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Former Sen. Middleton Lands Lobbying Gig

Former state Sen. Thomas M. “Mac” Middleton, the former chairman of the powerful Finance Committee, has signed on as a lobbyist with Cornerstone Government Affairs, a national firm with an Annapolis outpost.Middleton was elected to the state Senate, representing Charles County, in 1994, and he served as chairman of the Finance panel from 2003 to 2019. He lost his bid for a seventh term in the Senate in the 2018 Democratic primary.Prior to serving in the Senate, Middleton, whose family has operated a farm in the Waldorf area for centuries, served as chair of the Charles County Planning Commission.For...

Hogan’s ‘Economic Recovery’ Budget Will Feature Contentious Stimulus, Retiree Provisions

Gov. Lawrence J. Hogan Jr. (R) will introduce his proposed “economic recovery” budget Wednesday morning, which he said will include a state fiscal stimulus, tax breaks for retirees and first responders, and education funding at levels above legislative mandates.Hogan would not provide specifics about overall state spending at a State House press conference Tuesday ― “I think you’re going to find out tomorrow when we submit the budget,” he said in response to a question from a reporter ― and full details of the spending plan were not available Tuesday.Nevertheless, Hogan promised “record investments in education, crime prevention, public health,...

Here’s a Glimpse at Sen. Miller’s Last Campaign Finance Activity

For 30-plus years, the late Senate president Thomas V. Mike Miller Jr. (D) was one of the most skillful fundraisers in Maryland politics.Now, just days after his death, Miller's final campaign finance report showing his political fundraising and expenditures of the past year has been filed with the State Board of Elections.In 2020, with the title of Senate president emeritus, ailing, and with the knowledge that he would probably not be a candidate in 2022, Miller and his campaign committee were not very active on the political front. His campaign collected just over $4,000 in contributions.Miller donated $4,500 to...

Speaker Jones Reintroduces HBCU Funding Bill Adjusted for COVID-19 Economy

House Speaker Adrienne A. Jones (D-Baltimore County) pushed Tuesday for her newly-reintroduced bill that would end a long-standing lawsuit over inequitable funding for Maryland’s historically Black colleges and universities.The bill, which was heard in the House Appropriations Committee Tuesday, has been tweaked from last year's version to account for the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.This measure would direct an additional $577 million to Maryland’s four HBCUs — Coppin State University, Morgan State University, Bowie State University and the University of Maryland, Eastern Shore — over the next decade.A coalition of advocates and alumni filed their lawsuit in 2006, arguing...

Hogan Wasn’t the Only Md. Governor to Get a COVID Shot on Monday

Gov. Lawrence J. Hogan Jr. (R) wasn't the only Maryland governor to get his COVID-19 vaccination on Monday.Former Gov. Parris N. Glendening (D) also got a shot on Monday, at the Anne Arundel County Department of Health, with County Executive Steuart Pittman (D) present. And Glendening used the occasion to send out his first tweet ever.Hogan's vaccination, which he took in the State House alongside first lady Yumi Hogan and Lt. Gov. Boyd K. Rutherford (R), was understandably a big media event, and he used it to urge eligible Marylanders to sign up for the vaccine as quickly as...

Baltimore City Public School Teachers and Staff Can Get Vaccines From Johns Hopkins

In an effort to expedite COVID-19 vaccine access to teachers, Baltimore City Public Schools partnered with Johns Hopkins Medicine to begin vaccinating teachers and school staff who are already working at in-person learning sites.The program will begin on Tuesday.As many as 500 employees will get vaccinated each week, beginning with meal service workers, custodians, teachers and others who have been working in person, schools CEO Sonja Santelises said in a press conference on Monday.“This is just the first day of what will and is a multi-step effort to provide vaccinations for teachers and staff working directly with students,” she...

Raskin Talks Impeachment, Son’s Death in Extraordinary CNN Interview

U.S. Rep. Jamie B. Raskin (D-Md.) gave an extraordinary interview on CNN's "State of the Union" program Sunday, speaking at length about House Democrats' impeachment strategy and talking candidly about the New Year's Eve suicide of his 25-year-old son, Thomas Bloom Raskin.Raskin talked with host Jake Tapper for the first 21 minutes of the hour-long show, and it was one of the rawest, most emotional interviews involving a member of Congress in recent TV history.It is clear that the riot at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, the renewed push to impeach President Trump and the Raskin family's personal...

More Than 21,000 Guard Members From 50 States Headed to D.C., and Numbers May...

Wednesday’s presidential inauguration ceremony may have a scaled-down audience due to the pandemic, but the security presence on hand to ensure it goes smoothly will be supersized.At least 21,000 National Guard men and women — from all 50 states, three territories and the District of Columbia — will provide security support for the inauguration, according to the National Guard Bureau, amid fears about threats of violence following the Jan. 6 insurrection at the Capitol. Some 7,250 were on hand in D.C. as of Friday.Those soldiers and airmen typically come from across the country to assist during the massive, once-every-four-years event. But four years...

Montgomery County School Superintendent Jack Smith Will Retire in June

Montgomery County Public Schools Superintendent Jack Smith announced Thursday that he will retire in June for family reasons.In a pre-recorded video on the school system’s YouTube channel, Smith said that he plans to join his wife in Maine, where she is taking care of their grandson who underwent open heart surgery before the COVID-19 pandemic.“While I may be leaving Montgomery County Public Schools, I know it will go forward and do very well, and that there will be a part of my heart here as I go away this spring to a different obligation and a different adventure and...

Marianne Williamson Endorses a Second Hoyer Challenger

Marianne Williamson, the New Age author and erstwhile presidential contender, has endorsed Greenbelt Mayor Colin Byrd in his effort to oust U.S. House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer (D-Md.) in next year's Democratic primary."Time for a whole new kind of leadership," Williamson tweeted earlier this week. "I support @MayorByrd for Congress against Steny Hoyer. He's the youngest Black mayor in America and a longtime champion against white supremacy who supports reparations, paying college athletes & a Green New Deal."This is not Williamson's first endorsement of a Hoyer foe. Last year, she backed Mckayla Wilkes, Hoyer's principal Democratic primary opponent....

House GOP to Get New Leadership — After Session

House Republicans unanimously re-elected their top leaders on Wednesday — with a caveat.Del. Nicholaus R. Kipke (R-Anne Arundel) will continue to serve as minority leader and Del. Kathy Szeliga (R-Baltimore County) will continue to serve as minority whip. They've served side-by-side in those roles since 2013 — making them the longest serving Republican caucus leadership team in state history.But Kipke and Szeliga told their colleagues that they plan to relinquish their leadership positions after the 2021 session. Kipke said he plans to focus on 2022 Anne Arundel elections and Szeliga said she plans to focus on recruiting and training...

Cardboard Cutouts of Kids Featured at Pro-Kirwan Rally in Annapolis

Advocates have already found creative ways to mobilize around the unusual General Assembly session.Surrounded by about 20 cutout life-size images of students, advocates from the Maryland State Education Association and Strong Schools Maryland stood across the street from the Lawyers’ Mall in Annapolis Wednesday morning to implore lawmakers to override the Gov. Lawrence J. Hogan Jr.'s veto of a sweeping education reforms bill.“The blueprint is important now more than ever to help students bounce back from this disruption, from the trauma that we’ve seen, from the challenges they’ve experienced in the last year,” said Cheryl Bost, president of MSEA...

Speaker Hands Out Gavels, Shuffles Committee Assignments

On the eve of the new General Assembly session, House Speaker Adrienne A. Jones (D-Baltimore County) announced some leadership appointments, committee switches and assignments for newly-appointed lawmakers. Many of the changes are necessitated by the expected elevation of Del. Michael A. Jackson (D-Prince George's) to the state Senate.Jones said that Del. Mark S. Chang (D-Anne Arundel) would become vice chair of the Appropriations Committee, a post previously held by Jackson.With Chang's promotion, he and Del. Ben Barnes (D-Prince George's) are flipping positions on the Capital Budget Subcommittee: Barnes will become chairman and Chang will become vice chairman.Del. Susie Proctor (D-Prince...

Chesapeake Bay Foundation Hires New Maryland Director

The Chesapeake Bay Foundation announced Tuesday that it has selected Josh Kurtz as its new Maryland Director.Kurtz had been the policy and government relations director for The Nature Conservancy in Maryland and had worked for TNC for more than eight years in both Maryland and the District of Columbia. He will move from that global environmental organization to lead CBF’s team in Annapolis to advocate for legislation to help Maryland reach its 2025 Chesapeake Clean Water Blueprint pollution reduction goals, which includes planting more trees and providing more support to farmers to install conservation practices like planting forest buffers...

State Board of Elections Chairman Will Leave Term Early

Maryland State Board of Elections Chairman Michael R. Cogan (R) announced Tuesday that he will be stepping down after the board meets in February to move out of the state.Cogan did not give a reason for his move from Maryland at Tuesday’s state elections board meeting.Members of Maryland's Board of Elections serve four-year terms. Cogan's term was set to expire in 2023.Cogan will run the board’s February meeting.At their meeting Tuesday, Cogan told members that some polls show a large number of Republicans doubt the integrity of last year’s elections, and he urged them to ensure all future elections...

Hogan: UK Variant of COVID-19 Found in 2 Maryland Residents

Two Anne Arundel County residents are the first people in Maryland to be confirmed as having the U.K. variant of COVID-19, Gov. Lawrence J. Hogan (R) said Tuesday.One of the residents recently returned from travel abroad; the other patient is the spouse of the recently returned traveler, Hogan said. Both patients are younger than 65 years old, and Hogan said they live together. Neither of them have been hospitalized.“They are currently in isolation. They’re conducting contact tracing to quickly determine who they may have interacted with since their arrival back here in Maryland,” Hogan said.He added that he just...

Md. ACLU Hires a Public Policy Director

The American Civil Liberties Union of Maryland announced this week that it has hired Caylin A. Young as its new public policy director.Young will lead the ACLU's public policy team to advocate for its top priorities in the upcoming General Assembly session, including five police accountability demands, parole reform, the Trust Act, and education equity.Young, who previously served as public policy counsel at the Maryland ACLU, most recently was legislative director for now-Baltimore Mayor Brandon M. Scott (D) when Scott was serving as City Council president. Young also served as the 2015-2016 national chair for the National Black Law Students...

Harris’ GOP Predecessor Backs Impeachment as Lawmakers Call for Him to Step Down

Two dozen former Republican members of Congress ― including the Eastern Shore’s former Rep. Wayne Gilchrest ― are encouraging their successors to “protect American democracy by impeaching President Donald J. Trump.”The letter was sent Monday and circulated by the nonpartisan watchdog group Project on Government Oversight.“For more than 200 years, the peaceful transfer of power has been one of the pillars of American government. Sadly, this tradition has been severely tarnished,” the former members wrote. “There is no excuse for nor defense of a President of the United States to actively orchestrate an insurrection on a separate but coequal...

Ex-Union Operative McLaurin Joins Consulting Firm

Mark McLaurin, the former political director of SEIU Local 500 and veteran campaign strategist, has joined Indigo Strategies, a political consulting, media and digital firm, as a senior consultant.McLaurin has been a campaign operative for 25 years ― the last 15 as a senior-level strategic adviser on electoral and issue advocacy/ballot measures across the U.S.He spent 11 years as political director at SEIU Local 500, Maryland’s largest Service Employees International Union local, and eight years on the executive committee of SEIU’s Maryland/DC State Council, which coordinates all direct and independent expenditure political efforts across the DMV region.McLaurin is an...

AFSCME Releases Legislative Priorities

The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Council 3, the largest union representing Maryland government workers, released its list of prioritized legislation Monday, just two days before the start of the unprecedented 2021 legislative session.Two of the three bills included on the list directly relate to working conditions seen during the COVID-19 pandemic. “We have been left in the dark,” Denise Henderson, an AFSCME member and Department of Juvenile Services employee, said during a virtual news conference. “After Governor Hogan's many failures to lead and govern, we again turn to the legislature this upcoming session to help improve...