politics

  Gerald Ford, the 38th President, owes his place in history to the fact that Spiro Agnew was a crook. So when the newly renovated Ford Presidential Museum reopened in Grand Rapids Michigan last week, you would have thought they would show the man from Maryland, who made it all possible, a little love. But, no.

Gov. Larry Hogan surprised Baltimore Thursday when he announced that he’ll be closing part of the city’s jail. The Men’s Detention Center, built in 1859, houses about 750 men who will be moved to nearby facilities. The decision comes after years of scandal and lawsuits.

“The Baltimore City Detention Center has been a black eye for our state for far too long,” Hogan said.

Christopher Connelly/WYPR

Lawmakers in Maryland charged with exploring potential policing reform measures heard from the public in Annapolis on Thursday. More than a dozen activists from a broad coalition of labor, civil rights and faith groups turned out to call for major changes to make law enforcement more accountable, transparent and community-oriented.

Christopher Connelly/WYPR

Sen. Barbara Mikulski was in Sandtown Monday to talk with clergy about criminal justice reforms at the federal level, and discussed measures being considered in the Senate aimed at strengthening police-community relations.

Mikulski is the top-ranking Democrat on the Senate Appropriations committee.  That committee gave approval last week to a spending bill that includes initiatives Mikulski thinks can improve policing. She said the protests following the death of Freddie Gray from injuries sustained in police custodies put light to a problem that exists in communities across the nation.

Chesapeake Bay Program via flickr

Two environmental organizations are suing Gov. Larry Hogan for blocking proposed clean air regulations on his first day in office. The Sierra Club and Chesapeake Physicians for Social Responsibility argue that the governor lacked the authority to pull back the rules aimed at reducing nitrogen oxides that are key ingredients in ozone.

Just before leaving office, the Maryland Department of the Environment under then-Gov. Martin O’Malley approved smog-combatting regulations that would have required coal-fired power plants to run pollution controls throughout the summer ozone season and forced upgrades to pollution control technology in older facilities.

P. Kenneth Burns / WYPR

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) — Republican Gov. Larry Hogan is holding firm on spending $68 million for an education funding formula for parts of the state where costs are higher, half as much as most Democrats wanted.

Christopher Connelly/WYPR

Gov. Larry Hogan signed 350 bills on Tuesday that were passed in the recent General Assembly session that ended last month. The list included some police accountability measures, bills aimed at improving the state's business climate and pieces of his own legislative agenda.

Christopher Connelly/WYPR

Governor Larry Hogan will sign legislation to make it legal for jurisdictions to put body cameras on police officers. The governor told reporters Thursday that it is a “small step” toward dealing with “a major problem” of people dying in police custody.

“Having the real evidence of exactly what happened, having everything videotaped is a step in the right direction, something we are going to support,” he said.

Christopher Connelly

Despite the partisan budget stalemate that dominated headlines as the Maryland General Assembly session came to a close last week, lawmakers in Annapolis have been slowly moving in a new direction on drug policy and drawing support from both sides of the aisle.

Christopher Connelly/WYPR

  Maryland’s General Assembly went out of business for another year on Monday, ending a session that many hoped would signal the dawn of a new bipartisan era in a party line budget settlement.  Gov. Larry Hogan praised the legislature for its bipartisan work, but said he probably wouldn’t spend money Democrats set aside for public education, state worker pay and Medicaid and other safety net programs.

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