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News and Commentary from WYPR's award winning newsroom.

Rachel Baye

  

Maryland lawmakers are making a last-ditch effort to prevent gas companies from fracking in the state, particularly in the Marcellus Shale that lies under Garrett and Allegany counties.

John Lee / WYPR

Last week Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh said she would update plans to shrink the city school’s $130 million budget shortfall. Monday, she and city officials unveiled that plan.

Rachel Baye

Gov. Larry Hogan’s approval rating remains strong among Marylanders, with 63 percent of adults approving of the job he is doing, according to a new Goucher Poll out Monday.

Pugh administration’s game plan released

Feb 24, 2017
P. Kenneth Burns

Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh released Friday a report prepared by her transition team that provided recommendations on how to improve transportation, economic development and other areas of the city.

Watermen suspicious of Mallows Bay Marine Sanctuary

Feb 23, 2017
Don Shomette via NOAA

Back in 2014, Maryland asked NOAA, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, to make Mallows Bay and its famed ghost ships a marine sanctuary. And that has raised the hackles of some watermen from both sides of the Potomac.

Lawmakers and prescription drug prices

Feb 23, 2017
Brendan Reynolds

Prescription drug prices have gone up sharply in recent years, angering consumers and their advocates. And now Annapolis lawmakers are trying to stem the tide in Maryland.

Both houses of the General Assembly are considering bills that would prohibit price gouging and require drug companies to file documents with state health officials when planning to increase drug prices. 

USDA

The Delmarva Peninsula lies under the Atlantic Migratory flyway, a path waterfowl migrate through. As Europe deals with recent outbreaks of a severe strain of Avian Influenza, some local poultry growers worry that just one infected bird passing through the region could contaminate and kill whole flocks of chickens.

Rachel Baye

Gov. Larry Hogan frequently offers a similar complaint about bills Democratic legislators introduce in the Maryland General Assembly — that the bills take away his power as governor. Hogan says this year’s legislative session features more than 30 such measures.

Karen Hosler

Ben Cardin and Steny Hoyer have been close friends and allies since they were boy wonders of Maryland politics a half century ago. But now they may be facing their greatest challenge ever: protecting the country from what they call the missteps--or worse—of President Trump. 

Joel McCord and John Lee, of the WYPR news team, discuss a measure making its way through the General Assembly that would keep landlords from automatically turning down renters with housing vouchers.

John Lee

More than 23,000 families in Baltimore County are on a waiting list for housing vouchers once known as Section 8. And while they're waiting, the long running debate over where to put affordable housing in the   county rolls on.

The next generation of the apprentice

Feb 16, 2017
P. Kenneth Burns

Apprenticeships have always been a way to provide on-the-job training for people who want to work in the skilled trades; like a carpenter or electrician.

Not so much for IT, until now.

Rachel Baye / WYPR

The Maryland House of Delegates voted along party lines Wednesday to make it easier for the state attorney general to sue the federal government.

Jonna McKone

With Baltimore city schools facing a $130 million shortfall-- roughly 10 percent of the annual budget—schools CEO Sonja Santelises has warned of painful cuts, including teacher layoffs.

Some of the specifics are beginning to take shape as school principals received their budgets last week.

Job Grotsky, the principal at Mount Royal Elementary in Bolton Hill says next year’s budget is significantly smaller than in the past.  He’s probably going to lay off nine people, some of them teachers.

“As a result we basically have to build the school from the ground up,” he said.

Rachel Baye / WYPR

The Maryland House of Delegates is expected to vote Wednesday to expand the state attorney general’s powers so that he can sue the federal government.

Current law requires the governor or legislature to agree before the attorney general can bring a lawsuit. Democratic Attorney General Brian Frosh says he needs this change so that he can challenge many of President Donald Trump’s policies as quickly as the new president implements them.

A Chesapeake Valentine

Feb 14, 2017
Pamela D'Angelo

In honor of Valentine’s Day WYPR’s news department skipped the usual politics and mayhem to introduce you to William and Bessie Hudnall, who have been married for 79 years. They’ve lived in Baltimore and New York, but spent most of their lives—he’s 102, she’ll be 98 next month—near the Chesapeake Bay in Northumberland County, Virginia.

Joel McCord

The Maryland Senate adopted a measure Friday that would expand the state attorney general’s power to sue the federal government on an almost party line vote.

Three Democrats, James Brochin and Katherine Klausmeier of Baltimore County and James Mathias, of Worcester County, voted with all 14 Republicans against the measure. It allows the state attorney general to sue the federal government without getting approval of the governor or the General Assembly, as the law now requires.

WYPR's State House Reporter Rachel Baye joins News Director Joel McCord to explain a fast moving bill to allow state Attorney General Brian Frosh to sue the federal government without buy in from the governor or general assembly.

Rachel Baye

Legislation expanding the state attorney general’s powers to sue the federal government advanced in the state Senate Thursday. But nine of the Senate’s 14 Republicans walked out before the vote to protest the Democratic majority rushing the measure through the body.

The real question about crime in Baltimore

Feb 9, 2017
P. Kenneth Burns

A group of central West Baltimore residents gathered near Triangle Park Wednesday night to march against the surge of violence in their neighborhood and the city at large.

“Our deal is to show that we are the majority of this community and we won’t let a small percentage of violent individuals define what we are in Central West Baltimore,” said Ray Kelly with the No Boundaries Coalition; one of the march organizers.

Rachel Baye

An initiative to give the Maryland attorney general the freedom to challenge federal policy in court earned initial approval by a state Senate committee on Wednesday. The legislation, expected to come up for a vote in the full Senate Thursday, is driven by concern about the policies likely to come from President Donald Trump's new administration.

Joel McCord and WYPR's John Lee talk about some apparent friction between Baltimore County's House delegation and the county's executive.

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.

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.”

John Lee

Plans to put a Guinness brewery in Baltimore County will fall flat unless the Maryland General Assembly takes action. It’s all about how much beer Guinness would be allowed to pour.

Joel McCord

Crisfield, on Maryland’s lower Eastern Shore, is probably best known for the annual J. Millard Tawes Crab and Clam Bake, a political schmooze fest of legendary proportions. But the town soon will have another claim to fame. It’s about to be the first municipality in the Delmarva region powered by a windmill.

Rachel Baye / WYPR

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.

Jonna McKone

For the fifth time in ten years, a Maryland teacher is one of four finalists for the National Teacher of the Year award.  Athanasia Kyriakakos is the first Baltimore City teacher to reach those heights.

Kyriakakos, the only visual arts teacher at Mergenthaler Vocational Technical High School, or Mervo, was chosen for her dedication to her students and her commitment to teaching art as a critical thinking skill.

She started at Mervo, the biggest high school in Baltimore, four years ago and found the school didn’t do much in the way of proudly showcasing its students’ work in the glass display cases that line the halls.

Pugh on consent decree: We can pay for it

Feb 1, 2017
P. Kenneth Burns

Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh told a federal judge Monday morning the city can afford to implement a consent decree aimed at reforming the city police department.

U.S. District Judge James Bredar asked Pugh to attend the first hearing on the decree filed in the court in January.  The decree was the result of an investigation that found Baltimore Police regularly violated the civil rights of citizens.

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