Anne Arundel delegate proposes 'easily understood' rules to eliminate congressional gerrymandering

As the Democratic and Republican parties battle over how to draw congressional districts, one Maryland delegate thinks he has a simple solution to the problem. Del. Michael Malone is sponsoring a bill that would require congressional districts to be compact and respect geographic boundaries and local city and county boundaries. It’s the same legal standard required for the state’s districts for delegates and state senators. “It’s easily understood. It provides clear guidelines,” said Malone, an Anne Arundel County Republican who has long held an interest in redistricting. (Balt. Sun)

Read Full Article

Bill would give counties veto power on toll plans

Maryland lawmakers are tackling legislation that could stall a multibillion-dollar proposal by Gov. Larry Hogan to build a network of toll lanes in the Washington suburbs by requiring the state to secure the consent of affected counties first. The proposal, co-sponsored by Del. Brooke Lierman, D-Baltimore city, would essentially give counties the power to veto state toll projects. “Before we take the very drastic step of increasing toll roads and requiring people to pay to drive on roads, local governments should have buy-in on the idea,” Lierman said. (Daily Record)

Read Full Article

Constitution bars ‘excessive’ partisanship, Frosh tells justices

A three-judge panel disregarded legitimate political considerations when it struck down a congressional district in western Maryland because it was drawn with such a partisan bias by the state’s Democratic leadership as to violate the Republicans’ constitutional right to political association, Maryland’s attorney general stated in papers filed Friday with the Supreme Court. With the justices slated to hear his appeal next month, Brian E. Frosh stated that the First Amendment gives lawmakers latitude to consider politics in redrawing congressional districts, as long as they are not excessively partisan. (Daily Record)

Read Full Article

County could see $400K cut in state payments

Allegany County officials are hoping to avoid a $400,000 cut in state tax payments to the county. News of the potential loss in income was disclosed Thursday during a special meeting among county officials to discuss the fiscal 2020 budget. In attendance were commissioners Creade Brodie Jr., Dave Caporale and Jake Shade, along with Jason Bennett, county director of finance, and Brandon Butler, county administrator. With the state owning a large amount of land in Allegany County, the county government is compensated with an annual Payment in Lieu of Taxes (PILOT). (Times-News)

Read Full Article

Despite intensive lobbying effort, Johns Hopkins private police legislation faces uncertain future

The lobbying effort to authorize an armed police force at the Johns Hopkins University has won over friends in high places: Maryland’s governor. The Senate president. The mayor of Baltimore. Rep. Elijah Cummings. And billionaire Michael Bloomberg. But to get its police force, the university needs to aim a little lower: at the 22 Maryland delegates and senators who make up Baltimore’s General Assembly delegation. And they are far from sold. (Balt. Sun)

Read Full Article

Border talks at impasse as shutdown looms Friday, officials say

Bipartisan talks aimed at resolving the border wall dispute and averting a government shutdown Friday have broken down and are at an impasse, lawmakers and others familiar with the situation said Sunday. "I think the talks are stalled right now," Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Richard C. Shelby of Alabama, the lead Republican negotiator, said on "Fox News Sunday." "I'm not confident we're going to get there." Lawmakers had been trading offers, trying to finalize how much money could go to barriers along the border as President Donald Trump demands money for his wall. (Balt. Sun)

Read Full Article

Though questions of cost impact remain, Baltimore City Council poised to vote on incinerator emissions bill Monday

The Baltimore City Council is poised to pass a bill Monday that would force a large Baltimore trash incinerator to dramatically reduce its emissions of harmful pollutants, even as a new analysis projects that waste disposal costs could rise by millions of dollars if the facility were to shut down. Owners of the Wheelabrator Baltimore incinerator, the city’s single largest source of air pollution, have said it would be impossible to retrofit the facility into compliance with the stringent air quality standards that are being proposed. (Balt. Sun)

Read Full Article

Fight for $15: Md. lawmakers hear from both sides on boosting minimum wage

Efforts to get a $15 an hour minimum wage in Maryland by 2024 went into high gear Friday as members of a House panel heard from dozens of people on both sides of the issue. Three Maryland county executives — all Democrats — kicked off the hearing before the House Economic Matters Committee Friday morning. Prince George’s County Executive Angela Alsobrooks favors raising the hourly wage in Maryland from its current level of $10.10. She told the panel that raising worker pay is a moral imperative and added, “What I say is that we cannot afford not to raise the minimum wage.” (WTOP)

Read Full Article