Taxes, taxes and taxes. Maryland lawmakers look to businesses to fund education.

Lawmakers in the Maryland General Assembly have already filed more than 2,100 bills within the first 30 days of the 90-day legislative session. With so many proposals flying around, it can be hard for anyone to keep up with what's happening in Annapolis. The Business Journal has combed through the bills to find the ones that could affect businesses. While big-ticket items like a proposed tax on the digital advertising services and the legalization of sports betting have attracted attention, there are hundreds of other bills that could have an impact on businesses across the state. (Wash Bus)

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Simon Property Group to acquire another major mall owner

Simon Property Group Inc. (NYSE: SPG) will indeed acquire Taubman Centers Inc. in a deal foreshadowed by reports in early February. As the biggest mall owner in the U.S., Simon plans to fund the $3.6 billion acquisition of fellow mall-owner Taubman (NYSE: TCO) with “existing liquidity,” according to a release announcing the deal.  (Wash Bus)

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Maryland pet store puppy sale ban upheld in court

A federal judge has upheld Maryland’s ban on retail pet stores selling puppies and kittens, which took effect Jan. 1. Gov. Larry Hogan (R) signed the bill prohibiting such sales in 2018, making Maryland the second state in the country, behind California, to have such a ban. Animal rights advocates said the measure would help reduce demand for dogs born in “puppy mills,” an informal term for establishments that breed dogs for profit in inhumane conditions.  (Wash Post)

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Cal Ripken Jr.'s former estate sells for third time in less than two years

The musical chair-like ownership of Cal Ripken Jr.'s former estate in the Worthington Valley has played out again. A local family that acquired the mansion from former Orioles outfielder Adam Jones has just sold it and its 25-acre property for $3.9 million, documents show. The transaction is the third time the 8,152-square-foot Reisterstown estate at 13301 Dover Road has changed hands in nearly two years. (Wash Bus)

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Columbia's Bullhead Pit Beef is opening a Baltimore location

The smell of smoked meats will soon fill the air at Baltimore's Cross Street Market with the addition of a new vendor, Bullhead Pit Beef. Howard County's popular food truck will take over one of the last remaining stalls at the Federal Hill market, which reopened last year after an $8.5 million overhaul. Bullhead owner Larry Jackson said he hopes to start serving up his pit beef, pulled brisket, garlic fries and more there by March 26 — Opening Day for the Orioles. (Balt. Bus. Journal)

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U.S. added 225,000 jobs in January; unemployment at 3.6%

The job market sprang to life in January, kicking off the election year with some good news for a president who has made the economy the centerpiece of his bid for reelection. Employers added 225,000 jobs in January, the Labor Department reported Friday. Forecasters had expected a gain of about 164,000. Hiring had slowed somewhat last year amid trade tensions and recession fears, but the job market has proved resilient. Now, with the recent abatement in the trade war, those concerns have eased and hiring has rebounded. (Balt.. Bus. Journal)

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Judge upholds Maryland ban on pet stores' sale of cats, dogs

A federal judge on Friday threw out a lawsuit that challenged Maryland's newly enacted ban on the sale of dogs and cats by retail pet stores, a statute billed as a check against unlicensed and unsanitary "puppy mills." Four pet stores, a dog breeder and a dog broker sued in August to block the law, which took effect Jan. 1. Maryland was the second state after California to pass such restrictions on the sale of dogs and cats. (AP/Times-News)

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This Baltimore laundry detergent company has raised millions — here's why

Baltimore laundry detergent maker HEX Performance LLC has raised $5 million in new funding, in support of its ongoing mission to help people better clean their sweaty athletic gear. Four investors contributed to this latest funding round, according to documents recently filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. The round was led by Lykos Capital Partners, a New York-based equity firm that partners with growing consumer product brands. (Balt. Bus. Journal)

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