Politics

  • Larry Hogan plans to visit 16 states as he keeps 2020 door open

    Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan told a New Hampshire political breakfast Tuesday that he is "listening" to people encouraging him to mount a presidential bid against President Donald Trump.  But Hogan insisted he was not going to launch a "suicide mission" unless he thought there was a path to victory. While he considers a campaign, the governor revealed he is going to be visiting 16 more states. (Daily Times) Read Full Article

  • Rockeymoore Cummings Lays Down the Law on Speaker Vote — and More

    With the election to replace the late House Speaker Michael E. Busch (D) drawing closer, Maryland Democratic Chair Maya Rockeymoore Cummings has sent a memo to Democratic members of the House of Delegates, warning them not to support a candidate for speaker who has substantial Republican support – and urging Democratic speaker contenders to accept the will of the Democratic House caucus. Rockeymoore Cummings’ stern warning also promises consequences for Democratic elected officials “who explicitly or tacitly throw their support to Republicans in general elections,” referring to Republican Gov. Lawrence J. Hogan Jr.’s reelection race in 2018. (Md. Matters)  Read Full Article

  • Md. unions, GOP push to be heard in house speaker race

    Eleven Maryland unions and progressive groups are urging the Democrats in the House of Delegates to unite to elect the next Speaker of the House in Annapolis. Groups — including the Maryland State Education Association, Progressive Maryland and Service Employees International Union locals — signed letters sent to house delegates urging them to back the nominee chosen by the Democratic caucus. The letter states, “Efforts to splinter the caucus will put the priorities of working families and our shared Maryland values at risk,” and it says that the Democratic caucus should speak with a unified voice. (WTOP) Read Full Article

  • Acting Mayor Young Settles In As Pugh Stays Out Of Sight

    When Bernard "Jack" Young automatically became Baltimore's acting mayor earlier this month, he emphasized that he'd act only as a "placeholder" for the elected mayor as she departed on a leave of absence amid an accelerating scandal focused on her self-published children's books. But it's been more than three weeks since embattled Mayor Catherine Pugh slipped out of sight, and it appears the veteran City Council leader is settling in for a lengthy stint as Baltimore's No. 1 official. At a Wednesday news conference, Young suggested that the increasingly politically isolated Pugh could be in a no-win situation. (AP)  Read Full Article

Center Maryland

  • Cailey Locklair - MDRA Op-Ed

    The Maryland Retailers Association supports the firm stance Governor Hogan and the Maryland legislature took against selling Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems, or “ENDS,” to minors. Maryland retailers provide adult smokers access to healthier and safer alternatives to cigarettes, and these products were never intended to encourage teen smoking. We believe ENDS products should not be marketed towards children, and will continue to fight for common sense measures against this practice.Read Full Article

  • Delegate Nick Mosby - No More Taxpayer Money Until Stronach Replaces Laurel Park Housing

    On Friday, March 29, I had the opportunity to tour the worker housing at the Laurel Park racetrack with Anne Arundel County Executive Steuart Pittman, as the Maryland General Assembly considers taking the unusual action of mandating that MEDCO provide a $120 million loan to the Stronach Group.Read Full Article

  • Consumer Energy Alliance Supports the Independence Energy Connection Project

    Washington, D.C - As Maryland legislators consider the future of energy infrastructure and regulatory changes in the state’s electric market, Consumer Energy Alliance (CEA) Mid-Atlantic Executive Director Mike Butler reinforced the consumer group’s support for an energy policy that can bring affordable and reliable power to the region for consumers.Read Full Article

  • Dr. Michael Kapsa - To Address Drug Costs, Annapolis Should Look North to Trenton

    Health care spending is the domestic challenge of our time. America is on track to hit $4 trillion in annual expenditures. And while a figure this large can seem daunting, the price tag should hit home: $11,000 each year—and rising – if we translate it to a per person cost.Read Full Article

Business

  • Bank of America hires thousands in low- to middle-income areas

    Bank of America Corp. says it is on track to surpass its hiring goals in low- to middle-income communities. The bank said it has hired about 4,700 employees from these areas over the last year and a half to work in its consumer and small-business division. The hiring initiative is part of Bank of America's Pathways program, which works with nonprofits in various locations to determine those best suited to participate in this latest jobs push. Eligible employees are determined by ZIP code, rather than an income-based threshold. Last summer, the bank pledged to hire 10,000 employees in low- to middle-income areas by 2023. (Balt. Bus. Journal) Read Full Article

  • Lockheed Martin's first-quarter earnings swell

    The first quarter of 2019 struck a welcome note for Lockheed Martin Corp. The Bethesda defense contractor reported $14.3 billion in net sales for the quarter Tuesday — a 23 percent gain over its first-quarter earnings from the prior year, backed by strong returns in both its contract backlog and sales of its missiles and fire control systems. “These strong results in sales and earnings and our focus on maximizing cash returns also allowed us to increase our full year outlook for cash from operations,” Lockheed CEO Marilyn Hewson said on the company's earnings call. (Balt. Bus. Journal) Read Full Article

  • Washington Gas wants Maryland rate increase

    Washington Gas has filed with the Maryland Public Service Commission to increase base rates and charges for its natural gas customers in Maryland. If approved, it would be the second Maryland rate increase in a year. Washington Gas raised residential rates for Virginia customers in January. In its most recent filing, Washington Gas says the rate increase is necessary to cover operational costs and to allow the company to earn its allowed rate of return. (WTOP) Read Full Article

  • Shoppers to shut down all pharmacies

    Shoppers grocery stores will shutter all of their Washington, D.C., and Baltimore-area pharmacies, starting with some closures this week, as its parent company prepares to divest itself of the retail grocery business.  Shoppers parent UNFI Inc. (NASDAQ: UNFI) told the local grocery employees union April 11 that the pharmacies would begin closing April 23, confirmed Jonathan Williams, spokesman for the United Food Commercial Workers Local 400. They will not all close at once.  The inventory and prescriptions from the 30 Shoppers pharmacies were purchased by CVS and Walgreens, according to Local 400, though exactly which stores bought which prescriptions was not immediately clear. (Balt. Bus. Journal)  Read Full Article

Education

  • Comptroller Concerned About College Cafeteria ‘Sweeteners’ – In Contracts, That Is

    Comptroller Peter V.R. Franchot (D), right, and Gov. Lawrence J. Hogan Jr. (R) discuss two dining hall contracts at University System of Maryland campuses during Wednesday's Board of Public Works meeting. Photo by Danielle E. Gaines Maryland’s governor and comptroller said Wednesday that they want an explanation from the University System of Maryland about provisions in dining hall contracts that include unrelated gifts to college campuses and require fee payments if contract extensions aren’t approved. (Md. Matters) Read Full Article

  • Montgomery politicians, school officials agree on more money for education

    In an announcement that was long on promise but short on details, Montgomery County politicians and school officials said Wednesday they had found a way to fully fund the school district’s budget request. Exactly how the $14.4 million difference between what the school system wants and what County Executive Marc Elrich (D) proposed for schools would be bridged was not clear. But less murky was the public statement of commitment from Elrich, Montgomery County Public Schools Superintendent Jack Smith, and the county council, which has ultimate authority over the $5.7 billion budget for fiscal 2020. About $2.6 billion of that goes to the school system. (Wash. Post) Read Full Article

  • Olszewski Wants Lawmakers To Take Up School Construction In Special Session

    State lawmakers return to Annapolis a week from today, where the House of Delegates will elect a new House speaker to succeed Michael E. Busch, who died earlier this month. Now, Baltimore County Executive John Olszewski Jr. wants lawmakers to use that session to take up a $2 billion school construction bill that passed the House but failed to clear the Senate in the session that ended earlier this month. (WBAL-Radio) Read Full Article

  • BOE delays $14 million to ABC after Baltimore Brew wrote about contracts

    The Board of Estimates abruptly pulled $14.2 million in contracts scheduled to be awarded today to Associated Black Charities and postponed the transaction for at least two weeks. The action followed yesterday’s story in The Brew that the board was poised to approve the ABC contracts, despite the non-profit’s involvement in the Healthy Holly book scandal that has engulfed Mayor Catherine Pugh. A spokesman for Bernard C. “Jack” Young, who serves as acting mayor while Pugh remains on a leave of absence, had defended the board’s planned action, saying the ABC contracts went through “the normal regulatory framework.” (Brew) Read Full Article

Around Maryland

  • City spending panel puts Associated Black Charities grant on hold

    Baltimore's spending panel delayed approval of two AIDS-related grants totaling $14.23 million on Wednesday amid a push for more transparency that has left the city reeling after the "Healthy Holly" scandal. The grants were set up by the city's Health Department to be administered by Associated Black Charities. The nonprofit is ensnared in an ongoing scandal out of City Hall over Mayor Catherine Pugh's business dealings tied to her "Healthy Holly" paperback books. The funds being reviewed Wednesday included $12.8 million from the Ryan White Part-A Minority AIDS Initiative. (Balt. Bus. Journal) Read Full Article

  • 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. For the photo, we gather in various sides of the large press room where many of us work. As usual, some State House regulars were missing and some one-and-done student journalists from the Capital News Service are in the photo and hard to identify. (Md. Matters) Read Full Article

  • Baltimore County on track to meet goals of affordable housing settlement, but challenges remain

    Three years into a landmark legal settlement targeting housing policies, Baltimore County says more than half of the 1,000 affordable homes it promised are built or in the works. But challenges remain as the county navigates the multiyear settlement under the administration of a new county executive. The county must sustain its pace in helping to finance affordable housing projects under the deal with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. County Executive Johnny Olszewski Jr. needs to introduce controversial legislation this year prohibiting landlords from refusing to accept housing vouchers commonly called Section 8. And affordable-housing projects are often unpopular, drawing opposition from neighbors like one such proposal in Owings Mills. (Balt. Sun) Read Full Article

  • Maryland’s prison population drops to 1980s levels, continuing a multi-year decline

    Maryland’s prison population has fallen below 18,000 for the first time in nearly three decades. According to a report released Wednesday by the Vera Institute of Justice, a New York-based nonprofit that tracks criminal justice issues, 17,815 people were held in Maryland’s state prisons at the end of last year. That amounts to a prison incarceration rate of 295 per 100,000 residents — a 1.7% drop from the rate in 2017. Over the past decade, the rate has fallen by nearly 29%. Nationally, about 1.5 million people were incarcerated in state and federal prisons at the end of last year, down 20,000 (or 1.3%) from the end of 2017, according to the Vera Institute report. (Balt. Sun) Read Full Article

Commentary

  • Matthews versus Beale: Let’s Get Ready to Rumble

    First of all a disclaimer: I despise the fact that we start our presidential cycle the morning after a new president is elected. That drove me nuts in the 60s, 70s, 80s, and 90s, and it’s even worse today in the age of cable news and a 24/7 news cycle. Are we ever going to govern again, or are we simply going to search and destroy? I’ll never forget Mitch McConnell’s clandestine meeting on the first day of the Obama presidency instructing his republican colleagues to simply say “no” to it all. “The single most important thing we want to achieve is for President Obama to be a one-term president,” he said. And in all fairness, I am sure that many of my republican friends feel as if that pattern has repeated itself during the first two years of the Trump presidency. (Don Mohler)Read Full Article

  • Larry Hogan's very (very, very) narrow path to the Republican presidential nomination

    Even as his game of footsie with the Never Trumpers intensifies, Gov. Larry Hogan continues to insist that he’s not interested in a suicide mission to challenge President Donald Trump in the 2020 primaries. Sure, he just spoke in New Hampshire, said some bold things (by Republican standards) about obstruction of justice and the Mueller report, and confirmed that he plans to visit 16 states as part of his non-campaign. But he says he’ll only actually run if he can win. (Balt. Sun)  Read Full Article

  • Wen: Md. a leader in protecting Planned Parenthood

    Maryland has become a leader in the fight to protect women’s access to reproductive and preventive health care, said Dr. Leana Wen, president of Planned Parenthood and the former Baltimore City health commissioner. “I’m proud to be a Marylander,” she said in an interview. “Our Maryland champions are some of the first out of the gate with countermeasures to protect patients in the state.” Wen will be the keynote speaker at the annual Maryland Planned Parenthood Gala Thursday night, an appearance billed as a “return” to the state. (Daily Record) Read Full Article

  • Maryland overfishing imperils rockfish population

    On Tuesday, Virginia did what Maryland should: close its 2019 spring recreational striped bass trophy season. “The recent stock assessment shows that early action is needed to slow the decline and restore this fishery to sustainable levels,” Virginia Marine Resources Commissioner Steven G. Bowman said in a statement. Yet Maryland, one of the worst offenders when it comes to overfishing Atlantic striped bass — what we like to call “rockfish” — has chosen to go forward with a trophy season this year despite mounting evidence of the dangers. (Balt. Sun)  Read Full Article