February 12 // County’s Democratic Central Committee To Vote on Conflict-Of-Interest Rules

The Montgomery County Democratic Central Committee (MCDCC) Tuesday is expected to discuss and vote on a conflict-of-interest policy designed to ensure that MCDCC members who seek public office do not use the party structure and its resources to their personal advantage. While the MCDCC’s Rules Committee has been working on the matter for more than a year, focus on the issue has intensified in recent months as six members—a quarter of the MCDCC—have declared their candidacies for the state House of Delegates, County Council or Montgomery County Board of Education. (Bethesda)

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The State House meal ticket and other General Assembly factoids

The 150-page report of the General Assembly Compensation Commission released last month contains gobs of interesting data about how the legislature operates and compares to those in other states, even while it recommended no raise for lawmakers during the next four years. One of the more interesting factoids is that last year more than four out of five legislators (82%, 155 senators and delegates) took 100% of the daily per diem meal limit. (Md. Reporter)

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Hogan issues executive order on juvenile offenders serving life sentences

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan (R) on Friday formalized his process for deciding whether to grant parole to inmates serving life sentences for crimes committed as juveniles. The executive order comes as Hogan’s administration is facing legal and political pressure to overhaul the system, which has not paroled any juvenile offenders sentenced to life in more than 20 years. “Since taking office, our administration has sought to bring balance to Maryland’s criminal justice system, which includes offering individuals who have paid their debt to society a second chance to live productive lives,” Hogan said in a statement announcing the order that codifies current practices into law. (Wash. Post)

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Wife of 80-year-old state senator accompanies him to work each day. Some say she assists him with duties.

Spouses and children abound on the opening day of the Maryland General Assembly’s annual session, so Shirley A. Gravely-Currie’s presence next to her husband, Sen. Ulysses Currie (D-Prince George’s) was unremarkable. But then Gravely-Currie returned the next day. And the day after that. And the day after that. Since the Jan. 10 start of the 90-day legislative session, Currie’s wife has sat an arm’s length away from her husband in a reserved seat, Senate floor credentials dangling from a lanyard around her neck. Her presence has drawn attention not only to her husband’s diminishing health but also to the graying of the Maryland legislature and the delicate question in this statehouse and others of how long is too long to serve. (Wash. Post)

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In shift, Rep. Harris says he opposes drilling off Maryland's coast, but supports it elsewhere

After previously saying he supports President Donald Trump's plans to expand offshore drilling, Rep. Andy Harris is opposing such energy projects off Maryland's coast because of opposition in Ocean City and other communities. Last month, the Trump administration unveiled its plans to expand drilling off the coast of California, in the Arctic and along the Eastern Seaboard, from Maine to Florida. At the time, the proposal drew criticism from Democrats as well as Republicans, including Gov. Larry Hogan. But Harris, the state’s lone Republican representative in Washington, did not weigh in on the possibility of drilling off Maryland’s coast, simply saying he supported oil and gas exploration and production “if it can be done in an environmentally safe manner.” (Balt. Sun)

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Shoemaker proposes death penalty bill for cop-killers, mass murderers

Almost five years after former Gov. Martin O’Malley signed legislation repealing the state's death penalty, one Carroll County delegate is trying bring the option back in certain cases. Del. Haven Shoemaker, R-District 5, and Del. Jason Buckel, R-District 1B, are primary sponsors on House Bill 887, which would make the death penalty an option when someone is convicted of first-degree murder of a police officer, a correctional officer or a first responder, or in the case of a mass murder of three of more people. The death penalty was repealed in Maryland in 2013. (Carr. Co. Times)

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Grasso says Schuh 'two-faced,' plans to reintroduce his own zoning freeze bill

Anne Arundel County Councilman John Grasso plans to reintroduce his previously defeated legislation freezing zoning changes in residential zones — because he thinks County Executive Steve Schuh doesn’t deserve credit for an idea Grasso had in June. The Glen Burnie Republican, who is planning a run for county executive, said Schuh is changing his position on development to win the GOP primary. Grasso has not officially filed for the race. “You saw this stuff Monday night, how he is suddenly concerned about smart growth,” Grasso said. “… He knows his Achilles heel is development.” (Capital)

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Buckley transition team initiative to examine city services, solicit resident feedback

 

Days before Mayor Gavin Buckley’s December inauguration, while other members of the new leader’s team were neck-deep in party planning, McShane Glover was tearing through mountains of old reports. Head of Buckley’s transition team, she wanted to know how other administrations had done it. What topics they focused on. What their priorities were. It was almost daunting to take it on board, she said at the time. Glover took stock of the materials and began to distill her transition efforts into broad, interrelated topics. There was no shortage of volunteers contacting the transition team, asking how they could get involved, she said. (Capital)

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