Maryland Lawmakers Wrestle With End Of Life Options Act

Maryland lawmakers are wrestling with one of the toughest issues in the General Assembly this session, the End of Life Option Act. Opponents wore green stickers proclaiming no assisted suicide. Supporters wore yellow t-shirts to promote the end of life options. Marci Rubin was among those who testified before a joint committee hearing in the House of Delegates. “I’m supporting this bill because I have stage four metastatic breast cancer that has moved to my liver and my lungs,” she said. The End of Life Option Act provides for terminally ill adults with 6 months or less left to live and who are mentally capable to receive doctor prescribed medication, using it is strictly voluntary. (WJZ-TV)

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Baltimore delegate withdraws bill for open primaries, 'ranked choice' voting in city

Del. Brooke Lierman said Friday she is withdrawing her bill that would have allowed Baltimore to have several options for new ways to conduct elections, including moving to open primaries or a “ranked choice” voting system. After talking with her colleagues in the Baltimore House Delegation, Lierman, a Democrat from Southeast Baltimore, determined she was “a couple” votes short of winning enough support for her bill, which would have empowered the Baltimore City Council to consider different election approaches. (Balt. Sun)

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Commissioners discuss bills, concerned businesses will say, 'See ya, Maryland,' if minimum wage increases

The Board of Carroll County Commissioners weighed in on various bills coming out of this season’s legislative session at their Thursday, Feb. 14 meeting — including the $15 minimum wage and septic systems. Legislative Liaison Mike Fowler told the board that he felt the bill to increase minimum wage to $15 would pass this year, especially with the progressive shift in the legislative body and its widespread support from unions. “It would go to $11 per hour in [20]19,” he said, “and then it goes up by a dollar per year to the maximum of $15 in 2023. (Carroll County Times)

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Md. Dems Rip Trump’s Emergency Declaration; Harris Sees Need for Tighter Border

The feud over funding the federal government shifted Friday into another fight over President Trump’s declaration of a national emergency along the southern U.S. border. As Trump reached a last-minute deal with the divided U.S. Congress to avert another government shutdown, the president announced Friday that he was declaring a national emergency, circumventing the legislative branch to secure border wall funding. “We’re going to confront the national security crisis on our southern border, and we’re going to do it one way or the other, we have to do it,” Trump said in a speech from the White House Rose Garden. (Md. Matters)

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Judge tosses $38M jury verdict stemming from fatal standoff

A Maryland judge has overturned a jury’s verdict awarding more than $38 million to the family of a shotgun-wielding woman who was fatally shot by police in 2016 after a six-hour standoff in her apartment. The Baltimore Sun reports that this week’s court decision comes in response to post-trial motions filed by attorneys for Baltimore County. The ruling comes almost exactly one year after the jury ruled in favor of relatives of Korryn Gaines in a lawsuit against the county and officer Royce Ruby, who shot Gaines. (WTOP)

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Ready introduces, touts income tax relief bill

State Sen. Justin Ready, R-District 5 (Carroll County) on Friday introduced a bill that would reduce Maryland income taxes by .25 percentage points for every taxpayer, according to a news release from his office. “(Senate bill 951) is a modest but broad-based tax cut that would let hard-working Marylanders keep more of the money they've earned while increasing our state's tax competitiveness," Ready said, according to the release. “Hard-working Marylanders do not deserve to suffer from onerous tax rates.” (Carroll County Times)

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Trump emergency declaration faces fights in the courts

Let the lawsuits begin. President Donald Trump declared a national emergency along the southern border and predicted his administration would end up defending it all the way to the Supreme Court. That might have been the only thing Trump said Friday that produced near-universal agreement. The American Civil Liberties Union announced its intention to sue less than an hour after the White House released the text of Trump’s declaration that the “current situation at the southern border presents a border security and humanitarian crisis that threatens core national security interests and constitutes a national emergency.” (Star Dem.)

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Eastern Shore Delegation hears about human trafficking, tourism

The Eastern Shore Delegation heard from the Maryland Human Trafficking Task Force about the issue of abductions during its Friday, Feb. 15, meeting. Amanda Rodriguez, chairwoman of the Maryland Human Trafficking Task Force, spoke with co-chairwoman Ann Holladay about trafficking in Maryland. Holladay said with the international airport in Baltimore, the state is an attractant for traffickers. Rodriguez said part of the organization’s goal is to educate residents of the state on general signs of trafficking. Rodriguez also shared information with the delegation on four bills the organization is supporting. (Star Dem.)

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