Bill No. 96-20: Important Step in Right Direction

By David Plymyer. I commend Councilman Julian Jones, Jr., and the other sponsors of Baltimore County Council Bill No. 96-20, County Executive Johnny Olszewski, and Police Chief Melissa Hyatt for putting together a bill proposing meaningful, sensible reforms to policing by the Baltimore County Police Department (BCoPD). I believe that the proposed reforms will measurably improve the professionalism of the department without impeding its effectiveness. … Continue reading Bill No. 96-20: Important Step in Right Direction

Make Police Accountable: Repeal LEOBR

By Peta Richkus. In early August, attorney Deborah Katz Levi, Director of Special Litigation, Baltimore City Felony Trial Division, Maryland Office of the Public Defender (OPD), joined approximately 100 Marylanders who spoke before the Police Reform and Accountability in Maryland Workgroup chaired by Delegate Vanessa E. Atterbeary, House Judiciary Committee Vice Chair. In 2016, the (old Baltimore) City Paper gave its “best lawyer” award to … Continue reading Make Police Accountable: Repeal LEOBR

Public Defender Urges Police Reform

By Peta Richkus. In June 2020, Maryland House Speaker Adrienne Jones, with Chair of the House Judiciary Committee, Luke Clippinger, convened the Work Group to Address Police Reform and Accountability in Maryland. “Policing in America is broken. While we have taken a number of positive steps in Maryland, we can’t be satisfied until every citizen has confidence in their police department…. We need structural reform … Continue reading Public Defender Urges Police Reform

Baltimore County Can’t Wait for State on Police Reform

By Elizabeth Brown. This morning, August 28, 2020, Councilman Julian E. Jones, Jr. held a press conference to announce the introduction of seven distinct bills covering important aspects of police reform. After the Baltimore County Council unceremoniously tabled Jones’s earlier police reform bill, Bill 73-20, at the August 3, 2020 session, I was glad to hear that Councilman Julian E. Jones, Jr. would try again … Continue reading Baltimore County Can’t Wait for State on Police Reform

Real Police Reform Needed Now

By Peta Richkus. You might think, with a single law that applies to all 142 law enforcement agencies in Maryland (LEOBR: the Law Enforcement Officers’ Bill of Rights), there would be uniformity in policing. You would be wrong. The only thing that is uniform is the lack of oversight and accountability. Because of LEOBR, those police officers who do violate their oath to “protect and … Continue reading Real Police Reform Needed Now

Hogan Wrong About Conducting November Election

By Peta Richkus. After the recommendation of the bi-partisan Board of Elections, as well as that of the Maryland Association of Election Officials, I really expected Gov. Hogan to go with the suggested hybrid election, which seemed to address all concerns: public health, capacity, security, efficiency. But no. Hogan is choosing instead to increase the dollar cost and the confusion, and to encourage more people … Continue reading Hogan Wrong About Conducting November Election

Local Newspapers Struggle for Survival

By David Plymyer. The award of the 2020 Pulitzer Prize to the staff of the Baltimore Sun for local reporting on the “Healthy Holly” book scandal was cause for celebration in the Sun newsroom. For the rest of us it has been an occasion to reflect upon the irreplaceable role of local newspapers, and how close we may be to a time when newspapers like … Continue reading Local Newspapers Struggle for Survival

A Test of Our Character

By David Plymyer. Nothing will reveal the character of Marylanders more than the COVID-19 pandemic now facing us. It is like using a bathroom mirror in the brightest and harshest of lights, reflecting every little flaw and imperfection in the social fabric that binds us together. The pandemic also places strain on that social fabric, threatening to tear it apart as selfishness and indifference compete … Continue reading A Test of Our Character

State Retirees’ Rx Drug Benefit Redux

By Peta Richkus. Older retirees from State service remain in a hellacious limbo about their futures. Thanks only to a federal court injunction, and the handful of employees and their attorney who filed for it (Thank you, Ken Fitch, Deborah Heim, Mary Frye, and Deborah Holloway Hill, Esq.), Medicare-eligible State retirees continue to receive their prescription drug benefit. But for how long? Unfortunately, many legislators, … Continue reading State Retirees’ Rx Drug Benefit Redux