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Quick News Updates – The Blog

Hogan Loves His Poll Numbers — But Not the Way They’re Reported

When it comes to his poll numbers, Gov. Lawrence J. Hogan Jr. (R) thinks the media sometimes miss the point.Reporters and news anchors will often refer to Hogan as “popular” — a shorthand way of referring to the public’s satisfaction with the way he handles his job, as reflected in years’ worth of polling on the subject.Turns out, this sticks in his craw a bit.“Everyone says ‘popular,’ but they aren’t popularity” measures, Hogan told Maryland Matters during a brief walk-and-talk interview on State Circle recently. “You’ve gotta come up with a new headline.”Hogan’s point — and he knows this from the large...

Democrats’ First Takes on Hogan Budget Generally Favorable

House Appropriations Chair Maggie L. McIntosh (D-Baltimore City) suggested that 2019 is likely to be an easy year overall, as far as budget work goes."The governor had ample revenues to fully fund education, improve health care services, and account for a number of other priorities,” McIntosh said Friday morning, after getting her first glances at Gov. Lawrence J. Hogan Jr.’s proposed fiscal 2020 budget.Legislative work on the budget will begin in the House of Delegates this year before crossing over to the Senate.Senate Budget & Taxation Chair Sen. Nancy J. King (D-Montgomery) said Friday morning that “the devil’s in...

Elections Board: Bread Rises, Roses Smell Sweet

The Maryland State Board of Elections this week granted official ballot status for the 2020 and 2022 elections to the Bread and Roses Party, a socialist-leaning group led by a former Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate.Bread and Roses is the brainchild of Jerome Segal, a retired University of Maryland lecturer and lifelong progressive activist who spent more than $1 million of his own money last year to challenge U.S. Sen. Benjamin L. Cardin in the Democratic primary. He took about 3.4 percent of the vote.Segal then tried to get the Bread and Roses Party certified for the 2018 general...

Trone to Join Foreign Affairs, Education and Labor Panels

U.S. Rep. David J. Trone (D), the lone freshman in Maryland’s congressional delegation, has been given his committee assignments. He’ll be serving on the House Foreign Affairs and the House Education and Labor committees.Trone said he hoped to use his slot on Foreign Affairs to advocate for more funding for medical research.“We must prioritize funding for military outlets like Fort Detrick in Frederick, Md., and agencies like the that play an integral role in the nation’s security through research on harmful and deadly diseases like Zika and Ebola,” Trone said in a statement.Before being sworn into office, Trone...

New Faces Coming to Kirwan Commission

Two new faces will be at the table when the Commission for Innovation and Excellence in Education meets in Annapolis on Friday.Sens. William C. Ferguson IV (D-Baltimore City) and Ronald N. Young (D-Frederick) were named to the commission to replace former senators Richard S. Madaleno Jr. (D-Montgomery) and Stephen M. Waugh (R-St. Mary’s and Calvert).The appointments were made by Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller Jr. (D-Calvert) earlier this month.The commission is set to meet Friday afternoon to finalize a report to the General Assembly on recommended policy changes within Maryland’s public education system. The commission has been refining...

The Heavy Hand and Subtle Middle Finger of Mike Miller

Since the start of the General Assembly session last week, a lot of attention has understandably been focused on Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller Jr. (D-Calvert) and his admission that he’s being treated for advance-stage prostate cancer.That’s of course a stunning and significant development.But let’s not forget about Miller’s legislative prowess and his ability to deliver a message, however subtly.As the new Senate term convened last week, it was hard not to look at some of the senators Miller had installed into key positions and conclude that Miller was exacting some revenge against political enemies on the left...

Judge Rules Against 2020 Census Question on Citizenship Challenged by Maryland Attorney General

A federal judge ruled Tuesday that a citizenship question should not be included in the 2020 Census, in a lawsuit joined by Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh (D) who argued that the question would depress federal funding to the state and diminish representation in Congress.It is the first major ruling on the issue, which has been challenged in multiple courts.On Twitter, Frosh said the question was “an attempt by the Justice Department to undermine democracy, jeopardize millions in federal funding and depress MD's representation in Congress.”The lawsuit alleged that demanding citizenship information would depress census turnout in states with...

Unintentional Intoxication Deaths Top 1,800 in First 9 Months of 2018

More than 1,800 Marylanders died unintentionally from drug- and alcohol-related intoxication deaths in the first nine months of 2018, state statistics show.The Maryland Department of Health on Tuesday released preliminary data for unintentional drug and alcohol-related intoxication deaths between Jan. 1 and Sept. 30. During the nine-month period, there were 1,848 total unintentional intoxication deaths, an 8 percent increase over the same period in 2017. Of the total, 1,648 were opioid-related deaths, a 10 percent increase, which can primarily be attributed to fentanyl.Heroin-related deaths decreased 23 percent in 2018 compared with the same January through September period in 2017. Prescription...

Ex-Lawmaker’s Firm Adds Lobbyist

State House lobbyist John A. Pica Jr., a former state senator from Baltimore City who usually is a solo practitioner, has hired an associate lobbyist.Pica has turned to Manelle Nuñez Martino to join his firm. Most recently, Martino served as campaign director and fundraiser to newly elected state Del. Alice Cain (D-Anne Arundel).Martino has a wide variety of experience in politics, in business and in the nonprofit sector. She has served on the boards of directors for Maryland Hall, Historic Annapolis, Ballet Theatre of Maryland, and the Annapolis Opera. She also co-founded Capital Teas, a retail chain that grew...

Frick Lands at D.C. Law Firm

Just days removed from stepping down as state House majority leader, former Del. C. William Frick (D-Montgomery) has landed at a new law firm.Frick, whose 11-year legislative career ended last week, is joining the firm Cuneo Gilbert & Laduca, LLP, whose office is in the Friendship Heights neighborhood in Washington, D.C.In a news release Tuesday, the firm said Frick would concentrate primarily on government relations and would establish a new commercial litigation practice that focuses on continuing to work with Maryland business, associations and individuals. He will also work on antitrust and consumer protection cases.Until recently, Frick worked at the international law...

Lawmaker and Friends to Protest Trump in Song

Beyond her political career, state Sen. Cheryl C. Kagan (D-Montgomery) is known as a folk music devotee and promoter of myriad singer-songwriters. She has hosted a series of folk music concerts in her home for the past 16 years.Since the election of President Trump, Kagan has merged her political work and her passion for music. Every January since Trump has taken office, coinciding roughly with the anniversary of his Jan. 20 swearing-in, and the women's march that followed, she has organized an “UnNaugural” – a folk music concert that serves as a fundraiser for a variety of organizations.In its...

Report: Shutdown Shorts Marylanders $778M in Wages; Tax Revenues Plunge Nearly $60M

Tens of thousands of Marylanders missed paychecks last week as the federal government rolled into the longest shutdown in U.S. history.An estimated $778 million in wages didn’t make their way to Marylanders’ bank accounts, according to a new report from the Maryland Bureau of Revenue Estimates.The report, released Monday morning, used federal and state statistics, data on commuting patterns between Maryland and Washington, D.C., and other reports to estimate the shutdown fallout in the state.An estimated 230,000 to 245,000 Marylanders hold federal jobs, and an estimated 90,000 workers are either furloughed or working without pay. The report also estimates that...

Bill Guaranteeing Federal Workers Back Pay Headed to Trump’s Desk

Federal workers who aren’t getting their paychecks during the government shutdown appear likely to get paid – eventually.A bipartisan bill to give government employees back pay now heads to President Trump after the House and Senate overwhelmingly approved the measure this week. Trump is expected to sign it, although it remains unclear when leaders will reach a compromise on the political standoff that forced some federal agencies to shutter.The House passed the bill by a vote of 411-7 on Friday after the Senate approved it unanimously on Thursday.Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said on the Senate floor that...

‘White-Hat’ Firm Scoops Up Another White Hat

Dru Schmidt-Perkins, the former longtime executive director of the group 1000 Friends of Maryland, will be hanging her hat this General Assembly session with the “white-hat” Annapolis lobbying firm, Gally Public Affairs Inc. She will join the existing team of Eric Gally, the company president, and Richard Norling, the former president of the American Association of Community Colleges.Gally Public Affairs is one of the few lobbying firms in town that advocates almost exclusively for nonprofit organizations. The firm’s clients this year include Advocates for Children and Youth, American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, American Heart Association, Chesapeake Bay Foundation,...

Tom McMillen Phones a Friend

Former Maryland Congressman Tom McMillen (D) reached out to an old friend in the federal government recently, with an idea on how to end the partial shutdown.That friend? The president of the United States.McMillen, a former four-term lawmaker and professional athlete, told Maryland Matters this week that he met Donald Trump long ago.“I’ve known him about 40 years. He actually gave me one of my first thousand dollars when I ran for Congress in ‘86. I knew him when I was in the NBA. It’s a small world.”Because of the shutdown, which will soon be the longest in U.S. history, 800,000...

Former GOP Councilman to Head Economic Development for Democrat Pittman

Although he once served on the Anne Arundel County Republican Central Committee, Jerry Walker often gave his fellow Republicans fits during his eight years on the County Council. More than a few times, he was the swing vote, siding with Democrats against initiatives of former county executive Steve Schuh (R).Last year, when Walker sought a seat in the Maryland House of Delegates, running against three Republican incumbents in the GOP primary, the political action committee of the House GOP caucus, which got substantial funding from Schuh, spent heavily on mailers attacking Walker. He lost.On Wednesday, Anne Arundel County Executive...

Delegate’s Chief of Staff Charged for Misleading Robocall in 2018 GOP Primary

Del. Richard K. Impallaria’s campaign released a robocall in June that purported to highlight the House of Delegates minority whip’s support for the transgender community — but the call has run afoul of Maryland’s election law.The Office of the State Prosecutor charged Impallaria’s chief of staff, Tyler Walch, on Thursday with two counts of violating state election law because the calls failed to disclose who paid for and who authorized the message.The call was made to 9,000 Baltimore and Harford County residents on June 25, the day before the 2018 primary election. At the time, Impallaria and House Minority...

A Quick Look At Some of the First Bills Filed in the General Assembly

The 2019 General Assembly, with its 61 freshman lawmakers, was off to a sleepy start Wednesday.Thirty-eight bills were pre-filed in the House this session, about half of the number pre-filed in that chamber last year. And one delegate, Baltimore’s Cheryl D. Glenn, was responsible for 10 of the pre-filed pieces of legislation.In the Senate, 87 bills were pre-filed this year, more than four dozen of them departmental requests.Here’s a quick look at some of the legislation that was read across the desks Wednesday:House Bill 4 from Del. Mark S. Chang (D-Anne Arundel), which would make it a hate crime...

Montgomery Councilman Sponsoring Potluck for Struggling Federal Workers

Maryland elected officials at all levels of government are raging against the partial shutdown of the federal government.Congressional leaders are participating in negotiations with the Trump administration. Gov. Lawrence J. Hogan Jr. (R), in his capacity as vice chairman of the National Governors Association, has co-written a letter to President Trump and members of Congress urging a swift resolution to the impasse. Other politicians are organizing and participating in news conferences and political rallies to pressure the relevant players into finding a solution.Montgomery County Councilmember Tom Hucker (D) is taking a different approach.Hucker has organized a community potluck to...

Busch Doles Out New Leadership Assignments

On the day before the start of the General Assembly session, House Speaker Michael E. Busch (D-Anne Arundel) announced changes to leadership positions that will take effect when the legislature gavels in.Busch announced multiple leadership changes in July, and the latest assignments round out the roster.On the House Economic Matters Committee, Del. Benjamin Brooks (D-Baltimore County), will be chairman of the Public Utilities Subcommittee. Del. Talmadge Branch (D-Baltimore City), will be chairman of the Alcoholic Beverages Subcommittee, and Del. Ned Carey (D-Anne Arundel) will be Branch’s vice chairman.House Majority Leader Kathleen Dumais (D-Montgomery) will be chair of the Property...