Brown defends Affordable Care Act

Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown said Friday his role in the state health insurance exchange's troubled start was not managerial or operational, but he accepted responsibility for getting the program fixed as soon as possible. “I wasn't going to run away from the challenge,” he said at a meeting with The Frederick News-Post's Editorial Board. “You aren't going to see me ... saying, 'Not my job.'” (News-Post)

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Senator says marijuana bills could be combined

Sen. Bobby Zirkin says a Senate committee could combine two marijuana bills. The Baltimore County Democrat believes a measure decriminalizing small amounts could be added to a medical marijuana bill that already has passed the House of Delegates. The House has passed the medical marijuana bill, but the Senate's decriminalization bill is lingering in the House committee where it died last year. (WMAR-TV)

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Brown, Frosh prevail in straw poll conducted by Young Democrats of Maryland

Lt. Gov. Anthony G. Brown emerged Saturday as the winner of a gubernatorial straw poll conducted by the Young Democrats of Maryland at the group’s annual statewide convention. Brown received 62 votes, followed closely by Del. Heather R. Mizeur (Montgomery) with 57. Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler lagged with 12 votes. All three Democratic hopefuls made separate presentations during the daylong gathering in Annapolis and were accompanied by their running mates, according to organizers of the event. (Wash. Post)

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Bill to curb costly drug-dispensing by doctors stuck in committee

Legislation that would curb the practice of physicians directly dispensing prescription drugs to workers' compensation patients — often at sky-high prices — remains stuck in a House committee as time is running out in Annapolis. The proposal would limit the amount of medication a physician can sell directly to a patient to a 30-day supply. Proponents say the limit could help curb excessive workers' compensation costs. (Balt. Sun)

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Md. bill would require warrant for actively tracking someone through cellphone

A bill that would limit how and when local and state law-enforcement agencies can track cellphone locations in real time is making steady progress in the state Senate and is headed for final passage. The bill, sponsored by Sen. Christopher Shank, R-Washington, would require law-enforcement officials to obtain a warrant to track someone’s location through a cellphone tower. (Herald-Mail)

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March 24 // Lt. Gov. Brown’s plan focuses on treatment of ex-offenders, marijuana decriminalization

Maryland Democratic gubernatorial hopeful Anthony G. Brown on Friday released a plan that incorporates proposals to decriminalize possession of small amounts of marijuana and to “shield” nonviolent criminal offenses from potential employers. The proposals are part of a broader 10-point plan put forward by Brown , the state’s lieutenant governor, with the aim of overhauling the way Maryland treats ex-offenders and views relatively minor drug offenses. Brown’s “Second Chances, Safer Communities” plan also calls for additional investments in housing, job training and other transitional services meant to ease the reentry of prisoners back into society. (Wash. Post)

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Facing Competitive Primary, District 18 Incumbents Agree on Informal Alliance

Meeting over cocktails at Annapolis’ Westin Hotel earlier this month following the day’s legislative session, the incumbents in District 18 – Sen. Richard Madaleno and DelegatesAl Carr, Ana Sol Gutierrez and Jeff Waldstreicher – reached an informal alliance in advance of the June 24 primary. Besides publicly endorsing one another, the four agreed to share the cost of joint mailings to Democratic voters in the district, which extends from east Bethesda through Chevy Chase to Silver Spring, and includes much of Kensington and Wheaton. A dozen or more pieces of mail boosting the incumbents are envisioned beginning in early May. (MoCo)

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Local officials looking for answers from Annapolis on legal representation ruling

As the Maryland General Assembly contemplates remedies for a court ruling that requires indigent defendants to have legal representation when their bail is being set by District Court commissioners, local officials are waiting to see what emerges from Annapolis. A Maryland Court of Appeals decision could require the state to hire more public defenders to provide representation at bail hearings at night and on weekends and holidays. It also likely would mean hiring more assistant state’s attorneys to cover those hearings. (Herald-Mail)

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