Edward J. McNeal Sr., credit executive who served in General Assembly, dies at 86

Edward Joseph "Ned" McNeal Sr., who served in the General Assembly and who later headed the Credit Bureau of Baltimore, died at Sinai Hospital on Wednesday after suffering a fall at his home. The Timonium resident was 86. (Balt. Sun)

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Nov. 27 // No Timetable Set To Eliminate Glitches In Health Exchange

Maryland Health Secretary Joshua Sharfstein told state lawmakers on Tuesday that he could not say when the state's troubled health exchange website would be free of technical glitches. Sharfstein told the Senate Finance Committee that state workers hope to get the public marketplace for insurance plans problem-free "as soon as possible," but that the pace of enrollments is still sluggish and "I wouldn't say I'm happy." Nearly two months after the exchange went live, enrollment in the private insurance plans at the heart of the Affordable Care Act remains far behind expectations. (Balt. Sun)

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Gansler Pickets Safeway On Behalf Of Union

Maryland Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler joined union workers picketing a Bowie Safeway Tuesday to pressure the grocery giant to concede on the health benefits that are tying up contract negotiations. "This all about awareness," Gansler, who is running for governor, said during a break in convincing shoppers to sign a petition.  Gansler accused Safeway and Giant, which negotiate with the same union, of trying to use provisions of the new federal health law "to take away" health coverage. (Balt. Sun)

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Benoit: Make Cell Towers At Anne Arundel Schools An Election Issue

Just minutes after the County Council defeated a measure that would have blocked cellphone towers at schools in Anne Arundel County, Councilman Jamie Benoit shot off an email urging his supporters to continue their fight in the 2014 election. Benoit, a Crownsville Democrat in his last year on the council, wrote after the 5-2 vote that candidates seeking to replace him or running for county executive should go on the record about putting cell phone towers at schools. Residents in the Odenton neighborhood worked for months to block a a 99-foot cell tower being considered at Piney Orchard Elementary School under a five-year lease between Anne Arundel County schools and Milestone Communication. (Capital)

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Baltimore’s Top Elected Officials Set To Receive Automatic Raise

Baltimore's top politicians are set to receive automatic 2.5 percent pay raises, following a years-old decision by an independent body. The salary hikes — which would increase the mayor's $159,380 salary to $163,365 — are tied to raises that city union workers receive each year, according to a 2010 decision by the Compensation Commission for Elected Officials. All together, this year's raises for the mayor, comptroller and city council members would cost nearly $31,000. (Balt. Sun)

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College Park Considers Lowering Council Candidate Age To 18

If they’re old enough to vote in city elections or fight in wars, they’re old enough to run for office, some College Park council members contend. The city is considering a charter amendment that would lower the minimum age for City Council candidates from 21 to 18. A candidate for mayor would have to be at least 21, down from the current 25. (Gazette)

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Lawmakers To Take Aim At State Taxes

State lawmakers from Frederick County are laying the groundwork for an all-out attack on taxes during the 2014 session of the Maryland General Assembly. Sen. David Brinkley is looking to reduce the corporate income tax rate and adjust the Maryland estate tax. Delegate Michael Hough wants to require a supermajority vote for any tax increases. And Delegate Kathy Afzali is looking to ease the estate tax burden on family businesses. (News-Post)

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Carroll County Votes On Legislative Proposals For 2014 Session

The Carroll County Board of Commissioners will seek guidance from the Carroll County Delegations to the Maryland General Assembly in December on developing and supporting the best legislative actions needed to stop the implementation of Common Core educational standards. The commissioners voted on a number of legislative proposals it will ask the delegations to introduce during the upcoming 2014 legislative session in Annapolis. The proposals included legislation on the so-called “rain tax,” raising alcohol license fees for businesses, raising salaries for the sheriff and orphans court judges and preventing state environmental mandates before a cost-benefit analysis. (Carr. Co. Times)

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