July 17 // Maryland congressional delegation asks White House to nominate Capital Gazette shooting victim for Medal of Freedom

Maryland’s congressional delegation is urging the president to consider the nation’s highest civilian honor for a Capital Gazette shooting victim who spent her last moment rushing a rampaging gunman. In the aftermath of the June 28 shooting, witnesses in the newsroom recalled reporter and editor Wendi Winters charging at the shooter, who had blasted his way through the glass door of the newspaper’s office. Police charged Jarrod W. Ramos with killing five people, including Winters, with a pump-action shotgun. Survivors of the attack have credited Winters with saving their lives by creating a diversion. She ran toward the shooter with her trashcan and recycling bin, shouting at him to stop. (Capital)

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Maryland to help retirees pay out-of-pocket Medicare drug costs after coverage change

Maryland government retirees will get financial assistance from the state to help pay for medications when their prescription drug coverage moves from a state plan to the federal Medicare Part D program next year. Gov. Larry Hogan and General Assembly leadership announced a one-year transition program in which the state will reimburse all out-of-pocket drug costs exceeding $1,500. That is the limit under the current state plan. The move to the federal prescription drug plan, which will take place Jan. 1, is part of state pension reform passed in 2011. (Balt. Sun)

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Anne Arundel County Council defeats bill changing police chief hiring process

Anne Arundel County Council defeated a resolution Monday night that would have included the council in the chief of police appointment process. Resolution 20-18 was defeated in a 4-3 vote, just shy of the five needed for charter amendment bills. Councilmen Jerry Walker, R-Crofton, Pete Smith, D-Severn; Chris Trumbauer, D-Annapolis, and Andrew Pruski, D-Gambrills, voted for the resolution. The resolution would have placed a question on the November ballot asking voters if they want the chief of police appointment to require both county executive and council approval. Currently the county executive appoints the police chief. (Capital)

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Making the homeless disappear was goal of previous mayor

Breaking up homeless encampments in “visible” parts of Baltimore was not a policy that was started by the current mayor, Catherine Pugh. A retired Catholic pastor recalled how the former mayor, Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, threatened him when he sought to provide a refuge for the homeless on the grounds of St. Vincent de Paul Church. Baltimore’s top official wanted the homeless “to disappear,” Father Richard Lawrence told a crowd of 200 worshipers Sunday. Father Lawrence said Rawlings-Blake told him that representatives of the hospitality industry believed that a homeless refuge so close to downtown tourist attractions would hurt business in the city. (Brew)

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With 12 deaths already, Maryland on pace for deadliest boating season in decades

With a dozen fatalities already this year on Maryland waters, the state is on pace for its deadliest boating season in decades, a Maryland Natural Resources Police spokeswoman said Monday. The body of Easton’s Stephanie Meredith, 35, who officials say fell out of a racing sailboat Friday night, was found on the Corsica River between Queen Anne’s and Kent counties Sunday morning. Her death was the 12th this year on Maryland waters, up from nine last year, spokeswoman Candy Thomson said. Only midway through what Thomson calls “our most dangerous month,” the state is on a pace that would eclipse the 21-death mark of 2015, Maryland’s most deadly since 1994, when it had 24. (Balt. Sun)

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Council considers repeal of mobile home site rental tax

Howard County is home to seven mobile home parks, pockets of affordable housing in one of the country’s most expensive counties. Rent for a mobile home is relatively cheap, an average of $700 a month, according to the county, compared to more than $1,500 a month for an apartment in Columbia, according to July 2018 Apartment List rent report, which aggregates rent prices across the country. Since 1978, Howard County has taxed mobile home rental sites roughly $45 a month, or $540 a year, according to the county. (Ho. Co. Times)

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July 16 // Maryland announces prescription drug help for state retirees

Maryland officials have announced prescription drug help for retired state employees. Gov. Larry Hogan made the announcement Friday in a joint statement with the presiding officers of the General Assembly. It’s in response to state pension reform lawmakers approved in 2011. As part of that, retired state employees eligible for Medicare will be moving from the state’s prescription drug program to the federal Medicare Part D program in January. (AP)

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Panel reviewing police civilian oversight calls for more powerful 'independent police accountability agency'

The task force reviewing civilian oversight of Baltimore police is calling for a more powerful “independent police accountability agency,” replacing the existing Civilian Review Board, which critics have complained lacks authority to hold officers accountable. The Community Oversight Task Force, known as COTF, issued a 74-page report this month that recommends disbanding the Civilian Review Board, which currently investigates civilian complaints. (Balt. Sun)

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