Congress turning to social media as use of mail privileges declines

Maryland's U.S. Congressional delegation spent more than $1.1 million sending official mail through the U.S. Postal Service, requiring only their signatures to reach constituents from 2010 through the first quarter of 2013, according to an analysis by The Frederick News-Post. Called “franked mail,” the practice is a privilege about as old as the legislative body itself. It is used by Congress to send official mail, most often in the form of a mass mailing of 500 pieces or more. (News-Post)

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Lollar to launch Md. gubernatorial campaign during first week of September

Republican hopeful Charles Lollar is preparing to launch his Maryland gubernatorial campaign in the first week of September with a three-day bus tour and a push for donations that he’s calling a “money bomb.” (Wash. Post)

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City Councilmen call on state to pay for erroneous tax credits

Two Baltimore City Councilmen are formally calling on the state of Maryland to cover the costs of erroneous historic property tax credits that have cut revenue to the city over the past several years. Councilmen Bill Henry, who represents north Baltimore, and James Kraft, who represents southeast Baltimore, plan to introduce a resolution Monday that will call on the state to "find an appropriate mechanism whereby the city of Baltimore can be compensated for lost property tax revenue, so as not to negatively impact blameless homeowners and not unduly burden the city's finances because of flawed calculations used by the state." (Balt. Sun)

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Social Security starts processing retirement claims for same-sex spouses

Social Security says it has begun processing — and paying — some retirement spousal claims for same-sex couples. The agency’s action comes after the U.S. Supreme Court decision in June that said the Defense of Marriage Act was unconstitutional. The act blocked federal recognition of gay marriages, leading to couples being denied federal benefits. (Balt. Sun)

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Edwards to open district office in Severna Park

U.S. Rep. Donna F. Edwards is opening a district office in Severna Park, fulfilling a campaign promise she made last year. Residents from around the 4th District are invited to attend an open house on Aug. 24 at the office space, meet staff and learn about the various constituent services available. (Capital)

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Maryland senator's proposal for two-year sequester delay gets cool reception

Sen. Barbara Mikulski, D-Md., chairwoman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, wants Congress and the White House to pursue a fiscal deal that would put off the next two years of spending cuts from sequestration, Defense News reported. GOP senators and White House officials have begun talks toward a $1 trillion "grand bargain" fiscal deal. Mikulski wants the two sides to consider what's known on Capitol Hill and among Washington budget analysts as a "mini bargain." (Balt. Bus. Journal)

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Mayor speaks to young Dems in Texas

Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake jetted to San Antonio, Texas, to deliver a speech to the national convention of the Young Democrats of America, a group closely tied to the Democratic National Committee. Rawlings-Blake denounced the Republican Party for its positions on immigration reform and other issues in what was described as “a great keynote speech” on the YDA’s twitter feed. (Brew)

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O'Malley To Dedicate Renovated MARC Station

Governor Martin O'Malley and U.S. Senator Ben Cardin will cut the ribbon Monday morning, on a newly renovated MARC train station in Halethorpe. (WBAL)

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