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Hogan vows to step up efforts to halt human trafficking in Maryland

  • Published in State

Human Trafficking hands grabbing nettingHuman Trafficking hands grabbing nettingROCKVILLE – Calling Maryland a hotbed for human trafficking, Gov. Larry Hogan (R) announced several initiatives to combat the problem plaguing the state.

Hogan signed an executive order Thursday creating the new position of anti-human trafficking director, an appointed position to help combat the problem. In addition, Hogan announced new funding for a variety of programs to help research and develop solutions to human trafficking.

Finally, Hogan said he would support a bill, which legislators will introduce on the first day of the 2019 legislative session in January that will increase time served for some felony human traffickers.

Hogan said three regions in Maryland are hotspots for human trafficking: Baltimore, Prince George’s County and Montgomery County.

“The chilling reality is that Maryland’s central location and access to major highways and airports like I-95 and BWI make our state a hotbed for human trafficking,” Hogan said.

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Jealous lays out plan for Maryland as next governor

  • Published in State

Ben Jealous, Democrat candidate for governor.  FILE PHOTOBen Jealous, Democrat candidate for governor. FILE PHOTOThere are three key issues that Ben Jealous wants the residents of Maryland to know he stands for: education, healthcare, and building a better economy.

“Our focus is on fully funding education, making sure that we have a healthcare system that works better for everyone, and building a more robust economy,” Jealous said during a phone interview last Friday.

Jealous, who represents the Democratic candidate nomination for governor, says he is very focused on speaking to the people who support him and to the rest of the people, who are getting to know him for the first time.

“Healthcare premiums have skyrocketed on Larry Hogan’s watch,” said Jealous, “we have the worst economic growth in the region, Hogan is the first governor in decades to lose a Fortune 500 company, and our schools have fallen from first to sixth [in the country] on his watch,” said Jealous. “Also, there is a need for a governor who will actually stand up to Donald Trump!” he said.

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Maryland awarded opioid assistance grant

  • Published in State

Maryland FlagIn hopes of easing the impacts of the opioid crisis in the state, the U.S. Department of Labor awarded Maryland $1,975,085 grant fund to help former addicts find employment.

Maryland, along with six other states, is receiving a combined $22 million in grant money, as part of the federal government plan to help lessen the effects of the opioid crisis.

The funding will help people affected by the opioid crisis, often through addiction or a close relative that has become addicted, find employment through training and education and help match prospective employees to employers.

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Two incumbents in County delegation lose bids for Democratic nomination; Meiklejohn wins her rematch

  • Published in Local

Two incumbents in Montgomery County’s delegation in the Maryland House of Delegates lost their bids for the Democratic nomination after being overtaken by challengers.

Del. Shane Robinson came in fourth place with 19.4 percent just behind incumbent Del. Kirill Reznik and Lesley Lopez to finish just outside one of the three spots to represent District 39 which includes Germantown and Montgomery Village.

In District 19, which includes Wheaton, Aspen Hill, and Olney, incumbent Del. Maricé Morales finished fourth with 15.7 percent just behind incumbent Del. Bonnie Cullison and Derwood attorney Vaughn Stewart.

In a 2014 rematch, Barbara Meiklejohn defeated Alan Bowser to secure the Democratic nomination for Clerk of the Circuit Court for November’s General Election.

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Jealous wins Democratic Primary

  • Published in Local

Maryland gubernatorial candidate Ben Jealous won the Democratic nomination Tuesday night.  COURTESY PHOTOMaryland gubernatorial candidate Ben Jealous won the Democratic nomination Tuesday night. COURTESY PHOTO  Former NAACP CEO and President Ben Jealous won the Maryland Democratic Gubernatorial Primary and will take on incumbent Gov. Larry Hogan in November’s election.

Jealous, a self-described progressive and grassroots organizer, defeated eight other candidates to win the Democratic Primary.

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Supreme Court to wait on Maryland gerrymandering case

  • Published in State

COURTESY PHOTOCOURTESY PHOTO  The United States Supreme Court decided Monday to not rule on a case challenging the design of Maryland’s congressional districts – leaving the state's congressional map for the 2018 elections intact.

The unanimous holding by the Supreme Court means that Maryland, along with several other states, will have to wait for the Supreme Court to weigh in on the issue of partisan gerrymandering.

Partisan gerrymandering, the act taken by state legislators to redraw congressional districts to deliberately provide advantage to one political party over another, has become a hot topic in Maryland ever since legislators redrew the state’s congressional districts after the 2010 census.

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Democrats assail Governor Hogan in Sentinel debate

  • Published in Local

From left to right, Elizabeth Embry, Krishanti Vignarajah, Ben Jealous, Richard Madaleno, Alec Ross and Brandon Scott at the Sentinel Newspapers sponsored Democratic candidate debate Monday.  PHOTO BY GEORGE SMITHFrom left to right, Elizabeth Embry, Krishanti Vignarajah, Ben Jealous, Richard Madaleno, Alec Ross and Brandon Scott at the Sentinel Newspapers sponsored Democratic candidate debate Monday.         PHOTO BY GEORGE SMITH  ROCKVILLE — According to State Senator Richard Madaleno, Governor Larry Hogan’s popularity boils down to one thing; “He’s running on my record,” Madaleno said in a Democratic candidate debate sponsored by The Sentinel Newspapers Monday night.

Former NAACP CEO Ben Jealous, Madaleno (D-18), former U.S. State Department official Alec Ross and former Policy Director for First Lady Michelle Obama Krishanti Vignarajah all participated in the debate. Prince George’s County Executive Rushern Baker and Baltimore businessman Jim Shea sent their running mates, prosecutor Elizabeth Embry and Baltimore City Council member Brandon Scott, respectively.

The debate, like most Democratic primary forums, began and ended with attempts at knocking Gov. Larry Hogan’s (R) record on jobs, schools and lack of opposition to President Donald J. Trump.

“This thing you read about that ‘Maryland is open for business’ that is total and complete bullshit,” Ross said.

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Annapolis legislators say session productive so far

  • Published in State

Maryland FlagWith votes taking place on the House and Senate floors in the final weeks of the 2018 Maryland legislative session in Annapolis, two members of Montgomery County’s delegation are satisfied with their accomplishments so far.

“I think we managed to do a lot of legislation that directly benefits our constituents, everything from … firearms to the environment to economic development,” said Del. Kirill Reznik (D-District 39) who represents parts of Germantown and Montgomery Village.

Sen. Susan Lee (D-District 16), who represents Bethesda and Potomac, echoed Reznik’s comments saying “I think we got a lot done so far.”

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Advocacy groups make final push as session winds down

  • Published in State

Maryland FlagAs the 2018 Maryland legislative session enters its final days, state advocacy groups are making a final push for the passage of legislation.

“While there are a few bills still alive that we’re still supporting, unfortunately most of the major environmental legislation this year was either voted down or amended down into a non-sensitive form,” said Elaine Lutz, staff attorney for the Maryland office of the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, an organization which advocates for the health of the Chesapeake Bay and surrounding waterways.

Lutz said the CBF’s primary focus during this session was strengthening the Forest Conservation Act, which she said designates certain areas in the state as priority forests and calls for them to be preserved, but provides few specific criteria or guidelines towards accomplishing that goal.

“We are seeing the loss of some of our best contiguous forests,” Lutz said. “The legislation we introduced this year would have provided specific, transparent criteria for preserving the forests and reforestation requirements, but after opposition from some of the counties and the development community, the senate amended it into a more task force-oriented bill to find out where the forests are being lost and require certain recommendations to be made.”

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A win for the rule of law

  • Published in News

Federal judge rules lawsuit can proceed against President Trump

gavel2 1 Federal judge Peter J. Messitte ruled Friday that a joint lawsuit filed by Maryland and the District of Columbia against President Donald J. Trump can proceed, refusing the government’s request to drop the case.

Last June, D.C. and Maryland, announced they were suing Trump for violating the Emoluments Clause in the U.S. Constitution, which prohibits elected officials from receiving any present, title or emolument from a foreign head of state. Maryland and D.C.’s lawsuit against Trump alleges he has received emoluments through his various businesses, which Maryland and D.C. claim have become a hotspot for foreign dignitaries looking to curry favor with the president by patronizing his businesses.

“Today’s decision is a win for the rule of law, and soundly rejects the Trump administration’s argument that nobody can challenge the President’s illegal conduct,” said Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh.

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