State, local elected officials could vote to give themselves raises

State lawmakers and some local politicians are considering raising their own salaries in 2014 — proposals that supporters say might have more traction now that Maryland is a few years out of the recession. A state commission has recommended increasing part-time state lawmakers' pay to more than $50,000 by 2018, a 15 percent increase over four years. Another state panel recommended boosting the next governor's pay gradually until 2018 to $180,000, a 20 percent increase. (Balt. Sun)

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Environmental group backs Frosh

The Maryland League of Conservation Voters released its first statewide endorsement of the 2014 election season Friday, putting their support behind state Sen. Brian Frosh's bid for attorney general. The environmental group's endorsement is prized among Democrats and carries weight on an issue most primary voters consider a mainstream value. In endorsing Frosh, the group called him a "long-time environmental champion" and noted he received its top marks for legislation he supported during his more than two-decade career in public office. (Balt. Sun)

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Legalizing weed for fun and profit 

If proponents of legalizing marijuana in Maryland have their way, the General Assembly will make the drug easier to buy without fear of going to jail. Surprisingly, even one of the most outspoken opponents of legalization concedes that legalization in the state is inevitable — the only question is when. Sen. Jamin B. “Jamie” Raskin, who plans to sponsor a bill in the upcoming session that would legalize the drug, believes the time is now. The proposed law would make it legal for individuals 21 years old and older to posses and smoke marijuana. Individuals will also be allowed to grow their own. (Daily Record)

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At first budget hearing, Ulman optimistic about FY15 finances

At the first of his public hearings on Howard County's Fiscal Year 2015 budget, County Executive Ken Ulman sounded a hopeful note. "Budgetwise, I think we're beginning to emerge out of the depths of the great recession," he told the crowd of more than 50 people who showed up to testify or observe on Wednesday. (Balt. Sun)

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Obamacare draws Maryland KKK protest rally

A Maryland branch of the Ku Klux Klan is rallying north of Baltimore on Friday to call for the impeachment of President Obama and protest Obamacare. The “Confederate White Knights” announced on their website that the meeting will be held in the Cecil County Administration building in Elkton, Md., where the group's impeachment petition will be discussed and circulated. (Examiner)

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Mizeur takes stance against proposed Dominion Cove Point project

Del. Mizeur (D-Montgomery) of Takoma Park announced her opposition Thursday, saying, “Governing is about making tough choices for the best interests of our future. No leader in Maryland can in good faith claim to be serious about protecting the Bay, its communities and economy, or combating climate change without opposing the Cove Point facility. The costs of this project are simply too high.” (Recorder)

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Baltimore City Council to hire former top state official as zoning lawyer

The Baltimore City Council won approval Wednesday to hire a former top state official to act as an independent lawyer while it considers the mayor's proposed wide-spread zoning changes.  John T. Willis, who was secretary of state for eight years under Gov. Parris N. Glendening, will advise the council on the 350 pages of proposed changes, which range from changing zoning laws to encouraging development around transit stations to a proposal to cut down on liquor stores. (Balt. Sun)

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Bill would ban non-biodegradable cigarette butts

Del. Jon Cardin says he will introduce a measure to ban the sale of non-biodegradable cigarette butts in Maryland. Cardin said Thursday the legislation will call for starting the ban in 2015. He says the measure would include a fine of up to $200 a pack for a business selling non-biodegradable cigarettes. The bill also would give the attorney general the authority to enforce the law through civil legal actions. (Daily Record-AP)

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