Mon August 11, 2014
MD Lawmakers On Iraq, Election Reform, Common Core, & Calls For A Later First Day Of School
Maryland lawmakers react to the situation in Iraq. MD Comptroller Peter Franchot renews calls to delay the first day of school until after Labor Day. A report on the implementation of Common Core standards in MD classrooms. A look at Congressman John Delaney’s push for election reform. And much more.
MD Lawmakers On Iraq: The Obama Administration continued to launch airstrikes in Iraq over the weekend, in efforts to fight ISIS militants. 4th District Congresswoman Donna Edwards says President Obama knows what has to be done in Iraq. Representative Edwards weighed in on the situation in Iraq on NBC's "Meet the Press." US Senator Ben Cardin also talked about the situation yesterday, on “Fox News Sunday”; Cardin said the United States should not be using its military to take care of what the Iraqis should be taking care of. Senator Cardin also called Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri Al-Maliki's government the root cause of the recent violence, saying it hasn't protected the rights of all Iraqis. NPR has more here.
Calls For A Later First Day Of School: The man who oversees auditing Maryland's finances is renewing his call for a later first day of school. State Comptroller Peter Franchot has long been in favor of keeping public schools closed until September, after Labor Day. Most of Maryland’s 24 school systems now open in August. But Franchot says a post-Labor Day return would let families spend more time together... and bolster the state’s economy. Lawmakers on the Eastern Shore and Western Maryland are in favor of the idea, expecting it would boost tourism… but many education groups are opposed, saying the move would have a negative effect on teacher training. Earlier this year, a state task force formed to examine the issue voted in favor of pushing back the start date… but the Washington Post reports that the matter will ultimately be decided by the next governor and by the General Assembly, which will include many new members after November’s elections. Comptroller Franchot is launching a petition drive this week, to call on lawmakers to keep schools closed until after Labor Day. The effort aims to collect ten-thousand signatures before the General Assembly reconvenes in January.
Common Core: A Work In Progress: With one year under their belts, Maryland teachers are still learning how to apply the Common Core State Standards in their classrooms. In this installment of our series Common Core: A Work in Progress, WYPR's Gwendolyn Glenn visits a training site at the Universities at Shady Grove in Rockville attended by 400 teachers from around the state.
Delaney Embarks On Election Reform Effort: WYPR's Joel McCord and Karen Hosler talk about Democratic Rep. John Delaney's proposed bill that would reform the way the country does elections and why he's trying to play the long game. It’s this morning’s edition of Inside Maryland Politics.
Limited Tax-Free Shopping Week Underway: A limited tax-free shopping week is underway in Maryland. While the tax holiday is underway, Maryland will miss out on about $5-million in tax revenue… but State Comptroller Peter Franchot tells the Baltimore Sun that the week won’t hurt the state’s bottom line. Not everything is exempt from the six-percent sales tax, though. Only clothing and shoes that are $100 or less are tax-free… and even then, not ALL clothes are eligible. For example, cowboy boots are tax exempt, but fishing boots are not; you won’t have to pay sales tax on cold-weather gloves, but you will have to pay the tax on garden gloves and golf gloves. A list of what’s tax-exempt and what isn’t is here. State officials say the sales tax exemption applies to each eligible item, regardless of how many items you buy at the same time. Tax-free week runs through Saturday.
Baltimore’s Curfew: Baltimore now has one of the nation's strictest youth curfew laws. The expanded curfew which took effect Friday is aimed at curbing teenage criminal activity and keeping youngsters safe from gun violence. Groups like the American Civil Liberties Union think the stricter curfew may lead Baltimore police to stop and search more young black people even if they're not suspected of committing a crime. Under the law, anyone under the age of 14 must be indoors by 9pm; kids between the ages of 14 and 16 have to be home by 10pm on school nights and by 11pm on other nights. The Baltimore Sun has more.
Aid For Flash Flood Victims In Western MD: Western Maryland residents whose homes were damaged by flash floods in June can now apply for state aid. On Friday, Governor Martin O’Malley announced that grants of $5-thousand would be available to help cover medical, housing, and food expenses. About 200 homes in Allegany and Washington counties were destroyed by flash floods on June 12th. The Baltimore Sun has more.
Roller Coaster Malfunction: There are no reports of injuries after two dozen people had to be rescued from a stuck roller coaster at a theme park in Largo over the weekend. The riders were stuck about 45 feet in the air on the Joker's Jinx roller coaster at Six Flags America for about five hours yesterday afternoon. It's not yet known what caused the roller coaster to stop on the tracks but an investigation is underway. The Capital Gazette has more.
New Light Poles For Naval Academy Bridge: Beginning tonight, the Maryland State Highway Administration will upgrade the 80 light poles and fixtures on the Naval Academy Bridge in Annapolis. The work will include replacing poles and wiring and installing decorative, energy-efficient LED lighting. The work hours will be Sunday through Thursday nights, from 8 p.m. to 5 a.m. The work will be completed this fall. The Washington Post has more.
Million-Dollar Slot Machine: The only million-dollar slot machine in the Northeast made its debut at Maryland Live Casino over the weekend. The One-Million-Dollar Double Gold machine gives gamblers a chance at taking home a seven-figure check for a 500-dollar max bet. The Baltimore Sun has more.
Baltimore Baseball: The Orioles fell 8 to 3 to the St. Louis Cardinals in yesterday’s game. The O’s play against the New York Yankees at Camden Yards tonight; first pitch is set for 7:05pm.
Washington Baseball: The Washington Nationals fell 3 to 1 to the Atlanta Braves in their game yesterday.