Debts put some Marylanders in jail

Jailing a person for an unpaid debt has been illegal for almost two centuries in the United States.But in Maryland, through a roundabout court procedure, hundreds of people every year are jailed for essentially just that: Owing money.

The state of the State House press corps

In a tradition that goes back at least a dozen years, members of the State House press corps gathered at half past midnight on April 9 after an unusually somber Sine Die. We had just marked the first session in 17 years without Michael Busch wielding the speaker’s gavel, ending with a memorial joint session of House and Senate. It was a pretty robust year for State House reporting, though the session was fairly tame.

ACLU, 16 groups ask speaker hopefuls for greater openness, legislative reforms, term limits

The ACLU, Common Cause and 15 other progressive groups and unions are asking the candidates for speaker of the House of Delegates to answer a questionnaire that commits them to greater openness in the legislative process and to term limits for the speaker and committee chairs.The twelve-part questionnaire raises many of the issues that have long troubled witnesses, advocates, lobbyists and journalists about how the legislature operates.

Funding lags for tree buffers that clean up streams heading to the Bay

Alder, willow and sycamore saplings in plastic tubes line a portion of the stream. Steve Derrenbacher, a veterinarian and third-generation farmer, said they’d like to add more streamside trees and even permanently preserve the entire 148 acres their family has owned since 1942. But their conservation hopes are on hold, because the federal program that would pay them to extend the forest buffer is not taking any new applicants right now.

Del. Alice Cain reflects on session, Speaker who shared their district

Del. Alice Cain of Annapolis, one of eight Democrats to take a seat held by a Republican, reflects on her first session and on the death of Speaker Mike Busch, who shared the two-member district with her. “I was thinking how much I’m going to miss him, how much the State House is going to miss him, and how much the community of Annapolis is going to miss him,” she said. “It was great to see him in action here myself.”

RIP: A final day without Mike Busch — but a photo album of remembrances

For 17 sessions since 2003, two constants for the final day were the two Mikes. Thomas V. Mike Miller Jr, president of the Maryland Senate whom at we call simply Mike Miller, and Michael Erin Busch, speaker of the House of Delegates.Now Busch is gone, dead Sunday afternoon after a series of medical problems. Until two years ago, he was a vigorous, energetic, athletic man in firm command of an unruly bunch of 141 who called him “coach.” Here is a photo album with some remembrances.

More restrictions put on power of Board of Public Works by House bill

Gov. Larry Hogan’s recent attempts to acquire land from the federal government for a Redskins stadium and to expand the Baltimore-Washington Parkway have led to yet another effort to limit the power of the Board of Public Works made up of the governor, comptroller and state treasurer.  The bill passed the House of Delegates Thursday in a party-line vote after lengthy floor debate.