Grant Samms: We need NOAA, National Parks and HUD

With the Trump administration signaling its intent to hollow out many federal environmental efforts, it is imperative Maryland’s congressional delegation understand the importance of these programs. Our leaders will no doubt be asked, frequently and forcefully, to slash these programs under some ill-conceived logic. These programs provide our rural communities on the Eastern Shore with the ability to safeguard us from a changing climate and provide for the health of our citizens. Before Rep. Andy Harris, Sen. Ben Cardin and Sen. Chris Van Hollen cast a single vote, they must understand the importance of these programs to all of us in the state’s eastern reaches. (Daily Times)

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Gleave, Miller, Sellers, Powell, Rodriguez, Seif, Tassano: Transportation officials have a role in human trafficking battle

Human trafficking is a modern-day form of slavery that exists in every corner of the world — even along our own highways in Maryland. Every day, thousands of people are forced by fear, fraud or coercion to work in commercial sex and labor markets with little hope of escape. According to the Polaris Project, a non-profit that runs the National Human Trafficking Hotline, there were more than 7,500 human trafficking cases reported in the United States in 2016, including 602 in Maryland, making it the eighth highest state for trafficking in the nation. The majority of these were for sex trafficking. Countless more cases go unreported. (Balt. Sun)

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June 7 // U.S. Rep. Steny H. Hoyer: Trump budget attacks federal employees

Our nation has many outstanding advantages, but one that is often overlooked is our exceptional civil service. The men and women who serve in our federal civilian workforce are among the most hardworking, dedicated and talented individuals in the world. They support our military, fight crime, keep our food supply safe, keep planes in the air, ensure our seniors receive their Social Security benefits, support American exporters and the jobs they create, and conduct diplomacy across the world to protect our nation and its interests. (Capital)

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City Council gets a backbone

The Baltimore City Council has finally figured out how to assert itself. The perennially underperforming branch of government got a makeover in the last election, with talented newcomers from every corner of the city promising more active and independent leadership. Council President Bernard C. "Jack" Young, who spent the last several years struggling for influence under former Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake has, at least for the moment, united the other 14 members behind him, and collectively they are using their power over the budget to push their priorities more aggressively than any council in memory. (Balt. Sun)

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Anirban Basu: An economist offers advice for Baltimore's mayor

I continue to view Dec. 6th, 2016, as a very fine day. That's the day Catherine Pugh was inaugurated as Baltimore's 50th mayor. However, while the shadows cast by the tragically flawed leadership of Kaliope Parthemos and Stephanie Rawlings-Blake have lifted, I have yet to discern evidence that the new mayor has begun to cast bright healing light upon Baltimore's most profound ailments. The mayor is a person of high intellect, compassion and great ideas. My sense is that she is being tugged at from all sides. Therefore, my first bit of advice is to remind her that it is not her job nor the City of Baltimore's duty to solve everyone's problems. (Balt. Sun)

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Chiara D'Amore: Hogan must lead Md.'s climate change commitment

As Gov. Larry Hogan knows, climate change is real, and there is a high cost of inaction. According to the Maryland Commission on Climate Change, the state has already "documented a sea level rise of more than one foot in the last century, increasing water temperatures in the Chesapeake Bay, more rain and flooding in the winter and spring and more arid summers. Maryland's people and their property, natural environment and public investments are extremely vulnerable to climate change impacts." (Balt. Sun)

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Rodricks: Baltimore needs to expand Safe Streets effort

The shootings continue at a thoroughly sickening and depressing pace, tarnishing the city's reputation with more bloody infamy, but at least the people of Brooklyn, on the south side of Baltimore, got some pleasing news this week: The bust of a heroin and cocaine ring. Through the fall and into winter, there had been more than a dozen shootings in the area, followed in mid-December by the fatal stabbing of 83-year-old Jimmy Herget, known as "the mayor of Brooklyn." Overall, homicides in the Southern District were outpacing killings elsewhere in the city — a surge within a surge that goes back to the late winter of 2015. When, and how, does this madness end? (Balt. Sun)

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A long-standing problem on the Magothy

Optimists might have thought the dispute over the mansion on Little Dobbins Island — built without the necessary permits in a Critical Area — was settled two-and-a-half years ago by the Maryland Court of Appeals. Realists acquainted with the pace of environmental enforcement in Maryland won't have been shocked by The Baltimore Sun story we published on Sunday, which shows that in terms of brick, mortar and wetlands that are supposed to be restored, nothing has happened. Everything that has been on the island in the Magothy since developer Daryl Wagner started construction in 2001 is still there, large as life and, for environmentalists, twice as irritating. (Capital)

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