October 20 // Van Hollen leads unsuccessful first effort to preserve tax deduction popular in Maryland

Senate Democrats, led by Sen. Chris Van Hollen, failed Thursday to preserve a state and local tax deduction in the Republican plan to overhaul the tax code — the first effort to maintain a deduction that is heavily used by Marylanders. The Republican-controlled Senate voted 52-47 to reject an amendment that would have prevented the Senate from considering any bill that repeals or limits the deduction as part of a planned tax overhaul. No Republicans supported the amendment. (Balt. Sun)

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Hogan wants Congress to renew the Obamacare subsidies Trump cut

Maryland's Republican Gov. Larry Hogan supports reviving the Obamacare subsidies cut by President Trump that help low-income people buy health insurance, according the governor’s spokesman. Hogan spokesman Doug Mayer said Thursday the governor supports federal legislation that would reinstate the subsidies. Those “cost-reduction” payments subsidies are paid to health insurance companies in exchange for offering savings to consumers. Republican President Trump, who campaigned on repealing Obamacare, announced last week he would stop making the payments. He called them an improper bailout to the insurance industry. (Balt. Sun)

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State officials say Elon Musk is starting his high-speed NY-DC hyperloop project in Maryland

Maryland has given transportation pioneer Elon Musk permission to dig tunnels for the high-speed, underground transit system known as a hyperloop that Musk wants to build between New York and Washington. Hogan administration officials said Thursday the state has issued a conditional utility permit to let Musk’s tunneling firm, The Boring Co., dig a 10.3-mile tunnel beneath the state-owned portion of the Baltimore-Washington Parkway, between the Baltimore city line and Maryland 175 in Hanover. It would be the first portion of the underground system that Musk says could eventually ferry passengers from Washington to New York, with stops in Baltimore and Philadelphia, in just 29 minutes. (Balt. Sun)

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State panel finds demeaning remarks cause for Judge Nance to be expelled

Baltimore Circuit Judge Alfred Nance has been investigated before for judicial misconduct. But a state commission’s recommendation this week means he could face the harshest possible punishment of his career — the abrupt end of his two decades on the bench. The state Commission on Judicial Disabilities voted unanimously to recommend that Maryland’s highest court strip Nance from his elected post just six months before the veteran judge reaches the mandatory retirement age of 70. Nance made such disparaging and demeaning comments during trials two years ago, the commission wrote, that he undermined the integrity of the court. (Balt. Sun)

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Bill honoring Douglass heads to president's desk

A bill honoring Talbot County native Frederick Douglass for the anniversary of his 200th birthday now heads to the president’s desk for his signature, after being passed Wednesday night, Oct. 18, in the Senate. According to the bill, H.R. 2989, the Frederick Douglass Bicentennial Commission would “plan, develop, and carry out programs and activities that are fitting and proper to honor Frederick Douglass on the occasion of the bicentennial anniversary of Douglass’ birth.” The commission then will make recommendations to Congress. (Star Dem.)

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Severna Park Republican announces run for District 31B delegate seat

Severna Park Republican Brian Chisholm, 46, is back on the campaign trail again for the soon-to-be open House of Delegates seat in District 31B. Chisholm ran for the seat in 2014 but lost in the primary to Republican Meagan Simonaire, R-Pasadena, who is not running for re-election. Chisholm and Simonaire were among eight candidates vying for both seats in District 31B. The district includes Pasadena along with portions of Glen Burnie, Millersville and Severna Park. Chisholm said he didn’t intend to run for office again. But after Simonaire reversed her decision on running for re-election, Chisholm started receiving calls encouraging him to run. He declined to specify where the calls came from. (Capital)

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October 19 // Jim Brochin joins race for Baltimore County executive

As Jim Brochin considered where to announce his campaign for Baltimore County executive, he settled on a place with symbolism: Towson Manor Park. The community park in east Towson was almost replaced by a fire station, which was necessary because the county government was selling off the old one for private development a couple years ago. Eventually, the county relented and put the new fire station elsewhere. But the old station is still set to be sold for a controversial development. To Brochin, the saga represents a problem in Baltimore County, where he says development interests win out over citizen interests. He says he wants to run for county executive to change that. (Balt. Sun)

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Maryland's incentive package for Amazon HQ2 measured in the billions of dollars

To lure Amazon’s proposed second headquarters and its promised 50,000 jobs to the state, Maryland has prepared an incentive package measured in the billions of dollars. The massive collection of tax breaks and transportation projects for the online retail giant would be spread over at least 10 years, according to three people familiar with the state’s plans. (Balt. Sun)

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