Md. legislation would stiffen penalties for ransomware attacks

Using ransomware to hold computers hostage would draw stiffer penalties under legislation — prompted in part by attacks on Maryland hospitals over the past few years — state lawmakers are considering. The legislation, which would set tougher penalties for those convicted of ransomware crimes, was spurred by attacks like those on the University of Maryland Medical System in 2018 and on the Salisbury Police Department in January. (Daily Record)

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Lawmakers line up behind bipartisan border deal to avert shutdown, as Trump signals he may sign it

The threat of another government shutdown receded Tuesday as lawmakers lined up behind a fragile border security compromise and President Trump predicted that federal agencies would stay open. Trump did not publicly endorse the bipartisan agreement, which offers just a fraction of the money he’s sought for a U.S.-Mexico border wall. But with a shutdown deadline looming Friday at midnight, the president suggested he might be able to accept the deal, saying he could take other steps to fund his wall. “Am I happy at first glance? The answer is no, I’m not, I’m not happy,” Trump told reporters around midday at the White House, as he met with Cabinet members. (Wash. Post)

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Md. Senate approves measure to overturn Gov. Hogan’s order to start school year after Labor Day

The Maryland Senate gave final approval to a bill that would overturn an executive order by Gov. Larry Hogan (R) that required local school districts to start their school year after Labor Day. The Senate voted 31 to 13, along party lines, to advance the measure, which would allow local school districts to decide when schools should begin and end. The legislation heads to the House for consideration. Hogan issued the executive order in 2016. Local districts say they have struggled to create calendars to meet the requirement of starting after Labor Day and ending by June 15. (Wash. Post)

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Gov. Larry Hogan proposes $1.5 million to help Maryland dairy farmers

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan on Thursday proposed $1.5 million in funds to help struggling dairy farmers participate in a federal program that aims to protect dairies from plummeting milk prices paired with the rising cost of feeding cows. Hogan’s proposed $1.5 million will have to be approved by the Maryland General Assembly as part of the capital budget. “For months we have been searching for a way to help our dairy farmers who are facing particularly challenging times,” Hogan said Thursday, Feb. 7, addressing the annual Taste of Maryland Agriculture dinner. (Carroll County Times)

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With incinerator crackdown bill passed, spotlight swings to the mayor

After the City Council unanimously passed a bill that would tighten emission limits on the Wheelabrator trash incinerator, the heavily-lobbied measure moves to the desk of Mayor Catherine Pugh. But with Pugh refusing to say whether she will sign it – and after she made an 11th hour plea to the bill’s sponsor to delay it – the spotlight has shifted from City Hall’s fourth-floor Council chambers to the executive branch on the second floor. (Balt. Brew)

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“I’m here now,” says Michael Harrison, vowing to enact culture change at Baltimore Police

Meet the people. Meet the people. That’s how you turn a broken police department into a good one, says Michael S. Harrison, Mayor Catherine Pugh’s choice to become Baltimore’s next police commissioner. On Monday, his first day as acting commissioner, it took hours of appearances before the media, City Council members and other officials before Harrison actually had an opportunity to connect with the people. (Balt. Brew)

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Proposed bill would forbid nonconsensual pelvic and other exams on unconscious, anesthetized patients

Del. Heather Bagnall has proposed legislation to forbid health care practitioners, students and trainees from performing pelvic, rectal or prostate exams on unconscious or anesthetized patients without written consent or unless medically necessary. House Bill 364 would give patients peace of mind who may be concerned about such examinations as Maryland currently does not outlaw it, said Bagnall, D-Arnold. “This legislation is about peace of mind,” Bagnall said in an interview before a Tuesday hearing. (Balt. Sun)

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President Trump Says He's Not Thrilled With GOP-Backed Border Deal

President Donald Trump said Tuesday he's "unhappy" with a hard-won agreement to prevent a new government shutdown and finance construction of more barriers along the U.S.-Mexico border, but he didn't say whether or not he would sign the measure. GOP congressional leaders swung behind the proposed deal, selling it as a necessary compromise. "I can't say I'm happy. I can't say I'm thrilled," Trump said during a Cabinet meeting. He said he needs to look further at the agreement, which would grant far less than the $5.7 billion he wants for a long-promised wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. (WBAL)

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