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Palakovich Carr announces bid for House of Delegates

Rockville City Council member Julie Palakovich Carr filed her paperwork this week to run for District-17 in the Maryland House of Delegates.

Palakovich Carr, a two-term member on the Rockville City Council, said she wanted to run for state government because she believes she can have a greater impact on education, transportation and economic issues at the state level.

“I decided to run because I think it's important to be pushing progressive reforms in Annapolis,” Palakovich Carr said.

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Two wastewater overflows occur on WSSC property

Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission officials said tens of thousands of gallons of wastewater spilled each in two separate instances near an Upper Marlboro wastewater treatment plant Saturday.

WSSC crews placed warning signs at the sites of two separate overflows that occurred near the Western Branch Wastewater Treatment Plant in Upper Marlboro Saturday.

“We posted signs at both sites, and we cleaned the affected area (s),” WSSC spokesperson Ayoka Blandford said.

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Montgomery County resident Richard Madaleno Announces run for Governor

Kensington resident, state senator and vocal critic of the incumbent governor Richard Madaleno announced his candidacy for governor of Maryland on Monday.

Madaleno, if elected, would be the first openly gay governor in history of Maryland.

“I am running for governor, and I am going to win,” said Madaleno to applause at the Universities of Shady Grove.

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Bernie supports a Jealous vote

Though Gov. Larry Hogan says he did not vote for President Trump, Ben Jealous, a progressive candidate and former NAACP president, is trying to turn his campaign for governor in 2018 into a referendum on the two Republicans.

“We are a great state with a great future with great people, but our children will not be able to realize their full potential if we continue to tolerate the status quo,” said Jealous.

Hogan is popular in the state, but certainly not among progressive voters in Takoma Park, many of whom were drawn to Bernie Sanders’ appearance at the rally. Trump, however, is not as popular in Maryland, and Jealous is ready to capitalize on that.

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Raskin hopes to train next gen politicos

Since his first campaign for elected office in 2006, Congressman Jamie Raskin has trained young adults to become political organizers.

"Politics at its best is all about education," said Raskin, who represents Maryland's 8th Congressional District. "You're educating people about the process, you're educating people about the substance of the issues, and then you're educating and getting educated by people about the prospects for real social and political change," he said.

Known as Democracy Summer, the program was formed alongside Raskin's first campaign for the Maryland State Senate in 2006 as a way to not only conduct political outreach but also to educate and encourage young adults to become involved in politics.

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Medical Marijuana on hold

Medical MarijuanaThe first availability of Maryland-licensed medical marijuana appears likely to be in November, a couple months later than the state government’s earlier forecast of “late summer.”

On July 6, Gov. Larry Hogan appointed nine new Maryland Medical Cannabis Commission members, and reappointed one member. Hogan’s appointees collectively comprise a majority of the 16-member Commission.

As of July 11, only one grower and one dispensary had gotten final or “Stage II” license approval from MMCC. The MMCC website said from March through May that the Commission’s target date for first availability was “late summer.”

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Trump's budget would force state, county to 'pick up pieces'

President Trump proposed a detailed budget May 23 that kept the themes of his March budget blueprint: steep cuts to science-based agencies, many headquartered in Montgomery County, and to programs to aid lower-income people, offset by sizable increases for defense and Homeland Security.

Compared with the 80-page budget released in March, the new spending plan for Fiscal Year 2018 (October 1, 2017-September 30, 2018) is a vast, eight-volume document with details on Trump’s proposals for every agency. Other subjects newly addressed include how the deficit would be affected, the major changes from previous budgets, revenue forecasts, and economic growth assumptions.

Given the size of the new document, reactions to it this week are only preliminary, with the meanings of many provisions yet to be unearthed by congressional review over the coming months.

If the proposed major cuts are enacted to Medicaid, food stamps (called Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program or “SNAP”), elderly and school nutrition, “It would be up to the County or state government or both to pick up the pieces,” said Joy Nurmi, special assistant to County Executive Ike Leggett. For instance, she predicted, if SNAP cutbacks are adopted, many people would go to food pantries such as Manna Food Center in Gaithersburg. Manna is partially funded by the County and the cities of Rockville and Gaithersburg.

“A budget is a moral document,” reflecting a community’s values, Nurmi asserted. She called the Trump budget “completely morally corrupt.”

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CareFirst files for massive health premium hike

CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield proposed monthly premiums averaging more than 50 percent higher for 2018 than for 2017, in filings to the Maryland Insurance Department for the online health insurance marketplace under the Affordable Care Act.

The three other companies offering coverage in Maryland’s online/individual market, CIGNA, Kaiser Mid-Atlantic, and Evergreen Health, applied for substantial but smaller 2018 rates that average 37.4 percent, 18.1 percent, and 27.8 percent, respectively.

CareFirst has the largest market share by far over the company’s Maryland, D.C., and Northern Virginia market area, said the company’s CEO, Chet Burrell. It covers two out of every three people in that area with coverage purchased through the ACA online exchanges.

The public may comment online about the proposed rate increases through June 20. The Maryland Insurance Department will hold a public hearing on the proposals on June 21 at its offices in Baltimore. Insurance Commissioner Al Redmer, Jr., said the agency would make a decision by late summer. The ACA requires the agency to approve rates that are adequate to meet the costs of the coverage.

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Franchot looks to reform alcohol laws

The state comptroller said Tuesday he is starting an alcohol task force to review state laws because the state is more “restrictive” on craft breweries than every other state in the country.

Maryland Comptroller Peter Franchot said he wants to see reform in Maryland alcohol laws. He said the task force, called Reform on Tap, will meet at breweries across the state and discuss concerns about existing laws as well as ideas for new legislation to propose to the General Assembly. Stakeholders such as breweries would make up the task force.

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