Maryland governor to push redistricting reform bill again

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan said Wednesday that he will try again for the fourth consecutive year to make congressional redistricting a nonpartisan process. Hogan, a Republican, said he will submit legislation in the next session to create an independent commission to draw congressional and state legislative districts. Now, the governor and lawmakers craft them. Hogan has made the reform proposal in each of his three years as governor, but it has not advanced. (AP)

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Eight Democratic candidates for Md. governor to speak in Bethesda Thursday

The eight Democrats vying to be Maryland's next governor are scheduled to make their pitches to a large crowd of political, business and civic leaders at a breakfast forum Thursday in Montgomery County. The hour-long program should provide an early glimpse of how the candidates are presenting themselves on the issues and their records, seven months ahead of the June 26 primary. It will be the second time they have appeared together; they also spoke at an AFL-CIO event before Thanksgiving. (Wash. Post)

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El Salvador’s ambassador thanks County Council for resolution calling for protecting TPS, DACA

The Montgomery County Council on Tuesday passed a symbolic resolution calling on the federal government to protect two immigration programs that let thousands of young undocumented immigrants and people fleeing their home countries stay in the U.S. The resolution asks Congress to extend the Temporary Protected Status (TPS) program for immigrants who have fled their countries due to war or natural disaster, as well as the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which enables young undocumented immigrants to obtain work permits. (Bethesda)

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Judges ask lawmakers' help on shortage of psychiatric beds

Three judges who order inmates to treatment in mental health facilities asked state lawmakers Wednesday to help set clear rules on how long people can languish in jail waiting to be transferred for psychiatric care — and who will be held responsible if that deadline passes. Acting Health Secretary Dennis Schrader, who is under a judge’s contempt order for the shortage of beds and long waits for such patients, joined the judges in asking the General Assembly for clear guidance. (Balt. Sun)

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Comptroller Franchot says Maryland hasn't 'fully recovered' from recession

Comptroller Peter Franchot painted a grisly picture of Maryland's economy after the Board of Revenue Estimates reduced its revenue projection for fiscal 2018 by $73.2 million. The decrease of less than 1 percent means Maryland now estimates revenue to be $17.1 billion at the end of the fiscal year on June 30. Franchot said continued weaker-than-anticipated sales tax revenues and an inability to tax online retailers provided the basis for the board's actions. (Balt. Bus. Journal)

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Two Libertarians join 2018 Maryland Congressional race

Two Anne Arundel County Libertarians are hoping distrust and frustration with the U.S. Government will buoy their U.S. Congressional chances. Arnold resident Dave Bishop is running for Maryland Congressional District 4, a seat held by Rep. Anthony Brown. Brown has an active campaign page but he has not filed for re-election. Shady Side resident Jacob Pulcher is running for Maryland Congressional District 5, a seat long held by Rep. Steny Hoyer. Hoyer has filed for re-election. (Capital)

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December 13 // Md. public campaign finance fund too small to help multiple candidates for governor

There is enough money in the state public campaign fund for one candidate and one election in the 2018 gubernatorial election, according to the state campaign finance director. Sen. Rich Madaleno, D-Montgomery, who is running for governor recently claimed it. “You can fully fund one candidate for either the general election or the primary, but not both,” said Maryland Candidacy and Campaign Finance Director Jared DeMarinis of the pending 2018 elections. The current balance of the fund which is to be used for both the primary and general elections in 2018 is $2.9 million. (Md. Reporter)

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Hogan urges Congress to reauthorize health insurance for kids

Gov. Larry Hogan urged congressional leaders Tuesday to reinstate by the end of the year a federal program that provides health insurance for children. “We should all be able to agree that needy kids should never become a political football,” Hogan wrote in a letter to leaders of both parties in the Senate and House of Representatives. Though Hogan is frequently reluctant to weigh in on federal issues, he has urged Congress not to jeopardize health care expansions that provide coverage to Maryland residents. (Balt. Sun)

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