Baltimore County on track to meet goals of affordable housing settlement, but challenges remain

Three years into a landmark legal settlement targeting housing policies, Baltimore County says more than half of the 1,000 affordable homes it promised are built or in the works. But challenges remain as the county navigates the multiyear settlement under the administration of a new county executive. The county must sustain its pace in helping to finance affordable housing projects under the deal with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. County Executive Johnny Olszewski Jr. needs to introduce controversial legislation this year prohibiting landlords from refusing to accept housing vouchers commonly called Section 8. And affordable-housing projects are often unpopular, drawing opposition from neighbors like one such proposal in Owings Mills. (Balt. Sun)

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Baltimore-Washington Area Gets Failing Grade For Air Quality

It may be getting more difficult to breathe easy in the Baltimore region. A new report from the American Lung Association has Charm City ranked as one of the most ozone-polluted cities in the nation. Baltimore and Anne Arundel counties received a failing grade in the annual State of the Air report. (WJZ-TV)

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Work to begin next month on long-awaited Middleton Road extension in Aberdeen

After nearly five decades of talking about it, the extension of Middleton Road in Aberdeen is scheduled to begin next month. The Aberdeen City Council voted 4-0 Monday to award a contract for $871,777 to Allan Myers MD Inc. of Fallston, one of nine companies that submitted bids for the project. “It’s been 48 years in the making, but who’s counting,” City Manager Randy Rudy said as he discussed the contract with council members before they voted. The new roadway will connect Route 22, near Target and the Starbucks that is under construction, with Beards Hill Road. (Aegis)

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Md. prosecutors hope agreement quells fears of ‘fix’ after police shootings

Whenever a person dies at the hands of the police, a lot of scrutiny and skepticism are applied. Now, Montgomery and Howard County prosecutors have formalized an agreement to investigate each other’s fatal police incidents in an attempt to bring transparency to the inquiry. “What we’re attempting to do is build public confidence in the integrity, transparency and fairness of these investigations,” said Montgomery County State’s Attorney John McCarthy. “There might be some kind of impression that the fix is in, or it’s not a fair or impartial review.” The memorandum of understanding, signed Tuesday with Howard County State’s Attorney Rich Gibson, formalizes an oral agreement between the two counties that has been in place for years, to prevent a county’s prosecutors from investigating deaths caused by officers of that county’s police. (WTOP)

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Md. board holds the line on property tax rates

Maryland property owners will not see an increase in state property taxes in the coming year. The Board of Public Works voted Wednesday to keep the state property tax rates on real property and property owned by public utilities at the current levels. “Our administration will remain committed to fiscal responsibility and prudent capital spending,” said Gov. Larry Hogan, one of the board’s three members. The rate for the coming fiscal year will remain at 11.2 cents per $100 of assessed value. That portion is on top of local and municipal property tax rates. (Daily Record)

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Planned Parenthood: States should oppose Trump ‘gag rule’

It’s time for states with leaders who support abortion rights to go on the offensive against Trump administration attempts to restrict abortion that would reduce access to health care, the president of Planned Parenthood said Tuesday. “States are a critical backstop at a time when we have the Trump-Pence administration stripping away women’s health and rights and when we cannot depend on the Supreme Court,” said Dr. Leana Wen. (Daily Record)

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City Residents Can Now Serve On Police Trial Boards

Baltimore City residents can now serve on police trial boards, having a say in how officers are disciplined when they are charged with misconduct. Ex-Officio Mayor Jack Young addressed the change in a press conference Wednesday. It will be effective on July 1. City Solicitor Andre Davis said getting civilians on the police board is something the city has been working toward for years. “The trial board that used to be three police officers will now be five members — three sworn police officers and two civilian members,” Davis said. “All with equal voting power.” (WJZ-TV)

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Feds: Maryland man also targeted Supreme Court justices, social media executives

A Coast Guard lieutenant accused of stockpiling guns and compiling a hit list of prominent Democrats and network TV journalists looked at other targets: two Supreme Court justices and two executives of social media companies, according to federal prosecutors. Those new allegations are contained in a court filing Tuesday in which prosecutors urge a magistrate judge to keep Christopher Hasson, 49, detained in custody pending trial on firearms and weapons charges. The filing doesn't name the two justices and two company executives but says Hasson searched online for their home addresses in March 2018, within minutes before and after searching firearm sales websites. (Balt. Sun)

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