State Roundup January 10, 2020

Former Senate President Mike Miller calls for addressing Baltimore’s crime problem in lengthy floor speech; Comptroller Peter Franchot confirms run for governor; Iran resolution passes house with all but one Maryland vote; online ad tax proposed; hospital op-ed praises state’s system; Hogan suggests retirement tax break for emergency responders; Morgan State University announces consideration of partnership for medical school; Baltimore youth fund under scrutiny; lawmakers from around the state discuss 2020 session and start meeting as delegations; judge rules against tenants in presidential son-in-law’s case; Brown picks a presidential candidate; Mia Mason will challenge Rep. Andy Harris; MVA working on REAL ID; tourism official calls for more CEOs to visit Garrett

State Roundup, January 9, 2020

Board of Public Works approves 2-1 Gov. Hogan’s Capital Beltway, I-270 roads plan with compromises; opening day of 441st General Assembly session launches era of younger, more diverse leadership, talk of bipartisan cooperation; as Adrienne Jones becomes new speaker, late Speaker Michael Busch is remembered; Gov. Hogan dismisses as false Washington Monthly article on business dealings, ethics while Jones, Senate President Ferguson express concern; cash-strapped Prince George’s, Baltimore to seek changes in Kirwan education formula; statewide, police departments have destroyed 270 rape kits in past two years; Maryland Insurance Agency to remain in downtown Baltimore location; gun issues among variety of Frederick lawmakers’ concerns; and Hogan asks Attorney General Frosh to sue Pennsylvania, EPA over Bay watershed cleanup plan.

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.

Maryland legal code gets user-friendly online makeover

The OpenGov Foundation just released MarylandCode.org, a user-friendly, searchable and downloadable publication of the Maryland Code of law. The project unpacks the dense, inaccessible code on the state website and encourages citizen participation through transparency. “The state site is a good start, but it’s not intuitive, and it’s locked in PDF so you can’t do anything with the data,” explained OpenGov’s Seamus Kraft. “We spent the last six to eight weeks really reworking the Maryland code data into a form that is useful to both coders and everyday people.”

Campaign finance reform passes in House and is moving in the Senate

A major campaign finance reform bill cleared the House of Delegates Thursday, and a Senate version of the bill is now being considered in committee.

The bill would increase campaign contribution limits and stiffen penalties for those who fail to disclose their contributions. It was unanimously passed by the House of Delegates.