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Rockville lists priorities for 2019 legislature

  • Published in Local

Seal of Rockville MdROCKVILLE — Still six months before the Maryland legislative session begins, the Rockville Mayor and City Council are already getting their priorities for the 2019 session straight.

Among the top issues for the City discussed at Monday night’s meeting were local control over small-cell antennas, changing Maryland to an open-primary state, and funding for infrastructure projects.

The discussion was the first step for the City to get its priorities in line before the 2019 legislative session. Rockville is a member of the Maryland Municipal League, which lobbies in Annapolis on behalf of cities and towns, and is the organization that will represent the City’s priorities in the 2019 legislative session.

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Gun advocates and control supporters rally in Annapolis

  • Published in State

ANNAPOLIS — Even a casual observer who visited the House of Delegates’ offices Tuesday could easy deduce the issue of the day by taking notice of the sartorial sameness displayed in the long lines of activists waiting to testify – gun control.

The corridor outside the House Judiciary Committee’s chamber, was packed full of redshirted advocates, gun lobbyists and other Marylanders seeking to add their voice to the debate, whether it was for or against more gun legislation. While last month’s deadly school shooting in Parkland, Florida provided new momentum to a longstanding push for more gun control laws, those in attendance at Tuesday’s public hearing came not to take part in the ongoing national debate on guns, but rather to weigh in gun issues closer to home in Maryland.

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Gburg’s Spiegel calls for highway funds restoration

  • Published in Local

gaithersburg buildingGAITHERSBURG — At Monday night’s meeting of Gaithersburg’s Mayor and City Council, Council Vice President Ryan Spiegel identified what he called the top priority for Gaithersburg and all other Maryland municipalities in the current legislative session. Spiegel, who also serves as statewide chair of the legislative committee of the Maryland Municipal League, noted that under a formula set by state law, cities and towns throughout Maryland are entitled to receive funding for roadway restoration and maintenance,

“Unfortunately, that formula was eviscerated by the State of Maryland back in 2009 during the Great Recession,” Spiegel said. “Ever since them, cities and towns have been working to get the state to restore that formula to its rightful equation, because without it, cities and towns are being deprived of the money they need to maintain our roads and other transportation infrastructure.”

Spiegel said that the MML sought public involvement in helping to convince state legislators to restore this funding, known as highway user revenues, or HURs, which is largely funded by state gasoline taxes.

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Controversial state song may finally change

  • Published in State

Flag of MarylandMaryland’s controversial state song – “Maryland, My Maryland” – could soon go the way of eight-track tapes and cassettes if a number of state legislators get their way.

The Civil War-era battle hymn, which makes reference to “Northern scum,” takes its lyrics from a poem written in the early days of the conflict by James Ryder Randall, and with verses like “Thou wilt not cower in the dust, Maryland! Thy beaming sword shall never rust,” gained popularity with Confederate troops before being adopted as the official state song.

One proposal for changing the song is SB0790, sponsored by State Sen. Cheryl Kagan (D) of District 17. Kagan has been pushing to change the state song since 2016, and introduced her bill to “repeal and replace” the current song, which she called “embarrassing and dated and racist,” last week.

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2018 Maryland Legislative Preview

  • Published in State

Sen. Craig Zucker (D14)

D14 Craig ZuckerSen. Craig Zucker COURTESY PHOTOZucker said he is wary of potential federal cuts that could impact the state -- including cuts to programs for keeping the Chesapeake Bay clean. The General Assembly should be aware of such cuts during the budget process, Zucker said, adding that the Trump administration has created new expectations for the state. 

“We have to be proactive in our budgeting,” Zucker said.

In addition to funding for the Chesapeake Bay, Zucker emphasized that state funding for Montgomery County Public Schools is as key an issue for the County's delegation to Annapolis as it is for local elected leaders.

“I think it's important to make sure to meet our commitment on our education spending and on the capital side to make sure we are investing in our school construction,” he said.

Zucker said he plans to introduce a bill that would reverse a state law about serving alcohol to people with developmental disabilities. Currently in Maryland bars and restaurants can deny serving alcohol to of age adults with developmental disabilities. Zucker said his bill would make that illegal.

“That is not fair; it’s an equity thing,” he said.

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Hogan moves Taney statue from outside statehouse

  • Published in State

Taney statueLast week, Gov. Larry Hogan decided to remove the statue that stands outside the Maryland State House in Annapolis of Roger B. Taney, the U.S. Supreme Court chief justice infamous for the majority opinion he wrote in the Dred Scott decision.

“While we cannot hide from our history – nor should we – the time has come to make clear the difference between properly acknowledging our past and glorifying the darkest chapters of our history,” Hogan said in a statement. “With that in mind, I believe removing the Justice Roger B. Taney statue from the State House grounds is the right thing to do, and we will ask the State House Trust to take that action immediately."

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Cellphone simulators detailed in Annapolis

  • Published in State

 

ANNAPOLIS -- During a first-of-its-kind public hearing, law enforcement officials detailed how cell site simulators are used as they addressed arguments from privacy proponents about the technology’s infringing on privacy rights.

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Confederate plate ban proposed

  • Published in State

Kumar-BarveState Del. Kumar Barve

ANNAPOLIS – State Del. Kumar Barve's (D-17) bill to ban the display of the Confederate battle flag on license plates passed the House of Delegates by a vote 131-8 last week.

The bill next moves on the state Senate.

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