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WYPR News

News coverage, Series and Commentary from WYPR's award winning news staff.

Rachel Baye

 

A new poll released Tuesday shows that Gov. Larry Hogan is as popular as ever. With the election a little more than six months away, 70 percent of the Maryland residents polled by Goucher College approve of the way he is doing his job.

But the poll also shows that Hogan’s re-election is far from a sure thing. Less than half of likely voters said they would pick Hogan over one of seven Democrats vying to unseat him, and about a quarter said they were undecided.

Measures to be introduced at Monday night’s city council meeting would require local lobbyists to disclose more information and create public financing for city campaigns. The bills come prior to the June primary election.

Baltimore County’s school board voted Tuesday night to remove the word "acting" from Verletta White’s title and make it just Superintendent of Schools.

Now, White, who has been acting superintendent for nearly a year, says it’s time to hit the reset button and begin working to restore people’s faith in the county school system.

John Lee

The Baltimore County School Board Tuesday night decided to delay a decision to renovate Lansdowne High School until its next meeting in May.

Some board members objected to the planned renovation, saying that Lansdowne is considered the high school in the worst shape in the county and should be replaced.

Dominique Maria Bonessi

City Councilman Brandon Scott is to introduce legislation at tonight’s city council meeting requiring each city agency to study whether their policies are discriminatory. This would also require a fund to made.

Scott, a candidate for Lieutenant Governor, is proposing two bills to deal with inequity in city agencies. One of which, would create a charter amendment to assure funding.

Yuya Tamai/flickr

The Baltimore County Council is considering tightening up the laws on pet owners to protect animals from extreme weather. 

 

But council members were warned Tuesday that what they were considering might actually do pets harm.

 

 

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. 

Mary Rose Madden / wypr

The clouds of state and federal felony convictions cleared from Omar Burley’s life Monday as state prosecutors cleared him of all charges against him. Federal prosecutors had cleared Burley of their charges back in December.

Burley, who served seven years of a 15-year sentence in federal prison before he was freed last August, had been framed by Baltimore’s now discredited Gun Trace Task Force.

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.

@Kaepernick7/flickr

The Ravens signed an accomplished African-American quarterback who has been out of football for an extended period to join their roster last week.

But if you thought that signal caller’s name was Colin Kaepernick, you don’t pass go, and you don’t collect $200.

Instead of bringing in Kaepernick, the man who led the San Francisco 49ers to within a whisper of beating the Ravens in Super Bowl 47, the Baltimore brain trust instead signed Robert Griffin III.

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.

John Lee

Reuben Jordan is grabbing a snack before class at the cafe on The Community College of Baltimore County’s Essex campus. Jordan is 34 and has been going to college off and on for ten years, but keeps getting derailed. Twice family members have died just before he was to take final exams. But now Jordan is back and has his sights set on being trained in respiratory care.

 

“I’m just trying to be successful, get my career under way and hopefully on to bigger and better things,” Jordan said.

 

 

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.

Baltimore City Public Schools

Baltimore City school officials are considering moving from their long-time headquarters on North Avenue—the building that once housed Baltimore Polytechnic Institute. But it’s unclear when, or if, that will happen.

Latest Addition to Baltimore's 21st Century Schools

Apr 5, 2018
Jonna McKone

Five years ago a coalition of state and city agencies embarked on an ambitious, $1 billion plan to renovate, replace and combine at least 23 of the most run-down and under-enrolled schools in Baltimore—all by the spring of 2022. Dorothy I. Height Elementary in Reservoir Hill was among two of those new, 21st Century Schools that opened Wednesday.

John Lee

 

 

 

The Baltimore County School Board’s meeting Tuesday night broke out in open warfare, as members grappled with two controversial issues. The board green lighted a $140 million computer contract, and decided to move ahead on a nationwide search for a new school superintendent.  

Dominique Maria Bonessi

About 25 residents gathered at Mount Pleasant Church for the Baltimore City Police Department's consent decree monitoring team's first quarterly community forum Tuesday night. Ironically, that's the same church where the funeral for slain Det. Sean Suiter took place in November. Shantay Guy, one of the monitoring team members and executive director of Baltimore Community Mediation Center, said that was only a coincidence. She wasn't aware the church was the scene of the funeral. 

Revisiting '68: The Fire Last Time'

Apr 4, 2018
AP Photo

In April 2008, 40 years after the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., WYPR aired a special news series "68: The Fire Last Time." The series examined the local civil rights movement and the response to Dr. King's assassination, the Baltimore City riots, and the aftermath. 

The WYPR news team interviewed some of the most notable public figures of that era: Former Governor Marvin Mandel, Mayor Thomas D'Alesandro, III, Reverend Marion Bascom and Morgan State professor Homer Favor. Residents also gave their account of the turbulent time. 

WYPR revisits this series on the 50th anniversary of Dr. King's death.

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.

John Lee

There were calls last night to change the way Baltimore County government conducts itself. 

 

On the same night the county council considered changes to the county charter, protesters demanded an audit, as well as more access to lawmakers and transparency.

 

 

@MarkRypien/Twitter

Mark Rypien’s first act was one many would kill for.

Rypien was a two-time All Star in the National Football League, playing for 11 seasons and for five different teams.

In 1992, Rypien led the Washington team to a Super Bowl championship and was named the game’s Most Valuable Player for his efforts.

If Rypien’s football life was a dream, his post-playing career has been a nightmare, marked with depression, anxiety, alleged domestic violence against his wife, and, by his own admission, bad decisions.

Dominique Maria Bonessi

Senator Ben Cardin visited what must be one of the safest schools in Maryland Thursday morning to talk with students about gun violence, both in and out of school. The school has security guards, cameras and an electric gate.

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.

Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh unveiled her $2.8 billion budget for the coming fiscal year yesterday at a meeting of the Board of Estimates. The budget projects maintaining the property tax rate at $2.25 per $100 of assessed value.

Baltimore County

  

  The Baltimore County Council is deciding whether to ask voters to force the county executive to cough up information when council members demand it. It’s part of a proposed change to the county’s charter.

 

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.

Flickr/Creative Commons

We’re just a few days away from the launch of a new baseball season.

Across the area, from Woodbine in the west, to Whiteford in the east, from the Hereford zone up north all the way to Harwood in the south, there’s no consensus about how to approach this Orioles campaign.

Melissa Archer, MD Dept. of Housing & Community Development

More than half of the rental units in Baltimore City are one and two-family homes, according to a study by the University of Maryland Carey School of Law. And the owners of those properties aren’t held to the same standards as the owners of multi-family units, which can create problems for the tenants.

Take, for example, the case of Kia Rogers, a single mother of two.

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.

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