REBUILDING PIMLICO NOW ON TABLE: Discussion of Maryland thoroughbred racing in recent years has been full of glum realities and grim predictions, but the saga added a hopeful chapter Friday: sweeping changes and a proposed new path forward. Hayes Gardner/The Baltimore Sun.
- The report from the Maryland Thoroughbred Operating Authority, which was established last year, suggests that the state should completely rebuild the facilities at Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore over the next three years. The Preakness Stakes, the second jewel in horse racing’s Triple Crown, would be temporarily run at Laurel Park, and return to the new Baltimore facility in 2027. Danielle Gaines/Maryland Matters.
TASK FORCE RECOMMENDS STATE STREAMLINE HIRING PROCESS: A panel of government officials is recommending that the state do more to streamline its hiring process as part of an effort to fill thousands of state jobs. The Task Force on the Modernization of the State Personnel Management System made nearly a dozen recommendations it said could make it easier to attract candidates and fill vacancies. Bryan Sears/Maryland Matters.
OLSZEWSKI: ECONOMIC PERFECT STORM COMING: As the 2024 Maryland General Assembly prepares to convene its three month session on Wednesday, the threat of state budget cuts, along with the drying up of federal COVID money as well as inflation are teaming up to create a rocky budget year not just for Baltimore County but for localities across Maryland. “You put all of that together and it’s going to be a much more challenging budget cycle for us,” Baltimore County Johnny Olszewski said. “It really is in some ways the perfect storm of presenting some challenges.” John Lee/WYPR-FM.
MOORE’s LEGISLATIVE PRIORITIES INCLUDE AID FOR MILITARY FAMILIES: With two days to go before the start of the new session in Annapolis, the only bills Gov. Wes Moore has explained at length are two pieces of legislation that seek to support military families and spouses. Moore, an Army veteran, has also expressed support for several others along the same theme. His other legislative priorities have only been hinted at. Hannah Gaskill and Sam Janesch/The Baltimore Sun.
HEALTH CARE ACCESS TO GET BOOST IN ANNAPOLIS: Health care-focused organizations across the state are hopeful that the 2024 legislative session will be a year that reins in health costs and allows patients to have greater access to the care they need. Gene Ransom, CEO of MedChi, The Maryland State Medical Society, said, “This year, I’m hoping will be the year that we talk about access and patients, and that will be the thing we focus on,” he said. Danielle Gaines/Maryland Matters.
LEGISLATORS WORTH WATCHING: Who are the rank and file legislators to watch this year? Several sharp-tongued conservatives, for example, are exceedingly effective debaters, even in the service of lost causes when there are Democratic supermajorities in both houses, and they cannot be ignored. Here are some of the lawmakers worth paying extra attention to in the weeks ahead. Staff/Maryland Matters.
MARYLAND INSURRECTION ARRESTS: WHO ARE THEY, WHAT IS THEIR STATUS? On the 3rd anniversary of the Jan. 6, 2021 insurrection – the focus of FBI manhunts for three years – more than 1,265 defendants have been charged by the U.S. Department of Justice. Thirty-five have been found in Maryland, according to the George Washington University’s Capitol Hill Siege Legal Tracker. Who are they and what is their status now? Penelope Blackwell and Brett Barrouquere/The Baltimore Banner.
SHARP RISE IN COVID, FLU HOSPITALIZATIONS HASN’T OVERWHELMED DOCS: Hospitalizations from COVID-19 and the flu have surged in the past month, prompting the Maryland Department of Health to recommend that hospitals and doctor’s offices double down on efforts to suppress the spread of illness, including requiring masks in all patient care areas. But doctors and hospital leaders said they aren’t being overwhelmed by sick patients in the same way they have been in recent years. Angela Roberts/The Baltimore Sun.
POLITICAL NOTES: O’MALLEY’s NEW POST; ELFRETH ENDORSED: Former Baltimore District Judge Katie Curran O’Malley will serve as the new executive director of the Women’s Law Center of Maryland. The top two Democratic candidates for U.S. Senate announced new endorsements. State Sen. Sarah K. Elfreth (D-Anne Arundel) picked up the endorsement from former U.S. Rep. Tom McMillen (D-Md.), who represented part of the congressional district where Elfreth is now running. William Ford and Josh Kurtz/Maryland Matters.
WHICH CANDIDATES HAVE FILED FOR WHICH OFFICES: The filing deadline for the Maryland primary elections is a month away, but so many candidates have already filed for federal races that the listing looks more like a team roster. Five Democrats and three Republicans have filed for the primary races for U.S. Sen. Ben Cardin’s seat as of Friday. U.S. Rep. David Trone, D-6th; and Prince George’s County Executive Angela Alsobrooks, also a Democrat, had not formally filed at press time. Even more candidates are vying for Trone’s District 6 House seat. Staff/The Hagerstown Herald Mail.
U.S. MINT TO PUT TUBMAN ON THREE COINS: With the redesigned $20 bill bearing Harriet Tubman’s visage likely still years away, the U.S. Mint will feature the Maryland native on three commemorative coins this year. Lillian Reed/The Baltimore Banner.
WHERE DOES BALTIMORE TRANSIT GO NEXT? It’s a new year and time to consider new paths Baltimore could take over the next decade. The West Baltimore MARC rail station, at the western end of the Franklin-Mulberry corridor, the so-called Highway to Nowhere, is one such starting place. Jacques Kelly/The Baltimore Sun.
MOSBY FAILS TO SECURE FAVORABLE RULING AHEAD OF FRAUD TRIAL: Marilyn Mosby’s defense team went to court on Friday hoping to win favorable procedural rulings ahead of her mortgage fraud trial scheduled for later this month. Instead, what Baltimore’s former top prosecutor got were mostly defeats. Fern Shen/Baltimore Brew.
SON’s TICK BITE LEADS PROF’s STUDY INTO LYME: A tick bite on her son Jack a little more than a decade ago became pivotal for Rebekah Taylor, an associate professor and department chair of biology at Frostburg State University, shaping her research for years to come. Alisa Tang/The Washington Post.
B’MORE OFFICER FACES HARASSMENT ALLEGATIONS: A recently appointed Baltimore Police major faces allegations in Baltimore County District Court of sending harassing text messages to a woman, including, before she was promoted, “I’m a Captain no one is going to believe you.” Darcy Costello/The Baltimore Sun.
CARROLL SCHOOLS SEEKS TO DEFINE ‘SEXUAL CONTENT’ IN BOOKS: A policy change on allowed books in Carroll County school libraries is being put to a vote is a direct response to the outcry from Carroll County’s chapter of Moms for Liberty, a group that the Southern Poverty Law Center says “opposes LGBTQ+ and racially inclusive school curriculum.” The Carroll chapter has said sexual content is the chief problem with the dozens of titles members submitted for review. They flooded the system with so many challenges this summer and fall that Superintendent Cynthia McCabe pulled the books out of school libraries until a committee could review them. Kristen Griffith/The Baltimore Banner.
TRIBUTE TO SUN COPY EDITOR ROBERT GROVER: Robert O. Grover, former Baltimore Sun copy desk chief who held a similar post at U.S. News & World Report and taught journalism to a generation of college students in Maryland, died of Parkinson’s disease Dec. 22 at Symphony Manor in Roland Park. The Glyndon resident was 81. “Bob was a skilled editor, no doubt, but he was also really good with people,” said Jim Bock, a former Sun copy editor. Frederick Rasmussen/The Baltimore Sun.