December 6 // 'A learning experience': 60 new Maryland lawmakers head to Annapolis, ready to tackle big issues

A few years back, at the urging of a colleague, Republican House of Delegates Minority Leader Nic Kipke signed on to co-sponsor a bill named the “Fourth Amendment Protection Act” — without reading the details. Soon after, Kipke, an Anne Arundel County Republican, was stunned to open a newspaper and learn he was supporting a bill that could cut off water and electricity to the National Security Agency, the intelligence agency at Fort Meade. “It was quite a surprise, considering half of NSA lives in my district,” Kipke said Wednesday, standing in front of dozens of new state lawmakers gathered in Annapolis. “Be very careful about that.” (Balt. Sun)

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Maryland legislative caucus will push to raise the age for buying tobacco to 21

The Legislative Black Caucus of Maryland is concerned about the toll smoking has taken on the African-American community and is leading an effort to impose restrictions on access to tobacco products. The Washington Post reports the caucus is pushing for Maryland to join places that have raised the age to buy tobacco products from 18 to 21. Currently, six states have banned cigarettes sales to people younger than 21. The proposed legislation comes on the heels of an announcement that the Food and Drug Administration will impose restrictions to block the sale of flavored e-cigarettes to children and eventually ban menthol cigarettes and flavored cigars. (Balt. Sun-AP)

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Maryland congressional members question university system about football player McNair's death

Members of the state’s congressional delegation expressed their concerns Wednesday to top officials of the University System of Maryland about how it handled the University of Maryland, College Park, football program after the heatstroke death of a Terrapins player. Chancellor Robert Caret and Board of Regents Chairwoman Linda Gooden traveled to Capitol Hill to brief Maryland’s U.S. senators and several representatives on developments involving the system’s flagship campus. (Balt. Sun)

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Year 1: Five markers of the Buckley administration in Annapolis

As Mayor Gavin Buckley’s first year comes to a close, it’s time to take a look back at a year of successes, failures and bike lanes — OK, just one bike lane, really. Buckley ran on creating One Annapolis — a refrain he’s repeated throughout the year to launch a boards and commissions reboot, summer camps for kids, new services for immigrant and low-income communities, protests, marches, parades and more. There have been unexpected developments, such as the shooting the killed five Capital Gazette staff members on June 28. Buckley, even though the violence occurred just outside the city, unified the city afterward by including survivors in the July 4th parade and organizing a concert to benefit the survivors' fund. (Capital)

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December 5 // Maryland attorney general Frosh subpoenas Trump businesses, seeks evidence of president profiting from job

Dozens of subpoenas were issued Tuesday to businesses affiliated with President Donald Trump and others in a lawsuit by Maryland and the District of Columbia that alleges the president violated a constitutional prohibition on profiting from his post by doing business with foreign governments. Among those receiving subpoenas were 13 Trump organizations, including The Trump Organization Inc., Trump International Hotels Management LLC, Trump Old Post Office LLC and The Donald J. Trump Revocable Trust. (Balt. Sun)

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Maryland Comptroller Franchot to lawmakers: Put money into the Rainy Day Fund

Maryland Comptroller Peter Franchot wants lawmakers to save additional revenue that is pouring into the state instead of spending it all. Franchot, a Democrat, said Maryland is anticipating a windfall of more than $1 billion in tax revenue because of the 2017 federal tax reform law and the implementation of a Supreme Court decision allowing states to collect sales tax from online retailers. That money could be put to use in many different ways by the state, but Franchot implored lawmakers Tuesday to put the money into the Rainy Day Fund. (Balt. Bus. Journal)

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Lawmakers quiet as Hogan panel seizes initiative in redrawing districts

A forthcoming proposal to redraw one Maryland congressional district may be enough to satisfy a court order even if the legislature doesn’t act on it, according to a spokeswoman for Gov. Larry Hogan. Last week Hogan issued an executive order creating a nine-member emergency commission tasked with redrawing the 6th Congressional District. But the governor’s interpretation of the federal court order also leaves open the door to others who may want a hand in reshaping the district before an overall redistricting effort after the 2020 census. (Daily Record)

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Marijuana, minimum wage on Maryland lawmakers' radar

Proposals to raise Maryland’s minimum wage and legalize recreational marijuana use will come up during the next General Assembly, lawmakers said Tuesday. Local businesspeople asked members of Washington County’s delegation about those issues during Tuesday morning’s prelegislative forum, sponsored by the Washington County Chamber of Commerce at Hager Hall in Hagerstown. About 60 people were registered for the event. (Herald-Mail)

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