Conservative favorite in W.Va. race accused by foe of flip-flopping on coal

Former West Virginia Public Service Commissioner Charlotte Lane (R) is going on the offensive in the state's crowded 2nd District GOP primary, accusing conservative favorite Alex Mooney (R) of switching sides in the war on coal to seek the House seat. The pair of Republicans are front-runners, along with former state Sen. Steve Harrison, in the seven-candidate field vying for the GOP nod to succeed Rep. Shelley Moore Capito (R) in the sprawling district. Capito is the likely GOP nominee in the open-seat race to succeed retiring Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D). (E&E Daily)

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Md. Senate passes bill to increase penalties for violent acts committed before a child

Maryland is on the cusp of increasing penalties for those found guilty of committing a violent crime in the presence of a child, after the Senate approved the legislation in a 47 to 0 vote Thursday. The bill contains a list of violent crimes for which these new penalties would apply, including murder, rape, robbery, car-jacking and kidnapping. Advocates for domestic violence survivors testified earlier this year that the increased penalties would be a recognition of the damage done to the invisible victims of domestic violence — children. (Wash. Post)

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Prince George’s executive proposes $3.41 billion spending plan for fiscal 2015

Prince George’s County Executive Rushern L. Baker III on Thursday unveiled a $3.41 billion spending plan for the coming fiscal year, hailing it as a blueprint for the county’s emerging image as the “place to be.” Baker (D), who is running for a second term, pitched the spending plan as another step away from the economic troubles the county faced when he took office in 2010. At the time, Prince George’s had one of the highest foreclosures rates in Maryland, and its previous leader was mired in a corruption scandal. (Wash. Post)

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Maryland Senate backs ‘move over’ law for tow trucks

The Maryland Senate unanimously passed a bill Thursday that would require motorists to move into an open lane away from tow trucks that are attending to roadside emergencies. Tow truck operators offered dramatic testimony of close calls, injuries and fatalities on the roadside in asking lawmakers for a “move over” law similar to the one that now applies to police and other emergency vehicles. Violators would face a fine of as much as $500. (Wash. Post)

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Ulman bill would expedite ownership change of Merriweather

Howard County Executive Ken Ulman has proposed a bill that would force downtown Columbia developer Howard Hughes Corp. to relinquish ownership of Merriweather Post Pavilion earlier than anticipated, a move Ulman hopes will expedite the redevelopment of the aging concert venue and other public improvement projects in downtown. (Patuxent)

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County GOP stalwart files to keep seat on central committee

Lewis Frank McIntyre of La Plata has been involved with the Charles County Republican Central Committee since 1998 and would like to help keep the committee going. He has been appointed a couple of times to fill vacancies on the committee and ran unsuccessfully in 2006 and 2010 and now is running again for a seat. McIntyre has served on the committee since 2004. (Md. Ind. News)

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District 1 County Council candidates speak on minimum wage, transportation

In Howard County’s first council district, there are nearly as many Democratic candidates for one seat as there are seats on the council itself. “When I first decided to run for this position, I knew I had really big shoes to fill – I didn’t realize it was going to take four of us to fill them,” one candidate for the seat, Jon Weinstein, said. (Balt. Sun)

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March 13 // Ruppersberger proposes ending NSA's bulk phone data collection

Rep. C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger, the top-ranking Democrat on intelligence issues in the House, is proposing to end the bulk collection of telephone data by the National Security Agency -- scaling back a program at the center of the controversy over the reach of government spying. The proposal, which Ruppersberger described as a set of principles, would discontinue the government's collection of the phone data. Instead, intelligence agencies would have to obtain a court order to access similar data already retained by telephone providers, Ruppersberger said in an interview. The Baltimore County lawmaker is the top-raking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee. (Balt. Sun)

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