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"It will have teeth"

  • Published in Local

Governor signs bill designed to make Metro a safer place for riders

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Gov. Larry Hogan (R) signed a bill to create a new Metro Safety Commission last week, bringing Maryland, D.C. and Virginia closer to their goal of creating a state-level safety oversight body for Metro.

Del. Kumar Barve (D-17), Maryland House Transportation and Environment Committee chairperson, said one of the hardest parts of passing the legislation, which was signed March 30, was for the three jurisdictions to work together.

“Having three cooks in the kitchen is daunting even when the three of them agree,” Barve said.

Chuck Bean, executive director of Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments, said the new commission, if the Federal Transit Administration approves the bill, would have more power than the previous safety oversight group, the Tri-State Oversight Commission.

“The creation of the Metro Safety Commission is important because it will have regulatory oversight of safety matters for Metro, meaning it will have teeth and the power to impose fines or suspend service, and that’s something we’ve not had before,” Bean said Friday.

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General Assembly draws County ire over minimum wage

  • Published in Local

While the County Council is split on raising the minimum wage, it is unanimously opposed to a bill in the General Assembly that would prevent the County from raising the minimum wage.

House Bill 317 would prohibit local jurisdictions in Maryland from raising the minimum wage. While the council is split on raising the minimum wage in the County, it – along with the County Executive Ike Leggett – is opposed to the bill.

Berliner, who voted against the bill to raise the minimum wage in the County to $15 per hour, said he is against the state’s preempting the County.

“While we may differ internally as to the right path to 15 dollars an hour, we are unanimous in believing that it is our responsibility, not something the state should assume for itself,” said Council President Roger Berliner (D-1). “This state has great diversity, and our situation is not the same as Garrett County, our situation is not the same as St. Mary’s County, and we are in the best position to address the needs of our people.”

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Hogan, O’Malley agree on gerrymandering reform

  • Published in State

Maryland’s two most recent governors agree on one of the most divisive issues in the state – gerrymandering.

Gov. Larry Hogan had faint praise for his predecessor, former Gov. Martin O’Malley, after getting wind of remarks O’Malley made at a speech at Boston College.

In his speech, which O’Malley published online in January, O’Malley called for a nonpartisan commission to draw congressional districts, a reform that Republicans in Maryland are in support of.

“America needs non-partisan redistricting commissions not only for drawing Congressional districts every ten years, but for state legislative districts as well,” O’Malley said. “This simple reform, already being adopted in some states, must become the new norm of American democracy.”

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Kumar Barve pushes bid for Congress

  • Published in Local

In the race to succeed U.S. Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-8), state Del. Kumar Barve (D-17) tied himself directly to the outgoing congressman, who’s now running for U.S. Senate, though Van Hollen hasn’t endorsed Barve’s candidacy.

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