Warm and sunny today, with highs in the 80s. Mid 80s this weekend, with the chance of afternoon storms.
The Department of Justice will commit to a full investigation of the practices of the Baltimore Police Department. New US Attorney General Loretta Lynch is expected to announce the civil rights investigation as soon as today. Unlike the DOJ’s current collaborative review of the BPD, the civil right investigation’s findings could be legally binding and monitored by the court system for years.
Nine people were shot in Baltimore yesterday, with at least two dying from their injuries. Most of the victims were shot during daylight hours. In an outbreak of violence since last Tuesday, there’s been 13 murders in Baltimore, 12 by shootings (82 in 2015).
Earlier this week, MD Senate President Mike Miller and House Speaker Mike Busch announced a work group to recommend new law enforcement legislation for the 2016 session. In this year’s session, multiple bills aimed at reforming Maryland’s Law Enforcement Officer Bill of Rights, increasing police accountability and the penalties for misconduct and brutality, failed to make it to a vote. Delegate Jill Carter, from Baltimore, sponsored many of the LEO reform bills, but was snubbed from the new work group.
Gov. Larry Hogan announced a set of toll reductions along some Maryland highways. The biggest change is a reduction of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge cash fare from $6 to $4. The toll reductions will reduce highway revenue by an estimated $54 million a year.
This week, University of Maryland’s Board of Regents approved a variety of tuition hikes for the upcoming year. Across the university system, tuition will go up at least 5%, with some students paying even more (UMBC tuition will go up 7%). The university system also had an across-the-board 2% tuition hike back in January after former Gov. Martin O’Malley cut $40 million in state funding. There will also be a new $700 fee for students in ‘high-demand’ fields like engineering, computer science, and business (the fee will rise to $2800 over the next 3 years).