Gov. Hogan Signs Bill Raising Legal Age To Buy Tobacco To 21

You will soon have to be 21 to buy tobacco products in Maryland. Monday, Gov. Larry Hogan signed a bill that raised the age from 18 to 21. The use of tobacco products has recently skyrocketed among teenagers- including vaping and e-cigarettes. The bill goes into effect this October and will apply to all types of tobacco products. It currently exempts members of the military. (WJZ)

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Baltimore Co. Lawmakers Uneasy With Cell Phone Tax Proposal

Two Baltimore County councilmembers say they're hearing opposition from constituents to a proposed tax on cell phone lines. Last month, Baltimore County Executive John Olszewski proposed a $3.50 monthly fee on cell phone lines to replace revenue lost as residents move away from landlines. The $3.4 billion budget proposal for fiscal year 2020 also included increases to the local income tax and hotel tax and establish fees on cable subscribers and residential and commercial developers. (WBAL)

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Westminster passes plastic bag ban — the third in Maryland — and city budget

The Common Council of the city of Westminster voted Monday, May 13 to restrict the distribution of single-use plastic bags, as well as to formally pass the budget for financial year 2020. Council member Benjamin Yingling voted against the plastic bag ban, while Council members Tony Chiavacci, Mona Becker and Greg Pecoraro voted for it. Council President Robert Wack did not vote. He said he does not typically vote when his vote is not needed to break a tie. After the meeting, he said he was in favor of the council passing the legislation. (Carr. Co. Times)

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Mayor Young, Council President Scott tout city's 'resilience' at annual GBC meeting

Baltimore Mayor Bernard C. "Jack" Young and Council President Brandon Scott spoke about the recent changes in city leadership at an annual business dinner Monday night and expressed their belief in the strength of the community to bounce back. The two spoke before a crowd of a thousand local business people and politicians at the Greater Baltimore Committee's annual meeting. They called on those in the room to "work together" to lift up Baltimore and correct some of the problems facing the city. (Balt. Bus. Journal)

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Rosenstein in Baltimore: ‘Not Everybody Is Happy With My Decisions’

In some of his first public comments after leaving the Justice Department last week, former Deputy U.S. Attorney General Rod Rosenstein said he made the best decisions he could under difficult circumstances – and revealed more details about the firing of former FBI Director James Comey, who Rosenstein said has become a “political pundit.” (Md. Matters)

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Three Democrats, one Republican running in Annapolis Ward 6 special election

Annapolis Mayor Gavin Buckley announced Monday the candidates running to represent Ward 6, succeeding former Alderwoman Shaneka Henson. Democrats Yiannes Kacoyianni, DaJuan Gay and Kenneth Kirby will face each other in the June 4 primary. Republican George Michael Gallagher will run uncontested. One of the four will fill Henson’s seat on the City Council, created after the Anne Arundel County Democratic Central Committee picked her to fill the open District 30A delegate seat vacated after Speaker of the House of Delegates Michael Busch died April 7. (Balt. Sun)

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Lobbyist Julia Pitcher Worcester to Take PhRMA Gig

Pharmaceutical Research & Manufacturers of America – better known as PhRMA – has tapped Annapolis contract lobbyist Julia Pitcher Worcester to be its director of state policy and advocacy in Maryland. It’s a new position – and an acknowledgement by the giant lobbying group that Maryland is increasingly becoming a hotbed for legislation impacting the prescription drug industry. Worcester and her father, J. William Pitcher, have already worked for PhRMA as contract lobbyists – one of a dozen lobbyists that the organization used during this year’s General Assembly session, according to Maryland State Ethics Commission filings. (Md. Matters)

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Health Enrollment Bill Seen as National Model

Gov. Lawrence J. Hogan Jr. (R) is flanked by Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller Jr. (D-Calvert) and House Speaker Adrianne A. Jones (D-Baltimore County) early on in the hour-long bill-signing ceremony Monday. Photo by Josh Kurtz Gov. Lawrence J. Hogan Jr. (R) and the presiding officers of the Maryland General Assembly muscled their way through a mountain of legislation Monday, signing 182 bills into law in just over an hour. The bills covered a range of issues, from education to health care to criminal justice to government reform. (Md. Matters)

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