Philip Van Slooten

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Maryland lawmakers ‘disappointed’ by witness at hearing

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Former Maryland Environmental Service Director of Operations and Strategic Partnerships Matthew Sherring testified virtually before the Joint Committee on Fair Practices and State Personnel Oversight on Thursday as part of an on-going review of a large payout to former MES Director Roy McGrath. (Philip Van Slooten / Capital News Service)

Capital News Service – The former Maryland Environmental Service Director of Operations and Strategic Partnerships invoked his right against self-incrimination more than 100 times, disappointing legislators during Thursday’s joint committee investigation of a severance payout to the agency’s former director, who was also briefly Gov. Larry Hogan’s, R, chief of staff.

COVID app may help contact-tracing challenges this holiday

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Maryland businesses prepare for the holiday season in the midst of a pandemic surge in November 2020. Photo by Philip Van Slooten, Capital News Service.

Capital News Service – “Answer the call” and “download the COVID Alert app” have joined the growing list of pandemic precautions, such as wearing a mask and social distancing, as the Maryland Health Department battles a pandemic surge during this holiday season.

“Of course everyone wants to be with family and loved ones, but we are in the midst of a pandemic and cases are skyrocketing,” Dr. Katherine Feldman, director of the Maryland Department of Health’s contact tracing unit, told Capital News Service on Thursday.

State Senate President Bill Ferguson releases plan for next session

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Senate President Bill Ferguson
Senate President Bill Ferguson

Senate President Bill Ferguson, D-Baltimore, on Friday released an operational plan for how the Senate will conduct the next session during the ongoing pandemic, including how health checks, voting procedures and public testimony will be conducted.

Supreme Court hears case affecting Maryland LGBTQ

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Former College Park City Councilmember PJ Brennan and his husband, Nick, adopted their sons Benji, 3, and Kayden, 16 months (not pictured), through a secular Maryland agency. Photo courtesy of Documentary Associates.

Capital News Service — The Supreme Court heard arguments Wednesday on Fulton v. City of Philadelphia, which questions whether religious-based foster care agencies that choose not to work with same-sex parents are exempt from nondiscrimination laws.

Maryland turnout follows expected trends for district races

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Voters line up on Oct. 26 at Severna Park High School, an early voting site in District 1’s Anne Arundel County. Photo credit: Philip Van Slooten, Capital News Service.

The Maryland State Board of Elections’ Oct. 28 daily totals show Democratic voters still dominate mail-in ballot counts, but Republicans have higher in-person turnout at many early voting locations across the state. These early patterns so far do not indicate any surprise upsets in any Congressional district race.

Maryland voters weigh in on proposed budget amendment

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Maryland voters consider a proposed constitutional amendment that would grant the legislature the ability to increase, decrease or add items to the state budget while not exceeding the total amount submitted by the governor. (Philip Van Slooten / Capital News Service)

Capital News Service – Mail-in voting is underway as Marylanders consider a proposed constitutional amendment granting the legislature the ability to increase line-item funding and add items to the state budget.

Legislators advanced the measure in March, largely along party lines, with lead sponsors arguing it seeks to balance the budget process while opponents state it removes a legislative check.

Lt. Collins’ law one of several Maryland laws going into effect tomorrow, Oct.1

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2nd Lt. Richard Collins III was fatally stabbed at a University of Maryland, College Park campus bus stop in 2017 while awaiting an Uber with friends. Sean Urbanski was convicted of first-degree murder but not of a hate crime charge. (Philip Van Slooten / Capital News Service)

An update to Maryland’s hate crimes law, named for slain Army 2nd Lt. Richard Collins III, is one of several anti-discrimination measures going into effect Oct. 1. Other notable bills address crime, the environment and healthcare, including an infectious disease mandate named for Olivia Paregol, a University of Maryland freshman who died during a 2018 campus outbreak.

Questions mount for Maryland’s next legislative session

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Caption: Delegate Julian Ivey, D-Prince George’s, far right in dark suit jacket, sits with special session demonstrators on Sept. 16. (Philip Van Slooten / Capital News Service).

Capital News Service

General Assembly leaders in Maryland ended the 2020 session early and recently declined a special session due to pandemic and presidential election concerns. But they have yet to announce plans, particularly regarding legislative voting, as the next session draws near.

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