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Takoma Park votes and changes its election laws

  • Published in Local

Takoma Park Govt logoTAKOMA PARK— The City mayor and Council changed the voting rules in the city charter May 10, bringing a slew of changes to the election process.

“It passed, we just changed our elections…it was harder than giving birth,” said Mayor Kate Stewart.

With the adoption of the charter amendment, the date of City elections will change from odd-numbered years to even-numbered years, synchronizing it with State and County elections.

It will also change the date of the nominating meeting, the day which the mayor and Council take office, and will extend the time for certification of election results. The length of the 2017 term will change, too.

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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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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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Congress struggles to be more HONEST about transparency

  • Published in News

CAPITOL HILL – Republicans in Congress are having a second go at a measure they say will increase transparency of federal environmental regulations.

On March 29, the House of Representatives voted 228-194 to pass the Honest and Open New EPA Science Treatment Act (HONEST Act), which prohibits the Environmental Protection Agency from proposing an action, including a new regulation, unless the scientific and technical information used to make that decision is “the best available science; specifically identified; and publicly available online in a manner that is sufficient for independent analysis and substantial reproduction of research results.”

Both Maryland Reps. Anthony Brown (D-4) and Steny Hoyer (D-5) voted against the measure.

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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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Gaithersburg gets legislative update

  • Published in Local

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GAITHERSBURG—Mayor Jud Ashman and the City Council were briefed Monday night about several issues of concern to the city in the current state legislative session. Monica Marquina, the city’s legislative affairs director, and Rob Garagiola, of the lobbying firm Alexander and Cleaver, which represents Gaithersburg, discussed their efforts working with the legislature thus far and their goals for the remaining third of the session where, Garagiola said, “90 percent of the work is still ahead.”

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Seniors and how they lose in state government

 

There are currently about three million seniors living in the state of Maryland and, of those, there are more than 850,000 over the age of 65. Each year, as the senior population loses members, new members join; those that were 64 last year become 65 this year. In two years those currently at 63 will join the club.
The senior club does at least one thing better than any other group; they vote. Accordingly, one must wonder why Governor Larry Hogan as well as the Maryland State Legislature have chosen to once again forget this rather considerable constituency when it comes time for some good old fashioned tax relief.

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“Held Back Reform Too Long”

  • Published in Local

Delaney proposes massive changes in the way Metro conducts business

 

A local representative said he has the legislative medicine to cure Metro’s ills.

“This legislation removes the brakes that have held back reform for too long,” said Rep. John Delaney (D-6), sponsor of the “WMATA (Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority) Improvement Act of 2017.”

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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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