Hogan signs Metro funding, Amazon incentive package bills in North Bethesda

Gov. Larry Hogan signed an Amazon incentive package bill and legislation calling for dedicated funding for Metro into law Wednesday at a ceremony featuring state legislative leaders in North Bethesda. The bill signing, which took place at The Music Center at Strathmore, marks the formal approval of the bills. The Amazon package will provide between $3 billion to $5.5 billion in tax incentives to the company if it chooses Montgomery County as the site of its second headquarters. (Bethesda)

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Democratic gubernatorial candidates differ on Amazon incentives, legalizing recreational marijuana use

The seven Democratic candidates for governor varied in their responses when asked whether they support the tax incentive package the state has offered Amazon to locate its second headquarters in Montgomery County, with some saying Gov. Larry Hogan created a bad offer on behalf of the state. The candidates also discussed whether they’d support legalizing recreational marijuana use at a forum Tuesday night at the Silver Spring Civic Center. (Bethesda)

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Baltimore County Executive candidates square off on economic development, schools and crime

Kevin Kamenetz isn't running for Baltimore County Executive anymore. The two-term Democratic county leader is busy running for governor. But his presence was very much felt at a forum hosted by the chambers of commerce in Baltimore County at the Delta Hotel in Hunt Valley on Wednesday. Several of the seven candidates running for the post didn't take shots at each other. Instead, they talked about how they would differ from Kamenetz and make some big changes if they take office, especially when it comes to economic development, public schools and crime. (Balt. Bus. Journal)

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Sessions tells Van Hollen he'll reconsider Baltimore's application for federal anti-violence funds

Sen. Chris Van Hollen secured a promise from Attorney General Jeff Sessions on Wednesday to reconsider why Baltimore was excluded from a multimillion-dollar federal grant program aimed at cities struggling with violent crime. Sessions made the concession while testifying on the Justice Department budget at a hearing of a Senate Appropriations subcommittee. Van Hollen, a Maryland Democrat, is a member of the subcommittee. (Balt. Sun)

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Baltimore merchants push back against Mayor Pugh's claim that corner stores are crime hubs

Owners of the mini-markets that dot Baltimore’s poorest neighborhoods pushed back Wednesday against Mayor Catherine E. Pugh’s criticism that they attract crime. Pugh repeated her criticism of the stores during a walking tour of Penn North this week. Her claims are backed by some community leaders, who associate the businesses with drug dealing. Store owners defended themselves on Wednesday, and said the mayor risked driving taxpaying businesses out of struggling neighborhoods and depriving poor consumers of options. (Balt. Sun)

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Chesapeake Bay funding for agricultural cleanup could land in Farm Bill

A bipartisan group of senators is calling on the Senate Agriculture Committee to ratchet up funding for cleaning up farms that discharge nutrients and other pollutants into the Chesapeake Bay. Last fall, Sen. Chris Van Hollen, D-Maryland, sponsored a bill that would triple the amount of money available for agricultural cleanup efforts to $300 million. In a letter Tuesday to the Agriculture Committee's leadership, Van Hollen and other senators ask for the legislation to be added to the five-year, $800 billion farm bill. (Daily Times)

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Campaign finance update: A shotgun raffle, lots of personal funding and one Annapolis Democrat who raised $80,000

One candidate is raffling off a shotgun, another has spent thousands in consulting fees while raising little money and another put together more than $80,000 contributions in about three months. The April campaign finance reports are a varied bunch of documents that detail how late-formed committees have been raising money for the candidates who filed since December. Other campaigns filed annual reports because they were raising money in 2017. All campaigns will file another finance report in May. (Capital)

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District 4 candidates talk growth, drugs and charter government at Tuesday's forum

Where to find more revenue for a straining budget, how to encourage economic growth, the jurisprudence of eminent domain and the question of charter government were some of the issues discussed at the Carroll County commissioner candidate forum Tuesday evening. Held at the Mount Airy Senior Center, the question and answer format event featured the five candidates for Carroll’s District 4: Republicans Christopher “Eric” Bouchat, William “Paul” Burkett, Bret Grossnickle and Sean Shaffer and Democrat Paul Johnson. (Carr. Co. Times)

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