Baltimore City Council | WYPR

Baltimore City Council

The Daily Dose 1-14-21

Jan 14, 2021

Governor Hogan accelerates Phases 1B and 1C of the state's vaccination plan.  The Maryland General Assembly convenes for a session greatly altered by the pandemic. And after technical difficulties, Baltimore City Council reconvenes virtually to consider housing relief legislation.

Screenshot via CharmTV

Baltimore City Council members introduced a package of housing relief bills Wednesday night during a reconvened meeting that was suspended earlier this week when the city’s video conferencing system failed due to a Webex outage. 

Though the coronavirus pandemic is not the genesis of the city’s longstanding housing insecurity issues, its resounding effects — shuttered businesses, job losses and long lines for unemployment benefits — have exacerbated the crisis.   

The Daily Dose 1-12-21

Jan 12, 2021

Governor Hogan announces a redistricting commission. Technical difficulties cut short Baltimore City Council’s first meeting of the year. Baltimore County Schools propose a budget that reflects a damaged economy. And the cause of an August residential explosion in Northwest Baltimore is revealed.

Emily Sullivan/WYPR


Baltimore City council members were in the middle of introducing a slew of new legislation at their first virtual meeting of the year Monday when a robotic voice interrupted their proceedings: “The host has not yet arrived. Please stand by. ”

The voice was the harbinger of every lawmaker’s worst logistical nightmare during a virtual legislative session: a widespread Webex outage. The technical failure promptly booted the council off their video call. The members attempted to wait it out for more than half an hour before Council President Nick Mosby’s office announced the meeting would be suspended and resume Wednesday evening.

SARAH Y. KIM/WYPR

 

Baltimore City Council members and housing advocates announced a legislative package Monday afternoon to address housing insecurity. The bills will be introduced at January’s city council meetings. 

The package includes a bill that would prevent landlords from evicting tenants when their leases expire. Landlords have been able to legally evict tenants using this method amid eviction moratoriums. 

Emily Sullivan/WYPR

The Baltimore City Council will consider a bill to halve the fees that third-party delivery services such as GrubHub can charge restaurants.

The announcement Wednesday came less than a week after Mayor Brandon Scott closed indoor and outdoor dining operations amid growing COVID-19 rates.

Screenshot via CharmTV

  

Baltimore City Council President Nick Mosby convened the 73rd term of the legislative body for its first meeting Thursday night and later announced his new committee structure, which includes half the number of committees of the previous term.

“Right now we're in a special time of fighting for our city and fighting for our lives,” Mosby said.
I’m really excited to see the work that comes along.”

Governor Hogan announces some much-needed state aid for businesses hit hard by the pandemic. Anne Arundel County’s leader announces new local restrictions to help curb the COVID surge. And Baltimore’s new City Council is sworn in today.

Emily Sullivan/WYPR

The Baltimore City Council on Monday evening closed out a term defined by an en masse political re-shuffling following ex-mayor Catherine Pugh’s resignation and a subsequent passage of city charter amendments intended to restructure power and bolster transparency.

The meeting included the first override of a mayoral vetos since voters approved in November a charter amendment that reduced the number of council votes needed from 12 to 10. The council overrode Mayor Jack Young’s vetoes of two bills to bolster protections for hospitality workers as their businesses reopen amid the pandemic; one requires employers to call back employees in order of seniority and the other requires employers to maintain the same staff for at least 90 days should business owners change hands.

CREDIT AP/PATRICK SEMANSKY

Mayor Jack Young has signed a bill into law guaranteeing lawyers for renters facing eviction, making Baltimore the seventh jurisdiction in the country to enact such legislation.

The bill, which the City Council passed unanimously in November, will be phased in over four years.

NICKJMOSBY.COM

Baltimore City Council President-Elect Nick Mosby has added his voice to pleas from health experts and the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention urging people to stay home for Thanksgiving this year.

He warned at a press conference today with other city council members that if people stop taking COVID-19 seriously, Thanksgiving gatherings could become superspreader events across the country.

BRUCEEMMERLING/NEEDPIX

The Baltimore City Council has passed a bill to create an office to end homelessness and create a permanently funded housing voucher program. 

Currently, the city manages homelessness through the Mayor’s Office of Homeless Services. That office is not a permanent agency of the city government. 

Councilman Ryan Dorsey, who introduced the bill, said this has hurt the city’s ability to provide for those experiencing homelessness.  

The rise in Covid-19 cases prompts Governor Hogan to tighten restrictions. State workers say they're not properly equipped for telework. The City Council held its penultimate meeting ahead of a new regime, and they passed a bill to help those experiencing homelessness in Baltimore.

AP/PATRICK SEMANSKY

 

The Baltimore City Council is to vote on a bill Monday night that would provide lawyers to tenants facing eviction cases. The bill comes amid concerns about a mass eviction crisis as tenants struggle to pay rent because of the pandemic.  

For most of the pandemic, Maryland has been under state and federal eviction moratoriums. In September, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention ordered a ban on evictions until 2021.

With a slashed budget and low ridership, the MTA struggles to keep public transportation a viable and safe service for those who need it. And the City Council passes a major tax sales bill and eyes more taxes on e-cigarettes.

Emily Sullivan/WYPR


  An unusually competitive general election race is heating up in Baltimore City’s District 12, where Green Party candidate Franca Muller Paz has outraised incumbent and establishment Democrat Robert Stokes.

Muller Paz, an activist and teacher at Baltimore City College High School, has campaigned on a progressive platform that emphasizes on community-centered crime reduction, combating the digital divide and investing in schools. She says the Democratic incumbent has not been fighting for the district.

After long debate, the Baltimore County Council finally approves police reform legislation. And the Baltimore City Council has a busy night, passing bills on labor rights and the observance of Christopher Columbus, and considering bills to protect renters and prevent water shut-offs.

Eli Pousson/Baltimore Heritage via Flickr


 A Baltimore City Council bill to officially change the name of Columbus Day to Indigenous Peoples' Day throughout the city, at a time where the Italian explorer’s legacy is under renewed scrutiny amid a massive reckoning over racial injustice.

It’s the latest public re-examination of Christopher Columbus in Baltimore. A group of protesters tore down a Columbus statue near the Inner Harbor on the 4th of July and Councilman Ryan Dorsey has introduced a bill currently making its way through City Hall to rename another Columbus monument in the city.

The Daily Dose 9-22-20

Sep 22, 2020

Baltimore City Council heard more than 30 new bills at its most recent meeting, including labor bills to protect the right-of-return of laid-off employees. And the debate over police reform in Maryland takes front and center in a marathon three day hearing in the State Senate.

The Daily Dose 8-27-20

Aug 27, 2020
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Governor Hogan says Maryland schools need to come up with a plan to bring children back into classrooms. And the Baltimore City Council has an emotional debate over a bill to rename the Columbus monument to honor victims of police brutality.

AP/PATRICK SEMANSKY

The Baltimore City Council held a virtual meeting Monday night, where two new bills that aim to bolster housing security as the coronavirus pandemic continues were introduced. WYPR’s Emily Sullivan and Nathan Sterner discuss an effort to establish a permanent housing voucher program and a potential ban on the city tax selling of homes that belong to people over the age of 65, people who are disabled and people with low incomes.

AP PHOTO/Steve Ruark

Near the affluent Harbor East neighborhood is Perkins Homes, a public housing project built in the 1940s that has been suffering blight for years. 

But through the PSO Transformation Plan, the Housing Authority of Baltimore City (HABC) and Baltimore City are transforming Perkins Homes into a new mixed-income housing complex. 

The Daily Dose 7-21-20

Jul 21, 2020
Drew Morris/Flickr

Baltimore City Schools delay in-person classes until later this fall. The City Council passes a charter amendment for a new watchdog role over city government. A spike in COVID-19 cases prompts a new mask order in Baltimore County. And Baltimore County elections workers say the governor’s order to open all polling places in November is going to be a problem.

CHARM TV

The Baltimore City Council voted favorably on a prominent charter amendment to restructure city government on Monday night. WYPR’s Emily Sullivan and Nathan Sterner discuss what "good government" charter amendments may appear on Baltimore voters’ ballots in November.

SCREENSHOT VIA EMILY SULLIVAN, CHARMTV

The Baltimore City Council held its third virtual meeting last night as coronavirus containment methods keep legislators at home. WYPR’s Emily Sullivan and Nathan Sterer discuss a bill that aims to establish a permanent home for the city's Children and Youth Fund and divert up to $13 million from that fund to fund internet access and technology for children as well as boxed meals.

 

screenshot via Emily Sullivan/WYPR


    The Baltimore City Council heard a series of coronavirus measures during its second-ever virtual meeting Monday night. 

City Council President Brandon Scott introduced an ordinance that would make the acts of impersonating an official and issuing “false statements” during a declared state of emergency a misdemeanor. 

AP/Patrick Semansky

The Baltimore City Council met for the last time this month on Monday night. WYPR’s Emily Sullivan and Nathan Sterner discuss a charter amendment to change the makeup of city council, an ordinance that would require the city to abide by state recordkeeping standards, the repeal of a portion of city code that bans play in the streets and changes at the Board of Ethics.

Patrick Semansky/AP

The Baltimore City Council passed a $2,500 property tax credit to make homeownership more feasible for the lowest-paid rung of city employees at its Feb. 10 meeting. Councilman Bill Henry introduced a charter amendment that would reduce the size of the City Council and add at-large members. WYPR’s city hall reporter Emily Sullivan joins Morning Edition host Nathan Sterner to explain the proposed changes and their timeline.

Emily Sullivan/WYPR

People of color have been barred from jobs and schools for wearing their natural hair for centuries, and legislation across the country — including Baltimore — is just now catching up. Baltimore City Council is considering a bill that would ban hair discrimination throughout the majority-black city.

 

Emily Sullivan/WYPR

  

After former Mayor Catherine Pugh's self-dealing, City Council President Brandon Scott introduced a city charter amendment to adjust the makeup of the Board of Estimates at Monday's council meeting. The council also passed the Trauma Responsive Care Act and saw the introduction of Scott and Councilwoman Shannon Sneed's labor agreement bill. WYPR’s city hall reporter Emily Sullivan joins Nathan Sterner to explain what those bills are, and how they came about.

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