Stories about Maryland

Annapolis municipal primary election to be held on Sept. 21

The primary election for Annapolis in Maryland is on Sept. 21. Candidates are competing to advance to the general scheduled for Nov. 2. The filing deadline to run passed on July 26.

Candidates filed for mayor and eight seats on the city council. The Democratic and Republican mayoral primaries have been canceled. Gavin Buckley (D) and Steven Strawn (R) will compete in the general election. Buckley is the incumbent and was first elected in 2017.

Annapolis is the capital of Maryland and has a population of 39,278.

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Maryland state supreme court’s chief justice to retire on Sept. 10

Maryland Court of Appeals Chief Justice Mary Ellen Barbera is retiring on Sept. 10, upon reaching the state court’s mandatory retirement age of 70 years. Governor Larry Hogan (R) appointed Steven Gould to succeed Barbera on the court on Sept. 3. Gould was Hogan’s fifth nominee to the seven-member supreme court. 

Gould is a judge of the Maryland Court of Special Appeals. Gould was appointed to the court by Hogan in 2019. Prior to becoming an appellate judge, Gould was a founding partner of Brown Gould Kiely, LLP.

Under Maryland law, midterm vacancies on the state supreme court are filled via the assisted appointment method. The Maryland Judicial Nominating Commission screens candidates and submits a shortlist to the governor. The governor then appoints a judge from the list. The appointee must be confirmed by the Maryland State Senate. After serving for one year, judges must stand for retention in the next general election if they wish to remain on the court. If retained, a judge is elected to a full 10-year term.

Chief Justice Barbera joined the court in 2008 following an appointment by Governor Martin O’Malley (D). Before serving on the state supreme court, Barbera served as a judge on the Maryland Court of Special Appeals. She served as a law clerk for Court of Special Appeals Judge Robert Karwacki in 1984. In 1985, she became an assistant attorney general. From 1989 to 1998, Barbera worked for the Office of the Attorney General as the deputy chief of the Criminal Appeals Division. Barbera then served as legal counsel to the governor’s office from 1998 until her appointment to the Court of Special Appeals.

Following Barbera’s retirement, the Maryland Court of Appeals will include the following members:

  1. Brynja McDivitt Booth, appointed by Gov.Larry Hogan (R) in 2019
  2. Robert N. McDonald, appointed by Gov.Martin O’Malley (D) in 2011
  3. Joseph Getty, appointed by Hogan in 2016
  4. Michele D. Hotten, appointed by Hogan in 2015
  5. Jonathan Biran, appointed by Hogan in 2019
  6. Shirley Marie Watts, appointed by O’Malley in 2013

In 2021, there have been 16 court vacancies in 14 of the 29 states where replacement justices are appointed instead of elected. The vacancies have been caused by retirements.

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Roxane Prettyman (D) sworn in to Maryland House of Delegates

Roxane Prettyman (D) was sworn in to the Maryland House of Delegates to represent District 44A on Aug. 23. Governor Larry Hogan (R) appointed Prettyman on Aug. 17 to replace Keith Haynes (D).

Previously, Prettyman worked as a paralegal specialist for the U.S. Social Security Administration. She retired from that position in 2018. She also served as a member of the Baltimore City Democratic State Central Committee.

Prettyman will serve the remainder of Haynes’ term, which was set to expire in January 2023.

So far in 2021, there have been 88 state legislative vacancies in 37 states. Three of those vacancies occurred in Maryland.

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Douglas Peters resigns from Maryland Senate on July 30

Maryland Sen. Douglas Peters (D) resigned from his position in the Maryland Senate on July 30. Peters, who represented District 23, first assumed office in 2007, and was subsequently re-elected three times. 

Peters had announced his resignation at the beginning of July, following his appointment to the University of Maryland’s Board of Regents by Maryland Governor Larry Hogan (R). In a statement, Peters called it “an honor of a lifetime to serve my neighbors at the city, county, and state level,” and that he looked forward “to serving on the University System of Maryland Board of Regents.”

Peters’ departure from the state Senate leaves a vacancy in his district that will be filled by appointment. The appointee will serve until the district is up for election at next year’s midterms. The state Senate’s partisan composition is 31 Democrats, 15 Republicans, and one vacancy. While both chambers of the Maryland General Assembly are under Democratic control, the governor of Maryland is Republican, preventing a Democratic trifecta.

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Maryland State Delegate Keith Haynes retires

Keith Haynes (D)—who was first elected to the state legislature in 2002—retired from the Maryland House of Delegates on July 15. Haynes most recently won re-election in 2018 after running unopposed in the primary and general elections.

“After 18 1/2 years of service, I am retiring from the Maryland House of Delegates as of July 15, 2021,” Haynes wrote in a statement to the Baltimore Sun. “I would like to thank my constituents for the opportunity to serve them.”

When a vacancy occurs in the Maryland General Assembly, the governor must appoint a replacement within 30 days after the vacancy happens. The governor selects from a list of three prospective candidates submitted by the political party that last held the vacant seat. The person appointed to the seat serves for the remainder of the unexpired term. Haynes’ term was set to expire on January 10, 2023.

Maryland is one of ten states that fill state legislative vacancies through gubernatorial appointment.

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Maryland House of Delegates District 44A

State legislative vacancies, 2021

New Maryland superintendent of schools took office on July 1

Mohammed Choudhury took office as the new Maryland superintendent of schools on July 1. He replaces Karen Salmon, who stepped down at the end of her term on June 30.

The state board of education appointed Choudhury to a four-year term on May 29. “When we set out on our search for Maryland’s next superintendent, our goal was to identify and hire the highest caliber candidate to build the future of education for all Maryland children. Considering Mr. Choudhury’s outstanding transformative accomplishments, we are completely confident that we have hired the right person, one who deeply cares about children,” said Board President Clarence Crawford.

Choudhury previously served in various roles in the San Antonio and Dallas school districts. He also worked as a teacher in Los Angeles. He earned his M.Ed. from UCLA and completed graduate work at California State University in Northridge.

Salmon’s term was originally set to end on June 30, 2020, but it was extended for one year due to the pandemic.

The superintendent of schools is a statewide office responsible for overseeing and coordinating the state’s elementary and secondary schools. The position exists in all 50 states; it is elected in 12 and appointed in the remaining 38. Of those 38 states, the state board of education appoints the superintendent in 18, the governor appoints the position in 18, and the state board of regents appoints the superintendent in two.

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Maryland Superintendent of Schools

Superintendent of Schools (State Executive Office)

Candidate filing deadline for municipal offices in Annapolis, Maryland, is June 26

The filing deadline to run for elected office in Annapolis, Maryland, is on June 26. Prospective candidates may file for mayor and for all eight seats on the city council.

The primary is scheduled for Sept. 21, and the general election is scheduled for Nov. 2.

Ballotpedia comprehensively covers the 100 largest cities in the United States by population. Our coverage also includes mayors, city councils, and district attorneys in the 32 state capitals that are not already part of our largest cities coverage. Annapolis is the capital of Maryland.

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Redistricting review: Georgia, Maryland, and Michigan hold public redistricting hearings

Redistricting authorities in at least three states held hearings about their respective redistricting processes in the past week. Here’s a roundup.

Georgia: Last week, Georgia lawmakers announced a schedule for public redistricting hearings, the first of which took place virtually on June 15. Ten more public hearings are scheduled, with the next taking place in Atlanta on June 28 and the last taking place virtually on July 30. In Georgia, the state legislature is responsible for both state legislative and congressional redistricting. District plans are subject to gubernatorial veto. According to WABE, an NPR affiliate in Atlanta, a special legislative session on redistricting “is expected later this year.”

Maryland: On June 16, the Maryland Citizens Redistricting Commission held its second public hearing, which took place virtually. It is expected to hold at least six more public hearings between now and July 28. The Maryland Citizens Redistricting Commission, which was formed by Gov. Larry Hogan (R) via executive order, is expected to submit proposals for congressional and state legislative district plans to Hogan, who will in turn submit those proposals to the state legislature. The state legislature can accept the proposed state legislative district plan as submitted or adopt its own by joint resolution, which is not subject to gubernatorial veto. If the legislature fails to approve its own state legislative district plan, the governor’s proposal takes effect. Congressional district plans are adopted solely by the legislature and may be vetoed by the governor.

Michigan: The Michigan Independent Citizens Redistricting Commission conducted two public hearings, one on June 15 and one on June 17, both in Detroit. The commission is scheduled to conduct four more hearings between now and July 1. The commission was established in 2018 via constitutional amendment. This is the first cycle in which the commission will have responsibility for both congressional and state legislative redistricting.

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Colorado, Maryland, North Carolina end mask requirements

Three states ended statewide public mask requirements for vaccinated and unvaccinated people between May 14 and May 20.

Colorado Governor Jared Polis (D) ended the statewide mask requirement on May 14. Masks are still required for unvaccinated visitors to nursing homes, prisons, and hospitals, and in certain school settings. Vaccinated and unvaccinated people must still comply with federal law, which requires masking on public transportation and at public transportation hubs like bus stations and airports.

Maryland Governor Larry Hogan (R) ended the statewide mask mandate on May 15. The state still requires vaccinated and unvaccinated people to wear masks in schools and hospitals, as well as on public transportation.

North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper (D) ended the statewide mask mandate for vaccinated and unvaccinated people on May 14. Masks are still required for all people, regardless of vaccination status, on public transportation and in healthcare settings.

Additionally, at least eight more states amended their existing mask orders to align with the CDC guidance issued May 13, exempting fully vaccinated individuals from most indoor mask requirements. Those states are Connecticut, Illinois, Michigan, New Mexico, New York, Ohio, Rhode Island, and Virginia.

Thirty-nine states issued statewide public mask requirements during the pandemic. Twenty-one states had statewide mask orders at the time of this writing, including 17 of the 23 states with Democratic governors and four out of the 27 states with Republican governors. 

Of those 21 states, six required masks for vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals. Fifteen states exempted fully vaccinated people.

Of the 18 states that have fully ended statewide public mask requirements, 12 have Republican governors, and six have Democratic governors. Fifteen states ended mask requirements through executive order, two (Kansas and Utah) ended mask requirements through legislative action, and one (Wisconsin) ended its mandate through court order.

Maryland State Legislature referred two constitutional amendments to the ballot on the last day of its legislative session

On April 12, 2021, the Maryland State Legislature voted to refer two constitutional amendments to the 2022 ballot—the Civil Jury Trials Amendment and the Residency Requirements for State Legislators Amendment. 

The Civil Jury Trials Amendment would amend the state constitution to increase from $15,000 to $25,000 the minimum amount in controversy that guarantees a right to a jury trial in civil cases. Currently, if a plaintiff files a case where the amount in controversy is greater than $15,000, the defendant may request a trial by jury in the circuit court.

The Residency Requirements for State Legislators Amendment would require that starting in January 2024 candidates for the state legislature maintain a primary place of abode in the district they wish to represent for at least six months prior to the date of the election. Currently, the state constitution requires that a candidate has resided in the district for six months before the election. It would also change all gendered language in the amended sections of the state constitution to gender-neutral language.

To put a legislatively referred constitutional amendment before voters, a 60% vote is required in both the Maryland State Senate and the Maryland House of Representatives.

The amendment concerning the right to jury trials in civil cases was introduced as Senate Bill 669 on Feb. 3, 2021, by Sen. Jeff Waldstreicher (D). It was approved in the state Senate in a vote of 43-4 on March 16. On April 10, the state House passed an amended version of the bill in a vote of 100-34 with seven not voting or absent. The state Senate concurred with the amendments in a vote of 46-0 with one not voting. 

The residency requirements amendment was introduced as Senate Bill 55 on Jan. 13, 2021, by Sen. Charles Sydnor III (D). It was approved in the state Senate in a vote of 47-0 on April 9. On April 12, the state House passed an amended version in a vote of 136-0 with five not voting or absent. The state Senate concurred with the amendments on the same day with a vote of 47-0.

The Maryland State Legislature convened on Jan. 13 and adjourned on April 12. During the session, the state legislature also referred a constitutional amendment that would rename the Maryland Court of Appeals to the Supreme Court of Maryland and the Maryland Court of Special Appeals to the Appellate Court of Maryland.

From 1996 through 2020, there was an average of about three measures on the ballot in even-numbered years in Maryland. Since 1996, 33 of 36 measures or 92% were approved, and three of 36 measures or 8% were defeated.

So far, 21 statewide ballot measures have been certified for the 2022 ballot in 12 states.

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