STATE BEGINS SEARCH PLAN FOR ER PATIENTS WHO SHOULD NOT HAVE BEEN CHARGED: Maryland hospitals aren’t supposed to charge patients who can’t afford their emergency room visits. When state lawmakers found hospitals were collecting millions from them anyway, legislators took the unusual step of ordering hospitals to pay it back. The trick has been figuring out how. And until they work out a process — and determine how much people are actually owed — no money will be returned. Meredith Cohn/The Baltimore Banner.
THE O’s LEASE, DEVELOPMENT PLAN: WHAT WE KNOW SO FAR: Details of the revised lease extension and development plan for the Baltimore Orioles were revealed Friday afternoon, ahead of key approval votes set for Monday. Initially, the Orioles will extend the terms of their current lease for 30 years until Dec. 31, 2053, with options for extensions beyond that. The Orioles will have until the end of 2027 to reach an agreement on a ground lease and redevelopment plan around the stadium. Pamela Wood and Andy Kostka/The Baltimore Banner.
OPINION: TWO VERY DIFFERENT PATHS FOR RAVENS, ORIOLES: This is Baltimore’s own version of “Sliding Doors”: Two pro sports teams hit a fork in the road and went on radically divergent paths. When the General Assembly passed House Bill 896 to free up to $600 million each in state bonds for stadium improvements for two venues built in the ‘90s, the Ravens signed a lease and got to work. The Orioles waited as team CEO John Angelos described vague, grand ambitions of development around Camden Yards … and now find themselves weeks away from their lease expiration with no new deal in place. Kyle Goon/The Baltimore Banner.
STATE REVENUE EXPECTATIONS SOFTEN: BUDGET CHALLENGES AHEAD: Revenue expectations for fiscal year 2025 are slated to see a slight dip but are projected to be mostly unchanged as lawmakers prepare for the 2024 legislative session, Maryland’s top fiscal officers said Thursday. Hannah Gaskill/The Baltimore Sun.
- Billions of dollars in collected operating and transportation budget deficits will present Gov. Wes More (D) with one of the toughest challenges of his nascent administration. Bryan Sears/Maryland Matters.
FERGUSON DOESN’T SEE REVERSING JUVENILE JUSTICE LAWS: In spite of a reported decline in youth crime and Baltimore’s slowed murder rate, Maryland’s juvenile justice policy has left some residents fearful and angry with their representatives in Annapolis, and confused about what their state laws actually do — especially in the face of a spate of car thefts. Senate President Bill Ferguson, however, said that while both the facts and people’s perception with his constituents matter, he has no intention of pulling back recently passed child justice policies. Hannah Gaskill/The Baltimore Sun.
ARCHDIOCESE ATTORNEYS SET TO ARGUE OVER CLAIMS DEADLINE: Attorneys are set to argue Monday over the deadline for potential victims to provide proof of claims of child sex abuse in the Archdiocese of Baltimore’s bankruptcy case. Known as a “claims bar date,” the deadline effectively acts as a statute of limitations for potential lawsuits against the Baltimore diocese for clergy abuse. Alex Mann/The Baltimore Sun.
SUN BUILDS SEARCHABLE ABUSE DATABASE: The Baltimore Sun has built the largest and only searchable database in the state, publishing Friday a list of 309 people with ties to the church who were accused of child sexual abuse or misconduct and lived or worked anywhere in Maryland, regardless of where the alleged acts occurred. It adds 107 names, researched by Sun reporters, to the people listed in the attorney general report issued in April. Jonathan Pitts, Annie Jennemann, Maya Lora, Lia Russell and Cassidy Jensen/The Baltimore Sun.
- You can search the database here. The Baltimore Sun.
RASKIN AMONG DEMS CHALLENGING SOCIAL MEDIA ON ABORTION MISINFORMATION: In the new landscape of abortion discourse following the overturning of Roe v. Wade, Maryland Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-8th) and other Democrats are calling on top social media sites to combat potentially harmful misinformation related to abortion access and procedures. Danielle Brown/Maryland Matters.
JUNIOR AIDE TO CARDIN OUT AFTER SEX TAPE IN SENATE BUILDING AIRED: A U.S. Senate staffer allegedly caught filming himself having sex in a Judiciary Committee hearing room no longer has his job, Sen. Ben Cardin (D-Maryland) said on X. Jon Levine/The New York Post.
- Portions of the tape were published by the Daily Caller on Friday showing two men having sex in the cavernous Hart Senate Office Building hearing room that has played host to Supreme Court nominees, 9/11 Commission meetings and former FBI Director James Comey’s blockbuster 2017 testimony on Donald Trump. The American Spectator previously reported that a Cardin staffer was involved. Rachel Bade/Politico.
- The Cardin aide, Aidan Maese-Czeropski, posted on LinkedIn late Friday night about the video. While not acknowledging he is the person in the video, the former aide described the current situation as “a difficult time for me” and wrote that he has “been attacked for who I love to pursue a political agenda.” Brett Barrouquere/The Baltimore Banner.
PSC CRITICIZED FOR GIVING BGE RATE HIKES, AGGRESSIVE SPENDING: In the end, Baltimore Gas and Electric got most of what it wanted from state regulators. Even though its original, three-year rate request was trimmed back, the company’s enormous spending on future gas infrastructure was left largely untouched by the Maryland Public Service Commission – a decision that critics say will lead to decades of steeply rising rates that will hit low-income families and renters hardest. Fern Shen/Baltimore Brew.
TWO FILE TO RUN FOR REP. SARBANES’ SEAT: Produce business owner Abigail Diehl, and Severna Park nurse Kristin Lyman Nabors have filed as candidates for the seat held by Democratic Rep. John Sarbanes representing the 3rd Congressional District. Sarbanes announced in October he would not seek reelection after 17 years in office. Dana Munro/The Annapolis Capital.
STATE CLIMATE GOALS NOT QUITE READY: The Maryland Department of the Environment has a plan to achieve the state’s ambitious climate and clean energy goals. But the plan isn’t quite ready for prime time yet — though it should be by year’s end. Josh Kurtz/Maryland Matters.
POLITICAL NOTES: MOORE LEADERSHIP CHANGES: Gov. Wes Moore (D) is making some tweaks to his senior leadership team, announcing Friday that he is bringing on two new deputy chiefs of staff while a current deputy chief of staff heads into retirement. He has been out of office for 11 months, but Maryland voters still like former Gov. Larry Hogan (R). The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced Friday that an agency veteran, Martha Shimkin, will lead the Chesapeake Bay Program Office in the Mid-Atlantic Region. Josh Kurtz and William Ford/Maryland Matters.
- Baltimore County’s Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 4 President David Rose spoke in favor of council Chair Julian Jones’ proposals to establish an inspector general oversight board and require that administrative subpoenas be approved by a judge.In a sweeping review of state financial audits, agency heads updated lawmakers on their solutions to problems they inherited from their predecessors. Taylor DeVille, Brenda Wintrode and Pamela Wood/The Baltimore Banner.
MOORE VISITS CARROLL FOR WREATH LAYING CEREMONY: Carroll County community members gathered Saturday for the 6th consecutive year to remember the fallen. Gov. Wes Moore and first lady Dawn Moore participated in Wreaths Across America, placing wreaths at the Pipe Creek Cemetery of the Church of the Brethren in Union Bridge. Over 4,000 wreaths were placed on local veterans graves in Carroll County on National Wreaths Across America Day by family members of the community. Jeffrey Bill/The Baltimore Sun.
FRANK DeFILIPPO, POLITICAL COMMENTATOR, DIES AT 93: Frank A. DeFilippo, who wrote of the “comic opera” world of Maryland politics, died of pneumonia Dec. 9 at Gilchrist Center in Towson. The Village of Cross Keys resident was 93. “He was a colorful character with a clever wit that shined through in his newspaper commentaries,” said Barry Rascovar, a former Baltimore Sun reporter, editor and columnist. “Flip was a wonderful storyteller who never took politics too seriously.” Jacques Kelly/The Baltimore Sun.
ART HELTON JR., HARFORD DEM AND FORMER STATE SENATOR, DIES AT 85: Arthur Henry “Art” Helton Jr., a longtime Harford County businessman and Democratic politician who shepherded in the county’s new government in the 1970s before becoming a state senator, died Nov. 24 at Lorien Bel Air after suffering injuries from a fall. The longtime Harford resident was 85. Dan Belson/The Baltimore Sun.