Baltimore Mayor Pugh on nation’s ‘most dangerous city’ designation: ‘That was 2017, we’re in 2018.’

Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh brushed off a USA Today report calling Baltimore the deadliest big city in the country, saying it was based on numbers from last year and crime is down across the board so far in 2018. Pugh addressed the report at a preview event for the Light City festival. “Because we’re going to have so many visitors coming to Baltimore I think there’s some news I should share with you all,” the mayor said. “I know you’ve read the USA Today story talking about violence in Baltimore, but let me just say that was 2017 — we’re in 2018.” (Balt. Sun)

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Heath has enough signatures to challenge Culver for Wicomico executive

Salisbury City Council President Jack Heath has cleared another hurdle in his effort to become the next Wicomico County executive. This week his status changed on the Maryland State Board of Elections website from “declaration of intent” to “active."  Since Heath is an unaffiliated candidate, he was required to obtain 651 signatures (1 percent of total registered voters in the county) in order to be placed on the ballot in the General Election in November. Heath submitted petition sheets with more than 800 names to the local election board that certified he had signatures exceeding the requirement. (Daily Times)

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Del. Parrott wants tougher penalty for package pilfering

Del. Neil Parrott wants to make it a felony to steal a package. He told the House Judiciary Committee on Tuesday that with more shoppers ordering merchandise online, more thieves are targeting packages left at purchasers' homes. In fact, he said, "25.9 million homeowners had a package stolen in 2016." (Herald-Mail)

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Delegate McDonough accepts free campaign office space from Baltimore developer

Del. Pat McDonough plans to amend his campaign finance reports to reflect that he receives free office space from a major Baltimore-based developer. McDonough said he receives free office space in the Carroll Island Shopping Center, which he uses as both a district office and a campaign office. McDonough, a Republican representing Baltimore and Harford counties, is running for Baltimore County executive this year. “We do not use one penny of state taxpayers’ money. That office is a gift. It is for free,” McDonough said in an interview. (Balt. Sun)

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Keegan-Ayer says re-election campaign centered on honesty, integrity, transparency for Council District 3

Hoping to continue her mission of ensuring the people of Frederick County have a voice in their government, Councilwoman M.C. Keegan-Ayer (D) is seeking a second term representing District 3. “I originally ran for office because I really wanted the residents of Frederick to have a voice in government,” the councilwoman said of her campaign. (News-Post)

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Former delegate was ‘stupid’ and ‘unethical’ his trial lawyer says but not guilty of bribery

Former Maryland State Del. Michael Vaughn was “stupid,” “unethical,” and financially “desperate,” but he did not sell his vote for cash. Instead, he thought he was receiving bundles of cash from liquor store owners as campaign donations, not bribes. That was the defense his court-appointed attorneys put up on the first day of trial for the disgraced ex-lawmaker charged with voting to expand liquor sales in Prince George’s County in exchange for cash. (Wash. Post)

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February 20 // Report: Female employees at State House compare working conditions to frat house

Female employees at the State House are comparing working conditions to a frat house. Horrendous accounts by lawmakers, staffers and lobbyists who said they were groped and worse are documented in a new report. The level of sexual harassment goes well beyond inappropriate comments. There are also claims of physical abuse. The 38-page report provides an anonymous glimpse of misbehaving lawmakers. It also makes policy recommendations. (WBAL-TV)

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Democrat Rushern Baker picks former mayoral candidate Elizabeth Embry as running mate

Prince George’s County Executive Rushern L. Baker III tapped Elizabeth Embry as his running mate in the race for governor, bringing an experienced criminal prosecutor with deep Baltimore ties to Baker’s campaign for the Democratic nomination. Embry was chief of the attorney general’s criminal division until Tuesday, when Baker plans to announce his choice. Embry said she resigned her job to focus full-time on the governor’s race. (Balt. Sun)

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