State Sen. Bill Ferguson, a Baltimore Democrat, pushes legislation to try to hasten Electoral College's demise

More than a decade ago, Maryland agreed to enter a compact to bypass the Electoral College in favor of the national popular vote for electing a president — if enough other states went along with the proposal. But the effort to kill the Electoral College stalled. Now, state Sen. Bill Ferguson, a Baltimore Democrat, is pushing a bill in the Maryland General Assembly he hopes speeds up the move to a national popular vote if other states also adopt the idea. (Balt. Sun)

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Carroll senator's amended animal cruelty bill passes Maryland Senate, advances to House

After being changed significantly in a Maryland Senate committee, Sen. Justin Ready’s bill seeking to hold those convicted of animal cruelty financially accountable unanimously passed the Senate Thursday., Feb. 14. The bill now clarifies that judges can order a person convicted of animal cruelty to pay restitution for the cost of care an impounding agency — like animal control or a local Humane Society — accrues caring for a seized animal. (Carr. Co. Times)

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Senate panel’s move could stop handgun permit board from operating

A Senate committee’s recommendation to reject three of Gov. Larry Hogan’s appointments could effectively stop, at least temporarily, the state Handgun Permit Review Board from operating. Three members of the board were voted down Monday evening by the Senate Executive Nominations Committee after a two-week delay. Republicans in the minority on the committee complained the vote smacked of politics and anti-gun sentiment. “It’s politics,” said Sen. Steve Hershey, R-Upper Shore and the Senate minority whip. “We’ll see a lot of it this year.” The committee voted 12-6 to reject confirmation of Hogan nominees Brian Fischer, Carol Loveless and John Michel. (Daily Record)

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Goucher Poll: Legalizing pot, raising minimum wage, banning plastic foam products popular in Maryland

The latest Goucher Poll, released Monday morning, asked Marylanders about a variety of public policy debates playing out in the state capital. The poll found that many proposals put forth by Democrats are popular among state residents. A poll of 808 Maryland residents by Goucher College found 57 percent support marijuana legalization. Thirty-seven percent of those polled were opposed. Those who identify as conservative or Republican, as well as those older than 55, offered the least support for marijuana legalization. The strongest support for legalization comes from those who are political independents (66 percent) and people younger than 35 (69 percent). (Balt. Sun)

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Md. lawmakers hear bills on police body cameras, marijuana use in cars

Maryland lawmakers are hearing bills that propose ways of dealing with privacy in police body camera footage and marijuana use in vehicles. A bill in the House of Delegates would require police departments to come up with a way of blurring or redacting footage to preserve the privacy of people in footage taken by police body-worn cameras if and when that footage is released to the public. Maryland Delegate David Moon says the intent of the House Bill 462 is to strike a balance between the need for transparency when public information requests are made to release footage and the privacy of those people who may appear in that footage. (WTOP)

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More than 50 people protest Trump emergency declaration outside Rep. Harris' office in Bel Air

Kathleen Kelm has been retired from the Army for close to 25 years, but she continues to, as she swore in her oath upon joining the service, protect the U.S. Constitution. She took part in a protest outside U.S. Rep. Andy Harris’ district office in Bel Air over President Donald J. Trump’s recent declaration of a national emergency, re-allocating more than $6 billion in federal money to fund construction of a security wall on the U.S.-Mexico border. “I swore ... that I would protect the Constitution — it’s my duty,” said Kelm, who retired as a major from the Army Nurse Corps in 1995 after 15 years in the service. (Aegis)

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Md. lawmakers consider ‘overdose prevention sites’ as fentanyl deaths rise

Maryland lawmakers will consider once again a proposal to create safe drug consumption sites for opioid users, but the legislation could be too politically difficult to pass. The legislation would authorize, on a pilot basis, safe injection sites, also known as overdose prevention sites, where people could use opioids near trained staff who can help if there is an overdose. The legislation comes as opioid-related deaths continue to rise in Maryland, particularly due to the synthetic opioid fentanyl. (Daily Record)

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Drug Price Controls for Maryland?

It sounds like an easy way to solve the problem. Yet on closer examination, this approach collapses. Drug-pricing is extraordinarily complicated. For starters, there’s the likelihood federal appeals courts will find a state price-control board unconstitutional because it violates the Commerce Clause — just as an appeals court ruled Maryland’s 2017 drug price-gouging law illegal. Moreover, this board cannot force manufacturers to turn over voluminous internal pricing data or confidential data on the cost of developing and producing a drug. (politicalmaryland)

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