Ellicott City stairway catches the eye and stormwater

An earthquake, and then a flood, forced officials to repair a parking lot retaining wall in hilly Ellicott City. Howard County’s innovative repair job did more than restore the wall — it netted the community an architecturally designed staircase, showy native gardens, a waterfall, less stormwater pollution of the Patapsco River and a BUBBA.

State Roundup, April 12, 2017

Gov. Hogan signs many bills, including rewrite of public integrity law and ones to give tax breaks to manufacturers and some commercial developers in Arundel; also passing were bills to stop price gouging by drugmakers and to fight opioid crisis, while other progressive bills failed including cleaning up medical marijuana program and preventing child marriages; Black Caucus calls for special session to fix medical marijuana program; many laud session for its bipartisanship; poll finds Hogan 2nd most popular governor in country; Atty Gen Frosh sees his power expanded; and as Comptroller Franchot seeks to overhaul state’s “outdated” liquor laws, Guinness likely to return to Annapolis to seek more beer selling concessions.

Pepco, Delmarva seeking higher electric rates

In less than a year, three Exelon-owned power companies have filed petitions with the Public Service Commission of Maryland to raise the price of electric bills. After Baltimore Gas and Electric Co.’s rate adjustment was granted in June, Delmarva Power and Pepco now seek to raise their prices, citing millions of dollars invested into improving their electric systems and services during the past few years. However, many, including Montgomery County councilmember Roger Berliner, said they believe these rate adjustments are unwarranted and will disproportionately affect lower-income residents already struggling to pay bills.

State Roundup, June 8, 2016

Hogan tax cut efforts spurs administration to back away from two efforts to stop air pollution; hospitals ask regulators to allow bigger rise in rates; Annapolis City attorney joins Hogan administration; and Frederick County’s Bud Otis attacked for leaving ‘mean-spirited’ GOP.

Part 2 Unhealthy Baltimore: Hurdles to health

Sharlene Adams’ story is not about huge barriers to medical care but about a series of hurdles that block access to help for her and many other low-income residents in Baltimore. Those hurdles add up to large health care inequities.

Happy Maryland Day!

Today celebrates the landing of the first English settlers to Maryland on this date in 1634. Here are two interactive graphics from Capital News Service, one a quiz about Maryland state symbols, the other an interpretative analysis of the Confederate references in the current version of the state song, “Maryland, My Maryland.”

Vatz on the debate: Republican March Madness with the final four

The debate Thursday night wasn’t filled with comity, but it was less divisive than many would have predicted, perhaps because we have become used to consistent personal shots in these debates. As for the outcome of the debate, it cannot be certain what effect Thursday’s events — the Romney speech, the McCain echo and the debate — will have on the primary season. Still, it appears that Trump’s supporters are immovable.

Sick leave proposals pit labor and health advocates against business groups

Bills forcing employers to extend benefits to sick employees had labor and health advocates sparring with representatives of business groups at a hearing Tuesday. The Maryland Healthy Working Families Act, sponsored by Del. Luke Clippinger, D-Baltimore City, would require businesses with more than nine employees to provide paid sick leave to those who work eight or more hours per week.

State Roundup, December 23, 2015

Senate Prez Miller says he’s targeting all of Gov. Hogan’s 2015 vetoes for overrides; House Dems say they’ll push for more aid to Baltimore City in coming session; Miller questions why Porter trial venue wasn’t moved from Baltimore City; as he faces criticism, Comptroller Franchot doubles down on Montgomery’s liquor sales monopoly; Michele Hotten sworn in as new Court of Appeals judge; amid controversy over gender and race with Arundel County exec, black woman appointed to ethics panel; and Baltimore City officials to get pay hikes.