Van Hollen, other Maryland lawmakers seek FBI briefing on ransomware attack

U.S. Sen. Chris Van Hollen and other Maryland lawmakers have lots of questions for the FBI about the ransomware attack on Baltimore City government computer systems. The lawmakers are seeking a briefing on, among other topics, what federal resources were provided to respond to the attack and how the city can enhance its cybersecurity.  In a letter being sent Thursday to FBI Director Christopher Wray and Secret Service Director James Murray, the legislators also ask for the attackers’ identities and details about similar cases in other states. (Balt. Sun)

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Rep. Elijah Cummings denies that wife's charity poses conflict of interest, tax violation

Rep. Elijah Cummings denied that corporate donations to his wife’s charity posed a conflict of interest with his House Oversight Committee chairmanship and denounced an IRS complaint filed against the organization as “a fabricated distraction” on Wednesday. The National Legal and Policy Center, a government watchdog group, filed an IRS complaint against Cummings’ wife Maya Rockeymoore’s nonprofit organization on Monday, the Washington Examiner first reported. The complaint asked the IRS to investigate the overlap between Rockeymoore’s nonprofit Center for Global Policy Solutions and her for-profit consulting firm Global Policy Solutions LLC to determine whether the arrangement was used for “illegal private benefit.” (Examiner)

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Havre de Grace mayor, council members sworn in; David Glenn returns as council president

Larry O’Neal, who was named a poet laureate for the City of Havre de Grace in 2014, marked the swearing-in of the mayor and three City Council members Monday, following municipal elections earlier this month, with a reading of his poem “Start Again.” “When life deals us a bad hand we will start again/for you see, things are never as bad as they seem,” O’Neal recited. “We wont give up; we will continue to dream/positive action is what it takes to win, because here in Havre de Grace, Maryland, we roll up our sleeves and start again.” The City Council honored O’Neal, along with his co-poet laureate, Colleen Webster, in April of 2014. (Aegis) 

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Instead of Trump proposal to cut Chesapeake Bay Program, U.S. House panel passes bill increasing its budget

Instead of adopting President Donald Trump's proposal to all but eliminate the Chesapeake Bay Program, a U.S. House committee voted Wednesday to increase its budget. The federal program that guides state-by-state efforts to clean up the Chesapeake would get $85 million in fiscal year 2020, up from its longtime funding level of $73 million. Trump has repeatedly proposed cutting the program’s budget by 90%, if not zeroing it out entirely. The House Appropriations Committee voted 30-21 to approve the budget, along with $17 million in dredging projects around the Port of Baltimore, as part of a larger bill on interior and environment spending. (Balt. Sun)

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Md. joins states suing over rule allowing clinicians to refuse abortions

Maryland is among the two dozen states and municipalities that sued the federal government Tuesday to stop a new rule that lets health care clinicians decline to provide abortions and other services that conflict with their moral or religious beliefs. A Manhattan federal court lawsuit asked a judge to declare the rule unconstitutional and say it was passed in an arbitrary and capricious manner. In a separate lawsuit in San Francisco federal court, California sued as well, saying there was no evidence that the impact on patients was considered. (Daily Record)

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Maryland Gov. Hogan cancels bill-signing ceremony with almost 300 bills needing action

Gov. Larry Hogan canceled his final bill-signing ceremony that was scheduled for Thursday, a sign that he will likely allow hundreds of bills to become law without his signature. “Based on the remaining bills, the May 23 bill signing was no longer necessary,” Hogan spokeswoman Shareese Churchill said in a statement. Among the bills awaiting action from the Republican governor are measures that would create a board to monitor prices for prescription drugs that insurance plans for state and local governments pay, ban most foam food and drink containers and dissolve the state’s Handgun Permit Review Board. (Balt. Sun)

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Plugged-in Lawyer/Lobbyist to Run for Mayor of Bowie

A veteran behind the scenes player in Annapolis and Prince George’s County is envisioning stepping out onto the main political stage. Attorney and lobbyist Leonard L. Lucchi this week filed to become a candidate for mayor of Bowie, his hometown. Lucchi is running for a seat that will be vacant for the first time since 1998: Mayor Fred Robinson told the Bowie Blade-News Tuesday that he will not seek reelection in November. In an interview, Lucchi, 61, said that after decades of advocating for a variety of candidates and causes, “I’m ready to give back to the town I grew up in.” (Md. Matters)

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Maryland bill mandating 50% renewable energy by 2030 to become law, but without Gov. Larry Hogan's signature

Half of Maryland’s energy will come from renewable sources by 2030 under a bill that is set to become law Friday — without Gov. Larry Hogan's signature. The General Assembly passed the measure last month, requiring utilities in the state to subsidize solar and wind farms. Controversially, it also maintains incentives for trash incinerators and paper mills even though they generate pollution and greenhouse gases. The legislation brings Maryland to the forefront of states using energy policy to promote investment in green technology. The state joins seven others with renewable energy goals of 50% or higher, reducing dependence on fossil fuels and thus reducing greenhouse gas emissions. (Balt. Sun)

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