Budget could be obstacle in Washington County election board getting consolidated home

Washington County’s budget constraints could be a short-term obstacle in having enough money for a consolidated election board site, County Administrator Robert Slocum said. Slocum said Tuesday that about $50,000 budgeted for potential raises for election employees could be used toward a site. His comment came at the end of a discussion among county and election officials Tuesday about a potential election board site. After county officials get price estimates on possible sites, Slocum said he will “need to know what should be cut out of the budget to afford this.”

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Rockeymoore Cummings Lays Down the Law on Speaker Vote — and More

With the election to replace the late House Speaker Michael E. Busch (D) drawing closer, Maryland Democratic Chair Maya Rockeymoore Cummings has sent a memo to Democratic members of the House of Delegates, warning them not to support a candidate for speaker who has substantial Republican support – and urging Democratic speaker contenders to accept the will of the Democratic House caucus. Rockeymoore Cummings’ stern warning also promises consequences for Democratic elected officials “who explicitly or tacitly throw their support to Republicans in general elections,” referring to Republican Gov. Lawrence J. Hogan Jr.’s reelection race in 2018. (Md. Matters) 

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Maryland Gov. Hogan commutes life sentence of 'model inmate' from Baltimore who's served 47 years in killing

Gov. Larry Hogan’s office said Wednesday the governor has commuted the life sentence of Calvin Ash, a 68-year-old Baltimore man who has spent nearly his entire adult life behind bars despite multiple recommendations from the parole commission for his release. A spokesman for Hogan said the governor decided this week to accept an 8-0 vote of the parole commission that Ash be freed after serving 47 years for fatally shooting his wife’s boyfriend in the 1970s, when Ash was 21 years old. Hogan also commuted sentences this week of two other inmates, but did not release their names. Ash had committed no infractions for 30 years behind bars, officials say. (Balt. Sun)

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Md. unions, GOP push to be heard in house speaker race

Eleven Maryland unions and progressive groups are urging the Democrats in the House of Delegates to unite to elect the next Speaker of the House in Annapolis. Groups — including the Maryland State Education Association, Progressive Maryland and Service Employees International Union locals — signed letters sent to house delegates urging them to back the nominee chosen by the Democratic caucus. The letter states, “Efforts to splinter the caucus will put the priorities of working families and our shared Maryland values at risk,” and it says that the Democratic caucus should speak with a unified voice. (WTOP)

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City charter amendments would alter ‘strong mayor’ system of government

City Councilmen Bill Henry and Kristerfer Burnett announced Wednesday that they plan to introduce a trio of charter amendments designed to reduce the power of the mayor in Baltimore. The councilmen said they intend to submit the bills on Monday ahead of the next City Council meeting, even though it is likely the legislation will not receive a committee hearing until late next spring. “Our system is too strong,” Henry said. “There’s simply not the level of checks and balances for democracy to operate as it should.” (Daily Record)

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Acting Mayor Young Settles In As Pugh Stays Out Of Sight

When Bernard "Jack" Young automatically became Baltimore's acting mayor earlier this month, he emphasized that he'd act only as a "placeholder" for the elected mayor as she departed on a leave of absence amid an accelerating scandal focused on her self-published children's books. But it's been more than three weeks since embattled Mayor Catherine Pugh slipped out of sight, and it appears the veteran City Council leader is settling in for a lengthy stint as Baltimore's No. 1 official. At a Wednesday news conference, Young suggested that the increasingly politically isolated Pugh could be in a no-win situation. (AP) 

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Larry Hogan plans to visit 16 states as he keeps 2020 door open

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan told a New Hampshire political breakfast Tuesday that he is "listening" to people encouraging him to mount a presidential bid against President Donald Trump.  But Hogan insisted he was not going to launch a "suicide mission" unless he thought there was a path to victory. While he considers a campaign, the governor revealed he is going to be visiting 16 more states. (Daily Times)

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Acting Baltimore Mayor Young fires 3 City Hall employees

Acting Mayor Bernard C. “Jack” Young has fired three City Hall employees who had been placed on paid leave earlier this month. Young confirmed during his regular press availability at City Hall on Wednesday that he signed termination letters on Monday, ending the employment of Gary Brown Jr., Afra White and Poetri Deal with the city.  “We can’t speak to personnel decisions, but I can tell you that I made the decision of three people who will no longer be in the mayor’s office. They’re at-will employees, and as I continue to assess City Hall I’ll do what’s appropriate to make sure that I have the right people in place that I feel comfortable with,” Young said. (Daily Record)

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