Miller sparks bipartisan conversation about reducing crime in Baltimore

@BryanRenbaum
bryan@marylandreporter.com

On his first full day as a common legislator, Sen. Mike Miller, D-Calvert, emphasized the need to address violent crime in Baltimore City and in the process touched off a conversation that attracted bipartisan enthusiasm. “We’re sitting here while Rome is burning,” Miller said in a speech on the Senate floor on Thursday. The governor has put forth this plan. I don’t know if it’s a good plan or not –assign 25 assistant attorney generals to the city or what have you – – but this is a problem we need to address. We really need to address it.

2020 legislative session kicks off post-Miller era

@BryanRenbaum
bryan@marylandreporter.com

Commencement of the 441st legislative session of the Maryland General Assembly on Wednesday marked the first time in more than three decades since the Senate has had a new president. Sen. Mike Miller, who has led the upper chamber since 1987, is considered an institution in Maryland politics and is well-known on the national stage. Miller, who is 77, is battling prostate cancer and handed over his office to 36-year-old Sen. William Ferguson, D-Baltimore City. Ferguson, a teacher and an attorney, has served in the Senate since 2011. His rise to the upper echelon of Maryland politics comes less than a year after the death of four-term House Speaker Michael Busch culminated in the election of Del.

Larry Hogan

Hogan: Crime and corruption are top priorities for new session

By Bryan Renbaum

@BryanRenbaum
bryan@marylandreporter.com

A day ahead of the start of Maryland’s 441st legislative session, Gov. Larry Hogan claimed overwhelming popular support throughout the state –  and Baltimore in particular – for a series of legislative proposals aimed at reducing violent crime. “Our bills have the support of more than 90% of people in Maryland and even higher support in Baltimore City,” Hogan said at a news conference on Tuesday at the State House in Annapolis. Hogan did not cite or indicate where he got the 90% figure from. “This absolutely must be job one for the legislature when they begin this session…Nothing is more important.”

MarylandReporter.com asked Hogan if he has spoken with Baltimore Mayor Bernard “Jack” Young about the proposals. “We’ve talked to Jack Young about this extensively and obviously we’ve been working together on this crime problem for quite some time and we’re hoping to get the mayor’s support,” Hogan said.

New Senate budget chair Guzzone forecasts a phase-in for school reforms, spending

The new chairman of the Senate Budget and Taxation Committee, Howard County’s Guy Guzzone, sees a way forward by phasing in the recommendations without tax hikes – at least for the moment. “If you’re going to spend all this money, you want to see results,” Guzzone said in an interview. “What I believe by now at this point is that we have the resources right now to get this going. We have the resources to see improvements along the way.” “And we’re going to keep checking. And every time we check and realize that we’re succeeding and we’re reaching the next level of success, we can say, OK, let’s figure out how to fund that next level. I think that’s the right way to think about it.”

Maryland to phase in manure restrictions without delay

Maryland Agriculture Secretary Joseph Bartenfelder declared Monday that he saw no need to delay a state regulation that restricts the use of animal manure to fertilize farm fields, despite a study warning there are likely to be problems dealing with the excess manure that is expected to result.

New editor-publisher takes over MarylandReporter.com

Longtime journalist Tim Maier is the new executive editor and publisher of MarylandReporter.com, taking over day-to-day operations from editor and publisher Len Lazarick after 10 years at the helm of the site he founded in 2009. Len will remain as president of the nonprofit corporation and is now chairman of its board. He will continue to write for the website and contribute in other ways with fundraising and business functions. 

New federal budget boosts Chesapeake Bay funding

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Chesapeake Bay Program, which guides the overall restoration work throughout the six-state watershed, will get $85 million, the most it’s ever received. That’s a 16% increase over what the program received annually from Congress for the last five years. It’s also almost $78 million more than the Trump White House had asked for this year. That request would have resulted in a nearly 90% cut to the Bay Program budget.