State Roundup: Implementation Of Police Oversight Systems Slow, Inconsistent; New Watershed Act To Set Up Conservation Measures In Five Areas; Early Primary Voting Starts Thursday

UNEVEN IMPLEMENTATION OF POLICE OVERSIGHT SYSTEMS: Three years after state lawmakers celebrated the passage of the Maryland Police Accountability Act, the rollout of the new police oversight systems has proven slow, inconsistent, and rife with disagreements about how to implement the new oversight process — challenges that frustrate critics and administrators alike. Paul Kiefer of Capital News Service/

NEW WATERSHED ACT TO SET UP CONSERVATION MEASURES: Maryland legislators have passed the Whole Watershed Act to establish pilot programs to implement watershed conservation measures across the state, especially on the Eastern Shore. The act will use existing state funds to create a five-year pilot program targeting five Maryland watersheds that best represent the state’s diverse land uses, geographies and impairments. Kristian Jaime/The Salisbury Daily Times.

OPINION: GENERAL ASSEMBLY FAILS VOTERS ON VACANCY BILL: This year’s session of the Maryland General Assembly had its share of achievements and disappointments, but it was the failure to pass Senate Bill 29 that should prompt some soul-searching, especially among the leadership of the House of Delegates. SB 29 would have placed a measure on November’s ballot seeking voter approval of a long-overdue constitutional amendment changing the manner in which vacancies in the state Senate and House of Delegates are filled. The bill enjoyed broad popular support as well as bipartisan backing among members of the General Assembly. David Plymyer/Maryland Matters.

RETIRED STATE WORKERS QUESTION NEW DRUG PLAN: In January, thousands of retired state workers received a letter from Maryland’s Department of Budget and Management telling them that their current prescription drug coverage would end in December and a new one would take its place. The department says the two plans are comparable in price, especially after changes made to Medicare Part D by a 2022 federal law called the Inflation Reduction Act. However, Maryland retirees aren’t convinced. Angela Roberts/The Baltimore Sun.

SCIENCE COULD PINPOINT FOSSIL FUEL DAMAGE TO CLIMATE: A fast-emerging field of climate research is helping scientists pinpoint just how many dollars in damages from a natural disaster can be tied to the historic emissions of individual oil companies — analysis that is the centerpiece of new efforts in Maryland and other states to make fossil fuel companies pay billions for floods, wildfires and heat waves. Alex Brown/Maryland Matters.

19 VESSELS USE TEMPORARY SHIPPING CHANNEL: A temporary shipping channel is expected to reopen at a greater depth to commercial vessel traffic at the Port of Baltimore around May 10, as salvage crews continue to work to free the Dali freighter from the wreckage from the Francis Scott Key Bridge. During the four-day window, 19 vessels sailed through, including nine arrivals and 10 departures, providing work for nearly 200 Longshoremen, Gov. Wes Moore said. Lorraine Mirabella and Jean Marbella/The Baltimore Sun.

EARLY PRIMARY VOTING STARTS THURSDAY: The one-week period of in-person, early voting starts on Thursday at 7 a.m. Each Maryland county has at least one early voting center, and more than likely more than that depending on a jurisdiction’s population. Dwight Weingarten/The Hagerstown Herald-Mail.

  • Marylanders will be voting in party primaries for president, U.S. Senate and U.S. House of Representatives and in an array of local elections, which include races for mayor of Baltimore and for Cecil County executive. Most of Maryland’s jurisdictions also have elections for judgeships and school board seats on the ballot. Staff/Maryland Matters.

ALSOBROOKS’ BID FOR SENATE A LIFE’s WORK: Angela Alsobrooks says she has spent the last 27 years preparing for this moment. A Democrat in her second term leading Maryland’s second-largest county, Alsobrooks — the first woman and Black woman elected to the position — said her life’s work has culminated in this: a bid for the state’s open U.S. Senate seat. Hallie Miller/The Baltimore Banner.

TRONE VISITS CECIL COUNTY IN SENATE RUN: Congressman David Trone (D-Dist. 6) is mindful of “counties left behind” when creating federal laws on Capitol Hill and he believes that Cecil County falls into that category, according to opening comments he made Sunday night during his Senate campaign stop in Elkton. Carl Hamilton/The Cecil Whig.

B’MORE MAYOR HOPEFULS MEET IN FINAL PRE-PRIMARY DEBATE: Baltimore’s top three Democratic challengers lambasted Mayor Brandon Scott’s record Tuesday in what could be the final televised debate before next month’s primary election, casting him as an ineffective leader who has painted a portrait of improvement to mask a more complicated and stagnant on-the-ground reality. Hallie Miller/The Baltimore Banner.

VIGNARAJAH FORGOES WEALTHY DONORS FOR PUBLIC CAMPAIGN FUNDING: In his fourth campaign in six years — twice for state’s attorney and now twice for mayor — Thiru Vignarajah has jumped into the Baltimore harbor and ditched his wealthy donors to instead spend hundreds of thousands of dollars in taxpayer money through Baltimore’s new public campaign financing system. He’s campaigned alongside the families of victims from some of the city’s highest-profile recent crimes. Sam Janesch/The Baltimore Sun.

DIXON GETS WINDOWS REPLACED WITHOUT PERMIT: Early last December, mayoral candidate Sheila Dixon had vinyl picture windows placed in her home without a building permit and in violation of preservation rules for replacing windows in a historic district. In the five months since the violations were confirmed by the city in internal emails, the Baltimore Housing Department and the Commission for Historical and Architectural Review have taken no concrete steps to address the violations, such as issuing fines or demanding that she replace the non-compliant windows. Mark Reutter/Baltimore Brew.

MIKE McDONOUGH, A DEPUTY PROSECUTOR IN HIGH-PROFILE CASES, DIES: Thomas M. “Mike” McDonough, a former deputy state prosecutor whose career included handling multiple high-profile political corruption cases – including former Baltimore Mayor Sheila Dixon – died of multiple myeloma April 24 at the Gilchrist Center in Towson. The Perry Hall resident was 71. Frederick Rasmussen/The Baltimore Sun.