Politics

  • Bill Targeting Franchot Moves Forward

    The Senate moved forward Friday on House Bill 1052, which would remove regulatory powers over alcohol and tobacco from the comptroller’s office. Widely viewed as political retribution for Democratic Comptroller Peter V.R. Franchot’s advocacy on behalf of small brewers, and his accusations that legislative leaders operate in smoky backrooms, the bill transfers those regulatory powers to a new five-member Alcohol and Tobacco Commission, to be appointed by the governor. (Md. Matters) Read Full Article

  • Bill requiring background checks for private long gun sales moves forward in Maryland House of Delegates

    The Maryland House of Delegates is moving forward a bill that would require background checks for all purchases of long guns, including shotguns and rifles. The measure is a priority of gun control advocates and, after receiving preliminary approval Saturday, it is set for a final vote Monday. The bill closes what some say is a gap in state law that allows private sales of shotguns and rifles without background checks. All sales of handguns and long guns from licensed dealers require background checks. (Balt. Sun) Read Full Article

  • Van Hollen urges immediate work on Baltimore Washington Parkway to fix problems that slowed speed limit

    U.S. Sen. Chris Van Hollen is asking the National Park Service to take immediate action to fix problems with the Baltimore Washington Parkway that have slowed traffic to 40 mph. The park service has scheduled repair work to begin in late summer, but Van Hollen calls that timeline unacceptable and asks for it to begin earlier. “It is an unsafe situation that needs to be remedied immediately through expedited action by the National Park Service and its federal partners,” Van Hollen said in the letter. Van Hollen said the poor road conditions are causing congestion, crashes and debris on the road. (Balt. Sun) Read Full Article

  • Baltimore delegates vote to kill state House bill allowing school police officers to carry guns inside schools

    Baltimore lawmakers voted down legislation Saturday that would have allowed city school police officers to carry guns while patrolling in schools. The city’s House delegation voted 10-5 against the bill — effectively killing it for this General Assembly session. The vote was met with approval from advocates who have been pressuring lawmakers against the bill, arguing city officials should focus on providing more resources for youth, not arming police. (Balt. Sun) Read Full Article

Center Maryland

  • Lawmakers in Annapolis Should Demand Greater Transparency from Pharmacy Benefit Managers

    If you’ve never heard of pharmacy benefits managers (PBMs), that’s the way they like it. While they administer drug plans for more than 230 million Americans, PBMs thrive on secrecy and a lack of transparency.Read Full Article

  • Tim Lorello: How Could Tech Infrastructure Help Tackle Crime, Make Maryland Safer?

    Technology is available that can help tackle crime and give law enforcement and emergency responders another tool to help them do their jobs. Over the summer, Baltimore police began utilizing acoustic sensor technology that can remotely detect the sound of gunfire and notify officers of the exact location within seconds. Other cities, including Los Angeles and San Francisco, have widely deployed these gunshot sensors; and some have reported significant decreases in gunfire in neighborhoods where they were used.Read Full Article

  • Marty Rosendale: Trump Administration Takes a Positive Step to Lower Drug Costs, but More Action Needed from the Maryland Legislature

    The rising costs of healthcare and patient out-of-pocket costs that jeopardize access to care for Maryland families have rightly been a major area of focus for policymakers at both the federal and state level.Read Full Article

  • Dave Anderson: How to break the government shutdown impasse

    The impasse in the dispute over the government shutdown and the border wall is an immensely complicated policy and political problem that pits two sides against each other who have diametrically opposed perspectives about the best path forward for the country.Read Full Article

Business

  • BWI, Frontier Airlines Begin New Partnership

    BWI launched its new partnership with Frontier Airlines Friday. To celebrate the new partnership, Frontier Airlines is offering flights with fares as low as $49. The services will include BWI to/from Denver and BWI to/ from Orlando. The services to Denver have already started, but the services to Orlando will begin April 11. Frontier Airlines released a statement with its new partnership with BWI: “We are excited to be starting service and proud to bring our unique brand of Low Fares Done Right to BWI,” said Jonathan Freed, Director of Corporate Communications for Frontier Airlines. (WJZ-TV) Read Full Article

  • Charm City Circulator's new operator has not trained all drivers, faces persistent bus shortage

    The Charm City Circulator’s new operator has not yet trained all its drivers as required and has hired another shuttle company to run one of the four routes because of a persistent shortage of buses, city and company officials confirmed in response to an inquiry by The Baltimore Sun. The city hired RMA Worldwide Chauffeured Transportation, a Rockville-based limousine and coach bus company, in October to take over the system under an emergency contract after suing the previous operator, alleging over-billing. Baltimore has since extended that contract and paid the company $3.4 million. (Balt. Sun) Read Full Article

  • Md. luxury home market on the upswing

    In early March, former Baltimore Orioles’ star Adam Jones and his wife put their Reisterstown estate — formerly owned and built by another Orioles’ star, Cal Ripken Jr. — up for sale. The six-bedroom, 22,000 square-foot home sits on 24 secluded acres and among its amenities are an indoor theater, regulation-sized baseball field, two four-car garages, a world-class gym and much more. The asking price was a whopping $3,995,000, and the inquiries, according to Karen Hubble Bisbee of Long & Foster Real Estate, poured in. (Daily Record) Read Full Article

  • Maryland officials call for answers in medical system deals

    Gov. Larry Hogan and leading lawmakers are demanding answers from the University of Maryland Medical System, after a newspaper reported this week that several members of the system’s board have significant financial dealings with the hospital network. Hogan said Friday “it is not just unseemly, it is appalling,” and he has called for a review. The Baltimore Sun reported this week that nine members of the system’s Board of Directors have business deals with the network that are worth hundreds of thousands of dollars each. (WTOP)Read Full Article

Education

  • HBCUs seeing resurgent appeal amid rising racial tensions

    The United States’ 102 historically black colleges and universities have always had a distinctive source of appeal: a chance for students of color to learn and mature without the lingering discrimination and overtly racist history that characterize many institutions of higher learning. But at a political moment marked by racially divisive rhetoric — sometimes accompanied by deadly violence, most recently an avowed racist admitting to killing dozens at two mosques in New Zealand on Friday — some say HBCUs are looking more attractive than ever. (Wash. Post) Read Full Article

  • Senators want to cut $1M from Maryland university system office due to 'lack of transparency and accountability'

    A Maryland Senate panel wants to cut $1 million from the state university system's top office in the contentious aftermath of a football player's death and a separate case in which the system's chancellor promoted a jewelry company's charm bracelets and then retaliated against his chief of staff for raising an ethics concern. The Senate Budget and Taxation Committee approved the cut Thursday because of "a general sense of a lack of transparency and accountability," said Sen. Bill Ferguson , a member of the panel. (Chicago Tribune)Read Full Article

  • Baltimore County Council members urge school board to release audit

    Baltimore County Council members are pressing the county school board to release an audit of school system contracts and finances. In a letter dated Friday to board Chairwoman Kathleen Causey, six of the council’s seven members urged the board to make a draft of the audit public. The members cited the $400,000 cost to taxpayers of performing the audit. “The purpose of the audit was to restore the public’s confidence in the school system and to ensure that the Board and BCPS are spending taxpayer dollars appropriately and efficiently,” states the letter, signed by six of the board’s seven members. (Balt. Sun) Read Full Article

  • Filipino teachers had to leave Baltimore amid new U.S. immigration policies. Now, most are back.

    In 2014, Lufthansa Flight 1829 took off from Bilbao, Spain, and was ascending normally when the plane’s nose unexpectedly dropped. The plane — an Airbus A321 with 109 passengers on board — began to fall. The co-pilot tried to raise the nose with his controls. The plane pointed down even further. He tried again. Nothing, according to a report by German investigators. As the Lufthansa plane fell from 31,000 feet, the captain pulled back on his stick as hard as he could. The nose finally responded. But he struggled to hold the plane level. (Wash. Post) Read Full Article

Around Maryland

  • Maryland is an unforgiving state for sex-trafficking victims, study finds

    Donna Bruce stood before a beauty class in Baltimore in 2011. She was in her late 30s and teaching around 20 students the physiology of hair, a passion of hers since she was young. What they didn’t know, or she didn’t think they knew, was her past. When she was a teenager, her mom trafficked her for drugs and money. “She would set things up and call it a party,” Bruce said. “She was collecting drugs and dispensing me.” Later, the men from the parties took over, coercing her to have sex with others in return for drugs or money. (Wash. Post) Read Full Article

  • Bill prevents Baltimore from placing liens against properties over unpaid water debt

    The General Assembly has passed legislation that would ban the city of Baltimore from placing liens against homes, churches and other properties over unpaid water bills. Legislation sponsored by Sen. Mary Washington, a Baltimore Democrat, passed the state Senate 47-0 on Friday. A companion bill sponsored by Del. Nick J. Mosby, also of Baltimore, passed the House of Delegates 138-0 in February. Owner-occupied homes can go to tax sale if they have at least $750 in unpaid water bills that are nine months late. (Balt. Sun) Read Full Article

  • Baltimore-area Muslims call for goodwill, a strengthening of faith after New Zealand attack

    The leader of Baltimore’s largest mosque urged an overflow crowd to show patience and kindness to everyone around them — and to continue, as always, to reach out and help anyone in need — in response to the Friday morning massacre that took the lives of 49 Muslims in two New Zealand mosques. Sheikh Hassan Lachheb, an imam at the Islamic Society of Baltimore, used his khutbah — the sermon that is part of Jumu’ah, the prayer service Muslims attend on Fridays — to stress that even though it’s natural to experience grief, anger and depression at moments of “great calamity,” it’s at exactly such times that the Islamic faithful are called to summon what’s best in them. (Balt. Sun) Read Full Article

  • Baltimore Mayor Pugh amends financial disclosure filings amid scrutiny over book sales to UMMS hospital system

    Baltimore Mayor Catherine E. Pugh did not fully disclose the $500,000 business relationship she started in 2011 with the University of Maryland Medical System during the time she was a state senator, a period during which she sat on the hospital network’s board of directors and oversaw issues involving UMMS in the legislature, according to The Baltimore Sun’s review of financial disclosure forms. (Balt. Sun)Read Full Article

Commentary

  • Tragedy of the soft shell, razor clams

    I read “Tragedy of the Commons” many times in my undergraduate career. We are all familiar with the premise: overuse of a common resource for personal benefit ultimately eliminates that resource, spoiling it for everyone. To ensure that our common resources do not become depleted in Maryland or the Chesapeake Bay, the Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) works to “preserve, protect, restore, and enhance our environment for this and future generations.” (Star Dem.)Read Full Article

  • Muslims embraced us Jews when we were slain at worship. Now we must support them.

    When I saw the news from New Zealand Friday, the cracks in my heart widened. Another act of terrorism. Another act of hate. I know something of what the Christchurch community is going through because less than five months ago, my community went through something similar. On Oct. 27, a terrorist murdered 11 members of my synagogue in Pittsburgh. On Friday, within hours of waking up, the staff at Tree of Life in Pittsburgh convened. Congregants began calling and emailing each other. We needed to organize. (Wash. Post) Read Full Article

  • Higher wage would help workers, businesses

    In its March 12 editorial (“Settle for $12.10”) the Times-News presents a false argument. It portend that the $15 minimum wage, is the culprit for “possible consequences” in our rural area. The real culprit is the minimum wage not keeping up with inflation. If a reasonable national minimum wage had been kept in place all along, the inflationary aspects of wages and prices would have already been baked into the economy. The needless suffering of wage earners, as well as small businesses, would have been avoided and we would not be at this critical juncture. (Times-News) Read Full Article

  • Solar power vital to county’s future

    When the Frederick County Council passed a bill in May 2017 creating a zone to allow solar arrays, we had high hopes for a bright future generating solar power here. But it has not come to pass. When the council recently rejected a proposal for a $17.2 million solar energy site about 150 acres of agricultural land because it did not comply with the earlier ordinance, it became clear that the law needed to change. (News-Post) Read Full Article