State Roundup: Maryland to pump $150M into transit projects; lawmakers firm on child interrogation law but willing to ‘tweak’ juvenile justice act

State Roundup: Maryland to pump $150M into transit projects; lawmakers firm on child interrogation law but willing to ‘tweak’ juvenile justice act

In an attempt to decrease the number of road work zone deaths, the state is raising fines for speeding through them. In January, fines will be on a tiered scale. Photo by Mika Baumeister on Unsplash

STATE TO PUMP $150M INTO TRANSPORTATION: Maryland Transportation Secretary Paul Wiedefeld said the state will pump $150 million into transportation projects in the fiscal 2025 budget. Moore is expected to deliver his budget to the legislature Wednesday. “The larger issue is still there,” said Wiedefeld. In December, Wiedefeld announced $3.3 billion in cuts over six years to the state’s Consolidated Transportation Program. The rolling six-year document is updated annually. Bryan Sears/Maryland Matters.

HOUSE, SENATE LEADERS TAKE DIFFERING ROADS TO FUND TRANSIT: House and Senate leaders appear to be on opposite sides of the road when it comes to solving the problem of how to fund transportation projects in Maryland. Maryland faces a funding deficit of more than $3 billion over the next six years. An expected infusion of $150 million, while welcome, is viewed as a small bandage on a gaping wound. Bryan Sears/Maryland Matters.

LAWMAKERS FIRM ON CHILD INTERROGATION ACT, WILLING TO ‘TWEAK’ JUVIE LAWS: Maryland lawmakers remained steadfast Tuesday in their defense of the Child Interrogation Protection Act in spite of criticism — particularly among police and state prosecutors. “We have a duty to protect the constitutional rights of our children,” Maryland Public Defender Natasha Dartigue said during a virtual news conference Tuesday morning. “That includes protecting the basic protections afforded to adults.” Hannah Gaskill/The Baltimore Sun.

  • House Speaker Adrienne Jones said tweaks were likely to the current system but did not elaborate on what specifically she’s looking for this session. “We don’t anticipate rolling back any of these juvenile justice laws. We are looking to make some tweaks to them,” she said. Mikenzie Frost/WBFF-TV News.

BILL WOULD MAKE IT TOUGHER FOR SEX OFFENDERS TO CUT SENTENCES: Baltimore City State’s Attorney Ivan Bates is throwing his support behind a bill that would make it harder for some offenders to earn time off their sentence for good conduct. Maryland lawmakers this legislative session are considering restrictions on the ability of some sexual offenders to earn time off of their sentences. Gov. Wes Moore has already signaled his support for the limits. Lillian Reed and Liz Bowie/The Baltimore Banner.

***Coming off the success of his first play, “Baltimore You have No Idea,” Sun columnist Dan Rodricks has produced “Baltimore Docket,” which dramatizes seven trials he has covered over the years. Three of six performances in February are already sold out. Click for tickets here.***

TIME TO CHECK THE CAMPAIGN COFFERS: Today, political observers across the region will eagerly hit refresh on the state board of elections’ campaign finance website, as candidates and political committees disclose their fundraising numbers for the first time in a year. This round of reporting is big news for a few reasons. For one, we haven’t had an official glimpse into campaign coffers since this time last year. Emily Sullivan/The Baltimore Banner.

MOORE BRINGING IN MILLIONS: Gov. Wes Moore has been a fundraising machine over the last year, bringing in millions of dollars for himself, the Maryland Democratic Party and President Joe Biden’s re-election effort, according to his team. Pamela Wood/The Baltimore Banner.

LEGISLATORS FORM JEWISH CAUCUS: Twenty state lawmakers are joining forces to create the Maryland Legislative Jewish Caucus, joining their voices to speak out against antisemitism and hate crimes, while also promoting Jewish culture and heritage. Pamela Wood/The Baltimore Banner.

POLITICAL NOTES: GOP URGED TO RETURN DONATIONS FROM J6 DEFENDANT: An Eastern Shore progressive organization is calling on nine Republicans to return more than $13,100 in campaign contributions from a former state election official now charged in the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol. Candidates for Congress aren’t required to release their 2023 year-end campaign finance reports until Jan. 31. But that didn’t stop state Sen. Sarah K. Elfreth (D-Anne Arundel), one of 15 Democrats running for the open seat in the 3rd congressional district, from teasing her fundraising numbers on Tuesday. Danielle E. Gaines, Bryan P. Sears, Josh Kurtz and William J. Ford/Maryland Matters.

B’MORE POLICE CLEAR TWO HURDLES TO END FEDERAL OVERSIGHT: Nearly seven years to the day since the Baltimore Police Department first entered federal oversight, it has cleared two major hurdles in exiting it: coming into compliance with two sections of its lengthy agreement with the U.S. Department of Justice. Ben Conarck/The Baltimore Banner.

HARFORD COUNCIL OK’s HOTEL TAX DISTRIBUTION FORMULA: The Harford County Council passed a new formula Tuesday night for distributing tax revenue from hotel rooms. Under a 2015 law, council districts without a municipality did not directly receive revenue from a 6% tax on hotel room rates. Meanwhile, the county code required half of the hotel tax revenue collected within a district with a municipality to be spent within the same district. Now 25% of tax revenue collected from hotels in unincorporated areas of the county will be spent within the district where the tax was collected. Dillon Mullan/The Baltimore Sun.

THUMB ON THE SCALE: NEW SUN OWNER INSULTS ITS JOURNALISM: In a tense, three-hour meeting with staff Tuesday afternoon, new Baltimore Sun owner David Smith told employees he has only read the paper four times in the past few months, insulted the quality of their journalism and encouraged them to emulate a TV station owned by his broadcasting company. Cody Boteler, Lee O. Sanderlin and Giacomo Bologna/The Baltimore Banner.

  • According to one staffer, “He defined public interest as wanting to know what government is doing, and that sort of devolved to polls and online questions like, ‘What are you most afraid of? What concerns you?’ This is very familiar Fox fodder.” Fern Shen/Baltimore Brew.
  • Sinclair has become best known for its willingness to press the Smith family thumb on the political scale, such as when, during the 2016 campaign, Smith met with Donald Trump and offered the then-candidate exclusive access to Sinclair reporters, saying “We are here to deliver your message. Period.” Joshua Benton/Neiman Lab.

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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