Maryland General Assembly | WYPR

Maryland General Assembly

Rachel Baye

Former state Del. Cheryl Glenn accepted $33,750 in bribes between March 2018 and February 2019 in exchange for supporting several bills in Annapolis, according to criminal charges filed in federal court in July and unsealed Monday.

Rachel Baye

State Del. Cheryl Glenn resigned Wednesday, effective immediately. Glenn was the chair of the Baltimore City delegation in the House of Delegates and previously led the Legislative Black Caucus in Annapolis.

House Speaker Adrienne Jones announced Glenn’s resignation Thursday morning. Jones said Glenn didn’t give a reason for stepping down.

Rachel Baye

Chronic understaffing at several state agencies is forcing employees to work 80-hour workweeks and endure dangerous work environments, some employees told state lawmakers at a briefing Tuesday.

Rachel Baye / WYPR

Maryland Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller announced Thursday that he is relinquishing his gavel when the General Assembly returns to Annapolis in January. The 76 year old has cancer and several related health issues.

“My mind is still strong but my body is weak,” Miller said at a press conference Thursday. “This is a fulltime job. It’s a statewide job. And we need somebody younger.”

Rachel Baye

The Maryland Senate will have a new leader for the first time in 33 years when the legislature reconvenes in January.

As expected, Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller, the longest continuously serving state Senate president in the country, announced Thursday that he will step down from his leadership role.

Rachel Baye

A state panel has proposed a highly anticipated revamp of the formula Maryland uses to fund public schools. The new formula would facilitate a major overhaul of public education in the state that would eventually increase spending on schools by roughly $4 billion a year.

The formula gradually increases the state’s share of education costs so that in the year 2030, the state would spend an additional $2.8 billion. Local jurisdictions would be on the hook for the remaining $1.2 billion.

Amy Davis / Baltimore Sun

A longtime member of the House of Delegates from Prince George’s County, Tawanna Gaines, has been charged with federal wire fraud. Gaines resigned from the legislature on Friday.

Prosecutors say Gaines collected more than $22,000 from campaign supporters in a PayPal account, then used that money on personal expenses. Gaines did not disclose the PayPal account in state campaign finance records.

Governor Larry Hogan named 11 new members Wednesday to the scandal plagued board of directors of the University of Maryland Medical System.

The announcement came the same day as the UMMS Board elected a new chair and vice chair and released a consultant’s report that found hospital management made business deals with individual board members without informing the rest of the board or an appropriate board committee.

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The race for speaker of the House of Delegates has narrowed. Speaker Pro Tem Adrienne Jones announced at a press conference Friday that she is dropping out of the running and backing Economic Matters Committee Chairman Dereck Davis in an effort to elect Maryland’s first African American speaker. Both Davis and Jones are African American.

Rachel Baye

Statements of grief and sympathy at the death of House Speaker Michael Busch came quickly from both sides of the political aisle and all around the state.

"My heart is broken for Mike Busch’s family, the State of Maryland, and the Speaker's extended family - elected officials and staff that he has been a mentor and coach to over his time in public service," Senate President Mike Miller wrote in a statement.

Maryland’s General Assembly heads into the last full week of its 90-day session with a number of issues yet to be resolved, including legislation that would strip trash incinerators of their “green energy” label and  bills to raise the legal smoking age to 21 and to forbid members of the University of Maryland Medical System’s board of directors from doing business with the system.

Gov. Larry Hogan introduced his bill to redraw the state’s Sixth and Eighth Congressional Districts Friday, but the Democratic leaders who drew the original districts don’t appear to be receptive to the Republican governor’s plan.

It’s a safe bet that the conflict of interest controversy over the University of Maryland Medical System doing business with members of its board of directors will suck up much of the energy in Annapolis as the General Assembly begins its two week sprint to  adjournment at midnight April 8.

A House of Delegates committee heard testimony Friday on an emergency bill introduced by Speaker Mike Busch aimed at keeping board members from doing business with the medical system. And a Senate committee heard testimony on a similar bill from Baltimore Democrat Jill Carter two weeks ago. Both bills appear to have solid bi-partisan support.

Monday is cross-over day in the General Assembly, the day when bills must cross from one house to the other to be guaranteed full consideration.

In addition, Democratic Party leaders are rushing to get controversial bills, such as the minimum wage increase to Gov. Larry Hogan’s desk in time to force an override vote before the end of session, or before Sen. Will Smith, a Montgomery County Democrat who is in the Navy Reserve, leaves for duty in Afghanistan.

Still, there are some things happening in committees this week, and some bills have already made it from one chamber to the other.

Much like last week, the bulk of the action in Annapolis remains on the floors of both chambers where agendas are frequently determined on a day to day basis.

Lawmakers are working to beat the deadline known as cross-over day—March 18 this year--when bills must cross from one house to the other to be guaranteed full consideration. In fact, Senate President Mike Miller has suggested he might schedule two floor sessions a day in order to get bills through.

But that doesn’t mean nothing’s happening in the committees. Legislative leaders have scheduled hearings on bills involving medical marijuana, sports betting, voter registration and abortion, among other issues.

Much of the action in Annapolis this week moves to the floors of both chambers where agendas are frequently determined on a day to day basis. Lawmakers are working to beat the deadline known as cross-over day--March 18 this year--when bills must cross from one house to the other to be guaranteed full consideration.

In addition, legislative leaders are trying to get some of the more controversial bills, like the minimum wage increase, to Gov. Larry Hogan’s desk in time for a potential veto override vote before March 29. That’s the date Sen. Will Smith, a Montgomery County Democrat and Naval Reserve officer, leaves to deploy to Afghanistan.

Maryland’s General Assembly steamed past the halfway point in its 90-day session last week and things are starting to get serious in Annapolis. This week, one committee takes up Maryland’s own version of the Affordable Care Act.

Others will take up bills to tighten some gun control laws and ease others, changes to Maryland’s medical marijuana program, bills to expand voter registration, an effort to get Exelon to help pay for cleaning up when that mess that’s behind the Conowingo Dam comes pouring through the flood gates.

It’s alcohol week in the Maryland General Assembly, with legislative committees taking up local liquor license bills for jurisdictions throughout the state as well as the bill that has led to early fireworks in this session. It would strip the State Comptroller of regulatory control over alcoholic beverages.

Also on the agenda are bills on workplace harassment, gun control, same day voter registration and a prohibition on smoking marijuana while driving.

The battle over school starting and ending dates continues this week in Annapolis as the state Senate is set to vote on a bill allowing local school boards to set their own dates and House of Delegates committees are to hold hearings on similar bills. Also on the agenda in the Maryland General Assembly are bills to reinstate Maryland’s death penalty, squash Governor Larry Hogan’s plan for a new Redskins stadium in Prince George’s County and prohibit local school boards from spending money to arm teachers and more. Here is a partial list of committee hearings and other items of interest in Annapolis for Feb. 11-15.