Making a statement for sexual assault awareness

April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month, so perhaps it is appropriate that it wasn’t until the calendar turned to the final days of the Maryland General Assembly 2018 session that a game-changing piece of legislation that gives the state the ability to introduce acts of previous sexually deviant behavior as evidence in court was approved. Known as the Repeat Sexual Predator Prevention Act, House Bill 301 passed both chambers unanimously last week. Gov. Larry Hogan had expressed his support for similar legislation earlier in the session, and will likely sign the bill into law. (Carr. Co. Times)

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Effort by Chesapeake parents is a start

This isn’t the sort of attention you want a county school to get. Last week, on the 50th anniversary of the assassination of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., a staff member at Chesapeake High School saw a pickup driving through the school’s parking lot flying a Confederate flag. When officials tracked down the truck, it turned out to also have a noose and a pair of dice with Confederate symbols hanging from the rear-view mirror. (Capital)

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Larry Ottinger: What if Maryland had a progressive governor?

“For all sad words of tongue and pen,” wrote John Greenleaf Whittier, “The saddest are these ‘It might have been.’” As the sun sets on the 2018 General Assembly session, Marylanders who care about the future of our state — about our economic security, physical safety, environmental health and quality of our kids’ education — the question of “what might have been” is especially troubling. (Balt. Sun)

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Carl Snowden: In this year's election voters will look for change

The upcoming midterm elections will offer voters an opportunity to send a message. President Ronald Reagan once observed that if voters liked the last four years, they should vote for the status quo. What we are witnessing is that voters do not seem to like the status quo. In one special election after another, voters are voting for change. Closer to home, during last year's municipal election in Annapolis, Democrats won the mayoral election and seven of the eight aldermanic elections. Among the latter, only Republican Alderman Fred Paone managed to hold on to his seat in a very closely contested race. The question that must be asked now: Will these local elections bring real change? Mayor Gavin Buckley has said the answer is yes. (Capital)

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April 9 // Maryland's year of health care

The General Assembly session that ends at midnight on Monday has seen its share of controversial issues, from gun control to medical marijuana, and of memorable moments, perhaps the most notable of which was when Republican Del. Meagan Simonaire gave a floor speech endorsing a ban on so-called “conversion therapy” for gay youth, which she said her father, Republican state Sen. Bryan Simonaire, suggested she try after she came out as bisexual. The session has had some election-year political jockeying, too, as Gov. Larry Hogan sparred with Democrats over changes to the state school construction program. (Balt. Sun)

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Low pay isn't the only reason teachers are going on strike. Maryland, pay attention.

On television and across the Internet, Americans have watched in recent days as teachers in Oklahoma have left their classrooms behind to march on the state capital for higher salaries and better funding of education. These are familiar images. On Monday, teachers in Kentucky rallied in great numbers in Frankfurt. Last month, it was West Virginia where teachers went on strike for nine days — and won. What’s got teachers so riled up? Many of their grievances relate to funding — not just their own pay and benefits (although that’s surely a problem in many states) but also in relation to the schools where they work and the resources they are given. (Balt. Sun)

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Marceline White: Debtors’ prisons still exist in Maryland

“No person shall be imprisoned for debt,” says the Maryland Constitution, Section 38. The Maryland Constitution – and 80 years of state case law – make clear that a person cannot be jailed for disobeying an order to pay money based on a debt. Yet, debtors’ prisons continue to exist in our state. Legislation (SB 1050/HB 1081) to eliminate debtors prisons in Maryland has passed the Senate but is currently awaiting a vote in the House Judiciary Committee. (Md. Reporter)

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Robert C. Clark: No City Dock development without more study and respect for historic landscape

Historic Annapolis supports redevelopment along the waterfront, but not if it sacrifices the historic context and setting that defines City Dock. Recent proposals for a new hotel and parking garage at City Dock have the potential to negatively impact the characteristic views that so strongly appeal to residents and visitors, on and off the water. Thankfully, the City of Annapolis has a very effective tool for protecting the view-shed and preventing overdevelopment of City Dock — the Height and Bulk Ordinance. (Capital)

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