Christopher Connelly

Reporter

Christopher Connelly is a political reporter for WYPR, covering the day-to-day movement and machinations in Annapolis. He comes to WYPR from NPR, where he was a Joan B. Kroc Fellow, produced for weekend All Things Considered and worked as a rundown editor for All Things Considered. Chris has a master’s degree in journalism from UC Berkeley. He’s reported for KALW (San Francisco), KUSP (Santa Cruz, Calif.) and KJZZ (Phoenix), and worked at StoryCorps in Brooklyn, N.Y. He’s filed stories on a range of topics, from a shortage of dog blood in canine blood banks to heroin addicts in Tanzania. He got his start in public radio at WYSO in Yellow Springs, Ohio, when he was a student at Antioch College.

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Christopher Connelly/WYPR

  

Gov. Larry Hogan’s education platform will face its first big test today when a House of Delegates committee will take up his plan to reform Maryland’s strict charter school law.  Although some Democratic lawmakers have signaled interest in seeing a reform to Maryland’s strict charter law, many say the bill goes too far. Public schools advocates say the bill is a giveaway to national charter operators.

Christopher Connelly/WYPR

Hundreds of advocates turned out in Annapolis on Wednesday to protest cuts to mental and behavioral health services. The rally came one day after Gov. Larry Hogan laid out his plan to combat the state’s heroin crisis, and mental health advocates lined up in front of the statehouse to say the governor’s proposed cuts in mental health services will harm those struggling with addiction and mental illness.

Christopher Connelly/WYPR

Gov. Larry Hogan announced new initiatives Tuesday to combat what he calls heroin emergency in the state. States across the East Coast have seen a dramatic rise in heroin. In Maryland, heroin-related deaths have nearly doubled since 2010, and now outpaces the state-wide homicide rate.

Hogan, who grew emotional while announcing the initiatives, said he knows first-hand the devastation of heroin addiction after he lost his cousin to an overdose. Still, he said he was surprised by how far-reaching the problem was when he was out campaigning throughout the state.

Christopher Connelly/WYPR

Maryland is one of three states that gives the governor the sole authority to approve or reject parole for inmates with parole-eligible life sentences. Critics say this set up has made parole a political football, and they are pushing to change it.

  The big story in Annapolis this legislative session is the budget and, more broadly, the state’s economic climate. WYPR’s Joel McCord sat down with politics reporter Christopher Connelly to wrap up the week in Annapolis, as they often do on Fridays – this week, a budget, tax and business edition.

Christopher Connelly/WYPR

  It was hotels versus the online travel agencies in Annapolis on Wednesday. At issue: Exactly how much taxes online travel companies should be paying.

When an online travel agent like Priceline or Travelocity books a room, they get it at a discount from the hotel chain. Then they mark it up and rent it to the customer – that’s how they make their money.

Online travel agents like Priceline and Travelicity make their money by negotiating discount rates with hotel chains, and then renting it to customers at a higher rate.

Fraser Smith and WYPR's Christopher Connelly untangle the details behind Governor Hogan's budget proposal to both increase and cut the state's education funding.  

Christopher Connelly/WYPR

It’s Friday, and that means it’s time for a look back at the week in Annapolis. WYPR’s state house reporter Christopher Connelly sat down with News Director Joel McCord for a look at a week that included the new governor’s first state of the state address, action on regulations to curb phosphorous from chicken manure from polluting the Chesapeake and a proposed tobacco tax hike.

Courtesy of the governor's office.

    

The state of the state is not that strong, according the Maryland’s new governor. Gov. Larry Hogan’s first state of the state address laid out a broad plan to fix the problems he sees plaguing the state – plans that Democrats who control the legislature are unlikely to pursue.

Throughout a 28-minute speech on Wednesday, Hogan deployed much of the language that served him well on the campaign trail. He said the state has lots of assets, but it’s also beset by problems such high taxes, an anemic economy and too much spending.

Christopher Connelly/WYPR

  Democratic leaders from the House and Senate lined up in the headquarters of the state’s largest teachers’ union today to denounce cuts to education proposed by Gov. Larry Hogan. His budget cuts $144 million dollars from schools, the Democrats said.

“It is important for us never to cut back on our commitment to education,” House Speaker Mike Busch said. Urban districts, he said, would take the biggest hit, and he said kids in districts like Baltimore City rely on schools not just for education but for meals and guidance.

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