Black caucus recommends no action on bail reform bills

The Maryland Legislative Black Caucus voted Thursday to recommend that the General Assembly take no action on any of the bail reform bills before it this year and let a landmark rule adopted by the state's high court take effect without alteration. The narrow vote was a victory for Attorney General Brian E. Frosh and a setback for the bail bond industry, which has been supporting a bill in the Senate. Supporters of the Court of Appeals rule, which instructs judges and commissioners not to set bail defendants can't afford, have not been pleased with the bill taking shape in a Senate committee. They contend the bill, portrayed by supporters as a compromise, would actually undo the rule. (Balt. Sun)

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Maryland delegate's effort to allow child abuse lawsuits clears hurdle

C.T. Wilson gathered his courage, told his colleagues in the Maryland House of Delegates about how he was sexually abused as a child and urged them to allow child victims more time to file lawsuits against their attackers. The first two times he did that, the Charles County Democrat saw his proposal die in a House committee without even being called for a vote. But this year, he may have prevailed. The House Judiciary Committee on Wednesday approved legislation to let victims file lawsuits until they're 38 years old — 13 years later than current law allows. And Thursday morning, the full House advanced Wilson's bill to a final vote. (Balt. Sun)

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'Road Kill' compromise passes Maryland senate

After more than a year of squabbling between Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan's office and legislative leaders over a new scoring system for state-funded transportation projects, the state Senate gave its unanimous approval Thursday to a compromise bill that delays implementation of the system for more than two years. There was no further debate over the bill, which now goes to the House of Delegates for consideration. The bill delays implementation of the system for two years and six months while a legislative panel compares how projects funded during that time would measure up. (Herald-Mail)

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Bill giving the Liquor Board power to order mediation stirs debate

Liquor licenses are renewed annually in Baltimore and citizens who feel an establishment has become a neighborhood nuisance can file what’s known as a “protest of renewal.” They rarely succeed. Typically, a hearing is held, the licensee appears, usually with legal counsel. Those who filed the protest can, along with anyone else in the community, show up and testify. In the end, the three-member Liquor Board almost always refrains from killing the license, instead perhaps shaking a finger at the licensee, very occasionally suspending a license or even chiding the protestants for failing to adequately document their complaints. (Brew)

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Gardner previews Frederick County's capital budget

Despite officials bemoaning the rising costs of building public schools, Frederick County Executive Jan Gardner on Thursday touted a fairly optimistic picture of the county’s ability to fund school construction and other projects over the next several years. Gardner introduced the broad strokes of the county’s long-term capital plan. Exact dollar figures weren’t released on Thursday, just the tentative order of projects. The public will need to wait until mid-April, when Gardner will introduce her preliminary budgets for eventual vetting and approval by the Frederick County Council, to see the county’s exact spending plan. (News-Post)

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March 16 // Hogan’s nominee to state Board of Physicians withdraws from consideration

Gov. Larry Hogan (R) said Wednesday that he has withdrawn Day Gardner’s name to serve on the state Board of Physicians following criticism over her advocacy against doctors who perform abortions. Hogan said Gardner asked that her name be removed from consideration. Gardner is the third nominee withdrawn by Hogan in the last two weeks. (Wash. Post)

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Hogan says Senate bill would save Maryland road projects

Gov. Larry Hogan said Wednesday that a bill crafted by lawmakers would prevent the cancellation of 66 road projects around the state, the result of a compromise on legislation to score and rank transportation projects. Lawmakers sidestepped a potentially ugly confrontation by agreeing to legislation that would delay the affect of the scoring system for two years — long enough to get past the 2018 election. The House of Delegates has yet to act on the measure. (Balt. Sun)

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House of Delegates makes key changes in Hogan’s budget

Maryland’s House of Delegates on Wednesday gave preliminary approval to Gov. Larry Hogan’s $43.5 billion budget after restoring nearly three-quarters of the $112.3 million in spending requirements the Republican leader had wanted to cut. The chamber, which is on track to advance the revised fiscal plan to the Senate this week, added amendments to salvage funding Hogan planned to slash for a new hospital in Prince George’s County, state grants for poorer jurisdictions and teacher-retention, after-school and scholarship programs. (Wash. Post)

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