The public's business should be public

All of the official proceedings of the Maryland General Assembly — committee hearings, voting sessions, floor debates and so on — are open to the public. Anyone who cares to can watch as their senators and delegates discuss and vote on any of the thousands of pieces of legislation that move through the General Assembly every year. Anyone, that is, who happens to be in Annapolis. (Balt. Sun)

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Salisbury's crime stat turnaround is a result of community working together

The good news is that Salisbury’s crime rate is the lowest it’s been in a decade. The better news is that this has happened in the context of the city dropping in the rankings offered by the website Neighborhood Scout’s Top 100 Most Dangerous Cities in the U.S. Before 2012, it was widely proclaimed by critics of Salisbury’s government that our fair city ranked No. 4 on that list, making it the fourth most dangerous city in the country, based strictly on crime stats per-capita. (Daily Times)

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Rick Hutzell: The secret's out, Johnson running for county executive

In politics, you have to keep an eye on your friends as well as your enemies. George Johnson of Pasadena has been inching toward a run for county executive for weeks, setting up a contested Democratic primary with Joanna Conti. Not exactly a secret, but not widely known. Until Monday. Eugene Peterson, head of the committee that puts on the annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Breakfast, introduced Johnson as a candidate for county executive to several hundred people. (Capital)

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Rubber-check service

Getting people involved in the criminal justice system over matters that could be settled otherwise doesn’t make sense. It’s time-consuming, stressful and costly, and makes the already overburdened judicial system all the worse. We like the Frederick County State’s Attorney’s Bad Check Restitution Program for exactly those reasons. It provides a way for business owners and others who have had a customer’s or client’s check bounce to get what’s owed to them without chasing after the bad-check writer or having to appear in court to make his or her case. (News-Post)

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Jan. 21 // Track candidate finances

Maryland has a long way to go to provide truly transparent campaign finance reporting in a timely manner. The deadlines for reporting money raised and the lag time make it more difficult for voters to follow the money and make better decisions at the polls. Candidates who truly are running to serve the public should post their campaign finance contributions on their own websites as soon as they receive them. It’s a simple process really, and even for the smallest campaign with most limited staff, posting a list of the top contributors is not a daunting task. (Carr. Co. Times)

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Time for 'Chrissy's Law'

Three years ago, the vicious attack on 22-year-old Chrissy Lee Polis by two teens at a Rosedale McDonald's that was captured on video and viewed by hundreds of thousands of people raised awareness of transgender people and of the ignorance, hostilities and challenges they often face. One year later, Baltimore County approved an ordinance that protects the rights of people like Ms. Polis from being discriminated against — joining Baltimore City and Howard and Montgomery counties, which offer similar protections. Why aren't these safeguards enforced statewide? Because for all the self-congratulatory talk in Annapolis about how progressive Maryland has shown itself to be on issues of equality and equal rights in recent years, the state legislature has so far failed to approve such a measure — although 17 other states and the District of Columbia do have transgender rights laws on their books already. (Balt. Sun)

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It is time to do the job right at The Maryland Theatre

It makes economic sense to take care of what you have first, before investing in something new. And in The Maryland Theatre, Hagerstown has an existing asset that would cost millions of dollars to duplicate. Theater officials are proposing a funding package that would treat the grande dame as she deserves to be treated. The funding would match an anticipated $750,000 grant from the state with money raised locally through city, county and private sources. We support this funding package for several reasons. (Herald-Mail)

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Ban the booth

Skin cancer is the most common type of cancer diagnosed in humans, and within the U.S. more than 9,100 men and women die each year from melanomas of the skin. That puts it among the top-10 deadliest forms of cancer, ranking 6th overall for whites. Given the seriousness of the threat and the direct link between skin cancer and exposure to ultraviolet light, one would think that young Americans would shy away from indoor tanning. Sunlight is dangerous enough. But demand for tanning beds remains high. (Balt. Sun)

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