Ehrlich: What it will take to get the GOP on board with immigration reform

Attempting to narrow America's immigration debate down to an easily understood set of issues is no easy task. But that's why The Sun pays me the big bucks. So, with no further caveats, I offer comprehensive immigration reform in 800 words, more or less. (Balt. Sun)

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Downside to legalized marijuana

States that have enacted or considered enacting laws decriminalizing marijuana use should also consider the impact that will come from more people using the drug, and the problems that may come with that. Maryland has essentially decriminalized the use of marijuana for medicinal purposes, but usually there are efforts each year to totally decriminalize it, such as was done in Colorado or Washington state. (Carroll Co. Times)

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Dee Hodges: Focusing on the wrong threat to the bay

Dozens of Maryland taxes have been increased during the six years that Martin O'Malley has been governor, but perhaps none better epitomizes the state's propensity to raise taxes for the sake of it than the stormwater management fees — better known as the "rain tax" — that went into effect for residents of the state's 10 largest counties and Baltimore City on Monday. The idea is to lower Maryland's stormwater runoff into the Chesapeake Bay as required by the Environmental Protection Agency as part of its bay cleanup plan. The problem is it is projected to cost a lot of money, $14.8 billion by 2025. (Balt. Sun)

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Changes to downtown hardly a new idea

Downtown Annapolis has been studied more than any other part of the county. A gem like this fires the imaginations of consultants and preservationists who unfortunately leave us with more dreams than usable ideas. Annapolis is not a showcase for dreams; it is a living city. Most recently, the National Trust for Historic Preservation and a cadre of well-intentioned volunteers have offered yet another design for the city’s future. (Capital)

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U.S. should lead war on pollution

As some developing nations continue to accelerate industrialization and world pollution levels rise, it is more important than ever for our country to be a world leader in clean energy. As part of a plan to fight global warming, President Barack Obama recently proposed strict new Environmental Protection Agency regulations that opponents say would make it impossible to open a new coal plant in the U.S. (Carroll Co. Times)

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A new era for Maryland’s Judiciary 

The governor’s decision to put Judge Mary Ellen Barbera in charge of the Court of Appeals is one for the history books, as she will be the first woman to head the state’s Judiciary since its establishment in Colonial times. (Daily Record)

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Clark Kendall: In Montgomery, aim for better ‘net’ economic results 

As an investment professional and financial planner, one of my goals is to empower each of my clients to take responsibility for his or her financial future and make the often tough choices needed to ensure the brightest possible outcome. (Daily Record)

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Dropping the ball on student loans

Because Congress couldn't get its act together last month — not really all that surprising given the partisan gridlock in Washington — interest rates on federally subsidized Stafford student loans rose from 3.4 percent to 6.8 percent on Monday. That's bad enough for college students trying to figure out how they will repay the debts they incur to finance their educations. What's worse is that practically nobody in Congress — neither Democrat nor Republican — wanted rates to go that high, yet lawmakers seemed powerless to prevent it. (Balt. Sun)

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