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.

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Baltimore County Sen. Bobby Zirkin and Prince George’s County Del. Joseph Vallario lead the powerful judiciary committees in the Senate and House, respectively.

They also received more campaign contributions from the bail bonds industry than any other Maryland lawmakers since 2011, according to a report released Wednesday by Common Cause Maryland, which advocates for campaign finance reform and transparency in government. In fact, the report says, they received more money from the industry than nearly all other state-level candidates in the country.

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Gov. Larry Hogan’s proposed budget for the fiscal year that begins in July closes an estimated $544 million revenue shortfall and ends with a balanced budget. The Republican executive, a proud fiscal conservative, touted this achievement when he announced his budget last week.

But Warren Deschenaux, the state’s top policy analyst, warned a joint meeting of the House Appropriations and Senate Budget and Taxation committees that state spending is likely to outpace revenues by more than $300 million in the following fiscal year, not counting a few tax cuts Hogan has proposed. And the deficit is likely to grow to more than $1 billion four years later.

Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh told a panel of Baltimore City representatives in the House of Delegates on Friday that the state’s cash bail system is likely unconstitutional.

Rachel Baye

With proposals from both parties in Annapolis, many state lawmakers are predicting that this is the year the state requires businesses to offer employees paid sick leave.

On one side, Democratic legislators have proposed various versions of a sick leave requirement for five consecutive years. For the first time this year, Republican Gov. Larry Hogan promises to introduce his own version of the concept.

Rachel Baye

When Gov. Larry Hogan highlighted parts of his proposed budget on Tuesday, he said it seemed too good to be true. He said he closed a $544-million revenue shortfall with “no serious cuts.” But the budget released Wednesday did reveal some cuts, including the elimination of much of a $290-million package passed last year in an effort to revitalize Baltimore.

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Gov. Larry Hogan gave legislative leaders a preview of his budget Tuesday morning at a breakfast meeting.

Though the Republican executive didn’t release any budget documents, he promised a smaller overall budget with no tax increases and no major spending cuts. He said the budget would maintain level funding for most services and increase spending on public schools, as required by state law.

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Gov. Larry Hogan announced Thursday a series of measures aimed at assisting crime victims and their families.

One of the proposals would allow prosecutors of sex crimes to use as evidence a suspect’s previous sexual assault convictions.

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The Maryland General Assembly kicked off the 2017 session at noon Wednesday. But while speaking with WEAA’s Marc Steiner just a few hours earlier at an event hosted by The Daily Record, Senate President Mike Miller offered a prediction on a topic expected to be controversial during the session: whether legislators will ban hydraulic fracturing, the natural gas extraction method better known as fracking.

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The 2017 Maryland General Assembly opens for business on Wednesday.  During their annual 90-day legislative session, more than 180 lawmakers from across the state, in the Senate and the House of Delegates, will be drilling down into hundreds of pieces of legislation on issues affecting Marylanders in all walks of life – from business, schools and the environment, to transportation and criminal justice.  They’ll be wrestling with complex tax and budget challenges.  And the 2017 session promises what most recent General Assemblies have provided: pitched partisan battles between the Democratically – controlled legislature and Maryland’s Republican governor, Larry Hogan.  Today on Midday, two intrepid State House reporters join Tom for a closer look at some of the key legislative issues before the General Assembly, and predict where Maryland lawmakers and the Governor are likely to clash, and where they might also find agreement.

Erin Cox is The Baltimore Sun's State House bureau chief.   Rachel Baye covers the legislature for us here at WYPR.  They'll be with us for the full hour, and we'll also take your calls, emails and tweets.

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A group of 59 local and state elected officials, including 21 members of the General Assembly, have signed a letter urging Gov. Larry Hogan and state legislators to ban hydraulic fracturing, or fracking.

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State lawmakers are gearing up for a fight over a bill requiring the state to generate more electricity from renewable sources.

A new report from the state attorney general’s office found roughly 3,700 untested sexual assault evidence kits dating back as far as 1981. The Baltimore City Police has the second-highest number of untested kits of any law enforcement agency in the state, with 871 through 2016.

The report released Tuesday recommends several changes to how police handle the evidence collected from sexual assault victims statewide.

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A few dozen members of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees labor union’s Maryland chapter protested Thursday outside Government House, where Gov. Larry Hogan lives. The group was calling attention to problems with the state’s new payroll system that it says has shortchanged several hundred corrections workers.

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A state panel voted Thursday to restrict when and how the Department of Juvenile Services shackles children in its custody while transporting them to and from detention centers. The recommendations will result in changes to department policy and, in some cases, state law.

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Gov. Larry Hogan plans to introduce legislation repealing a transportation law passed by the General Assembly last spring, he announced at a press conference Wednesday.

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State lawmakers voted Tuesday to approve a $20 million incentive for aerospace and defense giant Northrop Grumman. The money is intended to motivate the company to keep 10,000 jobs in Maryland and spend $100 million on new office space in Linthicum.

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The General Assembly reconvenes in Annapolis in just more than a month, and one of the biggest issues facing members will be filling the state budget’s roughly $400 million deficit. On Friday, legislative leaders and a representative from the governor’s office made some predictions about what’s to come at the Maryland Association of Counties conference on the Eastern Shore.

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A state legislative committee voted Thursday in favor of changes to how and when the Department of Juvenile Services strip searches children and adolescents in its custody. However, the group delayed decisions about new regulations for when and how to shackle youth.

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A legislative committee is expected to vote Thursday to limit shackling and strip searching children. The proposals will likely lead to new Department of Juvenile Services policies almost immediately.

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The state agency that oversees services for people with disabilities has for years directed health care providers to overcharge patients, according to a state audit released Tuesday. Residents may have lost millions to the error, and they may not be able to get the money back. 

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The Maryland Department of Transportation plans to replace the Harry W. Nice Memorial Bridge that crosses the Potomac River from Charles County in southern Maryland to King George County, Virginia, Gov. Larry Hogan announced Monday.

The announcement comes roughly six months after Hogan vetoed a bill the Democrat-controlled legislature passed to set aside money to replace the bridge.

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Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake promised on Thursday that immigrants will continue to be welcome in Charm City, and that the city police will not be actively checking immigration status.

The promises were a reaction to President-elect Donald Trump’s proposed immigration policies and could cost Baltimore some of its federal funding.

Rachel Baye

The Baltimore City Council gave initial approval Monday to a ban on hydraulic fracturing, or fracking.

The move coincided with a resolution pushing for a statewide ban and is largely symbolic. The ban will effectively be repealed when the state’s drilling moratorium ends next year.

Rachel Baye

When it comes to women in politics, Maryland has been a national leader for decades. It was the first state to have a bipartisan women’s legislative caucus, and it ranks seventh nationwide in terms of the portion of women in the state legislature.

Sen. Barbara Mikulski is a large part of the reason for Maryland’s legacy of woman leadership, said Debbie Walsh, director of the Center for American Women and Politics at Rutgers University. A 30-year Senate veteran, Mikulski is known as the “dean” of women in the chamber and a leader on women’s rights.

Mikulski is retiring when her term ends in January, and on Tuesday, Maryland voters elected Democratic U.S. Rep. Chris Van Hollen to fill her seat. The result is Maryland’s first all-male congressional delegation since 1971.

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Despite the grim returns in national races, Maryland Democrats celebrated victories in House and Senate races.

Congressman Chris Van Hollen defeated Republican Kathy Szeliga for the open Senate seat vacated by retiring Senator Barbara Mikulski. State Senator Jamie Raskin won his race to replace Van Hollen in congress and former Lieutenant Governor Anthony Brown won his race for Congress.

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This post was updated at 8:30 a.m. on Friday, Nov. 4.

Early voting ended Thursday, and record numbers of Maryland residents cast ballots before Election Day this year. Here is a look at the numbers:

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With Election Day less than a week away, Sen. Ben Cardin and Rep. Chris Van Hollen visited Baltimore's Lexington Market on Wednesday to remind voters to go to the polls.

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In addition to the candidates on the ballot this year, Maryland has one statewide ballot measure. A “yes” vote on the measure, Question 1, would change what happens when the state attorney general or comptroller leaves office between normal election cycles.

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In Western Maryland, politics can be a sensitive subject.

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State officials are reapplying for a federal grant to expand Baltimore’s 121-year-old Howard Street Tunnel, which CSX Transportation uses for its freight trains, Gov. Larry Hogan announced Monday during a news conference at the Port of Baltimore.

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