Democratic Central Committee seeking new female member

The Frederick County Democratic Central Committee is seeking a new female member after one of its members resigned earlier this month. Maggi Hays, who has served on the committee before, and was most recently elected last June, resigned earlier this month, committee Chairwoman Deborah Carter said Wednesday. Carter said Hays stepped down because of a recent back surgery, and that she plans to remain active on the events subcommittee. "She didn’t realize it was gonna knock her out as much as it has," Carter said. (News-Post)

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House, Senate Bills Could Jam Up Hogan Highway Plan

Maryland lawmakers will hear testimony this week on a measure that would give counties potential veto power over the Hogan administration’s $9 billion plan to widen the Capital Beltway, Interstate 270 and the Baltimore-Washington Parkway. The bill, sponsored by Del. Brooke E. Lierman (D-Baltimore City), would extend power that nine Eastern Shore counties have had since the 1970s to all Maryland subdivisions. It has the backing of transit advocates and others opposed to the plan Gov. Lawrence J. Hogan Jr. (R) announced in 2017. If approved, the elected leaders of Montgomery, Prince George’s, Frederick and other affected counties would gain the power to block state plans to widen I-495, I-270 and the parkway by two lanes in each direction. (Md. Matters)

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In forceful committee speech, Elijah Cummings pledges to 'fight until the death' for voting rights

U.S. Rep. Elijah Cummings delivered a fiery speech Wednesday in which he shared a promise his 92-year-old mother asked from him on her death bed a year ago. Cummings, who chairs the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, delivered the heated speech during the committee’s hearing on H.R.1 — a bill on voting rights, campaign finance and ethics rules. The legislation, called the “For the People Act,” was introduced by U.S. Rep. John Sarbanes, a Maryland Democrat and a senior member of the committee. (Balt. Sun)

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Hogan, Franchot grill Maryland elections director Lamone over delayed release of voting results

Gov. Larry Hogan and Comptroller Peter Franchot on Wednesday grilled the administrator of Maryland’s elections — after problems on Election Day in November caused polls to stay open late and postponed the release of results for hours. The Maryland State Board of Elections did not post election results online on Election Day until after 10 p.m. — two hours after polls were scheduled to close in the state. Hogan said he and many others were frustrated they had had to wait for hours for the results to be announced. (Balt. Sun)

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Maryland doesn't allow cameras in trial courts. Two Republicans want to change that for criminal sentencing

Two high-ranking Republican lawmakers are pushing for Maryland to allow media organizations to have cameras in courtrooms during criminal sentencing hearings. “In every area of government, transparency is increasing and we think that is important in our judiciary system as well,” said Del. Nic Kipke of Anne Arundel County, who is co-sponsoring the bill with Del. Kathy Szeliga of Baltimore County. “Of the three branches of government, the judiciary is the least understood by the public,” Szeliga said. “It is time that we open that up to build trust with the public so they know what is going on in the judiciary.” (Balt. Sun)

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Maryland Gov. Hogan says Virginia Gov. Northam should resign after racist yearbook photo scandal

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan is joining the calls for Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam to resign following the revelation of a racist photo on his page in his medical school yearbook. At an event Wednesday in Annapolis, Hogan said Northam has “lost the ability to govern. There’s no way to get the trust of the people of Virginia again after something like this.” In addition to Northam’s racist yearbook photo — which featured two unidentified people, one in blackface and the other in a Ku Klux Klan robe and hood — Virginia Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax is facing allegations of sexual assault, which he denies, and Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring revealed that he once wore blackface. (Balt. Sun)

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Md. lawmakers aim to grow funding for reinsurance program

Maryland lawmakers want to extend a fee used last year to fund the reinsurance program that led to decreased rates on the individual health insurance market last year. “Premiums are going to go back up through the roof, 50 percent to 60 percent,” said Sen. Brian Feldman, D-Montgomery and sponsor of a bill to extend the fee. “If we put everything off for another year, that could be a real problem. And once again, we are putting uncertainty into the future.” (Daily Record)

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Hogan pulls for firefighter pension, workers comp bills while at Eastport Volunteer Fire Company

Gov. Larry Hogan stepped up his calls to the General Assembly to measures that would reduce the tax burden on public safety officials’ retirement benefits at a press conference at the Eastport Volunteer Fire Company Wednesday. Surrounded by firefighters from across the state, the governor announced the introduction of two pieces of legislation that he said were a necessary way to protect firefighters in the state. “We’re are not going to stop until you don’t have to pay taxes on your pension,” Hogan said to a round of applause from a group of firefighters from around the state. (Balt. Sun)

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