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Hogan sets up scholarship fund to offset community college tuition

Maryland SealA recently-passed Maryland law will make attending community college more affordable for state residents.

Last week, Gov. Larry Hogan (R) signed a bill that will help cover the cost of tuition for some state residents attending community colleges. The bill allocates $15 million in state funding to provide scholarships up to $5,000 for students whose family earn less than $150,000 a year or for adults with an income of $100,000 a year or less.

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Annapolis legislators say session productive so far

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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Gubernatorial candidates speak in Frederick

FREDERICK — Six candidates seeking to replace Governor Larry Hogan this fall came to make their cases at a candidate forum Friday night at the Hilton Garden Inn in Frederick. The forum was hosted by the Maryland chapters of the Federation of National Active and Retired Federal Employees and the Federation of Business and Professional Women (BPW). 

Present were Democratic candidates Jim Shea, a former attorney and chairman of the University of Maryland’s Board of Regents; Krish Vignarajah, former policy director for First Lady Michele Obama; and James Jones II,. Former NAACP director Ben Jealous was represented by his running mate, Susan Turnbull, and Prince George’s County Executive Rushern L. Baker III was represented by his running mate, Elizabeth Embry. Libertarian Party Candidate Shawn Quinn, a retired Navy veteran and Newport News, Va., law enforcement officer, also attended. Declared candidates who were invited but did not attend included Hogan, Green Party candidate Ian Schlakman, and Democrats Rich Madeleno, Ralph Jaffe, Kevin Kamenetz, and Alec Ross.

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Mr. Hogan goes to Washington

Governor Larry Hogan stands next to Sen. Ben Cardin on his visit to D.C. earlier this week. PHOTO BY NEAL EARLEYGovernor Larry Hogan stands next to Sen. Ben Cardin on his visit to D.C. earlier this week. PHOTO BY NEAL EARLEY  WASHINGTON -- When Gov. Larry Hogan (R) walked out of his meeting with Maryland’s Congressional Delegation last week it seemed it could not have gone better -- at least that's what he said.

Speaking at a brief press conference, Hogan and the delegation gave the impression after the meeting that their party affiliation did not matter.

Like political allies, each Maryland politician repeated and reiterated their shared priorities and objectives -- to save the state from a slew of federal cuts to the management of the Chesapeake Bay, healthcare, and transportation.

“I think it was a very productive meeting on really important shared priorities that are important to the people of Maryland,” Hogan said.

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SHA holds open house on Hogan’s I-270 plan

BETHESDA -- In September Gov. Larry Hogan (R) announced his ambitious plan to fix traffic congestion on two of the County’s most important roadways by adding additional lanes.

In his proposal, Hogan promised to add toll lanes to I-270 and I-495 as way to clear traffic congestion with little cost to the taxpayer. Although Hogan promised his plan to widen I-270 and I-495 would be “transformative” for commuters around the state, some said they were skeptical of his plan.

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"Go Big or Go Home!"

Hogan and Leggett pull out the stops to help Metro and entice Amazon to the county

On a stage normally reserved for large orchestras, Gov. Larry Hogan (R) signed two bills that could have a major impact on Montgomery County.

One bill Hogan signed gave Metro a dedicated source of funding for the first time. The other bill Hogan signed was a tax incentive package to help bring Amazon’s second headquarters to the White Flint area.

Instead of musicians filling the Music Center at Strathmore in Bethesda, local and state officials from Maryland, Virginia and Washington, D.C., were on hand to witness the bills get signed into law.

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Advocacy groups make final push as session winds down

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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State song may soon be demoted to historical status

Maryland Flag“Maryland, My Maryland,” the Civil War battle hymn that refers to “Northern scum” soon may no longer be the state song.

But rather than replace “the embarrassing, outdated and racist song,” as Senator Cheryl Kagan (D-17) called it, the State Senate opted last week to demote the song to historical status.

“It will be designated as historical. We are putting it aside,” said Kagan, who stressed that her preference for the new designation is “historical, not historic. ‘Historical’ means that’s what we used to believe.”

The lyrics, which are from a poem written in the early days of the Civil War by James Ryder Randall, “are offensive and outdated,” she said, explaining why she has been trying to repeal and replace the song since 2016.

Before the song is officially downgraded, the House of Delegates must agree. An official vote in the House has not yet been scheduled.

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Statistics show gun violence rising in Maryland

Gun ViolenceWith a renewed push to enact gun control legislation taking this place last weekend in Washington, some state politicians are saying Maryland could serve as model of gun control reform for the nation.

Since the murder of 17 people in Parkland, Florida, students and gun control advocates have staged walkouts and protest marches in hopes of pressuring Congress to enact new gun control laws such as banning assault weapons which Maryland did through its legislation in 2013.

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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:

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