How Maryland's minimum wage stacks up against other states

As Maryland lawmakers consider hiking its $7.25-an-hour minimum wage this General Assembly session, the state already lags 21 states and Washington, D.C., where the rate is already higher. Starting Jan. 1, the minimum wage rose in 13 states. Lawmakers passed an increase in four states and the rate rose automatically in nine states where it is tied to the cost of living. (Balt. Bus. Journal)

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Frederick promotes from within for public works director

In the search of an engineer, leader and professional who could take over for him as the city's director of public works, Frederick Mayor Randy McClement looked within his ranks. (News-Post)

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Former county employee alleges political retribution

A former county attorney has filed a lawsuit against the Board of County Commissioners alleging that she was fired as political retribution. Wendy S. Kearney, of Mount Airy, worked in the county attorney's office from September 1989 to Feb. 25, 2011, when she was fired without advance notice, according to the complaint filed Wednesday in Frederick County Circuit Court. (News-Post)

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Jan. 9 // As 90-day session opens, O’Malley opposes allowing recreational marijuana in Maryland

Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley voiced strong opposition Wednesday to legalizing marijuana for recreational use, saying that it could be “a gateway to even more harmful behavior.” “I’m not much in favor of it,” O’Malley said during an annual “Annapolis Summit” radio show broadcast on the first day of Maryland’s legislative session. “I’ve seen what drug addiction has done to the people of our state and the people of our city,” O’Malley, who rose to political prominence as a tough-on-crime mayor of Baltimore, told host Marc Steiner of WEAA 88.9 FM. (Wash. Post)

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O'Malley backs indexing of minimum wage

Gov. Martin O'Malley said Wednesday that he supports the idea of increasing the state's minimum wage automatically to account for inflation as part of legislation he called his top priority of this year's legislative session. In an interview, O'Malley reiterated his call for the General Assembly, which has just convened for its annual 90-day session, to raise the state's minimum wage above the current federal level of $7.25. The governor said 21 states -- none with higher median incomes than Maryland -- already have minimums above the federal level. (Balt. Sun)

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O'Malley, Miller don't see high court bail ruling as final

Two of Maryland's top officials suggested Wednesday that they don't see a decision by the state's highest court guaranteeing poor people the right to state-appointed counsel at all bail hearings as being the final word on the matter. Appearing on the Marc Steiner radio show before the opening of the General Assembly session, Gov. Martin O'Malley and Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller emphasized that the Court of Appeals decision requiring the state to provide public defenders to prisoners when they appear before court commissioners remains before the courts and could be appealed again. (Balt. Sun)

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Fracking protest kicks off Assembly

Environmentalists concerned about shale gas drilling in Maryland returned to Annapolis Wednesday to try again for a legislative moratorium on "fracking," as the controversial technique of hydraulic fracturing is called. Waving signs and chanting "Protect us from fracking," activists huddled in Lawyers Mall in front of the State House just before the opening of the 90-day session of the General Assembly. Speaker after speaker called for lawmakers to block any drilling in Maryland until studies determine if it can be done safely. (Balt. Sun)

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In letter coordinated by O’Malley, 14 governors urge extension of unemployment benefits

Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley (D) spearheaded an effort to gather signatures from fellow governors for a letter sent Wednesday to leaders of Congress urging an extension of emergency unemployment benefits for millions of Americans, his office said. “In the past, Congress has extended unemployment benefits during similar economic downturns,” said the letter, which was signed by governors of 12 states and two U.S. territories. “Failure to extend it now would only halt our economic recovery and undo the progress that we have made since the height of the recent downturn.” (Wash. Post)

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