MDOT Head Declares Congestion 'Emergency,' Gov. Hogan Asks Lawmakers To Support Parkway's Handover

Maryland Transportation Secretary Pete Rahn called Maryland's traffic problems "an emergency." "This issue of congestion which is choking our quality of life and it's choking opportunities for businesses to operate efficiently," Rahn said in a press conference at the State Highway Administration offices in Hanover. "If we do not act, those commute times are going to grow longer." The state's commutes routinely rank among the longest in the country. "We have, I believe, a congestion emergency within this state," Rahn said. (WBAL-TV)

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Baltimore Mayor Pugh's inaugural committee failed to file required disclosures with the IRS

The committee that organized a day of festivities to celebrate Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh’s inauguration in 2016 hasn’t filed the financial disclosures the IRS requires of nonprofits. Jon Laria, an attorney and one of Pugh’s inaugural committee directors, said he realized the forms hadn’t been filed after The Baltimore Sun asked this week to review copies of the documents, which are supposed to be public. The filings would provide a look at how much money the committee raised and how it was spent. (Balt. Sun)

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Two Major Energy Bills Hang in the Balance

State Sen. Brian J. Feldman (D) addresses supporters of an expanded Renewable Portfolio Standard at a Jan. 9 rally in Annapolis. Photo by Josh Kurtz A clean energy bill that’s a top priority for Maryland environmental groups sailed out of the state Senate Wednesday but faces uncertain waters in the House of Delegates. Meanwhile, a heavily-lobbied but little publicized measure to change the way electric and gas utilities set their annual rates picked up some important opposition this week – including from Attorney General Brian E. Frosh (D). That bill has passed in the House but has not moved in the Senate. (Md. Matters)

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AP: GOP redistricting edge moderated Democrats’ 2018 gains

Democrats won more votes, regained control of the U.S. House and flipped hundreds of seats in state legislatures during the 2018 elections. It was, by most accounts, a good year for the party. Yet it wasn’t as bad as it could have been for Republicans. That’s because they may have benefited from a built-in advantage in some states, based on how political districts were drawn, that prevented deeper losses or helped them hold on to power, according to a mathematical analysis by The Associated Press. The AP’s analysis indicates that Republicans won about 16 more U.S. House seats than would have been expected based on their average share of the vote in congressional districts across the country. (AP)

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Divided Senate panel debates physician-assisted suicide bill

A Senate committee appeared deeply divided Thursday over legislation that would allow terminally ill patients to request and receive life-ending medication from their physicians who conclude they have at most six months to live. Sen. William C. “Will” Smith Jr., D-Montgomery, the bill’s chief sponsor and vice chair of the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee, said the measure would give dying people “that modicum of control toward the end of (their) life.” (Daily Record)

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Island Protection Bill Voted Down

A bill introduced in the General Assembly which would have transferred ownership of the temporary islands created in the coastal bays behind Ocean City to the state for conservation purposes died this week when it failed to make it out of a House committee. House Bill 54, introduced at the request of the chair of the House Environment and Transportation Committee, would have transferred authority of any lands formed in coastal bays in Worcester County by depositing material dredg-ed from the Ocean City Inlet or other navigational channels in and around the resort area from the state’s Department of the Environment (MDE) to the Department of Natural Resources (DNR). (Dispatch)

 

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Gov. Hogan, Maryland Democrats Exchange Criticism, Both Sides Demanding Apology

Criticism between Gov. Hogan and the Maryland State Democratic Party have both sides demanding an apology. Gov. Hogan criticized Democrats on crime, while the Democrats criticized the governor on his politics. Gov. Hogan came under fire from the Chair of the Democratic State Party Leader after describing himself in an interview as a Reagan Republican. Maya Rockeymoore Cummings tweeted, “Governor Larry Hogan says I come from the Ronald Reagan School of Politics. (WJZ-TV)

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Funeral arrangements for former Md. Gov. Harry Hughes

The funeral for former Maryland Gov. Harry R. Hughes will be held Thursday in Annapolis. Those who wish to pay their respects may visit Moore Funeral Home in Denton, Maryland, from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Wednesday. The funeral service will be at noon Thursday at St. Anne’s Episcopal Church at 199 Duke of Gloucester St. in Annapolis. (WTOP)

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