State Politics | WYPR

State Politics

Rachel Baye

State lawmakers are considering something billed as the “Comprehensive Crime Bill of 2018.” The legislation was developed in large part as a response to the record levels of violent crime in Baltimore last year, and one of its biggest impacts would be tougher sentences for repeat violent offenders.

Chris Connelly / WYPR

State lawmakers are considering a bipartisan package of bills aimed at making public schools better equipped to handle shootings.

On Thursday, the Senate Budget and Taxation Committee considered a bill establishing what the sponsor called a “last line of defense,” should a shooter get inside the building.

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The Maryland Legislative Black Caucus has for more than a year been fighting to bring more African American-owned businesses into the state’s fledgling medical marijuana industry. Legislation aimed at doing that has passed the House of Delegates and was considered Tuesday by the Senate Finance Committee. But the hearing raised questions about the effects the proposed changes would have on the price of the drug.

Rachel Baye

In a largely bipartisan move, the Maryland House of Delegates voted Thursday night to ban bump stocks, the device used in the Las Vegas shooting last October to make a semi-automatic rifle fire rapidly like an automatic weapon.

Rachel Baye

  

The House of Delegates gave initial approval Thursday night to a bill raising the minimum age at which someone can get married to 17. The bill was also introduced during the previous two legislative sessions but was not successful.

Rachel Baye

A state senator says newly released security footage proves her claim earlier this month that a lobbyist groped her at a karaoke event in Annapolis. But the lobbyist says the video exonerates him.

Rachel Baye

Since the first 9-1-1 call was made 50 years ago, not much has changed about how Maryland’s 9-1-1 system functions. As a result, there are times when 9-1-1 doesn’t work.

Rachel Baye

In the wake of the shooting at an elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut a little more than five years ago, Maryland passed a law banning “assault weapons” and large-capacity, detachable magazines. The ban includes a long list of semi-automatic handguns and rifles, including AR-15-style rifles, like those used in several mass shootings, including last month’s school shooting in Parkland, Florida.

Now Republican lawmakers in Annapolis are sponsoring a bill to remove the rifles and other long guns from the ban.

Rachel Baye

It’s legal in Maryland to carry a concealed weapon on private property, with or without a concealed-carry permit, as long as the property owner approves. Legislation under consideration in Annapolis would extend that concept to religious institutions.

Office of the Governor

With the state fighting to cancel its agreement with the developer of State Center, it’s not clear what will eventually replace the current 1950’s-era buildings at the 28-acre state office complex just north of downtown Baltimore. Two competing lawsuits between the state and the developer could take years to wrap up, and until they do, the project is at a standstill.

But when the fight is resolved, members of the surrounding communities want to make sure that they get a vote on what gets built.

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State elected officials are proposing competing tactics to keep Maryland’s public schools safe from a possible gunman.

Speaking with reporters after Thursday's floor session, Senate President Mike Miller said he met with senators that morning about creating a "comprehensive" package of bills aimed at protecting schools. He promised at least four bills, including some boosting school social workers and placing armed security guards at schools.

Rachel Baye

State lawmakers on Thursday announced a series of education grants and programs aimed at increased support for low-income students, career and technical education and improved teaching.

The legislation is the result of preliminary recommendations by a state commission chaired by former University System of Maryland Chancellor William “Brit” Kirwan, and is the first part of what could be wide-reaching changes to Maryland’s public schools.

Rachel Baye

When Marylanders voted to legalize casinos 10 years ago, it was with the promise that the state’s share of the revenues would bolster school funding. Instead, that money replaced some state money going to schools, freeing up those general fund dollars for other purposes.

Gov. Larry Hogan wants to put those state gambling tax revenues into a “lockbox” to ensure that the money goes to schools and doesn’t supplant other state dollars, he announced at a press conference Wednesday.

Rachel Baye

Female inmates at the state prison in Jessup, Maryland — the state’s only women’s prison — say getting feminine hygiene products, like pads and tampons, while they’re incarcerated can be challenging, sometimes even impossible.

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The state Senate gave initial approval on Wednesday to a bill delaying a new law that requires businesses to offer paid sick leave. The legislation pushes the law’s start date from Feb. 11 to July 1.

Businesses were originally supposed to begin offering sick leave this past January, about nine months after the law passed. But just after the 2017 legislative session ended, Gov. Larry Hogan vetoed the bill, and last month, the legislature overrode the veto.

Baltimore City Health Department

Some state legislators who represent Baltimore in Annapolis are trying to increase state funding for programs designed to prevent gun violence before it happens.  The officials compared gun violence to a contagious disease at a press conference announcing the legislation Monday in South Baltimore’s Cherry Hill neighborhood.

Rachel Baye

Gov. Larry Hogan has basal and squamous cell carcinoma, a type of skin cancer, he announced Thursday. He emphasized that it is both minor and treatable.

Rachel Baye

Maryland Democrats are introducing a ban on bump stocks, the device used in the Las Vegas shooting in October that enables a semi-automatic gun to fire continuously without repeatedly pulling the trigger, they announced Thursday.


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In the last State of the State Address of his four-year term, Gov. Larry Hogan called for rising above political discord.

“Instead of becoming more like Washington, let’s send a message to Washington by putting the politics aside and coming together for all Marylanders," he said during Wednesday's speech.

But almost everything about the way the speech was received was partisan, down to the applause, which came almost exclusively from Republicans.

Rachel Baye

Maryland residents are expected to save nearly $3 billion on their federal income taxes in 2018 as a result of the new federal tax law, according to a report state Comptroller Peter Franchot released Thursday. But residents will likely lose at least $400 million in state and local income taxes, unless lawmakers act to prevent it.

Franchot’s office estimates that between a quarter and a third of state taxpayers could pay more state and local income taxes.

Rachel Baye

Maryland state income tax bills could grow by more than $400 million under the new federal tax law, according to an analysis Comptroller Peter Franchot released Thursday.

According to the report, between a quarter and a third of Maryland taxpayers could pay more state and local income taxes.

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A state-commissioned study released Tuesday offers a list of new, alternative uses for State Center in Midtown Baltimore.

The state office complex has been slated for redevelopment for more than a decade. Community members told a state panel Tuesday afternoon that starting over with new plans disregards what they want for their neighborhoods.

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Gov. Larry Hogan is again pushing for Maryland to change how it draws legislative districts.

For the third consecutive year, Hogan is introducing a bill that creates what he says would be a nonpartisan commission to draw the districts, he announced Thursday

For the last two years, Hogan’s redistricting bill has died in committee. Democrats say they don’t want Maryland to give up Democratic seats in Congress without other states giving up Republican seats.

Rachel Baye

Gov. Larry Hogan’s proposed $17.7 billion operating budget for next fiscal year, released Wednesday, cuts funding for several Democratic priorities.

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Because of the way Maryland’s tax laws are written, recent changes in federal tax law could lead to sharp increases in state taxpayers’ bills. The governor and leaders of the state legislature all say they plan to look for a way to cushion that blow, and the Democrats in the legislature revealed at a press conference Tuesday how they plan to do that.

Rachel Baye

Two bills Gov. Larry Hogan vetoed last year are set to become law in 30 days after the state Senate voted Friday to override the vetoes. One bill requires businesses with 15 or more employees to give them paid sick leave, and the other eliminates questions about criminal history from college applications.

Rachel Baye

After more than five years of debate in the General Assembly, a bill requiring Maryland businesses to offer paid leave to their employees is one vote away from becoming law after the House of Delegates voted Thursday to override the governor’s veto on the bill.

The bill applies to businesses with at least 15 employees.

On the floor during Thursday’s debate, several Republican women said the bill forces domestic violence victims to reveal private information when they take a day off.

But several Democrats said that’s an inaccurate interpretation of the legislation.

Rachel Baye

The opening day of the General Assembly session is always filled with platitudes about bipartisanship and displays of camaraderie. Along these lines, Gov. Larry Hogan urged cooperation in his opening remarks to legislators on Wednesday, the first day of the 2018 legislative session.

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To mark the start of the General Assembly session Wednesday, the state Legislative Black Caucus announced plans to push for bail reform, money for historically black colleges and universities, and the development of State Center in Baltimore. And the powerful group took a firm stand on medical marijuana.

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Gov. Larry Hogan is proposing term limits for the 188 members of the General Assembly. At a news conference Tuesday, he said his bill would limit each legislator to two consecutive terms, or eight years, in each chamber.

Hogan described term limits as a way for the voting public to hold elected officials accountable. He blamed the lack of term limits and the rise of career politicians for a litany of woes, including pending corruption charges against Sen. Nathaniel Oaks.

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