Rachel Baye | WYPR

Rachel Baye

Reporter

Rachel Baye is a reporter for WYPR covering Maryland state politics and related topics.

She came to WYPR in 2015 from the Center for Public Integrity, a nonprofit investigative journalism organization in Washington, D.C., where she covered the influence of money on state politics across the country. Rachel previously covered Washington, D.C.'s Maryland suburbs and education for The Washington Examiner. In 2014, she dug into political contributions to Washington, D.C. politicians by city contractors as part of a project by WAMU and American University's Investigative Reporting Workshop, and she contributed research to the book longtime ABC anchor Ted Koppel published in October 2015.  Her work has also appeared in several national and regional print and web outlets.

Rachel has a master's degree in journalism from American University and a bachelor's from the University of Pennsylvania. While in school, she held internships at Philadelphia’s public radio station, WHYY, on the live talk show Radio Times with Marty Moss-Coane, and with CNN’s investigative team.

Rachel Baye

The Maryland General Assembly ended on Monday night after legislators waded through more than 2,500 bills in the 90-day session. 

Here are some of the most notable bills to pass in the session, along with links to the legislation and WYPR's coverage. 

Joel McCord

The General Assembly wrapped up its 90-day session in Annapolis Monday night with a flurry of activity, passing bills to increase minimum sentences for some repeat offenders, tightening school safety measures and diversifying the medical marijuana industry.

Many lawmakers, including Gov. Larry Hogan, began the legislative session seeking an answer to the recent spike in violent crime in Baltimore. On Monday, the legislature passed what some lawmakers said is part of the solution:  mandatory minimum sentences for repeat offenders caught illegally carrying a gun.

Rachel Baye

The General Assembly voted Monday morning to pass a bill designed to open medical marijuana growing to minority-owned businesses, and specifically to African-Americans. The bill was the Maryland Legislative Black Caucus’s top priority in Annapolis this year.

Rachel Baye

The General Assembly voted Thursday to override Gov. Larry Hogan’s veto of two school-focused bills. One of these takes oversight of school construction projects away from the Board of Public Works, which Hogan presides over.

Rachel Baye

Gov. Larry Hogan on Wednesday morning vetoed a bill taking the Board of Public Works out of the school construction approval process.

The Interagency Committee on School Construction, or IAC, makes recommendations to the Board of Public Works on school construction projects. The bill instead makes the IAC independent and gives it final approval of those projects.

Rachel Baye

With less than a week to go before the General Assembly’s 90-day session ends, legislators are racing to pass the bills that remain unsettled. On Tuesday, legislators considered measures dealing with topics such as guns, medical marijuana and net neutrality.

Rachel Baye

A bill intended to diversify Maryland’s medical marijuana industry gained initial approval in the state Senate Monday night. The legislation is the state Legislative Black Caucus’s top priority in Annapolis this year.

Rachel Baye

Former State Sen. Nathaniel Oaks pleaded guilty to two wire fraud charges Thursday morning, two hours after resigning his seat representing West Baltimore. The 71-year-old Democrat had been scheduled to stand trial in about two weeks.

Wikimedia Commons

  

It is illegal for a correctional officer to engage in sexual acts with people in their custody, but most law enforcement officials don’t face the same restriction. State lawmakers are considering legislation that would close that loophole.

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.

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.

Wikimedia Commons

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.

Monday was "Cross-over Day" in the General Assembly. By the end of the day bills that have passed in either the House or the Senate stand the best chance of  "crossing over" to the opposite chamber for consideration.

WYPR’s state politics reporter Rachel Baye joins Morning Edition host Nathan Sterner to discuss the rush of last minute legislating.

Monday, March 19, was the 69th day of the Maryland General Assembly's annual session. It's what's known in the State House as Cross-over Day. All bills must pass at least one chamber of the General Assembly and "cross-over" to the other to have a decent chance of getting to the governor's desk.

WYPR's state politics reporter, Rachel Baye, joins news director Joel McCord to discuss what will make it and what might not.

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.

Wikimedia Commons

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.

Rachel Baye

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.


Rachel Baye

 

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.

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