Politics & Business

Bill would give some students free eyeglasses and exams

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Photo by Martin Falbisoner, via Wikimedia Commons

By David Jahng
Capital News Service

Students in Maryland public schools who fail required vision screenings and do not receive recommended services would be provided free eye examinations and eyeglasses by a new Maryland Department of Health program, under legislation expected to be heard by a Senate committee on Wednesday.

Highlights from Mayor Pugh’s State of the City speech: Crime, schools, water, neighborhood investment

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Still via live stream from Charm TV/Facebook

In her third “State of the City” speech today, Mayor Catherine Pugh seized the chance to tout accomplishments on fighting crime, finding new leadership for the city’s trouble police department and investing in neighborhoods. She also acknowledged Baltimore is staring down formidable challenges.

“Baltimore, Baltimoreans, friends, neighbors, residents, business owners and stakeholders: Together we can grow Baltimore, we can be prosperous and we will be safe as we improve the quality of life for us all,” the mayor said in a speech threaded with a focus on that phrase, quality of life.

5 takeaways from Acting Police Commissioner Michael Harrison’s first council hearing

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Photo by Ethan McLeod

To little surprise, the Baltimore City Council’s Executive Appointments Committee last night unanimously approved Michael Harrison’s nomination to be Baltimore’s next permanent police commissioner.

Speaking before a crowd of city officials, police brass, reporters and residents for about two and a half hours, Harrison convinced the committee he’s is in it for the long haul–he does have a lucrative five-year contract, we’ll note–and that he has the leadership skills needed to reform a police department mired in deep-rooted inefficiencies and corruption.

But while the 5-0 vote in favor of Harrison seemed inevitable, the public hearing was informative. Here are a few key takeaways from inside the Du Burns Council Chamber on Wednesday night.

Legislators push for increase in renewable energy, jobs

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Sen. Brian Feldman (D-Montgomery County) speaks at a press conference in Annapolis, Maryland, in support of his bill, the Clean Energy Jobs Act, on March 5, 2019. Natalie Jones/Capital News Service

By Natalie Jones
Capital News Service

ANNAPOLIS — Maryland legislators have high hopes for passing a bill to increase the state’s renewable energy standards to 50 percent by 2030 and setting a plan in action to raise the standard to 100 percent by 2040, along with seeking to increase jobs in the renewable energy sector.

Maryland legislative leaders announce schools-funding plans

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William Kirwan discussed school improvements on March 5, 2019, with Strong Schools Maryland representatives in Annapolis, Maryland. Charlie Youngmann / Capital News Service

By Charlie Youngmann
Capital News Service

ANNAPOLIS — Maryland Democratic legislators announced Tuesday “The Blueprint for Maryland’s Future,” a bill that would provide funding for increased teacher salaries, improved teacher training and free, full-day prekindergarten for 3- and 4-year-old children in poverty.

Poll: Most Marylanders back $15 minimum wage, half oppose unspecified gender on driver’s licenses

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CNS-STATE-ADDRESS-5.jpg: Governor Larry Hogan delivers his State of the State Address in Annapolis, Maryland, on January 29, 2019. (Daniel Oyefusi/Capital News Service)

Larry Hogan remains popular across party lines in Maryland, the president is still well loathed by most and a majority voters across the state supporting setting a $15 minimum wage by the mid-2020s.

Late amendments weaken legislation to keep Baltimore homes, churches safe from tax sale for water bills

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Photo by Julie Depenbrock/Capital News Service

In a 138-0 vote Thursday morning, Maryland’s House of Delegates passed legislation sponsored by Del. Nick Mosby to end Baltimore’s use of the tax sale process to seize homes and places of worship due to water bill-related debts. Advocates and lawmakers quickly celebrated it as a new protection for Baltimoreans who’ve dealt with erroneous water bills and constantly rising water and sewer bills.

But a surprise came for advocates and sponsors shortly after the vote: Amendments had been added by the House Ways and Means Committee on Tuesday, which apparently went unnoticed, that don’t actually protect all homes and religious sanctuaries from tax sale for water bill debt.

Bills would strip regulatory power and contributions from Franchot

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Image via the Comptroller’s Office.

By David Jahng
Capital News Service

ANNAPOLIS — Two bills that would shift regulatory power of alcohol, tobacco and motor fuel from Maryland Comptroller Peter Franchot’s office to a new commission—and limit those industries from donating money to Franchot—were discussed at competing press conferences and a heated committee meeting last week.

House aiming to mandate funding for Maryland HBCUs

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By Daniel Oyefusi
Capital News Service

ANNAPOLIS — Amid settlement talks between Republican Gov. Larry Hogan and advocates for Maryland’s four historically black colleges and universities, the House of Delegates is scheduled to hold a hearing Friday on legislation that would force the governor to appropriate more than $16 million in the state budget for each university, starting in 2021.

Maryland lawmakers back sweeping education overhaul plan

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William E. “Brit” Kirwan (left), chairman of the Commission on Innovation and Excellence in Education, joins Sen. Ben Cardin (D-Maryland) and Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Baltimore) (rear) to speak to reporters at the United States Capitol. (Carolina Velloso/Capital News Service)

By Carolina Velloso
Capital News Service

WASHINGTON – Maryland’s congressional delegation has voiced strong support for a sweeping plan to reform the state’s educational system.

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