March 22 // Hogan: limiting cooperation with immigration enforcement is 'absurd'

Gov. Larry Hogan said Tuesday that local law enforcement should be doing more, not less, to help enforce federal immigration law. The Republican governor criticized Maryland jurisdictions that have rebuffed requests to aid immigration officials. Hogan vowed to do "everything we can" to kill what he termed a "sanctuary bill" that would limit how jails and police could assist federal authorities. Hogan said he would try to stop the state Senate from following the House of Delegates in approving the measure. Failing that, he renewed his promise to veto it immediately. (Balt. Sun)

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Maryland doctors win concessions on Hogan proposal to limit pain pill prescriptions

Maryland's doctors are on course to turn back Gov. Larry Hogan's plan to put strict limits on prescribing addictive opioid pain pills after securing major concessions Tuesday from a key House of Delegates panel. The bill — proposed by Hogan to battle the state's heroin crisis — would have limited doctors and other medics to prescribing a seven-day supply of the pills when first treating a patient for pain, with a few exceptions. But a work group of delegates adopted an amended version of the bill that instead instructs medical professionals to follow best practices and give patients as few pills as they judge necessary. (Balt. Sun)

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Relief for toll road penalties put on hold, Senate chairman says

A Senate bill to address “predatory” toll penalties, technical problems with transponders and poor customer service at E-ZPass will die in the Senate Finance Committee this session, its chairman said Tuesday, along with a watered down House version that delegates supported unanimously on Monday. Instead, Senate Finance Committee Chair Thomas “Mac” Middleton said he is holding off legislation for a year to give the Maryland Transportation Authority time to improve customer service and pursue new contracts with vendors to operate Maryland’s toll system. (Md. Reporter)

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Senate to consider Trust Act despite Hogan veto threat

Maryland Senate leaders said Tuesday that they're still considering a bill that would restrict local government involvement in immigration, despite a veto threat from Gov. Larry Hogan. Sen. Bobby Zirkin, chairman of the Senate's Judicial Proceedings Committee, said his committee is still learning details of the bill, but he expects it to advance out of his committee to the full Senate. As introduced, the Maryland Law Enforcement and Trust Act would prohibit state and local governments from expending resources on immigration enforcement. (Balt. Sun)

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Battles continue in Annapolis over the use of bail and redistricting

The Maryland Senate gave preliminary approval Tuesday to a bill that would essentially reverse a recent decision to sharply limit the use of bail for criminal defendants, setting the stage for a potential battle with the more liberal House of Delegates and members of the state’s Legislative Black Caucus. After a prolonged debate, the Senate voted to advance the measure despite objections from Attorney General Brian E. Frosh and advocates who say the legislation will lead to more poor defendants remaining in jail because they can’t afford to post bond. Also Tuesday, after a short but lively debate, the Senate delayed action on another bill that is certain to lead to a showdown with Gov. Larry Hogan over redistricting reform. (Wash. Post)

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City Council resolution urges Hogan to renegotiate State Center project

The Baltimore City Council unanimously passed a resolution Monday night urging Gov. Larry Hogan to reconsider the $1.5 billion redevelopment of State Center. The council's action comes three months after Hogan led a vote putting a halt to the beleaguered Midtown project. It also comes on the heels of an aggressive radio campaign against Hogan by the developer, State Center LLC. (Balt. Bus. Journal)

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Harford County deputies' collective bargaining bill passes state House, moves to Senate

Some Harford County Sheriff's Office employees are closer to getting the right to collective bargaining after the House of Delegates passed a piece of state legislation late last week. The bill, championed by the Harford County's House delegation, would give Sheriff's Office law enforcement deputies and correctional officers the right to bargain collectively, through their respective unions, on their salaries and benefits. The legislation won near-unanimous approval from the House. "It's something that we need because the deputy sheriffs, their salaries have fallen too far behind," Republican Del. Rick Impallaria said Saturday. (Balt. Sun)

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Washington County bill to curb roadway tree-planting still alive

Although the Maryland State Highway Administration already has suspended plans to plant trees along Washington County rights of way, a local bill to prohibit the practice is making its way through the House of Delegates. A final House vote is pending and could happen this week. Sponsored by Del. William Wivell, R-Washington, the bill applies only to Washington County. (Herald-Mail)

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