General Assembly | WYPR

General Assembly

Rachel Baye

  

Just before the U.S. Senate confirmed Betsy DeVos Tuesday, Democrats in Annapolis held a press conference tying Republican Gov. Larry Hogan to the controversial new education secretary.

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The state Senate voted Thursday to override Gov. Larry Hogan’s veto of a bill requiring the state to increase the portion of its electricity that comes from renewable sources. The House voted to overturn the veto on Tuesday, so the bill now becomes law.

The bill requires Maryland to get 25 percent of its electricity from renewable sources by the year 2020, increasing existing requirements.

The measure passed on party lines.

Democrats say the measure helps the environment while creating jobs.

The Governor's Office

Gov. Larry Hogan’s State of the State address Wednesday marked the halfway point in Hogan’s term.

The 25-minute speech focused heavily on Hogan’s legislative agenda, from expanding charter schools to tax breaks for public safety officials and military veterans. As Hogan named each of his priorities, he took a moment to reflect on what he has already accomplished before outlining what’s still left to do.

Rachel Baye

Democrats in Annapolis are preparing a slew of legislation and other initiatives that they say are direct responses to President Donald Trump and anticipated changes in federal policy. Among them is a bill that would make Maryland a sanctuary state for immigrants without legal status.

Rachel Baye

If Maryland lawmakers want to pass a fracking ban during the General Assembly’s current session, they need to get it past Baltimore Sen. Joan Carter Conway, chairman of the Senate committee that oversees environmental legislation. And as Conway told a room full of environmental activists in Annapolis on Thursday, that that’s not likely.

Brendan Reynolds

Advocates for death with dignity bills—one in the House and one in the Senate--launched a renewed drive in Annapolis Wednesday, optimistic their bills will pass this year.

The bills, which would allow physicians to prescribe lethal drugs to terminally ill patients, died in the face of stiff opposition during the last two General Assembly sessions. But Kim Callinan, chief program officer for Compassion and Choices, the group backing the bills, said polls show that a majority of Marylanders favor the bill.

Rachel Baye

The Maryland Senate delayed a vote Thursday to override Gov. Larry Hogan’s veto of a bill requiring the state to increase its use of renewable energy. Senate Republicans asked to delay the vote until next week, citing new information from the state Public Service Commission.

Flickr-Creative Commons

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.

Rachel Baye

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.

Rachel Baye

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.

Rachel Baye

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.

Baltimore County

Maryland’s General Assembly returns to Annapolis Wednesday, and Baltimore County lawmakers are arriving with a wish list.

Any legislator you talk to will tell you numero uno for Baltimore County in this session is money for schools. Same goes for County Executive Kevin Kamenetz. He plans to have all county schools air conditioned in a couple of years and wants more state money to help with that.

Rachel Baye

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.

Rachel Baye

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.

Rachel Baye

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.

Rachel Baye / WYPR

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.

Rachel Baye

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.

Rachel Baye / WYPR

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.

Rachel Baye

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.

Rachel Baye

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.

Rachel Baye / WYPR

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.

Rachel Baye / WYPR

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. 

Rachel Baye

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.

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.

Maryland Transit Opportunities Coalition

State and local elected officials from the Baltimore and Washington metro areas are calling for a transit network that would connect their respective regions. The policy makers joined activists at a press conference Tuesday morning in front of Baltimore’s Penn Station, gearing up for a political fight that could last through the spring's General Assembly session.

The transit system the group envisions would build off MARC and the D.C. Metrorail. It would extend from Martinsburg, West Virginia to the west, to Waldorf, Maryland, to the south, all the way up Elkton, on Maryland’s Delaware line.

Rachel Baye

A poll released Monday by Goucher College found that Marylanders are increasingly divided over whether the state should ban hydraulic fracturing, also known as fracking.

The state’s moratorium on the practice is set to end in October 2017, when the Department of the Environment plans to begin issuing drilling licenses.

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