Maryland House votes to remove governor from decisions on paroling lifers

The House of Delegates voted Friday to remove the governor from the process of deciding whether a convict serving a life sentence can be paroled, leaving that decision in the hands of the Parole Commission. The 79-55 vote sends the bill to the Senate, which is considering a similar bill. Maryland is now one of the few states where the governor has to sign off on a parole board decision to free a prisoner who has received a sentence of life with parole. (Balt. Sun)

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Rep. Andy Harris meets with constituents on health care, the bay, other issues

Health care dominated discussions between Rep. Andy Harris and several dozen constituents who met with the congressman Saturday at his Bel Air district office. The small-group sessions that heavily focused on the future of the Affordable Care Act came in the midst of criticism from some who said the Republican congressman had not provided more opportunities for them to discuss their concerns since President Donald Trump took office. (Balt. Sun)

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In Trump-focused town hall, Anthony Brown urges community involvement

Elizabeth Theisen is worried about how a change in the federal health care law could affect her medical care. The Crofton resident has been attending public meetings with her elected representatives to stay informed and share her concerns. She purchased her insurance from the Affordable Care Act marketplace and likes her options for medical care, which she needs to treat an autoimmune disease called Sjögren's syndrome. She also is active in local Indivisible groups, a grassroots movement organized to oppose President Donald Trump. On Saturday morning, she attended Congressman Anthony Brown's town hall at Anne Arundel Community College with about 150 people, most of whom showed up to ask Brown to fight the policies of Trump and the Republican-controlled Congress. (Capital)

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Judge in Maryland will weigh Trump travel ban the day before it takes effect

A federal judge in Maryland will hear arguments on President Trump's new travel ban the day before the measure is slated to take effect — offering the ban's opponents one of their last opportunities to block it. Judge Theodore D. Chuang scheduled a hearing on the new ban for March 15 at 9:30 a.m., less than 24 hours before administration officials say they will begin enforcing it. (Wash. Post)

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The line between felonies and misdemeanors is blurry: Bill aims to clean up Maryland criminal, civil codes

Under current Maryland law, it’s a felony to injure a race horse, but failing to report the death of a minor is a misdemeanor. Both crimes carry the same three-year maximum penalty. Attempting to poison someone is a felony with a 10-year maximum sentence, compared to the misdemeanor crime of using a machine gun for aggressive purpose, which also carries a 10-year penalty. In essence, criminal penalties in the state — cobbled together through new laws and repealed laws over the course of generations — can be a garbled mess. Frederick County Sen. Michael Hough, R-District 4, sponsored a bill this year that would charge a task force with sifting through the state’s penalties for all criminal and civil violations in the Maryland Code and make recommendations for changes. (News-Post)

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Pugh confronts schools deficit, high crime in first 100 days as Baltimore mayor

Within days of her inauguration in December, Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh faced pressure from advocacy groups to complete an agreement with the U.S. Justice Department to curb police misconduct before the Trump administration took office. She got the deal done; it's now being considered by a federal judge. Then she was confronted with a $130 million deficit in the city school budget and the threat of widespread teacher layoffs. (Balt. Sun)

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Ray Lewis addresses Baltimore City delegation

Former Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis is promoting jobs and outreach programs he believes can make a difference in Baltimore and the rest of the state. Lewis would like to build on his Baltimore 1,000 jobs program and single mothers foundation, L2 Family Fund, with direct interaction with at-risk kids on city streets. Lewis tells the House of Delegates about schooling. (WJZ-TV)

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Frederick County bills move ahead in General Assembly

Several Frederick County bills advanced in Maryland’s General Assembly this week. Bills to increase the Frederick County State's Attorney's salary and extend the hours for gaming permits to match proposed expanded hours for Sunday alcohol sales in the county passed the Senate. A bill that extends Sunday alcohol sales by allowing them one hour earlier, at 10 a.m., separately passed the Senate and House of Delegates chambers this week. (News-Post)

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