Delegation members debate paid sick leave at legislative preview breakfast

Frederick County lawmakers offered a preview on Thursday of the paid sick leave debate that’s likely to dominate the early days of the 2018 General Assembly session. At issue is how best to establish legally protected paid sick leave policies for workers at small businesses in Maryland. Democrats in the General Assembly passed a bill last session that would give employees at businesses with 15 or more workers five days of paid sick leave, earned at a rate of one hour for every 30 hours of work, once they’ve worked at the business for 106 days. (News-Post)

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Congress passes spending bill to avoid shutdown, set up future funding fight

Lawmakers approved a short-term spending bill Thursday to avoid a weekend shutdown of the federal government even as they set up a potentially more contentious battle that will fall just days before Christmas. Whatever agreement on spending emerges in the coming weeks will answer a number of outstanding questions for Maryland. Lawmakers must decide, for instance, whether to zero out spending for Chesapeake Bay cleanup, as Trump has proposed, and how deeply to cut the federal workforce. (Balt. Sun)

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Newly unsealed documents detail FBI investigation of state Sen. Nathaniel Oaks

The FBI began investigating Democratic state Sen. Nathaniel Oaks in 2014, according to court documents unsealed in the federal corruption case against him. Oaks, 71, was added as a subject of an ongoing public corruption investigation that August, an FBI agent wrote in a January affidavit unsealed this week. He was added, the agent wrote, “based on historical reporting that Oaks was associated with individuals who were involved in illegal activities, and that Oaks had inappropriately accepted money and other things of value from businesspersons and lobbyists in his capacity as a state delegate.” (Balt. Sun)

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Candidates for Annapolis mayor spent $471,000

Mayor Gavin Buckley and former mayor Mike Pantelides together raised nearly half a million dollars in their efforts to become mayor of Annapolis. The two far outpaced fundraising efforts in the previous mayoral race and managed to garner a combined $460,133.65 in contributions. Pantelides and former mayor Joshua Cohen raised a combined $195,337 during the 2013 campaign. (Capital)

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Big chicken in sights of factory farm activists, Md. senator

In the wake of one group's online video showing apparent mistreatment of chickens at an Accomack County farm, another activist organization is expecting supporters in Ocean City for a summit this weekend. Additionally, Maryland State Sen. Richard Madaleno, D-Montgomery County, is set to announce plans to introduce air quality legislation aimed at large animal farms during the upcoming legislative session. His 12:45 p.m. Friday news conference will be at the Clarion Resort Fontainebleau in Ocean City. (Daily Times)

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December 7 // Court program helps criminal defendants enter job training, forge new paths

Judge Nicole Pastore-Klein picked up a thick yellow folder documenting Tyronne Fowler’s criminal record and smiled at the 28-year-old man sitting in the front row of her Baltimore courtroom Tuesday. His infant daughter, girlfriend and sister sat beaming proudly on the benches behind him. Fowler, of Cherry Hill, was one of nearly 30 men and women who completed the District Court’s fledgling jobs training and placement program and took part in the courtroom “graduation” ceremony. In exchange, they saw their probation periods cut short, were granted probation before judgment, and had their required meetings with probation officers reduced. (Balt. Sun)

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Frosh endorses Baker in his bid for Maryland governor

Maryland Attorney General Brian E. Frosh on Wednesday became the second high-profile Democrat from Montgomery County to endorse Prince George’s County Executive Rushern L. Baker III in his bid for Maryland governor. “Just look at what he did in Prince George’s County, and I think it tells you what he can do for the state,” Frosh said in a video released by the campaign. “When he took office, the county was struggling. Crime was up, foreclosures were at a record high, and the county was engulfed in a scandal. The county is now thriving. Unemployment is down, crime is way down. Rushern has the ability, the intelligence, and the experience to make Maryland a better state.” (Wash. Post)

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Sen. Ben Cardin may get independent challenger backed by Centrist Project

An independent political group seeking to elect a handful of candidates to shift the balance of power in the U.S. Senate will support Montgomery County businessman Neal Simon in a bid to unseat Democratic incumbent Sen. Ben Cardin if Simon runs. “I can confirm we’re aware that Neal is thinking about running for U.S. Senate,” Centrist Project Executive Director Nick Troiano said. “We see him as a man of conscience and philanthropy and a very successful business career –someone who has deep experience in solving complex problems.” (Md. Reporter)

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