Time for Maryland to adopt patient bill of rights, say Del. Lewis Young, advocates at committee hearing

Del. Karen Lewis Young (D-Frederick) has started the next steps to make Maryland the 28th state to have a patient bill of rights. Lewis Young appeared before the House of Delegates’ Health and Government Operations Committee to seek a favorable recommendation on her bill for the fourth time Wednesday afternoon, citing Maryland’s poor statistics for patient satisfaction, security and emergency department wait times. “Although Maryland has excellent health care, we don’t deliver it in an excellent manner,” Lewis Young said in the hearing. (News-Post)

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Pugh defends police recruiting efforts, says 2018's net drop in officer ranks marks improvement

Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh on Wednesday defended her administration’s efforts to fill hundreds of vacant patrol positions within the city’s beleaguered Police Department, arguing the net loss of 36 officers in 2018 actually marked an improvement over past years. The 2018 decline, the result of 184 officers being hired while 220 others left, was not an improvement over 2017, when the department saw a marginal gain in officers for the first time since 2009, with 207 hired and 204 leaving. But it was a smaller loss than in any other year since 2012, Pugh said in an interview Wednesday afternoon. (Balt. Sun)

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Maryland has one of the hardest driving tests in the U.S. Here's why.

Passing your driving test in Maryland is no easy feat. A new study from Utah-based law firm Siegfried & Jensen found the Maryland test is the third hardest to pass in the U.S. The firm looked at requirements, costs and the difficulty of the knowledge exams and road tests in each state to determine the ranking. Maryland was given a difficulty score of 75 out of 100. That's compared to No. 1 state on the list Washington, with a score of 80. (Balt. Bus. Journal)

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Baltimore enacts new rules to root out squalid rental properties. But some tenants could lose their homes

Amina Whynn knows her cramped apartment on the third floor of a century-old East Baltimore rowhouse is not ideal for raising two young daughters. But for three years, she says, her landlord has allowed her to pay whatever she can afford each month. So the 24-year-old mother has quietly endured the building’s many flaws. The East Preston Street property was cited last month for 14 housing code violations, including no fire escape. The building — standing between a trash-strewn alley and a partially collapsed rowhouse — lacks a current lead-paint certification; rodents and roaches are frequent guests; and trash bags pile up on the front sidewalk because there aren’t enough garbage cans for a four-apartment building, according to tenants and city records. (Balt. Sun)

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Grassroots Center receives $1M grant to help combat opioid crisis in Howard County

When people walk into the Grassroots Crisis Intervention Center in Columbia they are often in tears, often hopeless, often coming for help at the most difficult times of their life. “Our job is to help them reconnect to hope,” said Ayesha Holmes, executive director of the nonprofit crisis center. For nearly 50 years the center’s focus has been on providing 24-hour mental health services. Now, through a new grant, the center is expanding to provide services for substance abuse with an emphasis on opioid addiction. (Ho. Co. Times)

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Howard County bill on Historic Preservation Commission panel oversight is tabled

A bill intended to expand oversight of Howard County’s Historic Preservation Commission was tabled this week by its sponsor, County Councilwoman Liz Walsh. Walsh, a Democrat who represents portions of Ellicott City, said the bill would have allowed the preservation commission to reject or approve site development plans for subdivisions in Lawyers Hill and Ellicott City. (Ho. Co. Times)

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Harford executive urges future fiscal discipline in fifth annual State of the County address

Harford County Executive Barry Glassman, in his fifth annual State of the County Address, highlighted successes of his first term that he said have put the local government on sound financial footing. But he stressed the need for fiscal discipline as the school system faces difficult cuts in balancing its budget and the possibility of a national economic slowdown. “Our economy is growing, and we have made key investments in education, public safety — salary increases for teachers, deputies, correctional officers and our own county employees,” Glassman said as he delivered his remarks to the Harford County Council Tuesday evening. (Aegis)

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Salvadoran woman who won civil right suit in Maryland released from ICE custody

A Salvadoran woman who won a civil rights lawsuit against Frederick County has been released from the custody of immigration officials after being unexpectedly detained in January during a routine check-in. Roxana Orellana Santos was released Monday evening after she was detained by Immigration and Customs Enforcement, despite a judge’s order for her to remain in the United States amid mediation for her 2009 civil rights suit, according to officials with CASA, a nonprofit organization that provided her with legal assistance. (Balt. Sun)

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