Anne Arundel should control the county fairgrounds

Critics of the proposed professional lacrosse stadium complex in Crownsville could be forgiven if they are a trifle suspicious about the timing of County Executive Steve Schuh’s request to take control of the county fairgrounds. The executive asked the state Department of Natural Resources to surplus the property in Crownsville and turn it over to the county, just as concerns about the Bayhawks Village proposal are consuming residents of the surrounding community. If someone were a conspiracy theorist, the November request certainly would seem like evidence of someone being in cahoots. (Capital)

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Peter Franchot: Why craft breweries matter even if you don't drink beer

The legislative session is underway in Annapolis and it is time to bring our thoughts back to beer. During the past year, a rather intense debate has illuminated craft brewing in Maryland, blinding us to some of the more crucial issues surrounding this industry. I have often been asked why those who do not drink beer should concern themselves with HB518 — also known as the Reform on Tap Act of 2018. It is quite simple really: Maryland craft breweries save Main Street and they save the Chesapeake Bay. (Daily Times)

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Delegate Mike McKay: We're making communities safer

Legislators convened for the 2018 General Assembly session earlier this month, and one of the most pressing issues facing our state continues to be the opioid and heroin epidemic. As a member of the Public Safety and Administration Subcommittee, I have a front-row seat to this crisis, and I see first-hand how it is affecting communities across the state and right here at home. Earlier this month, I met with the leaders of Maryland’s Safe Streets Initiative in Cumberland to discuss how their program is evolving to combat this epidemic in 2018. (Times-News)

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Christina Ross: Trump doesn't care about Baltimore

When my sophomore students and I watched highlights of the president’s first State of the Union speech last week, we heard Mr. Trump say: “If you work hard, if you believe in yourself, if you believe in America, then you can dream anything, you can be anything, and together, we can achieve anything.” Afterward, one student said, “he doesn’t really believe that we can achieve anything, and he definitely doesn’t want to help us achieve that!” She saw through his rhetoric. Despite working hard, the policies that Mr. Trump promotes are designed to ensure that my Baltimore City kids do not achieve their dreams. (Balt. Sun)

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Peter Schmuck: Hall of Fame-bound Ravens great Ray Lewis truly reps Baltimore, warts and all

Ray Lewis isn’t a perfect human. He got mixed up in a terrible situation many years ago that could have defined the rest of his life, but his pending induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame will highlight a story of redemption that has long resonated in Baltimore. (Balt. Sun)

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Joy Reckley-Murphy: Support full funding for behavior health providers

I am writing for community support to restore full funding for the HOPE/Keep the Door Open Act. This bill, passed during the 2017 session, mandated a 3.5 percent rate increase to behavioral health providers to assist us with attracting and keeping quality staff to serve some of Maryland’s most vulnerable citizens — people with mental health and developmental disabilities, and struggle with addiction, which affects our community. Gov. Larry Hogan cut this mandated increase to 2 percent and 1 percent respectively for mental health and developmental disability services. (Times-News)

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Thanks to #metoo, 2018 shaping up to be a year of action in Maryland

It could be argued that 2017 was the year of the woman. It appears to have ushered in a kind of awakening — not of women, because they live the reality, but of the rest of our society. Maryland bills to disallow parental rights to convicted rapists; redefine "abuse" to include misuse of telephone facilities and equipment, misuse of electronic communications or interactive computer services, revenge porn and visual surveillance; and permit introduction of sexually assaultive behavior at a certain time (one version of which is sponsored by Gov. Larry Hogan) are all before the Legislature this year.  (Daily Times)

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On retiree benefits, commissioners put themselves ahead of taxpayers

The Board of County Commissioners followed through with a promise to look into and make changes to retirement health benefits for elected officials, but only after making sure they wouldn’t personally be affected by any of the changes, putting their personal well-being ahead of saving taxpayer dollars. The commissioners voted 4-0, with Commissioner Doug Howard abstaining, to change the retirement benefit age to 62, for retirees who have served two terms in starting in 2022 and to keep the current retirement rate scale the same for the current commissioners, and change the rate to 50 percent of the premium equivalent for the board seated after the 2022 election. (Carr. Co. Times)

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