Baltimore mayoral candidates question whether police gave special treatment to political rival Vignarajah

Baltimore Mayor Bernard C. “Jack” Young and City Council President Brandon Scott questioned Thursday whether city police gave mayoral rival Thiru Vignarajah special treatment during a late-night traffic stop in which a sergeant turned off his body-worn camera. The police department is investigating whether officers violated departmental policy last fall during the stop of Vignarajah, who is running with Young and Scott in a crowded Democratic primary. Their probe will include looking into whether the sergeant acted appropriately in turning off the camera. (Balt. Sun)

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Mfume, Higginbotham report more than $200,000 on hand for closing days of 7th District congressional race

Former U.S. Rep. Kweisi Mfume and law professor F. Michael Higginbotham were among the early leaders in reporting cash on hand for the 7th Congressional District special primary, each reporting having more than $200,000 for the closing days of the campaign. The first and only reports due to the Federal Election Commission ahead of the Feb. 4 primary trickled in ahead of a midnight Thursday deadline, and not all were immediately available. (Balt. Sun)

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Maryland lawmakers want to spend billions more on schools. Where will they find the money?

Maryland lawmakers are trying to pull off an improbable feat: Finding a way to raise billions of dollars for public education without most residents noticing a hit to their wallets. Democratic leaders of the state’s legislature have promised to fund an array of improvements to public schools — including expanded prekindergarten, increased teacher pay and other programs — without a broad-based tax increase. (Balt. Sun)

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Who got to sit in Gov. Hogan’s Ravens skybox this season?

As Lamar Jackson and the Ravens dazzled the NFL before a stunning playoff defeat, Gov. Larry Hogan invited a full roster of fellow Republican lawmakers, family members, law enforcement officials and executives of his company to join him in the governor’s suite at M&T Bank Stadium. As part of leases with the Maryland Stadium Authority, the governor and Baltimore mayor are provided with skyboxes — valued at thousands of dollars per game — at the Ravens and Orioles stadiums, and there are no restrictions on who the officials can invite. Spokesman Mike Ricci said Hogan tries to include a “diverse range of state officials" among those he brings to his suite. (Balt. Sun)

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Can you pass this simple civics test?

Maryland Delegates Kathy Szeliga and Trent Kittleman feel Maryland residents just don’t know enough about our government. It’s why they co-sponsored House Bill 834. The bill requires any Maryland resident to take a basic civics test in order to receive a high school diploma. The bill requires students to answer at least 60 percent of the corrections correctly. The 100 question test is the same test administered by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services to anyone who looks to become a United States citizen. (Fox 5 DC)

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Bill to allow Baltimore to collect millions in taxes on Uber, Lyft rides moves forward after yearlong delay

A bill that would allow Baltimore to collect millions in taxes on Uber and Lyft rides — which went a year without a hearing due to the political upheaval following the resignation of ex-Mayor Catherine E. Pugh — was approved by the City Council’s Taxation, Finance and Economic Development committee Thursday. The rideshare tax bill will be heard by the full council on Jan. 27 and is expected to pass. Mayor Bernard C. “Jack” Young plans to sign it "as soon as it crosses his desk,” according to spokesman Lester Davis. (Balt. Sun)

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Baltimore County Democrats recommend Del. Shelly Hettleman to fill vacant Maryland Senate seat

Members of the Baltimore County Democratic Party have announced their choice to fill a vacancy in Maryland’s General Assembly. Maryland state Del. Shelly Hettleman on Thursday night was recommended by members of the Baltimore County Democratic State Central Committee for the District 11 Senate seat.District 11 Sen. Bobby Zirkin stepped down from the office this month after he announced his resignation in December. (Balt. Sun)

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Mayor Jack Young Addresses Baltimore City Crime At US Conference Of Mayors Meeting

Just over two weeks into 2020 and Baltimore has already seen 21 homicides in the city. WJZ caught up with Baltimore Mayor Jack Young at his first U.S. Conference of Mayors in Washington, D.C. on Thursday. He said it’s up to state, federal and local agencies to keep those numbers down. “99.9 percent of citizens in Baltimore are law-abiding citizens but we have that percent of bad guys making us all prisoners right here in our own homes in our own city, and we have to change that.” Mayor Young said. (WJZ)

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