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State lawmakers are considering a bipartisan package of bills aimed at making public schools better equipped to handle shootings.

On Thursday, the Senate Budget and Taxation Committee considered a bill establishing what the sponsor called a “last line of defense,” should a shooter get inside the building.

John Lee

A Baltimore County Councilman says the county is ignoring its own zoning laws. Councilman Wade Kach is proposing legislation he said would make the county abide by its own rules when building on county-owned property.

 

The Johns Hopkins University

The Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore is pushing for a state bill that would allow them to create their own police force. But some 2000 JHU students, faculty and staff say they don’t see the need.

Wikimedia Commons

The Maryland Legislative Black Caucus has for more than a year been fighting to bring more African American-owned businesses into the state’s fledgling medical marijuana industry. Legislation aimed at doing that has passed the House of Delegates and was considered Tuesday by the Senate Finance Committee. But the hearing raised questions about the effects the proposed changes would have on the price of the drug.

Monday was "Cross-over Day" in the General Assembly. By the end of the day bills that have passed in either the House or the Senate stand the best chance of  "crossing over" to the opposite chamber for consideration.

WYPR’s state politics reporter Rachel Baye joins Morning Edition host Nathan Sterner to discuss the rush of last minute legislating.

Monday, March 19, was the 69th day of the Maryland General Assembly's annual session. It's what's known in the State House as Cross-over Day. All bills must pass at least one chamber of the General Assembly and "cross-over" to the other to have a decent chance of getting to the governor's desk.

WYPR's state politics reporter, Rachel Baye, joins news director Joel McCord to discuss what will make it and what might not.

@UMBCAthletics/Twitter

There are those who will liken the UMBC men’s basketball team’s weekend in the NCAA tournament to an afternoon thunderstorm on a blistering hot July day. Yes, the atmosphere was shaken up for a brief time, but, in reality, the air goes back to its muggy condition in short order.

And yes, whatever betide you on Friday – cleaning out the garage, doing your taxes, clearing out your sock drawer -- is probably still staring you in the face on Monday.

Rachel Baye

In a largely bipartisan move, the Maryland House of Delegates voted Thursday night to ban bump stocks, the device used in the Las Vegas shooting last October to make a semi-automatic rifle fire rapidly like an automatic weapon.

Rachel Baye

  

The House of Delegates gave initial approval Thursday night to a bill raising the minimum age at which someone can get married to 17. The bill was also introduced during the previous two legislative sessions but was not successful.

John Lee

  Students walked out Wednesday at thousands of schools across the country, including Perry Hall High School in Baltimore County. They were demanding action on gun violence. 

 

Perry Hall High is in Congressman Andy Harris’s district, and the incumbent congressman is being challenged on his record of being a strong supporter of gun rights.

 

 

Dominique Maria Bonessi

Students in Baltimore and around the nation walked out of classes Wednesday to protest gun violence in the wake of the mass shooting at a Florida high school last month. About 200 students walked out of Hampstead Hill Academy in East Baltimore chanting, "No justice, no peace, no AR-15s!"

John Lee

  

It wasn’t supposed to be about her. But last night’s public hearing by the Baltimore County School Board on the qualifications for the next school superintendent turned into a referendum on interim school superintendent Verletta White.

 

In the lobby of the George Washington Carver Center for Arts and Technology in Towson, Oakleigh Elementary School Principal Sharon Mason was handing out white carnations to those who came out to support White.

 

“We know her,” Mason said. “We trust her. She’e been a great leader for us in the past year.”

 

BPD

  

After testimony in the Gun Trace Task Force trial revealed systemic corruption in Baltimore’s police department, state lawmakers filed bills in Annapolis aimed at making the department more transparent and accountable. One of those bills would require state auditors to conduct a financial audit of the department every six years.

Rachel Baye

A state senator says newly released security footage proves her claim earlier this month that a lobbyist groped her at a karaoke event in Annapolis. But the lobbyist says the video exonerates him.

Dominique Maria Bonessi

Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh gave her state of the city address Monday to a gathering of city leaders with a theme of “Baltimore: A City on the Rise.” WYPR’s City Hall Reporter Dominique Maria Bonessi spoke with Morning Edition Host Nathan Sterner.

 

Rachel Baye

Since the first 9-1-1 call was made 50 years ago, not much has changed about how Maryland’s 9-1-1 system functions. As a result, there are times when 9-1-1 doesn’t work.

Ben Spier

The Salvation Army opened its first-ever non-profit grocery store in East Baltimore this week, aiming to provide affordable, healthy food options, especially for low income folks using food stamps. So, WYPR went shopping to see how the prices compared to other, nearby stores. 

John Lee

Former Baltimore County School Superintendent Dallas Dance Thursday pleaded guilty to four counts of perjury. Prosecutors are recommending Dance serve time in jail.

 

Dance admits he did not disclose nearly $147,000 he earned from consulting jobs while he was running the county schools. Those payments include money he received from a company he helped win a contract from the county.

 

 

Tradepoint Atlantic

Tradepoint Atlantic, the developer that is bringing economic life back to Sparrows Point in eastern Baltimore County, plans to ask the county this year for help to pay infrastructure costs at the site. When that happens, the county will be balancing Tradepoint’s promise of thousands of jobs with a tightening budget and expected opposition from those who might see it as corporate welfare.

Dominique Maria Bonessi

Baltimore City’s Board of Estimates voted to spend $100,000 to provide legal representation for undocumented immigrants Wednesday. The money matches a grant from a non-profit that provides legal aid to immigrants.

Johnathan Lefcheck

The Chesapeake Bay’s grass beds, once devastated, are making a comeback.

A study published this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy has documented a three-fold increase in the amount of bay bottom and its tributaries covered by the beds.

It’s gone from 7,000 hectares of grass in 1984 to about 25,000 hectares now, said Jonathan Lefcheck, the lead author of the study. That’s enough grass to cover New York City’s Central Park three times over.

Ben Spier

The Salvation Army is set to open its first in the nation non-profit grocery store in East Baltimore Wednesday. WYPR’s Dominique Maria Bonessi caught up with the organizers to see how it will all work.

Rachel Baye

In the wake of the shooting at an elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut a little more than five years ago, Maryland passed a law banning “assault weapons” and large-capacity, detachable magazines. The ban includes a long list of semi-automatic handguns and rifles, including AR-15-style rifles, like those used in several mass shootings, including last month’s school shooting in Parkland, Florida.

Now Republican lawmakers in Annapolis are sponsoring a bill to remove the rifles and other long guns from the ban.

Maryland’s Court of Appeals unanimously agreed at an emergency meeting Tuesday to restore the names of police officers deleted from the online case search data base.

Rachel Baye

It’s legal in Maryland to carry a concealed weapon on private property, with or without a concealed-carry permit, as long as the property owner approves. Legislation under consideration in Annapolis would extend that concept to religious institutions.

Gwenn Seemel/flickr

We begin today with a fairy tale and it goes something like this:

Once upon a time, athletes in the United States competed for nothing more than the human drama of athletic competition and for the glory of God and country.

And they did so in a land populated with unicorns and teddy bears with rivers flowing with chocolate and streams of cherry limeade.

And then we all woke up and got real and professional sports leagues were formed.

John Lee

  

Parents and teachers recently gathered with school administrators and it had the feeling of a classroom exercise. They sat around tables and made T-charts with poster paper and markers. On the left, they listed safety and security problems, on the right possible solutions. Christopher Jakubiak, who has two daughters, one at Dumbarton Middle, the other at West Towson Elementary, wasted no time telling his number one top-of-the-T-chart worry.

 

“What happens when an active shooter or someone who is intent on harming kids shows up at the school grounds?” Jakubiak asked.

 

 

The names of police officers involved in court cases have disappeared from Maryland’s online court data base, setting off protests from both journalists and civil liberties groups.

The disappearance stems from little noticed rules changes proffered last year by the standing committee on rules of practice and procedure. It deleted a section that required that the names of police officers and other government officials involved in court cases be available in the online data base, along with office addresses, telephone numbers and email addresses.

Office of the Governor

With the state fighting to cancel its agreement with the developer of State Center, it’s not clear what will eventually replace the current 1950’s-era buildings at the 28-acre state office complex just north of downtown Baltimore. Two competing lawsuits between the state and the developer could take years to wrap up, and until they do, the project is at a standstill.

But when the fight is resolved, members of the surrounding communities want to make sure that they get a vote on what gets built.

Wikimedia Commons

State elected officials are proposing competing tactics to keep Maryland’s public schools safe from a possible gunman.

Speaking with reporters after Thursday's floor session, Senate President Mike Miller said he met with senators that morning about creating a "comprehensive" package of bills aimed at protecting schools. He promised at least four bills, including some boosting school social workers and placing armed security guards at schools.

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