1st District: Harris Supports Trump National Emergency Declaration


Congressman Andy Harris, M.D. (MD-01) made the following statement on President Trump’s declaration of a national emergency to protect border security and facilitate funding of the border wall:

“I support the president’s efforts to fully fund comprehensive border security by re-allocating unused funds from other programs, such as counter-narcotics programs directly related to the flow of illegal drugs across our southern border. Just last month, CBP had its largest fentanyl drug bust at the southern border, capturing enough fentanyl to kill 57 million people – that’s enough drugs to kill the population of Maryland nine times over. The sex trafficking industry, a horrific and demoralizing crime, is also thriving from a lack of border security. The exploitation and rape of these women and children occurs both en route to the United States and after their arrival. MS-13 gang violence is rampant in the United States, and is a serious threat to our communities in Maryland. The president has worked hard to secure our border, and I support his decision to declare


Lawmakers Press To Eliminate Job Discrimination Against Former Felons


Former felons could have more success securing employment under bipartisan legislation introduced Thursday that would bar federal employers from asking requests for applicants’ criminal histories before conditional job offers.

Reps. Elijah Cummings, D-Baltimore, and Doug Collins, R-Georgia, joined with Sens. Cory Booker, D-New Jersey, and Ron Johnson, R-Wisconsin, to propose the Fair Chance Act, an attempt to decrease rates of recidivism by helping ex-convicts secure jobs.

The bill would “ban the box,” directing employers to discontinue applications requiring candidates to check a box indicating their criminal records.

“This bill would give individuals who are reentering society from prison a fair chance at truly achieving the American dream and becoming contributing members of our communities,” said Cummings, chairman of the House Oversight and Reform Committee.

“We have a criminal justice system where the collateral consequences for Americans with a criminal conviction are like getting a life sentence — affecting their ability to vote, to get housing and critically, to get back to work,” Booker, a presidential candidate, said in a statement.

Thirty-three states and more than 150 cities and counties have adopted laws or policies that “ban the box,” extending the jurisdiction of such policies to almost three-fourths of the U.S. population, according to the National Employment Law Project.

The Fair Chance Act specifically prohibits the federal government and federal contractors from making inquiries into the criminal histories of ex-offenders before the conditional offer stage.

This follows President Donald Trump’s Tuesday State of the Union address in which he spotlighted criminal justice reform, saying “America is a nation that believes in redemption.”

Trump invited a former inmate to the address who was directly affected by the First Step Act, a bill Trump signed in December that seeks to help nonviolent offenders readjust to society.

“This legislation reformed sentencing laws that have wrongly and disproportionately harmed the African-American community,” Trump said.

Similarly, Cummings’s panel noted that black men with a criminal record “have been 60 percent less likely to receive a callback or job offer than those without records.” That is nearly 10 percentage points higher than the callback rate for male felons in general.

“Getting people back to work improves the safety of our communities, strengthens families, and reduces government dependence – goals that all Americans share,” Johnson said in a statement. “If someone getting out of prison wants to work and be a productive member of society, we should do everything possible to facilitate that. The Fair Chance Act is an important step in that direction.”

By Ambriah Underwood

Legislation Would Update Justice Reinvestment Act


After a comprehensive law overhauled the state’s criminal justice system, Maryland has seen a decline in the state’s prison and jail populations and more streamlined treatment for addicts who are charged with crimes, but advocates want to add to the law to keep inmates from returning behind bars.

Signed into law in 2016, the Justice Reinvestment Act is a thorough criminal justice system reform that focuses on increasing supervision and treatment and decreasing incarceration rates in Maryland prisons.

Described by Sen. Bobby Zirkin, D-Baltimore County, as the “most comprehensive reform” he’s seen while serving in the Senate, the law has significantly reformed many criminal justice policies since becoming fully effective on Oct. 1, 2017. But some of its provisions are up in the legislature again.

The law aims to keep spots in prison beds open for serious, repeat violent offenders while also enforcing mandatory minimum sentences for high-level drug dealers.

It also places caps on maximum sentences for nonviolent offenders who violate probation on a technicality.

About 700 inmates have been screened for administrative release since the legislation went into effect, with 21 percent, or 147 inmates, being found eligible. Of those, 60 percent have been released and the rest are fulfilling their minimum length of stay, according to a report from the Governor’s Office of Crime Control and Prevention.

The state’s prison population dropped 1.8 percent in fiscal year 2018, and the local detention population dropped 10.3 percent, according to the report.

The bill also emphasizes treatment over incarceration for individuals struggling with addiction and has sparked a drastic drop in wait times for psychiatric beds.

Between fiscal years 2012 and 2014, placement times averaged around 167 days, dropping to 91 days in fiscal year 2017. With the Justice Reinvestment Act’s new 21-day deadline adding pressure, average placement times dropped to just 10.6 days for the 788 individuals placed in treatment in fiscal year 2018, according to the report from the Governor’s Office of Crime Control and Prevention.

For those returning to life outside the correctional system, the law states that the Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services must issue a certificate of rehabilitation to specified individuals.

Professional licensing boards then can’t deny occupational licenses or certificates to former convicts solely based on the fact that the individual had previously been convicted of a crime.

But for some individuals, return to life outside is complicated by how the state categorizes and links related charges.

Under the Justice Reinvestment Act, expungement is permitted after 10 years of good behavior, including any parole, probation or supervision, for misdemeanor charges.

After 15 years of good behavior, expungement is permitted for second degree assault, felony theft, intent to distribute controlled, dangerous substances and burglary in the first, second and third degrees.

Before the law was enacted, only nuisance crimes such as public urination or other activities not normally done in public were eligible for expungement through the Justice Reinvestment Act.

Under current state law, a charge is not eligible for expungement if one conviction in a group of convictions is not eligible for expungement.

However, House Bill 13, sponsored by Delegate Erek Barron, D-Prince George’s, seeks to repeal that provision, and would authorize a person to file a petition for partial expungement of certain criminal records under certain circumstances.

The bill, previously introduced in the 2017 General Assembly, has been a topic in the legislature since 2012, and is scheduled to be heard in the Senate on Thursday.

Alphonso Smith of Baltimore wrote to lawmakers this year that he has been working at the Maryland Transit Administration as an operations instructor for 20 years. He submitted written testimony that he is an ex-offender, and described the 34 years following his conviction, which he did not detail, as “somewhat successful.”

“There are many limitations and road blocks in place due to prior, non-expungeable convictions preventing any further advancement in law enforcement, child care and many other career paths,” he said Jan. 22 in a written testimony supporting the bill. He added that the bill’s passage would clear a path for himself and others to begin the expungement process and to advance in his career without convictions weighing them down.

Along similar lines, House bill 19, sponsored by Delegate Cheryl Glenn, D-Baltimore, seeks to authorize individuals to file a petition for expungement if the person was convicted of a nonviolent crime.

For former convicts entering the workforce again, employers also don’t often understand the difference between conviction and non-conviction dispositions, said Delegate Darryl Barnes, D-Prince George’s, the chair of the Legislative Black Caucus of Maryland.

Non-conviction dispositions are standard police records listing an individual’s involvement with courts or law enforcement, and conviction dispositions are criminal records with formal penalties.

Even if a charge receives a non-criminal disposition, under the Justice Reinvestment Act, if it’s in the same unit of charges as a criminal one, it can’t be expunged.

“Even when they understand these differences, employers often draw negative impressions about job applicants who have been involved with the criminal justice system, regardless of case outcome,” Barnes stated in his written testimony supporting House bill 13.

Another factor to consider is race, Barnes said. Black residents make up 28 percent of the state population, yet they comprise over 70 percent of the incarcerated population.

With higher conviction rates for persons of color, these individuals face exclusion from the job market, challenges finding stable housing, and other cyclical problems affecting communities of color, according to written testimony from the American Civil Liberties Union of Maryland.

Ex-offenders who are employed are much less likely to commit new offenses than those who are unemployed, according to a 2017 Greater Baltimore Committee report that described employment as the “single largest determinant of rearrest and reconviction.”

The expungement legislation faces opposition from the Maryland Judicial Conference, Maryland Chiefs of Police Association and the Maryland Sheriffs’ Association.

Law enforcement officials generally oppose legislation that increases categories for expungement because it could interfere with access to prior criminal information and be a safety factor for law enforcement personnel, according to written testimony from co-chairs Chief David Morris of the Maryland Chiefs of Police Association and Sheriff Darren Popkin of the Maryland Sheriffs’ Association.

Technological roadblocks are also a reason for opposition, according to representatives of the Maryland court system.

Online access to case records in Maryland are available through the Maryland Judiciary Case Search website, which currently has no functionality to remove single records at the charge level from the website, according to written testimony from the Maryland Judicial Conference.

Each charge is also assigned an individual number for each case. If a partial expungement is granted for one charge of a two-charge case, the system can’t renumber the charges to appear as if only one charge exists, according to written testimony from a Maryland court system representative.

“A missing numbered charge could raise more questions and red flags, therefore, nullifying the purpose of the expungement,” the Legislative Committee of the Maryland Judicial Council, the main policy advisory body to the Chief Judge of the Court of Appeals, said in written testimony opposing the bill.

Moms Group Rallies to Push Gun-Control Laws


Led by chants of “moms demand action” and “gun sense is common sense,” dozens of red-shirted volunteers from the Maryland chapter of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America lobbied in Annapolis to support stricter gun laws Thursday.

The members of the gun-control advocacy group, along with several legislators and survivors of gun violence, expressed their desire for bills banning ghost guns and 3D printed guns and enforcing background checks for purchasing long guns and shotguns in Maryland.

The ban on “ghost guns” and 3D printed guns are among the top legislative priorities for Maryland Democrats this session.

Ghost guns are undetectable, untraceable and disguised firearms without serial numbers that can be built at home from parts and kits available online.

The online kits allow for the purchase of 80 percent of the lower parts of the gun, which needs the other 20 percent to be legally considered a firearm. The other 20 percent can be purchased from gun shops, said Delegate Kathleen Dumais, D-Montgomery.

“Bare minimum is no 3D guns in Maryland and no ghost guns,” Dumais said.

Obtaining 80 percent of a ghost gun doesn’t require a criminal background check, meaning that they can be obtained through a loophole by felons, domestic abusers and other individuals who are legally prohibited from owning or accessing firearms.

However, some opponents said the bills are unnecessary.

Sen. Michael Hough, R-Frederick and Carroll counties, told Capital News Service that he doesn’t know of a crime in Maryland that’s been committed with a ghost or 3D printed gun, but can think of plenty of crimes with illegal handguns that have killed children in Baltimore recently.

While there may have not been crimes involving 3D printed guns in Maryland yet, creating legislation on them is proactive, said Danielle Veith, the leader of the Maryland chapter of Moms Demand Action.

Hough added that 3D printed guns can cost thousands to manufacture, a prohibitive amount of money when normal guns can be assembled or purchased for less.

Estimated costs for the guns can be anywhere from two- to five-figure sums, varying depending on the gun’s material and type of printer used.

“Our time is better spent on other things,” he said.

Laws concerning long guns and shotguns are another topic in the General Assembly this session following several fatal local shootings.

It was a shotgun that fired through the glass door of the Capital Gazette newsroom in Annapolis in June when five staff members were fatally shot.

Criminal background checks are not required to purchase long guns or shotguns in Maryland. An individual only needs to fill out a form and pass an instant background check.

Senate Majority Whip Susan Lee, D-Montgomery, plans to introduce a bill that will require background checks for shotguns and rifles.

Delegate Vanessa Atterbeary, D-Howard, voiced her support for a bill requiring the background checks.

“I am a mom and I demand action,” she said. “We are going to close the loophole.”

Maryland Legislature’s Democrats Announce 2019 Priorities


Banning 3D printed and “ghost” guns, preserving health care access, raising the minimum wage, increasing the purchasing age of tobacco and lowering child care costs for parents are priorities for the 2019 session, Democrats in Maryland’s Legislature announced on Tuesday.

Senate President Mike Miller, D-Prince George’s, Charles and Calvert, said the agenda is a progressive package that will carry Maryland through 2019 into 2020.

“Maryland Democrats are taking common sense steps to protecting our middle class,” Miller said.

Miller said the supermajority-Democratic Legislature will work with Maryland’s Republican Gov. Larry Hogan, but that, “he (Hogan) will have to compromise.”

“We are going to stay strong and stand firm on what our Democratic principles are,” said House Majority Leader Kathleen Dumais, D-Montgomery.

Dumais said gun safety is important in Maryland, and that allowing easy access to plastic weapons made with 3D printers would be a threat to security systems.

Ghost guns are untraceable as they are made by purchasing separate parts and assembling at home.

Sen. Delores Kelley, D-Baltimore County, said $20 million would go toward making child care more affordable.

“Make it possible for people to work without having to worry about their children,” said Kelley.

Democrats said they are putting forward legislation that would mandate a right to health insurance, without regard to pre-existing conditions, if the Affordable Care Act is overturned.

Delegate Dereck Davis, D-Prince George’s, said Maryland needs to continue its efforts against cigarette deaths by increasing the purchasing age to 21.

Davis said the time has come for minimum wage to be raised to $15 for struggling residents.

However, Hogan and some industry representatives are concerned an increase in wages would cause businesses to switch to automation and move to cheaper neighboring states.

House Minority Whip Kathy Szeliga, R-Baltimore and Harford counties, said often times, policies that sound good for the middle or working class actually hurt them.

“Republicans continue to advocate for more jobs, better jobs, lower taxes, limited government,” Szeliga told Capital News Service. “We know these are proven philosophies and principles of government that work for everyone.”

Republican state lawmakers on Friday proposed a public registry for violent offenders, lowering the income tax rate by a quarter percentage point, flexibility for schools to hire police officers and single-member state districts for better voter representation.

Hogan’s legislative priorities include reducing small-business taxes, raising sentences for firearm offenders and creating a nonpartisan Congressional redistricting process.

Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) Featured Speaker at Legislative Luncheon


The Legislative Luncheon will take place on January 25, 2019, noon to 2 p.m at Miller Senate Building, Presidents Conference Center West, 11 Bladen Street, Annapolis.

The guest speaker is U.S. Senator Chris Van Hollen (D-MD). Also present are the Rural Maryland Council, rural leaders, legislators and government officials.

Maryland is currently experiencing a short-term budget surplus for Fiscal Year 2020. However, budget deficits are projected for Fiscal Year 2021, which are anticipated to grow to almost $1.4 billion by Fiscal Year 2024. With this looming deficit on the horizon and the fact that according to the Maryland Department of Legislative Services, Maryland economic growth has underperformed with employment growth of 0.8% in the first half of 2018, the Rural Maryland Council has established 2019 legislative priorities including:

• Advocating for continued funding for Rural Maryland Prosperity Investment Fund (RMPIF) to address disparities in unemployment and poverty rates in Maryland’s rural communities;
• Encouraging rural economic development in the form of tax credits;
• Supporting the recommendations offered by the Task Force on Rural Internet, Broadband, Wireless and Cellular Service;
• Creating viable Agriculture, Aquaculture, Forestry & Rural Communities by supporting programs and policies that will sustain and enhance agricultural production and agritourism; and
• Addressing the shortage of health care professionals by supporting efforts to enable and expand telehealth to provide access to preventative and critical care services in rural areas.

Founded in 1994, the Rural Maryland Council (RMC) is an independent state agency that brings together rural leaders, government officials at all levels, and the representatives of the non-profit and for-profit sectors to develop public policy solutions to the challenges unique to rural Maryland. RMC operates under the direction of a 40-member executive board in a nonpartisan and nondiscriminatory manner. It serves as the state’s federally designated rural development council and functions as a voice for rural Maryland, advocating for and helping rural communities and businesses across the state to flourish and to gain equity to its suburban and urban counterparts.  To learn more, call (410) 841-5774, email rmc.mda@maryland.gov or connect with RMC at facebook.com/RuralMaryland or on Twitter @RuralMaryland.

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan Releases FY 2020 Budget


Gov. Larry Hogan, R, this week released a $44.6 billion state budget for the upcoming 2020 fiscal year, fortifying his objectives for the 2019 General Assembly session — education, economic growth, health, state employees, transportation and the environment — into writing.

The budget grew 4 percent over last year, and includes $19.6 billion for operating expenses.

At a press conference on Thursday, Hogan said he made a record investment of $6.9 billion for Maryland’s K-12 education, and has set aside $438 million in a “Building Opportunity Fund,” a $3.5 billion five-year school construction program.

Maryland senators and delegates said based on the budget highlights, many of the priorities of the legislature were funded as they liked.

Senate President Mike Miller, D-Prince George’s, Charles and Calvert, said a proposed salary increase for state employees and correctional officers, money for retirement relief, and provisions for much-needed facilities in some areas of the state were all good things.

“Obviously there’s going to be changes (to the budget),” Miller said Friday. “But the initial reflections … is that it’s a very positive budget.”

Hogan said he ignored formulaic recommendations to decrease some school funding and instead raised money for all jurisdictions in Maryland.

“Every single penny that every single jurisdiction anticipates from the state for education (will) be funded at 100 percent,” Hogan said Thursday.

The budget sets aside $56.5 million for a tax credit to be given to businesses that expand in “Opportunity Zones,” or low-income areas.

“More businesses are open and more people are working than ever before,” Hogan said.

In addition, he said that Marylanders should be allowed to deduct 100 percent of interest paid on student loans for income tax returns.

Hogan said no new taxes were implemented for the fifth year in a row, and all state employees will receive at least a 3 percent raise, including members of the AFSCME trade union who Hogan said refused to negotiate.

He said these proposals were made with the goal of easing tax burdens on hardworking families and individuals.

Transportation expenditures rose 4 percent, with a total of $3.3 billion funding the state’s transportation network.

$1.7 billion of support went to state highways, $221 million to the Purple Line, and $167 million to improvements for the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority.

Hogan said Program Open Space, a initiative that works to restore the Chesapeake Bay, would return to full funding of $62.6 million.

However, total expenditures for natural resources and the environment fell 5 percent since last year, to about $1.03 billion.

Hogan said “fiscal discipline” and “belt-tightening” have been and will be the priority for his budgets, and warned against reckless spending.

$1.3 billion were put in reserves in the case that the state faces an economic downturn.

“We want to remain vigilant about maintaining savings,” said Hogan. “That is what our budget has once again accomplished.”

Funding for health remained the same at $14.6 billion, with $1.3 billion for the developmentally disabled and about $250 million for those with substance use disorders.

In the budget, revenues across the board are expected to rise an average of 2 percent, though lottery and other special funds are expected to bring in $172 million less.

However, Miller said there was not enough money set aside for the city of Baltimore.

He said the city has a major crime problem, with a lack of funding for police officers and an “embarrassing” response time of 15 minutes.

“People need respect, they need their properties to be protected,” said Miller. “They need their personal lives to be protected, and we’re not doing that in Baltimore City.”

House Majority Leader Kathleen Dumais, D-Montgomery, said she was happy to see the increase in salary for state employees, but said she hopes more correctional officers will be hired.

She said the budget funded many legislative priorities, but that “the devil would be in the details,” after she had read more than just the highlights.

Delegate Maggie McIntosh, D-Baltimore, said the Kirwan Commission — a panel nicknamed for its chairman and charged with developing educational improvements — had asked for $325 million, but only received $200 million.

House Minority Whip Kathy Szeliga, R-Baltimore and Harford counties, had no criticisms of the proposal, and said Hogan presented a balanced budget that fully funds education and other priorities.

“It should diminish partisan rancor over the budget, that is our only constitutionally mandated duty,” said Szeliga.

Here is a look at some additional highlights:
–$1.45 billion was provided to the University System of Maryland, with a focus on S.T.E.M. programs.
–$11.5 billion for Maryland’s Medicaid program
–Correctional officers receive a 4 percent raise.
–Doubles funds available as tax credit for zero-emissions vehicles from $3 million to $6 million.

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan Inaugurated for Second Term


Beating non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma into remission and being the first Maryland Republican governor elected for a second term since 1954 is no small feat.

But Gov. Larry Hogan will continue to work against the odds this legislative season, with Democrats maintaining a supermajority in the Maryland House and Senate.

Regardless, Hogan has previously touted his bipartisanship, and Wednesday’s inauguration was no different.

Cold reporters huddled together on the State House steps for a press conference with Hogan in the morning.

An excited governor said then he was excited, humbled and ready for the challenges ahead.

Hogan said after his swearing in that in this term, he plans to continue the harder work of putting the people’s priorities before partisan interests.

“Do the right thing, and the politics will work itself out,” said Hogan.

Much of Hogan’s speech took jabs at the federal government’s inability to compromise.

“Heat, finger-pointing and rancor suffocates the light,” said Hogan. “That’s not politics, that’s political theater.”

Hogan said instead of putting on a show, over the next four years he will strive to be moderate, find compromise, and encourage a government that will work together to find bipartisan solutions.

“I still believe that what unites us is stronger than what divides us,” Hogan said.

Maryland Lt. Gov Boyd Rutherford addressed that divide after being sworn in.

He said four years ago, he and Hogan had pledged they would be different from past administrations; they would serve as one executive power with the same agenda.

Hogan signaled his willingness to reach across the aisle by having Isiah “Ike” Leggett, former Montgomery County executive, make the opening statement.

“This inauguration is not an ordinary event,” Leggett said. “It is the official recognition and acceptance of the people of Maryland.”

Leggett was the first black Montgomery County executive and served for 12 years, until 2018.
Jeb Bush, 2016 GOP candidate and former governor of Florida, said Hogan’s governance contrasted the gridlock and dysfunction in Washington.

“There’s not a lot of people I would leave paradise for,” said Bush, referencing warm weather in Florida, “but Larry Hogan is at the top of that list.”

In standing by one of President Donald Trump’s former Republican rivals, Hogan further distances himself from the conflict between parties on Capitol Hill.

During his last term, Hogan said he worked with Democrats to pass legislation on health care, transportation, the Chesapeake Bay and fracking.

Now for his second term, Hogan said he is focusing on four areas: Education, economic opportunity, crime and redistricting.

Hogan wants to relieve student debt, reduce taxes on small businesses, raise sentences for firearm offenders and drunken drivers as well as create a nonpartisan redistricting process, according to his 2019 legislative proposals.

But he may face significant opposition in the state House and Senate, especially after eight House Republicans were ousted for Democrats in the 2018 elections.

Maryland Delegate Anne Kaiser, D-Montgomery, said Hogan often talks up his bipartisanship but does not always work with Democrats.

Kaiser told Capital News Service that over the last four years, Hogan “advanced our agenda or signed off on it at the end, and claimed it as his own.”

Kaiser said she is curious to see what Hogan’s vision for the next four years will be, but said the House will provide for the working class no matter his plans.

Even with a House and Senate with the power to veto his decisions, Hogan still holds a 67.3 percent favorable opinion among Marylanders, according to an October 2018 Gonzales poll (https://www.realclearpolitics.com/docs/Gonzales_Maryland_Poll_-_October_2018.pdf).

Queenstown, Maryland, resident Michael Parsons, 49, a Republican, said Hogan is “one of the most likable politicians you’ll ever meet.”

Parsons said Hogan found ways to pass good economic policy and improve business, even with a Republican minority in the House and Senate.

Jay Walton, 37, a Republican from Dundalk, Maryland, said he was particularly impressed by Hogan’s steps toward improving education.

“He’s trying to hold education officials more accountable,” said Walton.

Walton was just appointed to Hogan’s P-20 Leadership Council of Maryland, a schools-business partnership that aims to prepare students entering the workforce.

Melinda Craig, 68, a Republican from Havre de Grace, Maryland, said Hogan is well-liked and well-loved in all counties, and that he truly cares about the people and the state.

“You can’t get anything done if you’re not for everyone,” said Craig.

Michele Cordle, 58, a Republican from Annapolis, Maryland, said it is Hogan’s ability to put aside partisanism that makes both Republicans and Democrats love him.

“He has some challenges, but like anything that Larry faces, he’s going to take on the challenge,” said Cordle.

Hogan Administration Announces $300,000 to Preserve Maryland Historical Sites


The Hogan Administration today announced that the Maryland Historical Trust (MHT), a division of the Maryland Department of Planning (Planning), has awarded ten projects $300,000 in Non-Capital Historic Preservation Grants to Maryland nonprofit organizations and local jurisdictions for FY 2019.

“Investing in Maryland’s historic communities leads to increased economic activity and tourism, as well as a better quality of life for our citizens,” said Governor Larry Hogan. “These grants will help identify and record sites across our state, enhancing and preserving Maryland’s rich history for generations to come.”

The grants, made available through Maryland General Assembly special funds, support and encourage research, survey, planning, and educational activities involving architectural, archeological, and cultural resources.

“This funding provides the important base for documenting Maryland’s history to be preserved in a meaningful way and will provide the opportunity to enhance heritage tourism,” said Planning Secretary Robert McCord.

The goal of the Non-Capital Grant Program is to identify, document, and preserve buildings, communities, and sites of historical and cultural importance to the State of Maryland.

This year’s grant awards range from $6,000 to $55,000. MHT received more than $836,000 in Non-Capital grant requests this year.

The availability of fiscal year 2020 Non-Capital grant funds will be announced in the spring of 2019 on MHT’s website (mht.maryland.gov/grants_noncap.shtml). Application deadlines and workshop dates will also be found at the same link.

MHT, the State Historic Preservation Office, is an agency of the Maryland Department of Planning. The Trust was formed in 1961 to assist in identifying, studying, evaluating, preserving, protecting and interpreting Maryland’s significant prehistoric and historic districts, sites, structures, cultural landscapes, heritage areas, cultural objects and artifacts, as well as less tangible human and community traditions.

For more information about the grant program, contact Heather Barrett, Administrator of Research and Survey at MHT, at 410-697-9536 or heather.barrett@maryland.gov.  Details on the projects are below.

The Archeological Society of Maryland, Inc. – Location to be Determined
($15,000 grant awarded)

This grant will partially fund the 2019 Field Session in Maryland Archeology at an as-yet undetermined site in the spring of 2019. The field session provides a hands-on opportunity for laypersons to learn archeological methods under the direction of professional archeologists.

Park Heights Renaissance, Inc. – Baltimore City ($20,000 grant awarded)

Project includes the preparation of a National Register nomination for Park Heights Historic District in Baltimore.

Chesapeake Bay Watershed Archaeological Foundation, Inc. – Dorchester County ($15,000 grant awarded)

This project involves conducting a coastal shoreline archeological survey within the Fishing Bay watershed and Nanticoke River mouth in southern Dorchester County. The survey will be carried out along 86 linear miles of coastline to update existing site records and record newly discovered cultural resources.

Hyattsville Community Development Corporation – Prince George’s County ($21,000 grant awarded)

The project includes comprehensive documentation of restrictive deed covenants historically employed in Hyattsville and the development of educational and outreach programs that incorporates the research.

Historic Sotterley, Inc. – St. Mary’s County ($30,000 grant awarded)

Historic Sotterley, a National Historic Landmark, proposes to conduct archeological survey on the historic property to assess, expand, and update its inventory of archeological resources. The Sotterley property has expanded in size since the last archeological survey, with 52 acres now completely un-inventoried.

John Wesley Preservation Society, Inc. – Talbot County ($6,000 grant awarded)

This project includes an archeological survey for planning purposes prior to construction at the John Wesley Methodist Episcopal Church in Talbot County, as well as costs associated with development and installation of interpretive signage, and development of a “virtual tour” and oral history website.

The Lost Towns Project, Inc. – Anne Arundel and Prince George’s Counties ($43,000 grant awarded)

An interdisciplinary team from the Lost Towns Project, Anne Arundel Co., MNCPPC, and Washington College will undertake Phase I of a three-year/multi-phase project to survey and evaluate the prehistoric archeological resources of the Jug Bay Complex. This grant will contribute to a planned National Register nomination in year three.

Maryland Department of Natural Resources – Anne Arundel, Baltimore, Cecil, Frederick, Howard, and Washington Counties ($50,000 grant awarded)

The project involves a survey of four Maryland state parks spanning six counties. Work includes the preparation of Maryland Inventory of Historic Properties (MIHP) and Determination of Eligibility (DOE) forms, plus additional historic context related to park development in the New Deal era.

Somerset County Historical Trust, Inc. –  Dorchester and Somerset Counties ($45,000 grant awarded)

Project work includes the completion of a historic sites survey of threatened sites in Somerset and Dorchester counties (Phase II). Phase I of the survey project was funded with FY 2018 Non-Capital grant funds.

The Society for the Preservation of Maryland Antiquities, Inc. –
Statewide Project 
($55,000 grant awarded)

This project will develop a historic context for LGBTQ history in Maryland and create a digital map and accompanying database of related sites. The work includes the preparation of one National Register nomination and recommendations for future nominations, amendments, and MIHP forms. Public tours of sites and lectures will highlight the research efforts.

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