Health care, education, big issues for Maryland lawmakers as session opens

Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller speaks in the State Senate chamber in Annapolis on Wednesday, Jan. 9, the first day of the state's 2019 legislative session. Leading Maryland lawmakers expressed strong support for making prescription drugs more affordable, starting a major push to improve education and paving the way for potentially legalizing recreational marijuana — perhaps in a referendum next year — as the Maryland General Assembly began a new term Wednesday. (Salisbury)

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Anne Arundel exec picks former GOP councilman to head economic development

County Executive Steuart Pittman appointed former GOP county councilman Jerry Walker Wednesday to head the county economic development agency. Pittman’s office released a statement saying Walker will replace Julie Mussog, who has served as the president and CEO of the Anne Arundel County Economic Development Corp. for the past two years. She will step down Feb. 1. Walker did not return calls for comment. In the statement released by his office, Pittman lauded Walker’s business sense, calling the Crofton Republican “a brilliant student of government and a ferocious advocate for small business.” (Balt. Sun)

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Meet Baltimore’s New Top Pick For Police Commissioner

One day after Mayor Catherine Pugh named her second pick for Baltimore Police Commissioner, we’re hearing from the potential new top cop. New Orleans Police Superintendent Michael Harrison explained in interviews Wednesday why he’s leaving the department, where he’s worked for the last 27 years, to pursue what has been called the toughest policing job in America. Harrison started in law enforcement as a street cop, then a narcotics detective, the Public Integrity Bureau, and finally, stepping into the role of superintendent in 2014. (WJZ-TV)

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Maryland Gov. Hogan expresses concern increasing state's minimum wage could chase away businesses

As Maryland lawmakers got back to work Wednesday, Gov. Larry Hogan expressed concern about the consequences of increasing the state’s minimum wage to $15 per hour. “It sounds really good to just, without any real discussion, say: ‘Hey, people should make more money, especially people that are in their first job,’” Hogan said, but he questioned whether raising the wage would put Maryland at a disadvantage for attracting businesses. He noted that neighboring Virginia’s minimum wage is $7.25 an hour. (Balt. Sun)

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Maryland’s Legislative Session To Debate Legalizing Marijuana, Increase Minimum Wage And More

Maryland’s legislative session began with 60 new lawmakers in the 188-member General Assembly. Lawmakers gathered Wednesday for the start of the annual 90-day session. There are 43 new members of the House of Delegates. Democrats gained eight seats in the House, where there are 99 Democrats and 42 Republicans. The GOP gained a seat in the Senate, where there are 17 new senators in a chamber with 32 Democrats and 15 Republicans. (WJZ-TV)

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Hogan, US Governors Group Calls For Federal Shutdown To End

Leaders of the nonpartisan National Governors Association are calling on President Donald Trump and Congress to end the partial government shutdown. In a letter sent late Monday, they said a “shutdown should not be a negotiating tactic as disagreements are resolved” and warned that the shutdown, now in its 18th day, is impacting residents and state governments. I am disgusted by the lack of concern for hardworking employees who will go unpaid this week. (WJZ-TV)

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Maryland lawmakers to start 90-day session with conflicting messages on bipartisanship

As Maryland’s 188 lawmakers prepare to head into their 90-day session Wednesday, political party leaders gave them conflicting messages about bipartisanship. Standing outside a closed-door lunch Tuesday at the State House complex, Republican leaders said they would avoid the partisan bickering of the nation’s capital and find common ground with Democrats — though they’d be on the lookout for Democratic ideas that might go too far. “Everybody says the same thing: We’re not like D.C.,” said Sen. J.B. Jennings, the Senate’s minority leader, who represents parts of Baltimore and Harford counties. “Most of us really do get along. Republican, Democrat, we don’t care about the party. We shake hands and work together.” (Balt. Sun)

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Hogan vows his second term will be more of the same

The start of the 2019 Maryland General Assembly session Wednesday marks the unofficial start to Republican Gov. Larry Hogan’s second session — his swearing-in is a week later. Maryland hasn’t seen a two-term Republican governor since Theodore McKeldin. Hogan, though, is promising to stay the course he established during his first four years in the office on the second floor of the State House. “There’s no ‘now it’s a second term so we’re going to do something new,'” said Hogan during an interview with The Daily Record. (Daily Record)

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