Incentives for Maryland first-time home buyers

for sale sign outside houseMaryland first-time home buyers may soon have another program to help them buy a home. 

Two related bills are making their way through the Maryland General Assembly to create a first-time home buyer savings account. If enacted, Maryland would join a handful of other states that have already enacted such programs to incentivize home buying.


Home detention and being in custody

gavel2An alternative to incarcerating persons in a jail or prison that has become more frequently utilized in recent years is home detention, typically subject to significant restrictions. Maryland’s intermediate appellate Court earlier this month addressed whether a person subject to home detention should get credit against their prison sentence for time spent in home detention, in an opinion called Martez Johnson v. State of Maryland.


Takoma Park union at odds over performance

takoma park logoTAKOMA PARK — With contract negotiations at a standstill, the employees at Takoma Park’s Public Works Department say the city’s pay-for-performance system is an obstacle in their union negotiations with the city.

“The public should know if the city employees are being paid fairly,” said David Burbank, president of American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees 3399. “The pay-for-performance system is a total misnomer … it’s a corporate-based pay system.”


Chief says Takoma Park crime is declining

takoma park logoTAKOMA PARK — Highlighting the declining crime rate, Takoma Park police chief Antonio DeVaul delivered his first report as head of the city’s law enforcement agency Wednesday evening in front of the City Council.

“We’ve seen a slight decrease in reported crime over the last year,” DeVaul said during the meeting. “I’m pleased to announce that violent crime has decreased.”


B-CC students organize gun violence forum

B CC ForumSen. Chris Van Hollen met with students Sophie Cobb, Gabriela Jeliazkov and Julien Cary at a forum at Bethesda-Chevy Chase High School to discuss gun violence. PHOTO BY NEAL EARLEYWASHINGTON Members of Congress joined three Bethesda-Chevy Chase High School students Tuesday at a forum on gun violence, continuing the student-led debate over guns after a massacre at a high school in Parkland, Florida, and giving the students another opportunity to take their issues to those in power.

“I had my opinion and I had my beliefs and, obviously, I felt very discouraged by the recent presidential election, but definitely I’m seeing that we do have the power to make a difference because prior, I think, I just felt helpless,” said Sophie Cobb, a B-CC senior who helped organize the event with two fellow students, Julien Cary and Gabriela Jeliazkov


Maryland legislative update

With less than a month left to go in this year’s legislative session, both chambers of the Maryland legislature are still working their way through several key pieces of legislation as their final deadline draws near.

Here is an update thus far on a select number of a few state bills:


Local high student to appear at Kennedy Center

WASHINGTON, D.C. — At age 16, Clarksburg High School Student Mateo Ferro will achieve something many performing artists only dream of: he will perform at the Kennedy Center. 

Ferro’s interest in musical theater began while a student at Rocky Hill Middle School in Clarksburg, where a teacher encouraged him to audition for the school productions when he was in sixth grade.


Maryland crafts legislation targeting presidential tax return

A Maryland bill that would require all future presidential candidates to release their tax returns passsed the Maryland Senate last week, taking aim at President Trump. 

The Presidential Candidate Tax Transparency Act – which passed the state Senate last week 28-17 – would make Maryland the first state to require future presidential candidates to release their tax returns as a condition of appearing on the ballot, so as to let voters evaluate any potential conflicts of interest.


No “Gotcha!”

Metro managers say Grosvenor turnbacks will continue through the end of the year

metro logoWASHINGTON — Maryland’s representatives on the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority board questioned a decision by the system’s chief operating officer to present three options for eliminating some of the Red Line’s rush hour trains that terminate at Grosvenor-Strathmore Station.

On March 8, Chief Operating Officer Joseph Leader briefed the board’s Safety and Service Delivery Committee on WMATA management plans to eliminate what officials call the Grosvenor turnback, as well as options to partially eliminate train turnbacks or to do nothing and leave the system as it is. He added that the Grosvenor turnback will continue until December because WMATA still needs to hire and train additional train operators solicit public feedback and complete a study required by Title VI of the 1964 Civil Rights Act to determine whether any change would have a discriminatory impact, though he noted the change will not require a public hearing.

The three options Leader described include completely eliminating the turnback so that all 15 Red Line trains per hour traveling outbound from Silver Spring or Glenmont will go all the way to Shady Grove, partially eliminating it so that 12 trains in that direction per hour would service Shady Grove, and doing nothing, leaving the status quo of seven or eight trips per hour.

But Prince George’s County’s WMATA board member, Malcolm Augustine, said he was not happy that Leader presented three options.

“The board resolution stipulated that the turnback would be discontinued,” Augustine said. “That’s it.”


Kagan says video shows evidence of inappropriate touching

State Sen. Cheryl Kagan (left) and lobbyist Gil Genn.  FILE PHOTOSCheryl Kagan (left) and Gil Genn (right). FILE PHOTOSNewly-released security camera footage of an interaction between State Sen. Cheryl Kagan (D-17th District) and lobbyist Gil Genn is leading to different explanations from both parties roughly two weeks after Kagan accused Genn of touching her inappropriately.

The footage from a March 1 event at Castlebay Irish Pub in Annapolis shows shows Genn, a former state delegate and Kagan greeting one another with Genn putting his hand on Kagan’s back and whispering something to her before sliding his hand off her back, after which both spend the rest of the video in conversation. The footage does not make it clear how exactly Kagan reacted to Genn’s touch, as both continued talking in the crowded Annapolis bar.

Kagan – who in a March 2 statement accused Genn of touching her inappropriately by placing his hand on her back and then “[sliding] it down” – claimed the video validates her accusations.

“I was really uncomfortable,” Kagan said in a press conference Tuesday. “I wanted the incident to end. I wanted the interaction to end. He kept talking.”

However, Genn’s lawyer said the video exonerates Genn of any inappropriate behavior.

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