State Roundup, January 23, 2019

Speaker Busch announces that House will begin live-streaming floor sessions in 2020; lawmakers hope to restore prescription drug program for retired state workers; ex-U.S. Rep. McMillan urges lawmakers to avoid corruption of college sports, should sports betting be legalized; legislators working on clean energy bills concerned that Gov. Hogan is slow-walking study on Renewable Portfolio Standards; Judiciary opposing partial expungement bill; Michael Bloomberg urges state to allow JHU police to carry guns; BPW to vote on contract for Tubman, Douglass statues; local officials to call for end to federal government shutdown; pro-business group says Montgomery County growth sluggish, high taxes are making it less attractive for private investment; and presidential hopeful Kamala Harris to open campaign office in Baltimore, but where?

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 wrote about the issue again two weeks ago.  

Legislation would delay Hogan plans to expand beltway, I-270

Gov. Larry Hogan’s plans for expanding the Capital Beltway and I-270 could be pushed back for a year by a bill that would first require a completed environmental assessment. Maryland House Bill 91 would require all pre-solicitation reports for Public-Private Partnerships — or P3s — to be held until an Environmental Impact Statement is finished. This would force Department of Transportation and the Maryland Transportation Authority to pull their current pre-solicitation report, and not present a new one until 2020.  

State Roundup, January 22, 2019

Michael Bloomberg to meet with Annapolis lawmakers over gun control; state senators to introduce bill to make it illegal for people to own guns after getting PBJ on stalking charges; Baltimore County Exec Olszewski to seeks $100 million a year for school construction; Annapolis mayor wants to hike state reimbursement for its services; in suit to get more money for lead paint victims, state expected to hit limit; Maryland’s foreign trade zone to add two counties; and bronze statues of Harriet Tubman, Frederick Douglass set to be installed in State House by next year.

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.

State Roundup, January 21, 2019

Gov. Hogan introduces $46.6 billion spending plan that includes education funding boost, 2% tuition hike for in-state university students and increases in health, public safety; Higher Ed Commission has awarded $9 million in tax credits to 9,500 state residents with student loan debt; psychotherapist seeks to overturn state ban on conversion therapy; liberal think tank offers way to pay for Kirwan education funding proposals; Black Caucus seeks meeting with Hogan to resolve suit over funding disparity for HBCUs; speculation over Hogan running for president continues in the New York Times, Politico; Hogan campaign returns $31,000 in campaign donations to developer; and U.S. Rep. Andy Harris says he was unaware of man’s links to white supremacists.

State Roundup, January 18, 2019

Gov. Larry Hogan’s proposed $46.6 billion budget gives state workers a pay raise, sets record in education spending at $6.9 billion and $200 million for Kirwan plan, aids opportunity zones and reserves $1.3 billion; stating unfair labor practices, state files claim against AFSCME; state audit finds potential conflicts in contract awarding at MTA; socialist Bread and Roses party finally certified to get on ballot; ICE ends contract with Anne Arundel County; Mayor Pugh’s campaign war chest nears $1 million; meanwhile new county execs, once the underdogs, are finding fundraising a whole lot easier; small businesses air problems with federal shutdown; and a new apple is in the offing for Maryland growers.

State Roundup, January 17, 2019

Gov. Larry Hogan is sworn in for second term, touting bipartisanship, condemning dysfunction, divisiveness in Washington; speech draws praise from Republicans and Democrats; you can see the inauguration, ball in pictures; more than 60 companies sponsored inaugural event; in the meantime, lawmakers are considering fast-tracking legalized sports betting to avoid referendum process; Purple Line opponents file 3rd federal suit claiming that U.S. Army Corps of Engineers failed to protect streams, wetlands; Washington County sees 66% spike in drug- and alcohol-related deaths over the last year, ranking it among worst in Maryland; meanwhile, Hopkins gets $2.1 million federal grant to study methods for treating for opioid addiction; and shutdown does benefit one group: commuters see lighter traffic.