Senate Speaker Bill Ferguson told senators to get realistic about what the House can accomplish in 90 days after state legislators submitted a record number of bill requests days before a critical drafting deadline. I warned you.
To ensure that a draft bill is drafted before the House’s introduction deadline, lawmakers must submit a request to create potential legislation by a deadline known as the “guarantee date.” This year it was January 20th. As for creating the invoice, he confirmed that in his last two days before the deadline, he received over 700 requests. This set a new record.
“that’s why [a bill] All bills go to hearings, are subject to review, may be amended, and the only thing you can’t get back is time, if it’s introduced on the guaranteed date,” Ferguson told senators on the floor Monday. .
Legislators can continue to submit bill requests during the 90-day sprint, but they are less likely to be considered by the Standing Committee.
At a press conference on Friday, Ferguson thanked the Legislative Service for the “so much” work it does each year and called it “talented professionals” who “always do very well”. praised.
The record number of bills requested during a session was 3,946 in 2018, according to the Legislative Service.
Baltimore County has yet to promote its acting public works director
Baltimore County still does not have a permanent public works director two months after voters approved a charter change that would eliminate the county’s infrastructure chief from being a licensed engineer.
The county legislature introduced a bipartisan bill offering voters an amendment to the county charter, paving the way for the current Acting Secretary of Public Works and Transportation D’Andrea Walker to get the job permanently.
Having worked in local and state transportation management offices for more than 10 years, Mr. Walker oversees one of the county’s largest agencies, Technical Management. Its operating budget alone exceeds $400 million and employs about 900 people, according to the county. news release. This agency maintains the county’s roads, utilities, engineering and construction services, solid waste management, and transportation.
But Walker was ruled out for re-election as county legislature’s department head earlier this month — a fact not lost on legislative speaker Julian Jones.
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“When are you going to get you here, Mr. Walker?” Jones asked at a Jan. 17 council meeting, when a handful of agency officials pitched for reappointment.
So far, the administration of County Commissioner Johnny Olshevski Jr. has not provided an answer, despite supporting changes to the law that would allow Walker to stay in first place forever. It is believed that Mr. Walker’s continuation as Acting Director is itself a charter violation and that the county is prohibited from retaining an Interim Agency Director for more than 60 days after him.
An amendment to the charter was approved by 86.6% of Baltimore County voters in November, but the charter has yet to be updated to reflect the new qualifications for public works directors. County ordinances still refer to the Director of Public Works as the county’s “chief engineer.”
However, the agency’s new moniker, “Public Works and Transportation,” has been updated with the code, but according to an editor’s note, the title was changed by a 2021 congressional bill before voters were even asked. it was done. The code was last updated in May 2022, according to Municode, which provides an electronic copy of the local ordinance.
Asked why the code wasn’t revised, an Olszewski spokesperson said an update is expected “next week.”
The county legislature must approve directors to head the highest agencies, including public works. What appears to be a holdup is that Olshevsky isn’t asking for Walker’s appointment.
Olshewski, now a Democrat in a second term, hired her as the first Deputy Director of Transportation within the Public Works Department to manage the county’s transportation priorities, particularly transportation projects like the Towson Circulator. He later appointed Walker as Acting Director in 2020.
Walker will succeed Thomas Kiefer, Acting Director of Public Works, who retired in October 2020. Mr. Kiefer previously headed the county’s Department of Construction and Utilities, but ran the department for just a few months after former Director Steve Walsh, who began his career in the department in 1990, retired. I was directing. May 2020.
Walker has been implicated in the Inspector General’s Office report, in which a November investigation found her authorizing homeowners to use funds for an alley resurfacing program intended to benefit commercial properties. I know what I did. Last May, the Baltimore Brew reported that “five directors, four section chiefs and all five section chiefs” in the public works department had resigned or retired under Walker.
According to county payroll records, Walker earned $198,115 last year. The charter amendment did not change the qualifications of the Deputy Director of Public Works.
Old Hogan’s hands new job
Steve Crim, the man behind former Republican Governor Larry Hogan’s improbable first victory in 2014, has a new project called Common Sense Maryland.
Common Sense Maryland is a non-profit advocacy group that, Crim said, will “fight for common sense to overcome the failed status quo agencies that have held back our state’s progress.”
Krim said his group will be working this year on issues such as “holding the line between taxes and government spending,” supporting businesses, promoting “energy diversification,” improving education and fighting crime. He said he would reach out to state legislators.
Crim co-founded Hogan’s Change Maryland organization in 2011, giving Hogan a voice on political issues that ultimately led to his first run for governor in 2014. He’s upset with Democratic candidate Anthony Brown, now the state’s attorney general.
Crim has also twice served at the Hogan State Capitol and has served as a strategist and consultant for various candidates.
Council members consider vacancies in the mayor’s cabinet
A Baltimore City Council member addressed a series of vacancies in Mayor Brandon Scott’s cabinet Monday, calling for an official explanation from the administration.
Phylicia Porter, a member of the 11th District Council representing Southern Baltimore, called for a hearing on the issue at a legislative session.
The Democrats said they would “understand the executive vacancies that exist in Baltimore City and make sure our agency is operating as effectively and efficiently as possible.”
City councilors have little control over the CEO who runs most of City Hall through Baltimore’s powerful mayoral system. Porter’s hearing is notable for its implicit interrogation into manipulation of Scott’s staff.
The mayor and city agency representatives must answer direct questions about the number of interim staff and plans to fill vacancies.
Gov. Wes Moore and Lt. Gov. Arna Miller had lunch together at Chick & Ruth Derry, a landmark diner in Annapolis, on Monday to kick off the first full week since the inauguration of the Democratic Party.
The bright orange-and-yellow eatery is famous for naming sandwiches after politicians and adorning its walls with photos of politicians. A framed photograph of Moore and Miller hung above the governor’s booth, the seat reserved for the state’s top officials.
While the hungry politicians waited for their grilled sandwiches, they shook hands with customers and staff, took pictures, sat at tables and toasted with glasses of milkshakes.
When Moore sipped a “Shake Rattle & Roll” (a banana shake with vanilla peanut butter ice cream and chocolate syrup, served with bacon slices, whipped cream and a peanut butter rim), he suggested the combo platter. increase. as his signature meal rather than a sandwich.
“I want to make crab cakes and waffles,” Moore told reporters. “I didn’t see anything like that over there.”
During the campaign, Moore claimed to do things differently than other politicians. He said the savory and sweet combination reflects his approach.”We’re not afraid to do something a little different.”
As for Miller, she chooses her go-to comfort food — grilled cheese on rye bread with pickles inside.
But before executive menu placards were plastered on the walls of Main Street eateries, owner Spencer Jones took some measure to wipe out menu items named after long-absent politicians. You may need to reserve space.
Mr. Jones isn’t overly involved with politicians or their dietary choices. So he has to do what he thinks is right.”