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New laws begin in Maryland

Starting Oct. 1, various laws will go into effect in Maryland, including laws to deter drunken driving, increase police accountability and public safety, promote workers’ rights, establish opioid addiction outreach programs and protect the freedom of the press. 

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Democrats support, Republicans oppose Question 1 on fall ballot

Del. David MoonState Del. David Moon (D-20) authored HB 260, a constitutional amendment to change how officials are appointed to fill vacancies in the comptroller's and attorney general's offices. FILE PHOTO  

Maryland voters this fall will decide whether the governor must pick someone of the same party as the attorney general or comptroller if either of them cannot complete their elected terms.

A special election would follow the next year to complete the term, according to the terms of the proposed constitutional amendment voters are set to consider Nov. 8.

Voting down the measure would allow the governor to make the temporary appointment without regard for party affiliation.

State Del. David Moon (D-20), whose district includes Takoma Park, authored House Bill 260, a constitutional amendment which passed the General Assembly this year and now is up for a statewide referendum.

It’s often referred to as Question 1.

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'Let Summer be Summer'

Hogan echoes the sentiment with an executive order which pushes public school start date after Labor Day

MoCo 1st Day of SchoolPrincipal Cabell Lloyd of Meadow Hall Elementary School greets students on the first day of school.  PHOTO BY MARK POETKER  

Ocean City Mayor Richard Meehan said he wanted to "let summer be summer."

On Wednesday, Gov. Larry Hogan granted Meehan's wish, signing an executive order mandating the state's public schools start after Labor Day. The executive order will take effect beginning at the start of the 2017-2018 school year.

Hogan said starting school after Labor Day will generate $74 million in economic activity citing a 2013 study done by the Maryland Bureau of Revenue Estimates saying starting school after Labor Day will bring in $3.7 million in new wages and $7.7 million in state and local tax revenue.

“Starting Maryland public schools after Labor Day is not just a family issue – it’s an economic and public safety issue that draws clear, strong, bipartisan support among an overwhelming majority of Marylanders,” said Hogan at a news conference on Ocean City's boardwalk.

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Sarbanes pushes back against public cynicism of government

John Sarbanes - 8-8-16Rep. John Sarbanes (D-3)  PHOTO BY DANICA ROEM  

ROCKVILLE – “I wish the country wasn’t so angry at the government right now.”

Public cynicism about politics and people spending more time online than outdoors at events has made it harder for public officials to communicate with their constituents, according to Rep. John Sarbanes (D-3).

“The public is so cynical. They’re so turned off,” said Sarbanes Monday at the office of the Montgomery County Sentinel.

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Legislator takes aim at guns

State Del. Luke Clippinger (D-46) said he is planning to reintroduce a bill that would prevent people on the federal Terror Watch list from purchasing a firearm in Maryland.

The bill by the Baltimore delegate would use the federal terror watch list, which bans people from boarding airplanes, from purchasing a firearm in Maryland. 

After the shooting at Pulse nightclub in Orlando, a similar bill was introduced in the United States Senate that would have banned anyone on a federal watch list from purchasing a firearm. 

Many congressional Democrats argued such a ban would have prevented Orlando shooter Omar Mateen from purchasing a firearm.

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First-timers enjoy their time in Philadelphia during Democratic Convention

MP1 9323Democratic nominees Hillary Clinton and Tim Kaine in Philadelphia.   PHOTO BY MARK POETKER

Maryland State Delegate Shane Robinson, a supporter of Bernie Sanders, said attending the Democratic National Convention reminded him that he is proud to be a Democrat.

Robinson said he watched the Republican National Convention on television last week and then was struck by a contrast in tone when he attended the Democratic National Convention. While speakers and Presidential nominee Donald Trump seemed to him to be encouraging citizens to be fearful of refugees and potential terrorists, Robinson said the speakers in the Democratic convention conveyed hope and zeal.

“The difference in tone and in positive enthusiasm was striking,” said Robinson. “I’m so proud to be a member of the Democratic Party right now.”

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Democratic vets mull convention changes

MP1 8953President Barack Obama at the Democratic National Convention. PHOTO BY MARK POETKER The role and scope of women participating in the Democratic National Convention changed considerably from the time state Sen. Cheryl Kagan (D-17) first attended in 1980.

Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D) capped that change as the dean of the Senate women formally nominated Hillary Clinton to be the Democratic nominee, the first woman to lead a major party presidential ticket.

“Every convention is different and every convention is exciting and truly a privilege to experience and be a part of history,” said Kagan last week during a phone call from Philadelphia.

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Critics say terror watch list isn't solving the problem

ROCKVILLE – In the aftermath of recent terrorist attacks around the world, counterterrorism has become a major topic of political discussion.

On the presidential campaign, both major party candidates have weighed in with former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (D) calling for expanding the watch list program while real estate mogul Donald Trump (R) supports restricting firearms sales to those already placed on the list.

Gadeir Abbas, an attorney who represents individuals who have been placed on the list, said the government’s watch list program “has been an utter debacle from the start.”

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Maryland in DNC spotlight

Mikulski nominates Hillary Clinton while Sanders supporters rant and rave

Barbara Mikulski at DNCSenator Barbara Mikulski nominated Hillary Clinton for President at the 2016 Democratic National Convention. PHOTO BY MARK POETKER

 

PHILADEPLIA – The "little general in pearls," as Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D) has been called, is ending her political career with a flourish.

Tuesday she nominated her friend and former Senator from New York, Hillary Clinton as the first female presidential nominee of a major political party in American history.

The five-term, retiring senator from Maryland had nothing but praise for her Senate colleague.

“So on behalf of all the women who have broken down barriers for others and with an eye toward the barriers ahead, I proudly raise Hillary Clinton’s name in nomination to be the next President,” said Mikulski.

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