Maryland May Give Minors Consent For Preventative HIV Care

State legislation could allow minors to consent to preventative treatment for human immunodeficiency virus or HIV. Pre-exposure prophylaxis_commonly referred to as “PrEP” consists of a single pill of a medicine called Truvada taken every day. This can reduce the risk of becoming infected with HIV from sex by 90 percent and among intravenous drug users by 70 percent, according to the Centers for Disease Control. (WJZ-TV)

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Baltimore files lawsuit demanding Monsanto pay to clean up PCB chemicals in city waterways

Baltimore is asking a federal judge to force agriculture chemical company Monsanto to pay for cleanup of environmental toxins known as PCBs, following more than a dozen mostly West Coast cities and states that have filed similar lawsuits in recent years. The lawsuit announced Tuesday doesn’t specify damages, but City Solicitor Andre Davis accused the company and two former divisions it sold off of causing tens of millions of dollars in damages. The lawsuit says the contamination has caused monetary damages to be determined at trial. (Balt. Sun)

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State Police: Marijuana-Impaired Crashes Spiked In 2018

As more states decriminalize marijuana, Maryland State Police are seeing a large jump in the number of marijuana-related impaired driving crashes. State police said the number of vehicle crashes they have investigated linked to marijuana nearly doubled from 2017 to last year, while the number of violations related to pot jumped nearly 40 percent. (WJZ-TV)

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Transition team for Baltimore County executive recommends review of how police investigate sexual assaults

A transition team advising Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewski Jr. wants the county to again review the way it handles sexual assault investigations and prosecutions. The team says officials should examine issues including law enforcement training, the testing of rape kits and ensuring the accountability of investigators. The recommendations were included in a wide-ranging report released Tuesday by Olszewski’s transition group. Over 2017 and 2018, police departments in the Baltimore area prompted sexual assault victims to waive their rights to an investigation — 223 times, according to a survey by The Baltimore Sun. (Balt. Sun)

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Baltimore Fire Department questioned by City Council members over 'aging, depleted' vehicles and stations

Baltimore City Council members on Tuesday questioned Fire Department officials about the agency’s aging vehicles and stations and demanded more information on staffing policies and overtime costs. The council members who sit on the public safety committee asked the department to provide them with data on its operations to help determine how best to allocate resources to improve response times, repair aging firehouses and vehicles, and provide proper overtime pay to employees. (Balt. Sun)

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Justice Thomas calls for re-examining libel as Supreme Court rejects Cosby case

Justice Clarence Thomas says the Supreme Court should consider overturning a 55-year-old landmark ruling that makes it hard for public figures to win libel suits, writing in a case involving a woman who says Bill Cosby raped her. Thomas took aim at New York Times v. Sullivan and similar cases that followed it, calling them "policy-driven decisions masquerading as constitutional law." "We should not continue to reflexively apply this policy-driven approach to the Constitution," Thomas wrote in a 14-page opinion that no other justice joined. (Balt. Sun)

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Anne Arundel County ends controversial use of waivers freeing police from duty of investigating sexual assault

Anne Arundel County officials moved Tuesday to end the controversial practice of asking victims of sexual assault to waive their rights to an investigation. The policy change came the same day that The Baltimore Sun reported that police departments in the Baltimore area prompted victims to waive their rights to an investigation 223 times in 2017 and 2018. During that period, Baltimore County had the highest number: 172 victims reporting sexual assault signed the forms over the two years. Anne Arundel had 43. Harford County had eight. (Balt, Sun)

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Howard County hosts meetings on grant program for Ellicott City flood mitigation projects

Howard County’s Department of Public Works will hold two informational meetings — including one on Tuesday — to help people who might want to apply for the county’s Flood Mitigation Assistance Pilot Program. Attendees can ask officials questions about the grant program, which is available to property owners in the Plum Tree, Little Plumtree, Tiber-Hudson and New Cut watersheds. Applications are due by March 29. Saying Howard County “must make sure we are not using a sledgehammer when only a scalpel is necessary,” County Executive Calvin Ball said last week that the county will continue its move to acquire buildings in historic Ellicott City, but has not committed to demolishing them. (Ho. Co. Times)

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