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Baltimore City Council

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The Baltimore City Council Committee hearing Wednesday night on revamping the 1980s-era "Dollar-A-House" program was packed.

WYPR City Hall Reporter Dominique Maria Bonessi was there, and talks about it with Nathan Sterner.

A bill introduced in the Baltimore City Council Monday night would prohibit the expansion of the city's two crude oil terminals, and forbid the building of new ones.

AP Photo/Dino Vournas

The Maryland Medical Cannabis Commission has already approved 11 dispensaries to be placed throughout Baltimore. But lack of strict zoning requirements has city residents worried about where the dispensaries will be located.

Mayor Catherine Pugh’s watered down bill aimed at imposing a mandatory minimum one-year sentence for possession of an illegal gun survived a preliminary vote in the city council Monday night.

The 8-7 vote came after opponents gathered outside City Hall demonstrate against the bill.

A plan to revitalize Baltimore is set to land at the City Council today. It comes with the price tag of $10 billion, and no one knows where that money would come from. 

Dominique Maria Bonessi

At times the hearing on Mayor Catherine Pugh's proposed gun bill got heated. After two and a half hours, two passed amendments, and two failed amendments, the public comment period opened. Protestors immediately interrupted the proceedings that were recessed for five minutes due to the protests. Two protestors were forcibly removed by police and arrested. 

Dominique Maria Bonessi

Morning Edition Host, Nathan Sterner, talks to City Hall Reporter, Dominique Maria Bonessi, about whether or not the gun bill introduced at City Council Monday night would actually reduce gun violence. Bonessi shares her interview with Laura Dugan, professor of Criminology and Criminal Justice at the University of Maryland. Also, listen to more to the research on mandatory-minimums for jail sentences and whether or not they reduce crime.

Dominique Maria Bonessi

The mayor's gun bill introduced to city council Monday night would make possession of a gun a mandatory one-year jail sentence. Currently, six city councilmen sit on the fence of the controversial legislation. Councilwoman Mary Pat Clarke is one of those on the fence. Even though the guns are illegal, Baltimore is a tough city and her constituents tell her they’re scared.

Dominique Maria Bonessi

Morning Edition Host, Nathan Sterner, talks to WYPR's City Hall Reporter, Dominique Maria Bonessi on the gun bill dividing Baltimore City Council. Last week Mayor Catherine Pugh and Police Commissioner Kevin Davis proposed a bill that would make possession of a gun in a public place in Baltimore a mandatory sentence of one year. That bill was introduced on the council floor last night with some councilmen, like District Two's, Brandon Scott, saying that it was a "blanket call that would send more people to jail."

Rachel Baye

Facing record levels of violence, Baltimore officials are grappling with the best way to curb the violence, Mayor Catherine Pugh met with Governor Larry Hogan Monday afternoon to strategize.

At the top of her list, Pugh said she plans to bring in a team from the U.S. Department of Justice next month to help the city strategize.

PUGHFORMAYOR.COM

Baltimore City schools officials failed to report a $100 million pension liability to the city government in fiscal year 2015, according to the city auditor.

Auditor Robert McCarty told the Board of Estimates about the missing information Wednesday morning.

"In their report they did not include their liability to the city's employee retirement system [ERS] of $100 million," McCarty said after the meeting. "In their opinion, it was a liability of the city of Baltimore to the ERS."

The Baltimore City Council has approved a resolution upholding the Paris Climate Accord -- an agreement President Trump backed the US out of earlier this month. WYPR's Dominique Maria Bonessi shares the details with Nathan Sterner.

Dominique Maria Bonessi

Plans for a 157-unit apartment building in Roland Park has split community residents. And it came to a head yesterday as the city council gave preliminary approval to a bill to allow the project at Falls Road and Northern Parkway.

As the vote was taken opponents of the project, wearing white T-shirts emblazoned with the slogan, "Don't OVERLOOK Us,"  stood up and disrupted the meeting. Jack Young, city council president, banged his gavel, telling the residents they were out of order and they left.

The Baltimore City Council voted unanimously Monday night to make deep cuts to Mayor Catherine Pugh's budget plan for the coming fiscal year. 

Baltimore City 2018 FY Budget

 

Parents, administrators, and community activists made their case to city council last night for additional funds for youth, after-school, and additional educational opportunities.

On Monday night, the majority of the Baltimore City Council voted to confirm five new members of the city's Civilian Review Board, which is charged with examining complaints against police.

Resolutions were a big part of the Baltimore City Council's agenda when it met Monday night. WYPR City Hall Reporter Dominique Maria Bonessi was at the meeting, and gave Nathan Sterner the details.

Dominique Maria Bonessi

With just a few weeks before budget hearings at Baltimore City Hall, police officials appeared a public safety meeting Tuesday chaired by Councilman Brandon Scott, to talk about fighting violence in the city. WYPR's Dominique Maria Bonessi was there, and spoke with Nathan Sterner about what happened.

Dominique Maria Bonessi

Baltimore has recorded 101 homicides this year; at the same time last year, the city had only seen 77. Last night, the City Council debated several measures dealing with public safety and the city's Police Department. WYPR City Hall Reporter Dominique Maria Bonessi gave Nathan Sterner this update.

Joel McCord and Kenneth Burns, of the WYPR news team, try to figure out why a state senator wants to increase the residency requirements to run for mayor and city council in Baltimore.

Clarke optimistic about minimum wage bill

Feb 7, 2017
P. Kenneth Burns

Baltimore Councilwoman Mary Pat Clarke said Monday that the city is in a good position to raise the minimum wage to $15 in five years.

“We’re in about the best position we can be in,” Clarke said.  “Sure, we’re coming from a setback, but we’ve surged; we’ve grown [economically] as twice the rate of the state itself.”

Young calls for partners to address city problems

Dec 8, 2016
P. Kenneth Burns

Baltimore 72nd City Council took office Thursday with more than half of its members newly elected.

Council President Jack Young said that the members will focus on reducing crime, reducing the number of vacant properties and increase affordable housing.  And, he said, he wants to partner with the private sector to accomplish those tasks.

The big shift in the Baltimore City Council

Nov 17, 2016
P. Kenneth Burns

In less than a month, the Baltimore City Council will undergo its biggest change since 2003 when it went from multi-member districts to single member districts.

Why the 1st District council race is a real contest

Oct 27, 2016
P. Kenneth Burns

Republicans believe they can achieve something for the first time since the 1940s; elect a member of their party to the Baltimore City Council.

It started when Republican Larry Hogan took the city’s first councilmanic district on the way to Government House (the governor’s residence) two years ago.  The GOP began thinking they might be able to break the Democrats’ stranglehold on City Hall.

City minimum wage bill delayed...possibly dead

Aug 15, 2016
P. Kenneth Burns

The Baltimore City Council sent a bill raising the city’s minimum wage to $15 an hour back to committee Monday. And it looks like it may not come back out before the next city council takes office in December. 

Minimum support for new minimum wage

Aug 10, 2016

    

A proposal to increase the city's minimum wage to $15 an hour squeaked past a preliminary vote Monday. But will it have enough votes for final passage? Fraser Smith and Kenneth Burns, of the WYPR reporting team, assess the chances.

P. Kenneth Burns

Baltimore City is one step closer to raising its minimum wage to $15 an hour.  But it’s not clear if there will be enough votes next week to make it final.  City Councilwoman Mary Pat Clarke’s proposal squeaked by in a preliminary vote Monday.

But that vote, 7-4 with three abstentions, was one short of the number needed for final passage.

Mosby out; backs Pugh

Apr 19, 2016

Baltimore City Councilman Nick Mosby announced Wednesday that he is no longer running for mayor and is throwing his support behind state Senator Catherine Pugh.

The announcement in front of City Hall came hours before early voting is to begin in the primary race that largely decides city races due to the overwhelming number of registered Democrats.

Costello challenged from south and west in 11th

Apr 13, 2016

  Baltimore City Councilman Eric Costello is running for his own term on the council and is facing a number of challengers.

He has represented the district since October 2014 when he was chosen to succeed Bill Cole, who was appointed head of the Baltimore Development Corporation by Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake.

Welch under fire in challenged ninth district

Apr 13, 2016

  

William “Pete” Welch has represented the 9th district, which includes West and Southwest Baltimore, on the city council since January 2011.  He was appointed to finish the term of his mother, Agnes Welch, who retired in December 2010 after nearly three decades.

Two challengers – John Bullock and Jerrell Bratcher – accuse Welch of not doing enough for the district.  There are three other challengers in the April 26 Democratic Primary; Nathaniel Anderson, J.B. Kenney and Shawn Key.

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