL, FORMER FIRST LADY OF MARYLAND, DIES AT 103: Barbara “Bootsie” Mandel, Maryland’s former first lady who made news by refusing to leave the governor’s residence in Annapolis, when her husband, Gov. Marvin Mandel, announced that he was divorcing her, died Monday at her home. She was 103. She rocked Maryland’s political scene after Gov. Mandel announced that he was ending their 32-year marriage to wed Jeanne Blackistone Dorsey, a mother of four. Jacques Kelly/The Baltimore Sun.