October 15, 2012
The personal injury lawyers' bar likes to try to divide the personal injury systems of the 50 United States into two different buckets — contributory negligence and comparative fault — and then make up hypothetical cases to try to portray Maryland's contributory negligence rule as unfair or antiquated. The fact is that in the 50 states, there are 50 different liability systems. The common-sense rule in Maryland is the contributory negligence rule: that if a person contributes to his or her injury, he or she cannot recover damages for that injury.
January 23, 2013
When the General Assembly passed the Maryland Dream Act, lawmakers intended to allow certain students who are undocumented immigrants to pay in-state tuition rates at the state's colleges and universities. It was a recognition that these young people represented an asset to the state to be cultivated, not a threat. But the law contained an unintended consequence no one seems to have noticed at the time, and the result has been that rather than lowering college tuition costs for these young people, some of them are now paying more for their educations.
September 28, 2011
Maryland health officials proposed Tuesday a ban on the sale of crib bumpers, which have been linked to the asphyxiation of at least two dozen infants across the country — a move that would make it the first state to prohibit the bumpers. The pads have little safety benefit and pose a small, but potentially deadly risk, according to members of a state task force formed this year to advise state health officials. "Crib bumpers are not part of the safe sleep ABCs — babies should sleep alone, on their backs in a crib," Dr. Joshua M. Sharfstein, secretary of the state Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, said at a news conference announcing the proposal.
April 27, 2013
Before Lauren Preston opened the cover of the book "Spring" to read to her pre-kindergarten class at Mary Ann Winterling Elementary School, her students excitedly told her why, and showed her how, the season was underway. Daffodils - not just "yellow flowers" - were appearing from beneath the soil, they said. Hyacinths were blooming, they demonstrated with the slow unfolding of their tiny fists. And butterflies were emerging, the students showed by flapping their curled arms. In pre-K classrooms around Baltimore's school system, subtle changes like interactive reading are having a substantial effect in helping prepare 4-year-olds for elementary school - addressing an achievement gap that city schools have faced for years.
February 20, 2013
Women's lacrosse has been warning its people for years: Dial it back, or they will make us wear helmets. Coaches, players and referees knew that if their elegant game got rough, the powers that be would impose helmets. Goggles were required in 2005, and that was just the warning shot. Thanks to the National Football League and the National Hockey League, concussions are no longer the accident that sometimes happens to someone else's kid while playing sports. Brain injuries caused by repeated blows to the head are causing dementia - or worse, suicide - among yesterday's heroes in professional sports.
November 7, 2011
In our haste to give tax breaks to developers and homeowners with the cash to install complying green energy sources, has anyone put forth a plan to make up the accompanying cash shortfall to the county? Where will the lost revenue be made up? If there is a plan, great! If there's not a plan, that means the average mom and pop homeowner will be subsiding developers and those with the cash to comply. It will also mean that Calvin Ball and the rest of our County Council with good intentions will be bitten by the law of unintended consequences.
February 24, 2013
Maryland's approximately 30,000 nonprofits range from the smallest all-volunteer organizations to the largest private employer in the state. Greg Cantori loves them all. As CEO of Maryland Nonprofits since October, he's in his self-described dream job, running one of the nation's largest state associations for nonprofits after 20 years of working in the local sector. He recently chatted with The Baltimore Sun about challenges facing nonprofits and how they're coping. How much are federal budget pressures affecting local nonprofits?
November 28, 2004
STUDYING. Listening. Staring. Moving. Looking. Constructing. Watching. These simple human activities can have unintended consequences. When seen in a particular context -- an art museum, for instance -- they can create a kind of visual harmony, a brief interaction that, for an instant, is a form of art itself. It might be the moment in which a viewer is framed by the circular forms of a sculpture. Or when a visitor is embraced by the beauty of an impressionist painting. At the Baltimore Museum of Art, which this month marks the 90th anniversary of its incorporation, these moments happen constantly.
December 9, 2004
Republican U.S. Rep. Roscoe G. Bartlett broke with his party - and the rest of the Maryland delegation - to vote against the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004 this week. All seven of the state's other representatives voted for the bill, which was passed by the House in a 336-75 vote Tuesday. Maryland Sens. Barbara A. Mikulski and Paul S. Sarbanes voted in favor of the measure yesterday in the Senate. The bill, based on the recommendations of the 9/11 Commission, will create a national intelligence director, set up a counter-terrorism center and a civil liberties oversight board, increase the number of immigration agents, and upgrade aviation security, border control and cargo inspection measures.
February 9, 2011
While Maryland state lawmakers consider instituting a five-cent fee on plastic bags, you should consider this: Those polypropylene bags that will replace them are likely to bring dangerous bacteria like E. coli in contact with your food. ( "The (occasional) virtues of nickel-and-diming," Feb. 8). According to a recent survey from Opinion Research Corporation, more than half of the people who do their grocery shopping with reusable bags have never washed them. This is despite the fact that a recent study from the University of Arizona found that more than half of the bags they tested came up positive for coliform, while 11 percent tested positive for E. coli.