At annual pre-session confabs, Democrats, Republicans rally the troops, with Dems concentrating on federal shutdown and its affect on Maryland; Comptroller Franchot fails to get a shoutout at shoutout-laden Dem event; there are plenty of newcomers in this year’s General Assembly, from many backgrounds, with many talents; Gonzales poll finds Marylanders want controls on prescription drug prices; lawmakers will likely address rules for out of state ownership of Maryland medical marijuana businesses; Gov. Hogan proposes package to target violent crime in Baltimore city; with a Republican delegation in a Democratically controlled General Assembly, Carroll County finds itself in an interesting spot; throughout Maryland, individuals, banks and businesses are dealing with the federal shutdown; and DNR secretary resigns.
Task force recommends stripping alcohol industry oversight functions from Comptroller Peter Franchot after he pushes to ease restrictions on craft brewers; in latest Gonzales Poll, Gov. Larry Hogan’s approval ratings remain high across the board, while President Trump’s disapproval ratings also remain high; those polled also say yes to a referendum on sports betting, but aren’t so convinced it’s a good idea; heavy rains force Chesapeake Bay Foundation to downgrade bay health for first time in a decade; ah, and yes, the General Assembly session starts tomorrow. So what lawmakers should we be paying attention to? Who are those rising stars? And what are the issues that will come to the fore?; still there is a partial federal government shutdown, and Marylanders are being sorely affected; two Maryland congressman, however, have decided to forgo their pay during this situation; and U.S. Rep. Van Hollen is shaking things up a bit to get government running again.
As Gov. Hogan’s redistricting reform panel meets, Supreme Court agrees to hear Maryland gerrymandering case; Gov. Hogan joins D.C., Virginia in repeating call for President Trump, Congress to end shutdown of federal government; new members of the General Assembly coming in with high hopes, progressive issues; Comptroller Peter Franchot continues to push for craft brewing industry; General Assembly to consider “ranked choice voting” for Baltimore City; incoming Montgomery delegate to introduce bill to tie pollution studies to new state road proposals; Virginia lawmakers seeks pact with Maryland, D.C. on Redskins stadium; judge rules Maryland law aimed at stopping foreign interference in local elections on social media seems to encroach on First Amendment; former Del. Nina Harper dies at 68; U.S. Rep. Sarbanes touts congressional ethics bill; and Arundel County to lose prosecutors..
As General Assembly gets ready to open its doors, lawmakers line up lots of issues to address, including marijuana legalization, sports betting, abortion and health care; study finds opioid crisis hits Maryland, Baltimore especially hard financially; Maryland’s county executives advocate for creation of state panel to make prescription drugs affordable; Gov. Hogan touts Opportunity Zones as an economic driver; in CNS series on courts, defendants who reject plea deals face harsher sentences if convicted; Maryland congressional delegation is back in D.C. and ready for an interesting year; Bay states receive federal grants for water, wildlife protection; and former Gov. Martin O’Malley won’t run for president again, endorses Texan Beto O’Rourke.
Board of Public Works rejects TransCanada pipeline plan for Western Maryland, despite approvals from state, federal regulators; state lawmakers consider new health insurance mandate; court orders mediation in discrimination case brought by HBCUs; algorithms used in making bail decisions; lawmakers expect to revisit regulations on brewing industry; BPW agrees to share settlements with private attorneys suing opioid manufacturers; Atlantic sturgeon making a surprise comeback in Maryland waters; and Baltimore County Exec Olzsewski taps TJ Smith as press aide.
Despite bail reform, judges holding more defendants in jail without bail; marijuana decriminalization reduces the number of cannabis-related arrests, but 96% of Baltimoreans arrested are black; ghost guns, criminal justice reform on tap as new session in Annapolis is on the horizon; John Hopkins pushes General Assembly for its own police force; as federal government shutdown continues, Marylanders seek unemployment benefits; state legislators to allow immigrant parents to designate guardian for children in case of emergency; more than 50 Maryland lawmakers urge Board of Public Works to reject 3-mile gas pipeline in Western Maryland; U.S. Rep. Steny Hoyer, soon-to-be House majority leader, poised to work with incoming Speaker Pelosi and much younger House members; and U.S. Rep. Elijah Cummings vows to hold President Trump accountable.
Come 2019 General Assembly session, the largest group of women lawmakers twill take their place at the State House; state reaches agreement with 1,500 state health care workers; fiscal prognosticators see storm clouds gathering, encouraging lawmakers to prepare beyond coming year; Montgomery County Exec Elrich says he and Gov. Hogan can find common ground on I-270 work; sports betting a sure bet in Maryland; Maryland GOP chief Dirk Haire says party needs to diversify; future of farming in Maryland depends of youth, adaptation; Arundel County Exec Pittman taps woman as new fire chief; and as Howard County Exec Ball reconsiders steps for Ellicott City, one property owner wants to remain.
The possible shutdown of the federal government looms large over Maryland, with a possible 26,474 workers impacted as Gov. Hogan urges President Trump to “come to his senses;” Maryland leads charge against Trump administration plan to allow offshore seismic testing; Gov. Hogan announces new funding for P-TECH education plan; Hogan taps bipartisan panel to redraw 6th Congressional District; U.S. Rep.-elect Trone urges Supreme Court to validate his 6th Congressional District; 11 sexual harassment claims tallied against lawmakers in past year; General Assembly leaders OK new behavioral guidelines to stem harassment; enrollment in ACA up 28% in rural Maryland; banned insecticides still on some store shelves; and emoluments clause lawsuit halted by Circuit Court of Appeals.
Kirwan plan to increase state aid to schools delayed a year after House Speaker Busch, Senate President Miller say there isn’t time for legislature to deal with it; opposition from environmentalists, Prince George’s residents grows to Gov. Hogan’s plan for Redskins stadium at 300-acre federal parkland; ; Board of Public Works OKs new contract for toll roads projects; study says Eastern Shore imperiled by rising seas; BPW OKs new medical care provider for inmates; D.C. Council OKs sports betting: What will it mean for Maryland?; and state grants proposed Garrett performing arts center $685,000.
Senate President Miller to push for more police for Baltimore City, new private force for Johns Hopkins; Attorney General Frosh to go before U.S. District Court judge today in effort to preserve its lawsuit seeking to keep the Affordable Health Care Act; after finding unapproved pesticides in products, medical marijuana commission fines grower, orders changes in leadership; Abell study finds deregulation of energy industry did not save Marylanders money; Montgomery Council seeks authority over new tolls roads, in effort to stop Gov. Hogan’s widening plan; House Speaker Busch taps committees; Hagerstown councilwoman blasts Hogan over picking Steve Schuh to head opioid force; and Arundel jail ends immigration screening after County Exec Pittman speech.