Featured, GreenLaurel, Lifeline

GreenLaurel: Marylanders Choose To Ban Fracking

1 Written by: | Tuesday, Mar 28, 2017 2:26pm

Protesters outside Baltimore Sen. Joan Carter Conway’s office in November 2016.

Maryland’s legislature has officially voted to ban fracking within its borders. Yesterday, the Senate voted 35-10 in favor of banning hydraulic fracturing, a little over two weeks after the House of Delegates passed the same ban bill with a veto-proof margin. How Maryland banned fracking is pretty interesting, especially in light of the complete undoing of environmental laws by the Trump administration.

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Money & Power

Md. Senate Committee Rejects Hogan’s Nominee to Lead State Planning Department

0 Written by: | Tuesday, Mar 14, 2017 12:04pm

Members of a Maryland Senate committee evidently do not feel Gov. Larry Hogan’s acting planning secretary is fit for a permanent position as head of the state’s Department of Planning.

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Featured, Money & Power

Barbara Mikulski Passes Torch to Her Replacement, Chris Van Hollen

0 Written by: | Wednesday, Nov 09, 2016 12:37pm

Courtesy Sen. Barbara Mikulski/Twitter

Courtesy Sen. Barbara Mikulski/Twitter

Just as many predicted, Maryland will be without a woman in Congress for the first time in decades starting next year. However, Baltimore’s own pantsuit revolution-leading U.S. senator, Barbara Mikulski, doesn’t seem too distressed about that. She has already welcomed her replacement with open arms.

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Money & Power

Van Hollen Wins Senate Race, and Other Md. Congressional Results: Liveblog

0 Written by: | Tuesday, Nov 08, 2016 8:36pm

Maryland's new Senate lineup, Courtesy Sen. Ben Cardin

Maryland’s new Senate lineup, Courtesy Sen. Ben Cardin

Maryland voters turned out in high volume for today’s general election. While much of the focus was on their pick for the nation’s 45th president, plenty of others were waiting to see who will represent the state in Congress. We have your results here.

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Money & Power

Senate Watch: Van Hollen In; Mizeur, Kennedy-Townsend Mulling Bids

0 Written by: | Thursday, Mar 05, 2015 2:38pm

Heather Mizeur

Heather Mizeur

If you’re a Maryland Democrat, you’re probably thinking about running for U.S. Senate this week. Barbara Mikulski’s decision to step down from her seat — and former Gov. Martin O’Malley’s subsequent decision not to run — has created a free-for-all among donkeys. We gave an initial rundown earlier this week, but here’s an update with a few new faces that have emerged. Read More →

Featured, Money & Power

Would Maryland Be Better Off with a Full-Time Legislature?

0 Written by: | Monday, May 21, 2012 8:39am

Do you, like FreeStater Blog author Todd Eberly, believe that the General Assembly’s recent budget and gambling fails –each requiring its own special session — are a sign that it’s time for Maryland to embrace a full-time legislature? Or, like Maryland Reporter‘s Len Lazarick, do you think that the General Assembly does enough damage in 90 days? Read More →

Money & Power

Maryland General Assembly’s Epic Budget Fail

0 Written by: | Wednesday, Apr 11, 2012 8:34am

The end of a legislative session is like the end of a basketball game.  It is suddenly nothing more than a race against the clock. At least that’s how it was Monday night, when the Maryland General Assembly ended its session at midnight before passing a tax increase necessary to prevent the notorious “doomsday budget” from becoming reality. If no special session is called, Maryland will make huge cuts in spending, which “include over $200 million to K-12 education and $63 million to colleges and universities.”

It’s one of those incredibly pathetic moments in politics, in which our representatives are handcuffed by their own ground rules. Sure, the House of Delegates had the opportunity to extend the legislative session by five days, but that measure was voted down. All the grandstanding, the mudslinging, the interminable campaigns — we endure all of that in the hopes that when it comes down to it our representatives will actually do their jobs.

Still, assuming that Gov. Martin O’Malley will call a special session to tie up loose ends — which he has not yet announced he will do — the legislatus interruptus is almost worth it for House Minority Leader Tony O’Donnell’s angry take on the epic fail: “We screwed around on same sex marriage forever.” Okay, maybe it’s only really funny if you imagine him saying it in an exasperated Nixon voice, as I do.

Featured, Money & Power

MD Senate Clears the Air: No Smoking for Parents with Kids in the Car!

1 Written by: | Friday, Mar 16, 2012 8:30am

After a spirited brouhaha of a debate, the Maryland Senate passed a bill Wednesday that would make it illegal for a driver or passenger to smoke in a vehicle containing a child under age eight, according to a story by Michael Dresser in The Baltimore Sun. Senators voted 27 to 19 to send the bill to the House of Delegates, but not before arguing over the proven ills of secondhand smoke versus the rights of adults to be free of government meddling while riding (and lighting up stinkies) in their vehicles. If such a law comes to, well, pass, police officers will have the right to pull over drivers who are puffing away whilst toting tots — smokers who should have known better sworn to pay a $50 fine. Opponents argued in session that the bill’s passage represents a slippery slope toward an absurd Big-Brother-ish level of government control.

“Cheeseburgers are next,” warned Senate Minority Leader E. J. Pipkin, an Upper Shore Republican, according to Dresser’s brief story. “The cheeseburger police will be here and they’re going to be saying that some child shouldn’t be going to McDonald’s after school.”

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Money & Power

Lawmakers Weigh Their Options with Judges’ Salaries

0 Written by: | Tuesday, Mar 13, 2012 10:43am

How much easier it would be to get my way if at the start of every negotiation I set a short timer on a doomsday device. That’s (sort of) how it’s working for Maryland judges. If the state legislature can’t come to an alternate agreement among themselves by tomorrow, then a 23 percent raise over three years will automatically take effect. And, man, is that making the House and Senate move, move, move!

The Senate passed a resolution to raise salaries by 11 percent, and it looks like the House will approve it, without any amendments at all, even as it seems plenty of them would rather see a pay freeze. As Del. John Bohanan explained to Maryland Reporter, “As a practical matter, we’re not going to have enough time for the Senate to join with us in agreement if we adopt any amendments.” And so, largely, lawmakers on both sides of the aisle are agreeing to quickly pass the Senate resolution.

I know even an 11 percent increase seems out of proportion with an austerity budget, but it’s worth it just to see politicians be forced to choose the lesser of two evils. You know, like we often do.

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