Jan. 21 // O’Malley formally unveils plans to raise Maryland’s minimum wage, tackle other goals

Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley (D) formally announced his final legislative package Monday, putting forward bills to raise the minimum wage, curb domestic violence and expand pre-kindergarten, among other priorities. Most of the legislation that will be pushed by O’Malley during the 90-day General Assembly session had been previously advertised, including bills to cap hospital spending and provide an alternative for citizens who have had trouble obtaining health-care insurance through the state’s glitch-ridden online exchange. (Wash. Post)

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Hogan joining GOP race for governor

Ending months of speculation, conservative activist and real estate executive Larry Hogan is getting into the race for governor, running as a political outsider to "bring fiscal responsibility and common sense to Annapolis." The former appointments secretary for the state's last Republican governor, Robert L. Ehrlich Jr., is to formally announce Tuesday evening in Annapolis that he's seeking the GOP nomination. He joins three other Republican contenders who despite launching campaigns months ago have yet to raise much money or garner a lot of attention in a bid to end Democratic dominance of state government. (Balt. Sun)

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Mizeur wins backing of Sierra Club in Maryland’s Democratic primary for governor

Del. Heather R. Mizeur (D-Montgomery) has won the endorsement of the Maryland chapter of the Sierra Club in her bid to become the state’s next governor. The group is the first environmental organization to endorse in the competitive Democratic primary for governor, which includes two better-known and better-funded candidates: Lt. Gov. Anthony G. Brown and Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler. (Wash. Post)

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Analyst to Md. lawmakers: find more budget cushion

A top Maryland budget analyst urged lawmakers on Monday to create a greater budget cushion than the one included in Gov. Martin O'Malley's budget plan. Warren Deschenaux, the General Assembly's chief budget analyst, said O'Malley's budget proposed last week would have a balance of about $30 million. Deschenaux told members of the Senate Budget and Taxation Committee and House Appropriation Committee that the state has had millions of dollars in budget deficiencies in recent years that have had to be made up. (Capital)

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Online plans for hearings

Maryland residents interested in how the legislative sausage is made may soon have more options to follow bills in the General Assembly under a number of proposed changes to the rules and laws guiding the House of Delegates and Senate. The Senate could vote as early as Tuesday on rule changes affecting the streaming of committee hearings and voting sessions. In the House of Delegates, Republicans are calling for more transparency in the legislative process through a bill that would require committee voting sessions to be live streamed and that House and Senate floor sessions be broadcast online with video. (Daily Record)

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O’Malley’s agenda tackles domestic violence

Gov. Martin O’Malley wants to advance measures to help prevent domestic violence as part of a legislative package released Monday. Lt. Gov. Anthony G. Brown will push for expanded protections for domestic violence victims. The first changes the standard of proof for a final protective order from “clear and convincing evidence” to a “preponderance of the evidence” standard, a lesser standard of proof. Maryland is the only state that has the standard of clear and convincing as a standard for a final protective order. (Daily Record)

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Zamora thinks Montgomery community volunteerism will translate to seat in Maryland House

When George Zamora saw an opportunity to run for the House of Delegates, he grabbed it. Zamora, a 29-year-old Democrat from Gaithersburg, is seeking to represent District 17, which includes Gaithersburg, Rockville and some surrounding areas. If elected, Zamora said he would like to address traffic along the Route 355 corridor. He supports the City of Rockville’s Pike Plan, which is in development and will cover planning and zoning for a segment of Rockville Pike. Zamora would like to see an expansion of Route 355 to provide easier access for commuters from Gaithersburg and Rockville, who will in turn help businesses along the 355 corridor, he said. (Gazette)

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Anne Arundel police lieutenant running for delegate

An Anne Arundel County police lieutenant is running for the House of Delegates. Lt. Jim Fredericks announced Friday he would run for the District 30B seat being vacated by Del. Bob Costa at the end of this year. The Republican candidate lives in Tracy's Landing and has worked for the Anne Arundel County Police for over 20 years. If elected, Fredericks hopes to have a "common sense" approach to community issues, including reducing taxes, providing better education for students and restoring the Chesapeake Bay. (Capital)

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