State Roundup: Will Trump be on Md. ballot?; Planning Commission approves Harborplace development; Chris McCollum is freed after 3 months in jail for stealing campaign funds

State Roundup: Will Trump be on Md. ballot?; Planning Commission approves Harborplace development; Chris McCollum is freed after 3 months in jail for stealing campaign funds

The Capitol Christmas tree and the Washington Mall. U.S. House of Representatives photo

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MERRY CHRISTMAS, HAPPY HOLIDAYS: State Roundup will be taking a break next week, a typically slow news week, and resume next Friday, Dec. 29. 

WILL TRUMP BE ON THE BALLOT IN MARYLAND? The question of whether Donald Trump is eligible to appear on Maryland’s Republican primary ballot is under consideration by the secretary of state, her office said this week after a Colorado court disqualified the former president from that state’s election.  Maryland Secretary of State Susan Lee, a Democratic former state senator from Montgomery County, has wide latitude under Maryland law to determine who is recognized as a legitimate candidate. She was appointed secretary by Democratic Gov. Wes Moore. Maryland’s primary is May 14, and the secretary must finalize the presidential primary ballot by Jan. 22.  Jeff Barker/The Baltimore Sun

B’MORE PANEL APPROVES BILLS RELATED TO HARBORPLACE DEVELOPMENT: The Baltimore City Planning Commission voted in favor of three bills Thursday that will allow plans to revitalize Harborplace to move forward. The recommendations will go back to the City Council, where councilmembers plan to hold a public hearing before they vote on the bills.  Many residents, both those in favor and against the development, showed up to express their opinions on how it could affect the downtown area. Khiree Stewart/WBAL-TV (NBC)

  • The meeting was solely to discuss land use, not design. Three bills were on the table. One to allow for zoning change at Harborplace. another updates the urban renewal plan to do away with height restrictions. The final bill allows Baltimore voters to weigh in on residential and off-street parking at the Harborplace site. Kara Burnett/WMAR (ABC)
  • The three bills include amendments to zoning, an urban renewal plan and the city’s charter – efforts to pave the way for the construction of a luxury residential, retail and commercial space, plus a redesigned streetscape plan at Pratt and Light streets. The cost of the private development at Harborplace could climb to $500 million. With several steps in between, ultimately, the power will be put in the hands of Baltimore City voters to approve an amendment to the city charter through a November 2024 ballot question. Cristina Mendez/WJZ (CBS)

POLITICAL INSIDER CHRIS MCCOLLUM IS RELEASED FROM JAIL: Chris McCollum, the former Olszewski administration official who pleaded guilty to stealing more than $140,000 from two campaign committees, was released from jail on Thursday after serving half of his six-month sentence. A political operative once on intimate terms with top county politicians, McCollum had pleaded guilty to felony theft and perjury. Fern Shen & Mark Reutter/Baltimore Brew

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ACTIVISTS CALL FOR $15 MILLION FUND TO AID DELINQUENT TENANTS: Tenant activists were in Annapolis on Wednesday to call on state leaders to set aside $15 million next year for a fund that would help tenants who are one to three months behind on their rent. That’s just part of the agenda for tenant advocates heading into the January General Assembly session. It looks like the administration of Gov. Wes Moore (D) is prepared to pursue at least some of their priorities. Josh Kurtz/Maryland Matters

2022 LAW IS SQUEEZING HOMEOWNER ASSOCIATIONS:: Homeowner associations in Maryland are finding themselves squeezed by a 2022 law intended to ensure maintenance of condominiums and similar housing, but which is resulting in thousands of dollars in surprise fees and assessments that are leaving some residents struggling to make ends meet. The law could force lower-income owners into delinquency and out of their homes, or make it more difficult to buy and sell properties and cause property values to tumble. Peder Schaefer/The Baltimore Banner

OPINION: STEELE ABANDONED THE GOP BEFORE IT ABANDONED HIM: By associating himself with the anti-Trump Lincoln Project, former Lt. Gov. and national GOP chairman Michael Steele showed why he is not welcomed by Maryland Republicans. Marc King/Maryland Reporter

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