April 11 // Josh Kurtz: Political tidbits for the last day of session

Jaws in Annapolis are still dropped over Del. Charles Barkley’s interview late last week with the Naptown Pint blog over the controversial bill to enable Guinness to open a brewery and tap house in Baltimore County. Many stakeholders believe the compromise bill that emerged from the Senate on Friday is still flawed. However, it at least enables the state to save face and not lose a valuable economic development project, while at the same time expanding the number of barrels most craft brewers can produce annually – albeit in a tortured fashion typical of the tortured system that governs sales and distribution of alcohol in Maryland. (marylandmattersblog)

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Ethics in Annapolis

We certainly appreciate the caution at the end of Friday's news release from the Maryland U.S. Attorney's Office that the indictment of Sen. Nathaniel Oaks "is not a finding of guilt" and that he should be "presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty." But we would also presume that someone allegedly caught on tape accepting more than $15,000 in cash for the use of his prestige of office to support what turned out to be a non-existent affordable housing development would demonstrate enough embarrassment not to show up on the Senate floor three days later. (Balt. Sun)

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Facility will improve response to overdoses

The numbers on heroin and opioid overdoses can be overwhelming — and the latest signs indicate those numbers are still rising. There were 319 overdoses in Annapolis and Anne Arundel County between Jan. 1 and April 5, a 45 percent increase over the same period in 2016. Thirty people died of overdoses in those four months. Altogether, from 2013 to 2015, 351 people died from drug overdoses in the county, making Anne Arundel No. 3 in this category in Maryland — ahead of far more populous Montgomery and Prince George's counties. But later this month the county will be able to celebrate some good news. Robert A. Pascal Youth and Family Services is about to open a new "stabilization center" at the former state psychiatric hospital in Crownsville. Many hope this will be a game-changer. (Capital)

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Frank Patinella, Sharicca Boldon: How to end Baltimore schools' annual funding crisis for good

The passage of legislation required for the "Bridge to Kirwan" city school funding was due in no small part to the effective organization, advocacy and activism demonstrated by the Baltimore community. Thanks to passionate parents, students, principals, teachers and coalitions citywide, we have secured enough city and state funding to prevent a portion of the drastic cuts forecast at Baltimore City Public Schools for the next three years. This is evidence that the voice of the people can and does have an impact on public policy decisions, and we are grateful to the city and state representatives who took the time to listen. (Balt. Sun)

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'Who is and who is not a farmer' is letting the government pick winners and losers

We are all for farmers diversifying their operations to help them weather tough economic times and to preserve agricultural land. It’s why we’ve supported initiatives such as allowing farmland to be used for solar energy production, to allow farmers and growers to set up brewery operations and to let medical cannabis be grown on farmland. And it’s why we would normally support a county bill that would allow property in the county’s agricultural zone to be used for events such as weddings, graduations and reunions. (News-Post)

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Bryce Pardo, Peter Reuter: Is Md. ready for 'heroin assisted therapy'?

The idea of giving heroin addicts heroin to keep them from crime and other dangers has never been popular with American politicians. Yet several Western European countries routinely provide pharmaceutical-grade heroin to high-risk users in medically-supervised facilities with minimal problems; the patients in these programs are much less likely to use street heroin when compared with patients in methadone programs. Given the tripling in heroin-related deaths in the last five years, it is time to give this innovation prompt consideration. (Balt. Sun)

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April 10 // Barry Rascovar: Hogan should be relieved Assembly is ending

When the clock strikes 12 Monday night, Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan will breathe a huge sigh of relief. With luck, the Maryland General Assembly – which has been increasingly aggressive in opposing the Republican chief executive – won’t return to Annapolis until next January. There have been few reasons for Hogan to take comfort in his dealings with the state legislature this year – or indeed for the two earlier 90-day sessions. (Md. Reporter)

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Victoria L. Bruce: The Anne Arundel county executive’s hypocrisy on undocumented workers

While County Executive Steve Schuh has lived in Anne Arundel County, he's enjoyed the many things our bountiful bayside region has bestowed upon us. He probably also enjoys seafood brought to us by a robust population of undocumented immigrant workers. There's a lovely winery in Davidsonville Schuh seems to like that depends on migrants to pick succulent grapes. I'm guessing the landscaping company he trusts to keep the yard on his million-dollar-plus mansion neat and tidy is staffed with some undocumented workers. (Wash. Post)

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