Wealthy financier Jeffrey Epstein charged with molesting dozens of girls

Eleven years after letting Jeffrey Epstein off lightly with a secret deal, federal prosecutors made another run at putting the billionaire financier behind bars on sex charges, accusing him Monday of abusing dozens of underage girls as young as 14. The 66-year-old hedge fund manager who once socialized with some of the world's most powerful people was charged in a newly unsealed indictment with sex trafficking and conspiracy and could get up to 45 years in prison. (Chi. Tribune)

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Four-star admiral set to lead the Navy will instead retire; bad judgment regarding a professional relationship cited

 

The four-star admiral set to become the Navy’s top officer on Aug. 1 will instead retire, an extraordinary downfall prompted by what Navy Secretary Richard Spencer called poor judgment regarding a professional relationship. The sudden move by Adm. William Moran, announced Sunday, may add to the perception of turmoil in the Pentagon's senior ranks, coming less than a month after Pat Shanahan abruptly withdrew from consideration to be defense secretary after serving as the acting secretary for six months. (Chi. Tribune)

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Justice Department shaking up legal team on census case

The Justice Department is shaking up the legal team fighting for the inclusion of a citizenship question on the 2020 census but offered no specifics on why the change was being made. The change announced Sunday comes days after the department vowed to continue to try to find a legal path forward to include the question on the census. The Trump administration has faced numerous roadblocks to adding the question, including a ruling from the Supreme Court that blocked its inclusion, at least temporarily. (Daily Record)

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Gerrymandering Fights Aren’t Over

Battles over partisan gerrymandering are poised to shift to the states in the wake of a major U.S. Supreme Court decision issued late last month. The high court dealt a major blow to efforts to combat politicized redistricting when it issued a high-profile 5-4 opinion finding that courts couldn’t settle such disputes. Now, state-level efforts to combat partisan gerrymandering are moving forward in what some advocates see as a new era of reform. “Now that the Supreme Court has walked away from its constitutional responsibility, it’s even more important … to fight this on a state-by-state basis,” said Dan Vicuña, manager of the national redistricting program at Common Cause, a democracy reform group. (Md. Matters)

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Maryland Democrats deride Gov. Hogan's pledge of bipartisanship as he withholds money intended for Baltimore

A month ago, Maryland’s Republican Gov. Larry Hogan announced that he was forming a national organization aimed at promoting bipartisanship. “An America United” would encourage the idea of Democrats and Republicans “working together,” he said. But last week, Hogan announced that he was refusing to release funding for more than 70 of Maryland Democrats’ favored initiatives in the state budget — including more than a dozen that would have benefited deep-blue Baltimore. He called the lawmakers “reckless” for trying to spend $245 million to provide summer jobs for city youths, bolster the struggling Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, build new schools across the state and give raises to correctional officers, among other proposals. (Balt. Sun)

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Hogan Offers Help To California Governor Following Earthquake

Gov. Larry Hogan reached out to California Gov. Gavin Newsom via Twitter to offer assistance following the strongest earthquake to rock the state in 20 years Thursday.  Hogan tweeted out to Newsom Friday morning stating he would like to offer "any and all support that Maryland can provide" following the earthquake. The 6.4 magnitude quake rattled southern California just after 10:30 a.m. near the town of Ridgecrest. Multiple injuries, two house fires, small vegetation fires, gas leaks and cracked roads were reported in the town, according to Kern County Fire Chief David Witt. (News-Post)

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Maryland's electric vehicle rebate is so popular it ran out of money even before the fiscal year began July 1

When John Buckley bought a fully electric Volkswagen e-Golf to replace his 12-year-old Toyota Prius hybrid, he figured it was a smart trade up. The Prius, despite its tree-hugging reputation, burned thousands of gallons of gasoline over its lifetime. And the emissions-free e-Golf came with $10,000 in government rebates. “I like to think I’m buying my kids a few extra seconds of clean air, relative peace, and time to figure things out,” the Baldwin resident said. “I do not miss gas stations.” But, he quickly realized, his idea was far from original. (Balt. Sun)

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Maryland voter registration to allow for 'X' gender identity

The Maryland State Board of Elections will soon allow people to choose "X" or "unspecified" as a gender, instead of male or female, on their voter registration. The move comes as state Motor Vehicle Administration prepares to offer the third option for gender on driver’s licenses and state identification cards, in response to a new state law. Some lawmakers and advocates in the LGBTQ community have pushed for government agencies to recognize residents who are “nonbinary” — meaning they don’t identify as either male or female. Driver’s licenses and ID cards are particularly important to individuals who are nonbinary, as they are used frequently — not only for driving, but also for identification in banking, housing and employment. (Balt. Sun)

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