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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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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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Choose the best way to sell your home at the best price

for-sale-sign-outside-house

We are only two weeks into the New Year, but the Maryland General Assembly has been busy. So far a number of bills have been introduced that affect home owners, buyers, renters, and landlords. Surely there will be others proposed through legislative session. Because these bills have a way to go before they are signed into law, you have an opportunity to voice your opinions to your State Representatives.

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Kagan briefs Gaithersburg on legislature

  • Published in Local

Gaithersburg Govt logo

GAITHERSBURG – Sen. Cheryl Kagan (D-17) visited the first City Council meeting of the year to inform Mayor Jud Ashman and the Council of her priorities when the state legislature convenes next week.

“My own legislative agenda is going to feature a very broad cross section of items, including continued work on our 911 system,” said. “We are not as technologically updated as we need to be, considering we are right next to the nation’s capital. Whether it’s a Metro derailment, God forbid, freak weather storm, traffic accident or a terrorist attack, Maryland needs to be ready, and we are working with 911 center directors from around the state on a comprehensive bill.”

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