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Lawmakers from the Legislative Black Caucus were talking tough in Annapolis Thursday as the Democrats, mostly from Prince George’s County and Baltimore City, continue to digest the impacts of Gov. Larry Hogan’s first budget. The Caucus decried cuts to education and healthcare that would disproportionately affect communities of color.

Baltimore City Del. Barbara Robinson, who leads the caucus, says education cuts have business consequences. She estimates that schools in just Prince George’s and Baltimore City could lose as many as 1,200 teachers.

CREDIT DANIEL FOSTER VIA FLICKR

For more than three years, a state commission has been studying whether to allow hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, to get at natural gas trapped in the Marcellus shale beneath the mountains of Western Maryland. Now, the commission is done, state agencies have proposed rules, but commissioners still don’t agree on the central question of whether we can frack safely.

Christopher Connelly/WYPR

Since he was elected governor, Larry Hogan and Comptroller Peter Franchot have had nothing but praise for each other.  The Democrat and Republican have even gone shopping together. Their bipartisan bro-mance continued Wednesday at Hogan’s first Board of Public Works meeting.

Hogan was applauded as he entered the meeting of the three-member Board – the first he’d ever attended. He came in right as the meeting was scheduled to start at at 10 o’clock, which was something something that rarely happened under Gov. Martin O’Malley, who was regularly 15 to 30 minutes behind schedule.

Christopher Connelly/WYPR

In Annapolis, the legislative session is in full swing. Politics Reporter Christopher Connelly sat down with WYPR's Joel McCord to talk about a couple of bills in the hopper, and a move by the newly minted governor that's has some advocates crying foul.

    

Snow started to blanket Annapolis Wednesday as Maryland swore in its 62nd governor. The inaugural ceremony, which drew about a thousand people to the capital, was thick layer of bipartisanship. Newly minted Gov. Larry Hogan ran as a moderate and, in his inaugural address, he said that’s how he plans to govern.

“Today is not the beginning of an era of divided government. Today is the beginning of a new spirit of cooperation in Annapolis,” said Hogan, a real estate executive who’s never held elected office.

Christopher Connelly / WYPR

When Larry Hogan is sworn into office, he will become the first Maryland governor in more than 150 years with no prior experience in elected office. Yet Hogan, 58, is no novice. He is benefiting from a lifetime learning politics at close range.

Gov. Martin O’Malley spent his last Friday in office talking with reporters, reflecting on his achievements and his future. Keen to set the record straight, he pointed to his own fiscal stewardship over the last eight years and said the numerous pieces of progressive legislation he signed are in line with  young people's values. He did not, however, say whether or not he’ll be running for president in 2016, though he reiterated that he’s “seriously considering” a run.

MdAgDept via flickr

Governor-elect Larry Hogan tapped former state Sen. David Brinkley, R-Frederick, to be his Secretary of the Department of Budget and Management on Thursday. The announcement came alongside 21 other key staff  and cabinet appointments

Hogan won office railing against bad budgeting in Annapolis, and he’s pledged to close a growing deficit through a major budget overhaul. That’s raised lots of speculation about whom he might tap to lead the effort.

In an opening day that was thick with talk of bipartisanship, a new Maryland General Assembly was sworn in Wednesday. The presiding officers, House Speaker Mike Busch and Senate President Mike Miller, told freshmen and veterans in their chambers that working together was the name of the game.

Christopher Connelly/WYPR

  Two of the largest state employee unions say they’ve yet to get face time with Gov.-elect Larry Hogan or his top officials as the he draws up a budget likely to include big cuts. The incoming Republican governor will have to propose a budget two days after he’s sworn in next Wednesday, and he’s promised a drastic change from the business as usual of outgoing Democratic Gov. Martin O’Malley, who had a strong relationship with teachers’ and state workers’ unions.

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