Clean energy bill moves forward in Maryland Senate, after attempt in House committee to kill it

A bill that would require more of Maryland’s energy to come from renewable sources is moving forward in the state Senate, after a failed attempt to defeat the bill in the House of Delegates. The Senate Finance Committee approved the Clean Energy Jobs Act on Thursday on an 8-3 vote. Some senators expressed reservations about the possibility of the bill causing electricity bills to increase. The night before, the House Economic Matters Committee voted 11-10 to defeat the bill — one vote shy of the 12 votes that were needed in the 23-member committee. (Balt. Sun)

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Maryland House of Delegates passes $46.7B budget over Gov. Larry Hogan's objections

Maryland’s House of Delegates on Thursday overwhelmingly passed a $46.7 billion spending plan that boosts funding for the state’s public schools while cutting some of Gov. Larry Hogan’s favored proposals. The budget passed 124-14 with little debate, but it drew the ire of top Republicans. Del. Maggie McIntosh, the Baltimore Democrat who is chairwoman of the House Appropriations Committee, noted that the budget provides $320 million more for operating Maryland’s public schools. That would be the first step toward implementing recommendations from the so-called Kirwan Commission, which has proposed ambitious new programs to boost student performance. (Balt. Sun)

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Maryland Rep. Cummings: Commerce secretary engaged in 'secret campaign' to add citizenship question to census

Rep. Elijah Cummings said Thursday that he has “very serious questions” about whether U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross was truthful in explaining how the Trump administration came to develop a census question about citizenship status. Ross told Congress several times last year that the question was added for the 2020 population count because the U.S. Department of Justice requested it. But Cummings, a Baltimore Democrat who chairs the House Committee on Oversight and Reform, said during a committee hearing that after Ross testified last year, “new documents showed that he was engaged in a secret campaign to add the citizenship question from the very first days after he arrived at the Department of Commerce.” (Balt. Sun)

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Bill would use tax returns to identify and help Marylanders without health insurance

Maryland would use state tax forms to identify uninsured residents and refer them to options for no-cost or low-cost health care under a bill moving forward in the General Assembly. The bill, if approved, would add a question on state tax returns asking taxpayers if they have health insurance. Those who answer that they don’t have health insurance would be referred to the state's Medicaid program or the health exchange, where individuals can buy health insurance plans. (Balt. Sun)

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House passes expansion of anti-cyberbullying law

The House of Delegates passed legislation Thursday to expand Maryland’s law against the cyberbullying of youngsters. The House’s 137-0 vote followed the Senate’s 45-0 passage last month of a substantially similar measure that would outlaw a one-time online bullying incident conducted with the perpetrator’s knowledge that his or her single post would probably be liked, shared or otherwise reposted multiple times. (Daily Record)

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Beto O'Rourke announces 2020 White House bid

Democrat Beto O'Rourke jumped into the 2020 presidential race Thursday, shaking up the already packed field and pledging to win over voters from both major parties as he tries to translate his political celebrity into a formidable White House bid. After months of ignoring states that vote early in the presidential nominating process, the former Texas congressman made his first trip to Iowa — popping into a coffee shop in the town of Keokuk while many cable networks aired live coverage. (Balt. Sun)

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State study of Crownsville wrapped into broader review of public buildings

Plans for the Maryland Stadium Authority to study options for the Crownsville Hospital Center grounds have been stopped in lieu of a broader study of all Maryland Department of Health properties. The proposed assessment of the Crownsville Hospital Grounds was requested in August 2017 and would have reviewed the “condition” and “constraints” of the site, according to the study request. The two-phase study would have ended with requests for information from interested private developers. (Balt. Sun)

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Former Gov. Harry Hughes Dies

Former Maryland Governor Harry Hughes is dead at the age of 92. Gov. Larry Hogan confirmed Hughes' passing in a statement released this afternoon. Hughes served two terms from 1979 to 1987. “The First Lady and I are deeply saddened to hear of the passing of Governor Harry Hughes, a longtime friend and Maryland legend whom I deeply admired. His dedication to our great state - as a distinguished member of the Maryland General Assembly and as our 57th governor - and his service to our nation as a member of the Navy Air Corps during World War II leave a legacy behind that will be forever remembered," Hogan said. (WBAL-Radio)

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