State Roundup, February 27, 2017

HALF-WAY MARK: The 2017 General Assembly session is entering its second half. The annual 90-day period of crafting new laws reached the 45-day milestone Friday. The session, so far, has been remarkably quiet — promising a frenetic six weeks ahead as lawmakers rush to pass a wide variety of measures before adjourning on April 10, writes Amanda Yeager for the Annapolis Capital. Legislators have a full plate this year, with ample hot-button issues to consider, such as whether to implement a paid sick leave policy statewide and what to do about the approaching end to a moratorium on fracking in Maryland.

JUDGES AND BAIL: Kevin Rector of the Sun reports that in the months since Maryland’s attorney general said the state’s cash bail system violates the constitutional rights of the poor, judges and court commissioners have been requiring fewer criminal defendants to put up money for their freedom. Now they’re holding more defendants without bail instead, according to data obtained by the Sun. They’re also releasing more defendants on their own recognizance, or on unsecured bonds that require no money down.