House bill gives fire investigators law enforcement capabilities in Howard County

Howard County fire investigators will begin training with the county's police academy following the passing of House Bill 1343, which gives the fire officials law enforcement privileges when responding to a fire-related incident. As police and fire departments work together at the scene of a fire, fire investigators will focus on the fire's origin and cause, while law enforcement's arson detectives determine any potential criminal connection. (Howard)

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Sex-assault bill failed because of process, not lawmakers, Wilson says

In the two weeks since the Maryland General Assembly adjourned for 2017, a national buzz has been growing over legislation that didn’t pass. Del. Brett Wilson, R-Washington, said the lawmakers appointed to oversee negotiations on the bill are getting a bad rap. At the center of the drama was a bill that would give rape victims the right to end parental rights of their assailants if the assault resulted in pregnancy. For advocates, it was a no-brainer. But this was the ninth year such legislation had been filed, and despite being passed in both houses, it failed at the last minute because differences in the House and Senate versions meant it had to go to a conference committee. (Herald-Mail)

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Growing pains: Election in a small Maryland city exposes racial, class divides

Mount Rainier residents receive frequent postcards with unsolicited offers to buy their turn-of-the century Victorians and 1920s bungalows. All around Shepherd Street, contractors strip houses that will be flipped by investors eager to turn a profit in one of Prince George’s County’ oldest municipalities. The pace of change has quickened in this former streetcar suburb, where artists and immigrants have flocked for the past three decades. Anxiety over the influx of more affluent residents is fueling an unusually sour political season — tinged by a nasty debate over the decision to allow noncitizens to vote in municipal elections such as the mayoral and council contests that will be decided May 1. (Wash. Post)

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April 21 // Maryland Democrats resist latest Obamacare repeal effort

Four Democratic members of the state's congressional delegation told voters gathered at a town hall meeting in Baltimore on Thursday that they will continue to push back on Republican efforts to repeal Obamacare, including a new plan expected in coming days. "I don't know that we're going to be able to avoid to fight this every single month," said Rep. John Sarbanes of Baltimore County, a member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee. "I pledge to you [that] we're going to fight as hard as we can." (Balt. Sun)

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Lawrence J. Hogan Sr., former congressman and father of governor, dies

Lawrence J. Hogan Sr., the father of Maryland's governor who earned a reputation as a tough and independent-minded politician during three terms in the House of Representatives and one term as Prince George's County executive, died Thursday at Anne Arundel Medical Center of complications from a stroke. He was 88. Gov. Larry Hogan announced the news on his Facebook page Thursday night. "At 10:24 tonight, an American hero, and the man that I am most proud of, passed away. He had an amazing life that spanned 88 years," Hogan wrote. "He leaves behind a loving family, countless friends and admirers, and a lasting legacy that won't be forgotten." (Balt. Sun)

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Proposed Poultry Bill Discussed Ahead Of Next Week’s Public Hearing

While eager to see more regulation of large scale poultry operations, speakers at a meeting hosted by Assateague Coastal Trust say the bill being considered by Worcester County officials doesn’t go far enough. On Tuesday, Assateague Coastal Trust hosted an informational meeting regarding the bill being considered by the Worcester County Commissioners next week that would amend zoning regulations for poultry operations. Coastkeeper Kathy Phillips, executive director of ACT, said the proposed changes didn’t do enough to address the density of large poultry operations as well as air emissions and wouldn’t prevent someone with adjacent parcels from turning both into Confined Animal Feeding Operations. (O.C. Md. News)

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Hate-crime charges dropped against two women accused of setting Trump sign on fire, police say

Hate-crime charges were dropped Thursday against two women accused of burning a Trump campaign sign in Princess Anne, police said. "The decision to dismiss the charges was based upon a joint decision between the Princess Anne Police Department and the Somerset County State's Attorney's Office upon reviewing the case," according to a statement from Timothy R. Bozman, chief of the Princess Anne Police Department. D'Asia R. Perry of Baltimore and Joy M. Shuford of Owings Mills, both 19, were charged with multiple offenses after a Trump campaign sign belonging to Wink's Sporting Goods in Princess Anne was set on fire April 14. (Balt. Sun)

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Support for publicly funded campaign system surges at Howard hearing

A proposal to create a public financing system for candidates who swear off large donations in Howard County drew strong backing at a public hearing Wednesday night. The system, which received an early nod from voters by a narrow margin in the November election, hopes to draw more small individual donors into campaigns and limit the financial clout of special interests. Candidates must not receive corporate or PAC contributions and donations larger than $250 to qualify for matching funds. (Ho. Co. Times)

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