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State senator defends future frontline Metro workers’ pensions

  • Published in Local

GAITHERSBURG – A state senator representing Montgomery County on Thursday defended pensions for future Metro employee pensions, which the general manager proposed replacing with fixed contribution, and suggested changes for state funding of Metro.

State Sen. Richard Madaleno (D- 18) said after a news conference Thursday he believes the presence of pensions and sufficient benefits improves Metro workers’ performance in their jobs.

Madaleno cited a 2015 article by Justin Wolfers and Jan Zilinsky of the Peterson Institute for International Economics, who said, on the basis of numerous studies, that workers with higher wages and pensions were likely to perform better as employees because they were happier.

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Proposed bill on past sex assault evidence fails

gavel2 1 Every legislative session of course includes bills, some that were part of the Governor’s legislative agenda, which are not passed by the General Assembly. Often such proposals are brought back in succeeding years, and this year’s legislative session was no exception. This session saw failure of a proposal that would allow evidence of past sexual crimes under certain circumstances.

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MoCo delegation satisfied with legislative session

  • Published in Local

Three members of Montgomery County delegation to the Maryland General Assembly say they are satisfied with their achievements of the 2017 legislative session.

"The 2017 session was quite productive in terms of getting some progressive legislation passed that had been stalled for years," said Del. David Moon (D-20) who represents Takoma Park.

"It was a really busy session, we got a lot done," said Del. Kirill Reznik (D-39) who represents Germantown and Montgomery Village. "From a progressive point of view, from a productive point of view, I think it was a very good session," he added.

The legislation which passed into law included paid sick leave, a fracking ban, and changes to the crime of rape.

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Barve and Kagan brief G-burg on legislature

  • Published in Local

Gaithersburg Govt logo

GAITHERSBURG – Legislators from the 17th District visited City Hall Monday night to brief Mayor Jud Ashman and the City Council on key issues addressed in the recently concluded legislative session.

Del. Kumar Barve (D), chairman of the Environment and Transportation Committee, discussed the “thorny” issue of stormwater management fees and securing reimbursement from Montgomery County for Gaithersburg and Rockville.

Barve noted that he drafted legislation to negotiate a compromise between the County and municipal governments that passed his committee and the House of Delegates by a wide majority but that it stalled in the Senate because the chairman there was “skittish” about the issue.

“I think I have a way around the problem. I don’t want to say what it is yet, but I think next year will be the charm,” Barve said. “I was very heartened to hear representatives from Montgomery County government tell me that regardless of whether a bill passes next year or not – and I’m very committed to passing a bill – that they felt that the negotiated compromise we were able to get to was a good template.”

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State passes law to provide private ownership of liquor stores in Montgomery

  • Published in Local

A new Maryland law will finally soon provide relief to booze-thirsty residents.

A new law that passed in the General Assembly will allow beer and wine stores in the County to apply for a license to sell liquor. Currently all liquor stores in the County are owned by the County, while beer and wine stores are privately-owned expanding businesses where residents can buy liquor.

“I think it will allow the retails to grow and I think they will sell a little more,” said Del. Charles E. Barkley (D-39), who co-sponsored the bill in the House of Delegates.

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Franchot looks to reform alcohol laws

  • Published in State

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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State passes legislation to give one-year write-offs for manufacturing equipment

  • Published in State

The Maryland General Assembly included one-year write-offs of manufacturing equipment for tax purposes in its end-of-session legislative rush on April 10.

Gov. Larry Hogan (R) signed the new tax law on April 11.

It was part of Hogan’s job creation initiative, attached to better-known provisions allowing for special tax incentives for manufacturing in less prosperous areas of Maryland, including parts of Baltimore, Western Maryland and the Eastern Shore.

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Ariana Kelly takes helm of group dedicated to fighting for women

  • Published in State

Ariana KellyDel. Ariana Kelly (D-16). COURTESY PHOTO  

After being elected president of the Women Legislators of Maryland, Del. Ariana Kelly (District 16) proclaimed that she had just “fulfilled one of my legislative dreams.”

Kelly, who is already known around Annapolis for fighting for women’s causes, now heads an organization dedicated to the rights and needs of women and girls on issues such as child care, domestic violence and human trafficking.

“I think it’s an incredible opportunity. I think there are a lot of ways to improve women’s lives,” she said.

“For me, it’s both a tremendous honor to be elected by my colleagues, but it also is a tremendous opportunity to improve the lives of the women of Maryland.”

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Historical sites hail restoration of funding

  • Published in Local

As the current Maryland legislative session draws to a close, organizations advocating for the preservation of the state’s historical sites and open spaces are applauding the restoration of funds for that purpose. The capital budget, which was approved March 29, includes $600,000 in funds for preservation grants.

“With final approval of the Maryland state budget, grant funding for historic preservation will see its first appropriation in nearly a decade,” said Nicholas Redding, executive director of Preservation Maryland, a Baltimore-based historical advocacy organization that lobbied extensively to restore funding. “Thanks to the support of members, partner organizations and legislative champions, Preservation Maryland is pleased to report that funding once considered lost forever is now officially back. The Montgomery County delegation has been extremely helpful and very supportive of historic preservation work, as evidenced by their support for this funding as well as key local initiatives like state bond bill funding for Pleasant View Historic Site near the Kentlands/Quince Orchard which also passed this session.”

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Power to the Attorney General

  • Published in State

Democrats look to expand attorney general powers to sue the federal government

 

The General Assembly passed a bill Wednesday that will give the state’s attorney general more power to sue the federal government on the state’s behalf.

After several executive orders from President Donald J. Trump alarmed Democratic leaders in Annapolis, members of the General Assembly, along with Attorney General Brian Frosh, have crafted a bill to expand the attorney general’s powers in the state. The bill passed the House of Delegates Wednesday after passing the Senate last week. The bill does not require the governor’s signature.

“Frankly, the need for this arises from the, I would say, erratic and implosive and you might even say reckless nature of what’s going in the past few weeks,” Frosh said in a committee hearing on the bill. “There’s been blizzard of executive orders, many of which are ill-advised.”

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