General Assembly | WYPR

General Assembly

John Lee

 

Construction money for schools in Baltimore County is in trouble in the General Assembly.

 

If the legislation doesn’t pass, Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewski said it likely will be years before any new high schools are built in the county.

 

 

Rachel Baye

The state Senate has given preliminary approval to legislation aimed at tamping down on prescription drug costs. But the Senate version is significantly weaker than the version that passed the House last month.

Rachel Baye

The state Senate gave preliminary approval Tuesday to a bill that aims to reshape the way Maryland approaches public education.

Maryland will be the sixth state to increase the minimum wage to $15 an hour after the General Assembly voted Thursday to override Gov. Larry Hogan’s veto of the legislation. It’s one of two vetoes the General Assembly voted mostly along party lines to override, and a third veto is expected to be overridden Friday.

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The House of Delegates voted Wednesday to reprimand Baltimore County Del. Jay Jalisi after an investigation by the legislature’s Ethics Committee found a pattern of abusive behavior toward General Assembly staff. Jalisi, a Democrat representing the west part of the county, denies the accusations, calling it a “political hit job.”

Rachel Baye

University of Maryland Medical System leaders met Wednesday afternoon with Gov. Larry Hogan and state Senate President Mike Miller to discuss hundreds of thousands of dollars in business deals between the hospital and its board members.

Board Chairman Stephen Burch said a board meeting Thursday will determine next steps and ways to ensure this doesn’t happen again.

Rachel Baye / WYPR

Monday was Crossover Day in the State House. Any legislation that had not passed in either the House or the Senate and crossed over to the other chamber by the end of the day faces a tougher road to becoming law. WYPR’s State Politics Reporter Rachel Baye talks with Nathan Sterner about some of the things that made the cut and some that did not.

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Legislation requiring Maryland to get half of its electricity from renewable sources by the year 2030 gained initial approval in the state Senate on Tuesday. The most recent version of the bill would no longer allow trash incineration to be considered a clean energy source.

Rachel Baye / WYPR

Gov. Larry Hogan took aim on Monday at the job legislators are doing, focusing in particular on efforts to raise the minimum wage and to spend hundreds of millions of dollars more on schools.

Rachel Baye

Members of the Maryland General Assembly are rushing to meet a legislative deadline Monday, which is known as Crossover Day in Annapolis. Any bills that have not passed in one chamber and “crossed over” to the other by the end of the day will face an additional hurdle and are less likely to become law this year.

This is the latest on some of the issues lawmakers are grappling with this year.

Minimum Wage

Rachel Baye / WYPR

A bill increasing Maryland’s minimum wage passed the state Senate along party lines Thursday with enough Democratic votes to override a potential veto by Gov. Larry Hogan. The legislation would gradually raise the wage to $15 an hour by January 2025 for most businesses.

Rachel Baye

The Maryland General Assembly is on the verge of passing a $15 minimum wage. The House of Delegates approved it two weeks ago, and on Wednesday night, the state Senate gave the bill preliminary approval. WYPR's State Politics Reporter Rachel Baye speaks with Nathan Sterner to take a closer look at the proposal.

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Legislation authorizing Johns Hopkins University to establish its own police force progressed in the state Senate on Wednesday.

Rachel Baye

Thousands of teachers, parents and students marched in Annapolis Monday night, seeking more funding for public schools. The march, which was organized by the Maryland State Education Association teachers union, culminated in the largest rally at the State House in recent memory. 

Organizers say 200 buses carried teachers from across the state, as far as Garrett County in Western Maryland, about three hours away. They estimate that there were about 8,500 people filling the streets, many of them wearing red beanies and carrying red cowbells and signs.

Twenty-four years ago, a judge ordered fundamental changes to the way Baltimore City Public Schools are managed and funded. The ruling, the result of a 1994 lawsuit, led to Maryland’s current public school funding formula.

Then over the next decade, the court issued more opinions, saying that Baltimore students continued to be shortchanged.

On Thursday, the American Civil Liberties Union of Maryland and the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund filed a motion in Baltimore City Circuit Court to reopen that 1994 lawsuit. In the filing, they accuse Maryland of violating the state constitution by underfunding Baltimore City schools.

Rachel Baye

Anne Rowe was diagnosed in 2001 with Von Willebrand disease. It’s a genetic bleeding disorder, meaning her blood doesn’t clot well. The Prince George’s County resident told the Senate Finance Committee Wednesday afternoon that, fortunately, there is a treatment.

“For us to be treated prophylactically only, it could cost us $288,000 annually with no insurance or medications,” she said.

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The state Senate voted Tuesday to ban the sale of foam food and beverage containers. If the measure passes the House, Maryland would be the first state to pass a statewide ban on the products.

The ban covers expanded polystyrene cups, plates, takeout containers and egg cartons.

Rachel Baye

Legislators in Annapolis will have their first chance to weigh in on recommendations by the Commission on Innovation and Excellence in Education — better known as the "Kirwan Commission" — which is studying ways to improve K-12 education in Maryland. A bill reflecting many of those recommendations is to go before a Senate committee Wednesday afternoon.

Rachel Baye / WYPR

The Maryland House of Delegates voted Friday to gradually increase the state minimum wage to $15 an hour by January 2025.

The vote came down largely along party lines, with two Baltimore County Democrats opposing the bill.

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The House of Delegates voted Thursday to censure Del. Mary Ann Lisanti, whose district is in Harford County, for her use of the n-word. The Democrat was heard using the slur to describe a district in Prince George’s County during an event at a cigar bar in Annapolis in January.

Rachel Baye

Calls for state Del. Mary Ann Lisanti to resign are growing after it was revealed this week that she used a racial slur to refer to residents of Prince George’s County. The Democrat from Harford County has already been stripped of her leadership position, but the state Legislative Black Caucus and other groups say that’s not enough.

Rachel Baye

During government shutdowns like the one that ended last month, federal employees who are considered “essential” and have to report to work without pay are not eligible for federal unemployment benefits. So Maryland lawmakers have devised a way to provide some help during the next shutdown.

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Dozens of gun-rights advocates testified in Annapolis on Monday on a bill that would ban 3-D printed and other homemade guns that lack serial numbers, what are sometimes referred to as “ghost guns” because they are harder to trace.

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State lawmakers are set to consider Friday whether Johns Hopkins University should establish its own private police department, an effort that has been met with resistance from university faculty, staff, students, alumni and neighbors.

Rachel Baye

The way Maryland regulates the alcohol, tobacco and petroleum industries is at the center of a political fight between state legislators and Comptroller Peter Franchot.

Rachel Baye

Audio to be added.

A long-awaited report by the Commission on Innovation and Excellence in Education — better known as the Kirwan Commission — recommends full-day preschool for all low-income 3 and 4-year-olds, higher academic standards, more training for teachers and raising teacher pay. And it proposes creating an “independent oversight board” to ensure that the new policies, once they are approved, are properly implemented.

The report, released Thursday, recommends rolling out the changes over the next decade.

Rachel Baye

Irma Pretsfelder was born in 1926 in a small village in Germany. She was 11 years old in November 1938, when the synagogue where she went to school was burned, during what is known as Kristallnacht.

“The next morning, policemen came and said to my father, ‘I have to take you into custody,’” she told the state Senate Education, Health and Environmental Affairs Committee Wednesday afternoon. “‘But why are you taking me? What have I done?’ He said, ‘I have to obey orders. I have to take you to the next town.’”

Rachel Baye

A state House committee is considering a bill gradually raising Maryland’s minimum wage to $15 an hour in the next five years. Local leaders, business owners and labor union representatives came to express their support for the bill.

Rachel Baye

Maryland elected officials are fighting over who should decide academic calendars for public schools.

Gov. Larry Hogan in 2016 signed an executive order requiring schools to start after Labor Day and end by June 15. He is now trying to write that change into the state code, while the Senate gave initial approval on Thursday to a bill reversing Hogan’s order.

Rachel Baye / WYPR

For a second year, Gov. Larry Hogan has proposed the creation of an inspector general within the state Department of Education to investigate reports of fraud and abuse in public schools.

At a hearing before a Senate committee Wednesday, Democratic committee members questioned whether the move would accomplish anything.

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