Rep. Adam Schiff tells Md. Democrats: ‘American values at risk’ under Trump

If tradition holds, the opening of Maryland’s legislative session on Wednesday will feature pledges of bipartisanship from Republican Gov. Larry Hogan and Democratic legislative leaders, all of whom will pledge to work together to better serve the state. But there was no such talk of collaboration on Tuesday, when Democratic state lawmakers and other party leaders gathered for their annual pre-session luncheon. (Wash. Post)

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Van Hollen: Border Wall Is ‘Delusional’

Sen. Chris Van Hollen is at the center of efforts by fellow Democrats to increase pressure on Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to consider House-passed legislation that would end the partial government shutdown. Late Monday he led a conference call intended to unify the Democratic Caucus behind a push to force votes on agency funding bills approved by the House this week. (Md. Matters)

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Carroll's Republican state lawmakers discuss minority-party strategies as General Assembly session opens

Democrats gained eight seats in the Maryland House of Delegates in the November midterm election and while Republicans picked up a seat in the Senate, they fell short of their “Drive for Five” goal in that chamber. That leaves Republicans — including the majority of lawmakers representing Carroll County — in a precarious situation as senators and delegates flock to Annapolis for the start of the 2019 Maryland General Assembly session Wednesday, Jan. 9. (Carr. Co. Times)

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Arm of Md. government wants power-line case dismissed

An arm of the state government wants the Maryland Public Service Commission to dismiss plans to build new power lines from Pennsylvania into Maryland. The Power Plant Research Program of the Maryland Department of Natural Resources filed the motion last month. In part, the motion argues that Transource, the company that plans to build the lines, filed an incomplete application. It says Transource did not identify or "provide the required examination" of using nearby existing lines as an alternative to building new ones. (Herald-Mail)

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Baltimore police commissioner nominee withdraws, renewing search for leadership on reform, fighting crime

Joel Fitzgerald, Mayor Catherine Pugh’s choice to become Baltimore’s next police commissioner, has withdrawn from consideration for the job, a decision that spells more uncertainty for a department that has now been with permanent leadership for more than seven months. Officers continue to battle high levels of violent crime at the same time the Baltimore Police Department embarks on the second phase of implementing a civil rights decree, imposed on the city after years of discriminatory law enforcement. (Balt. Sun) 

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With Fitzgerald out, some top candidates remain interested in becoming next Baltimore Police commissioner

As the search continues for the next Baltimore police commissioner, a job many observers have called one of the most difficult in law enforcement, several candidates continue to express interest in the job. Joel Fitzgerald, Mayor Catherine Pugh’s pick to become the city’s next police commissioner, withdrew from consideration Monday, creating more uncertainty for the police department, which has faced numerous troubles this past year. Pugh said in a post on Twitter that she supported Fitzgerald’s decision to withdraw, and that Interim Commissioner Gary Tuggle will remain on the job. (Balt. Sun)

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High Court To Take Look At Electoral Districts; Panel Begins To Redraw Maryland's 6th District

The nine-member bipartisan commission tasked with redrawing Maryland's Sixth Congressional District began its work Friday. The commission will work to comply with a federal court order that declared the district unconstitutional. "What this commission's task really is, is to correct constitutional violations that were found by the federal court," said Chris Mincher, a legal adviser. A mix of Republicans, Democrats and Independents will redraw the district. The boundaries currently meander from deep-blue Montgomery County through solid-red western Maryland. (WBAL-TV)

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Task force mulls recommendations on Md. comptroller’s alcohol oversight role

Maryland’s comptroller could continue to collect taxes on alcohol but could see his enforcement role over liquor retail operations diminished under a set of recommendations headed to the legislature in the coming weeks. The recommendations, which include the creation of a new agency to regulate and enforce alcohol laws as well as tobacco and motor fuel regulations, are part of dozens of proposed recommendations approved Monday. The task force, created by the legislature last session, finalized its work Monday in advance of the 2019 General Assembly Session that begins Wednesday. (Daily Record)

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