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Kittleman Steps Down from Fair Maps Maryland Board to Focus on County Executive Race

Former Howard County Executive Allan H. Kittleman (R) is stepping down as a board member of the anti-gerrymandering group Fair Maps Maryland as he vies to unseat incumbent County Executive Calvin B. Ball III (D), the group announced in a press release Tuesday.Kittleman will be replaced by Douglas B. Riley (R), a former Baltimore County Council member and former county executive candidate.Fair Maps Maryland was formed by Kittleman and former state Sen. James Brochin (D-Baltimore County), alongside Doug Mayer, a former communications strategist for Gov. Lawrence J. Hogan Jr. (R). The group is pushing lawmakers to adopt congressional and...

Two Former Maryland Dem Party Chairs Endorse Moore

Michael Cryor and Susan Turnbull, former chairs of the Maryland Democratic Party, announced Tuesday that they’ve endorsed Wes Moore in the party’s 2022 gubernatorial primary.Cryor chaired the party from 2007 to 2009 and Turnbull succeeded him.Cryor said Moore, an author, former nonprofit CEO and military veteran, has “the ideas, life experiences, vision and leadership capabilities to lead Maryland forward as its next Governor."“While I have tremendous respect for the other accomplished candidates who are also running, some of whom are my friends, I believe Wes uniquely understands what’s required at this time to bring about broad-based economic opportunity and advancement...

House Republican Leaders Ask to Uphold Some COVID Transparency Protocols Next Legislative Session

As the General Assembly prepares for a special session next week and the upcoming regular legislative session, Maryland House Republicans say they want to maintain some procedures established during the COVID-19 pandemic in an attempt to continue “a new layer of transparency and openness to the legislative process.” Minority Leader Jason C. Buckel (R-Allegany) and Minority Whip Christopher T. Adams (R-Middle Shore) wrote, on behalf of the Maryland House Republican Caucus, in a letter to House Speaker Adrienne A. Jones (D-Baltimore County) that they want to continue a two-day notice of committee voting sessions and live-streaming voting sessions, even after...

Editor’s Note: Giving Back — and Getting More — on Giving Tuesday

Dear Maryland Matters reader,This Giving Tuesday, please help us give back.Last week, we wrote about a troubling new report that the number of Marylanders experiencing food insecurity nearly doubled during the pandemic to more than 1 million people.In addition to reporting on the issues, Maryland Matters is also committed to giving back to our community. Last week we also launched our third annual food drive.For every donation made to our nonprofit news site, our staff and board members will personally donate food and personal care products to three Maryland food banks.As a nonprofit, we rely on the generous support...

Civil Rights Advocates Consider Legal Action in Baltimore County Redistricting Process

Civil rights groups say they will take to court if the Baltimore County Council adopts its current redistricting plan and say the proposed council map illegally “packs” Black residents into a single majority district when two majority Black districts could be drawn.At a Nov. 24 meeting, Randallstown NAACP members voted to request permission from the national NAACP office to “initiate, endorse and participate in legal action against the Baltimore County Council for its illegal redistricting map,” according to a press release.Earlier this year, advocates and community members criticized a proposal from the Baltimore County Redistricting Commission for including just...

Ball Appoints New Howard County Police Chief

Howard County Executive Calvin Ball (D) appointed Gregory J. Der as chief of the county’s police department Monday.“The continued success of our Police Department is vital to the wellbeing of our community. I’ve known Gregory for nearly 15 years, and he has stood out as a thoughtful, determined, collaborative leader, who will guide our Police Department into the future,” Ball said in a statement. “I very much look forward to working closely with Chief Der and continue ensuring Howard County is the safest community in our nation for all.”Der, the first person of Asian descent to head the department,...

Legislative Panel Wastes No Time Giving Davis Thumbs-Up for State Treasurer

To the surprise of no one, a legislative panel vetting candidates for state treasurer has voted to recommend House Economic Matters Chair Dereck E. Davis (D-Prince George's) for the job.The Special Joint Legislative Committee to Select the State Treasurer moved briskly Monday morning, interviewing the four applicants for the job and weighing in with its preference in a virtual meeting that lasted just 52 minutes.All four of the candidates' names will appear on the ballot when the full General Assembly meets next week to select a replacement for outgoing Treasurer Nancy K. Kopp (D), who is retiring after almost...

Panel Recommends Increased Salaries for Governor, Top Government Officials

A commission tasked with assessing the salaries of Maryland’s top government officials is recommending a pay raise after the 2022 elections.The Governor’s Salary Commission, a seven-member panel appointed every four years, voted last week in favor of proposals to raise pay, which has remained static since 2018, for the governor and other statewide positions.The General Assembly will decide in January whether to concur with the commission’s recommendations or lower the proposed increases.The commission voted unanimously to increase the governor’s salary from the current $180,000 rate to $195,000 in 2026, an 8% increase.The commission also voted in favor of a...

Maryland Matters on the Air

Maryland Matters Founding Editor Josh Kurtz was the guest on the latest episode of "The Friday Reporter," a podcast about journalism — with a twist — that began airing Friday.The weekly podcast is hosted by communications pro Lisa Camooso Miller, a former government official and Republican strategist and partner in the communications firm Reset Public Affairs. The podcast gets journalists to talk about the work they do — with an eye toward enlightening PR professionals on how best to work with reporters.In their conversation, Kurtz and Camooso Miller talked about the history of Maryland Matters, the joys of covering...

Progressive Md., Working Families Party Release New Round of Endorsements

Progressive Maryland and Maryland Working Families have issued a second round of endorsements in state and local races for the 2022 Democratic primaries. Last week, the groups endorsed attorney Robbie Leonard, who is challenging four-term Baltimore County State's Attorney Scott D. Shellenberger (D) in the June primary.The groups said they plan to continue issuing endorsements throughout the campaign season."This group of leaders from across the state — known as the Progressive Maryland Working Families Party slate — embraces a bold vision for Maryland’s political future," the liberal groups said in a statement. The latest candidates to earn their endorsement...

After Colleague’s Retirement, Raskin May Be in Line for Top Committee Slot

Why is a Texas colleague's decision to retire important for Maryland Congressman Jamie B. Raskin (D)? Because the falling dominoes seem likely to put Raskin in a position of greater power on Capitol Hill.Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-Texas) announced Saturday that she plans to retire after the 2022 election. Johnson, 85, who has served in the House since 1993, is the chair of the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology. She became the 16th House Democrat to announce that she isn't planning to return in the next Congress — a list that includes Maryland Rep. Anthony G. Brown...

Gubernatorial Candidate Forums on Tap

Yes, it's holiday season, but it's also gubernatorial forum season. There are at least three on tap in the days ahead.On Monday evening, the Maryland Democratic Party is gathering its candidates for governor at a forum in Waldorf that will focus on economic issues. There is limited capacity seating to see the candidates in person, but the state party will be broadcasting the forum live on Facebook. The forum runs from 7-8:30 p.m. Tracee Wilkins, NBC News4 Prince George's County bureau chief, will serve as the moderator.Meanwhile, the Maryland State Bar Association is hosting individual, hour-long conversations with Democratic,...

Kathleen Matthews Backing Perez for Governor in 2022

Kathleen Matthews, the former Maryland Democratic chair and longtime broadcaster and businesses executive, is backing former Democratic National Committee chair Tom Perez for governor.In an email obtained by Maryland Matters inviting associates to a fundraising event that she is hosting for Perez on Dec. 11, Matthews says she had originally intended to stay neutral in the Democratic primary for governor."I have several good friends and political allies in the 2022 Maryland gubernatorial race, and would be pleased to have any one of them as our Democratic nominee and future governor," she wrote. "I had originally planned to sit on...

Senate Confirms First Tribal Member in History to Lead National Park Service

The U.S. Senate approved by voice vote late Thursday the nomination of Charles F. Sams III as the first confirmed National Park Service director since 2017.Sams, an enrolled member of the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation near Pendleton, Ore., will be the first tribal member to lead the Park Service in the agency’s 105-year history. The Park Service is part of the U.S. Department of the Interior, which is led for the first time by a member of a Native American tribe, Secretary Deb Haaland.At his confirmation hearing, Sams said he would work to rebuild the Park Service...

Hogan: All Md. Adults Now Eligible for a COVID Booster

All adults in Maryland can now receive a COVID-19 booster shot, Gov. Lawrence J. Hogan Jr. (R) said Friday.Anyone 18 and older who got the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine is eligible for the booster six months after their second vaccine dose. Those who got Johnson & Johnson are eligible for a booster two months after their shot."As of today, Maryland has already administered more than 800,000 booster shots, and we are immediately expanding our campaign further to include all adults," said Hogan in a news release. "As the holiday season approaches, with more travel and more gatherings, we are...

Cambridge Commissioners Ask Mayor to Resign Following Extensive Revenge Porn Charges

The five commissioners of Cambridge have asked Mayor Andrew Bradshaw to offer his resignation after the state prosecutor charged him with 50 counts of distributing revenge porn earlier this week.The Dorchester County commission made the unanimous decision on Tuesday following an emergency meeting, after the state made the charges against Bradshaw public.“It is the sincerest hope of all of the Commissioners that the Mayor will do what is best for the City of Cambridge and its citizens and tender his resignation,” the commissioners said in a joint statement. “Should he fail to do so, then the Commissioners are prepared to...

Maryland Association of Counties Names New Deputy Director

Virginia White, the lead coordinator for the Maryland Association of Counties’ summer and winter conferences, will now serve as the influential association’s deputy director.White will still coordinate MACo’s summer and winter conferences as part of her new role, according to a Wednesday release, and will also “oversee the full range of day-to-day functions involving the staff, facilities, and vendor relationships for the association.White has been a member of MACo’s professional staff since 2010 and worked as the director of training & special events with the Maryland Association of Resources for Families & Youth before joining the Maryland Association of...

Maryland Matters on the Air

After the Prince George’s County Council approved a controversial redistricting map this week, Maryland Matters senior reporter Bruce DePuyt will discuss the situation on WAMU’s Politics Hour with Kojo Nnamdi.Critics of the map testified for hours in opposition Tuesday, charging that the map is being used to influence next year’s elections.Other guests on the show include Tom Sherwood, the show’s resident political analyst, and D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser (D), who is expected to address rising homicides, conditions at the D.C. jail, and the decision to lift the city’s mask mandate.The Politics Hour airs at 12 noon on the D.C. NPR...

Biden Signs Trone’s First-Responder Mental Health Support Legislation into Law

President Joseph R. Biden signed legislation into law Monday that intends to bolster mental health supports for federal first responders through clearer confidentiality standards in peer counseling programs.“This is a worthy victory in the fight to end the stigma surrounding mental health,” Rep. David Trone (D-Md.), the U.S. House sponsor of the ​​Confidentiality Opportunities for Peer Support (COPS) Counseling Act, said in a statement Thursday. “The COPS Counseling Act ensures that every first responder has a safe space to deal with the stress and pressure of their jobs.”The legislation passed out of the U.S. Senate unanimously in June, and...

Ex-Delegate Gaines to Team Up With Annapolis Lobbying Shop

Former Del. Tawanna P. Gaines (D), whose legislative career was cut short after she pleaded guilty to corruption charges for using $22,000 from her campaign account for personal purposes, is returning to Annapolis to work with a lobbying shop.The white hat lobbying firm Public Policy Partners will announce Thursday that it is entering into a strategic partnership with Gaines. The firm said Gaines will be providing advice on various issues with Public Policy Partners’ clients.“Tawanna has been a public servant most of her life and she’s not done,” said Ann Ciekot, a partner at the firm. “We look forward...