Tom Harbold: Bay Needs Healthy Oyster Population

If Marylanders are passionate about their crabs, we are nearly as passionate about oysters. Whether on the half-shell, breaded and fried, or floating in savory stew, these luscious bivalves are rightly esteemed by Chesapeake epicureans. But, as most Marylanders also know, oysters are in trouble, especially in one of their prime historic habitats: our own Chesapeake Bay. (Carr. Co. Times)

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Nov. 4 // Maryland Should Hike Tobacco Taxes Again

Boosting taxes on cigarettes is an effective way to cut smoking rates among adults and, even more, among those college-age and younger, along with tobacco-related disease and death. A case in point is Maryland, where the incidence of smoking fell by a third from 1998 to 2010, a period during which the state more than quintupled its cigarette tax. (Wash. Post)

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State's Perverse Incentives For Tax Flight Are Shortsighted

Marylanders straining to make ends meet have more pressing worries than the way some of their comparatively affluent neighbors have recently become ex-neighbors. But it might have struck them as curious that in spite of a wearisome succession of tax and fee increases, not to mention bonus revenue from gambling, the Department of Legislative Services now says the state’s structural deficit — the long-term mismatch between its revenue and its spending — is opening up yet again. (Capital)

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Robert McCartney: Douglas Gansler’s ‘Beach Week’ Misstep Highlights Hypocrisy Over Legal Drinking Age

Maryland Attorney General Doug Gansler’s failure to report apparent underage drinking at a raucous “Beach Week” party that he visited reminds us of America’s gross hypocrisy in keeping laws on the books that large swaths of society have no intention of enforcing. Gansler, who’s running for governor, deserves all the criticism heaped on him for his double talk over the incident in Delaware. Clearly, a top law enforcement official shouldn’t be tolerating such wrongdoing. But let’s be honest: Thousands of local parents do the same every spring. (Wash. Post)

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Legislating Revenge Porn

Delegate Jon Cardin held a press conference Wednesday to announce that he will pursue legislation to outlaw the vengeful use of explicit photos and videos, making the practice a felony subject to up to five years in jail and up to $25,000 in fines. This is good. Legislatures should be ahead of this problem and acting to discourage it. However, this is an extremely complicated area, which is why we think this bill will need more than one session to make its way to the governor’s desk — if it makes it there at all. (News-Post)

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Give Phosphorus Regs Another Look

Protecting the Chesapeake Bay and keeping pollutants from reaching it via runoff is important, but there seem to be too many unknowns about the Phosphorus Management Tool, including additional costs to farms to transport or store the manure, to move swiftly and implement the regulation as some environmentalists and the Maryland Department of Agriculture would’ve preferred. (Carr. Co. Times)

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Right Direction

More Allegany County public school students are earning their high school diplomas, while at the same time fewer are dropping out of school. That was the good news in a report released last week by the Allegany County Board of Education. (Times-News)

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Tim Rowland: Health Care Ship Steering New Course

Imagine taking your car in for an oil change and a tune-up. But the dealership doesn’t charge you anything, it just gets your name, address and banking information. Six weeks later, you get a bill charging you $50 for five quarts of oil. A day later comes a bill for the oil filter. Other bills trickle in from companies that manufacture spark plug wires, wiper blades and antifreeze. Then you get a bill from the mechanic who did the work and one from the fellow who disposes of the used oil. (Herald-Mail)

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