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News and Commentary from WYPR's award winning newsroom.

Rachel Baye / WYPR

Sitting handcuffed and shackled for a long car ride can be traumatic for a child. Deborah St. Jean, the director of the state public defender’s Juvenile Protection Division, said one of her clients particularly dreaded the shackles.

“When this girl has to come to court, she is handcuffed, shackled — black box, waist chains, 25 pounds — and she has tremendous anxiety about that,” St. Jean said. “And each conversation I have with her when I’m telling her she’s going to court, she will invariably ask me, ‘Do I have to be handcuffed? You know that’s so awful.’ It’s a three-hour ride for her.”

Rachel Baye

As Congress debates cutting access to Planned Parenthood for Medicaid recipients, Maryland’s legislative leaders are pushing a plan to replace the lost funding, which they estimate would be about $2.7 million a year.

Dulaney High bucks renovation and AC plans

Mar 8, 2017
John Lee

The Baltimore County School Board rejected last night plans to renovate Dulaney High School in Timonium after parents argued to wait for a new school. And that could put in jeopardy County Executive Kevin Kamenetz’s plan to have all county schools air conditioned in the next couple of years.

Diageo North America

Guinness’s plan to build a brewery and taproom in Southwest  Baltimore County cleared its first hurdle in the General Assembly Monday.

For a local bill to have a prayer, it has to get voted out of its local delegation. Guinness’s bill for some exemptions in state liquor laws did that, breezing through Baltimore County’s Senate delegation 6-0; but not without some changes.

Rachel Baye

Nicole Hanson can rattle off a long list of examples of people who couldn’t pay their bail.

Some parents, teachers, students and administrators in Baltimore City Schools spent the week trying to convince state and local lawmakers to plug the schools’ $130 million dollar budget gap.

The search for money to “fix the gap” started in Annapolis on Monday where Mayor Catherine Pugh staged a press conference. “We have not heard yet what the governor's commitment is going to be,” she said, calling for the state to pitch in more funds.  “And he knows how important our school system is and how important our children are.”

The state House of Delegates voted Friday to reprimand Baltimore County Del. Dan Morhaim for failing to disclose his relationship with an applicant for a medical marijuana license. Morhaim helped craft the state’s medical marijuana laws and licensing framework while working as a consultant for a company applying for a license.

Effort to give mayor control of Baltimore Police is dead

Mar 3, 2017
P. Kenneth Burns

The sponsor of a bill seeking to return control of Baltimore Police back to the city said Friday afternoon he is withdrawing his proposal.

Del. Curt Anderson, a city Democrat, discussed the bill with his colleagues in the city delegation which he chairs.  He cited a three-page opinion from the Attorney General’s Office that said returning control of the police department to the city would be “extremely expensive.”

Joel McCord and Karen Hosler, of the WYPR News team, talk about the $300 million price tag for restoring Pimlico Race Course and preserving The Preakness.

Students at predominately white Westminster High School fought back Wednesday after administrators removed posters promoting diversity. More than a third of them showed up wearing T-shirts modeled after the posters.

But things didn’t go exactly as planned at this Carroll County school that’s 87 percent white. A bomb threat led to the evacuation of the school in the afternoon just as thunderstorms rolled into Westminster. The students returned about a half hour before dismissal, some of them rattled by the threat.

John Lee

You don’t need a weather man to know that we haven’t gotten much snow this year. But despite that, Baltimore County has spent much of the money it set aside for snow removal. And here’s why.

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.

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.

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