Video of floor sessions coming to House of Delegates next year

In an unusual bipartisan statement, House Speaker Michael Busch, together with House Minority Whip Kathy Szeliga and Del. David Moon, announced late Tuesday that the House of Delegates will begin live-streaming floor sessions during the 2020 legislative session. The two delegates, good government groups and journalists had pushed for the move for several years, as had Gov. Larry Hogan. Conservative Republican Szeliga and progressive Democrat Moon introduced their legislation requiring the streaming again Tuesday, and MarylandReporter.com wrote about the issue again two weeks ago.  

In West Baltimore for MLK Day: Too cold to march, but still honoring the dead

It was deemed too frigid Monday afternoon for the peace march from St. Bernadine’s parish in West Baltimore to walk the few blocks around the church where eight people, including a 7-year-old girl, were shot and killed just in the past year. Instead, in honor of Martin Luther King, we sang and prayed and listened to Archbishop William Lori. He condemned racism and acknowledged the complicity of the church in supporting it, including several of his 19th century predecessors who owned slaves themselves.

How can we understand a Chesapeake Bay we’ve never seen?

Author Victor Kennedy has examined the Bay’s past abundances of seafood, from terrapins and sturgeon to oysters and shad and waterfowl, sifting through anecdotal evidence and early surveys to arrive at a sense of just how full of life the Chesapeake was as Europeans began to settle it. His book also pulls together an accounting of how thoroughly we squandered the “immense protein factory” praised by Baltimore journalist H. L. Mencken. Kennedy says “generational amnesia” relating to historical abundances risks setting the bar too low for restoration goals.

Maryland voters support raising the minimum wage to $15

On one of the top issues facing legislators in Annapolis this session, 61% of Maryland voters favor raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour, and almost half (47%) strongly favor the idea, according to a new poll for MarylandReporter.com by Gonzales Research & Media Services. The move is broadly favored by more than three-fourths of Democrats (78%) and eight out of 10 African Americans (81%), as well as a majority of independents (55%). Only among Republican voters, a minority of the Maryland electorate, is their broad opposition to it, with almost half (49%) strongly opposed to the hourly hike.

Opinion: Live streaming of legislative sessions would honor journalists

I spent three hours off-and-on last Thursday watching the live gavel-to-gavel coverage on C-Span of the new U.S. House of Representatives being sworn in, including the return to power of that Baltimore girl turned San Francisco maven, Speaker Nancy D’Allesandro Pelosi. Wednesday the new Maryland General Assembly is being sworn in and we can watch the live gavel-to-gavel of the proceedings NOWHERE.

Poll: Hogan rides high, Trump in the dumps, middling support for sports betting, more for legalizing marijuana

Gov. Larry Hogan enters his new term with universal high approval from every sector of Maryland — blacks, whites, Republicans, Democrats, men, women, rural and suburban — according to the latest Gonzales Maryland Poll. All groups approve by 70% or more. President Donald Trump, on the other hand, continues to have high disapproval from almost two-thirds of Maryland voters. Half of them favor beginning impeachment proceedings.

Public will get to propose 6th Congressional District lines to commission online

The public will have the opportunity to help redraw the contorted lines of Maryland’s gerrymandered 6th Congressional District, the Governor’s Emergency Redistricting Commission announced at its organizational meeting Friday in Annapolis, just hours before the Supreme Court agreed to consider the case from Maryland. The Supreme Court’s decision to review an appeals court’s order to redraw the lines of the 6th CD because it is unconstitutional could make the work of the governor’s commission irrelevant if the high court decides to reverse the lower court order. But the commission plans to press ahead with hearings and redrawing the lines of the 6th and adjacent districts.