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Commentary

Prioritize Maryland’s health: Remove flavored tobacco products from the market

This year, the Maryland General Assembly has a historic opportunity to save lives, address racial health inequity, and support our economy by removing all flavored tobacco products — including menthol cigarettes — from the market. We strongly support this critical policy and urge state lawmakers to protect our youth and Black and brown communities. Big Tobacco has one goal: profit. Since their products kill or gravely harm many of their customers, they need to recruit the next generation of users to maintain their revenue stream — our kids.

Read More: Baltimore Sun
Rubin: Jamie Raskin won the impeachment trial before it began

“Winning” the impeachment trial means removing any reasonable doubt in the minds of Americans that President Donald Trump incited a riot, that he let it continue in desperate attempt to keep power and that Republicans simply do not care. The House impeachment managers did a masterful job on all points in their opening arguments on Tuesday. Rep. Jamie B. Raskin (D-Md.), the lead House manager, demolished the notion that presidents get a free pass to commit high crimes in the waning days of their terms.

Roshong: The LGBTQ+ ‘Panic’ Defense Needs to Go in Md.

This year, Del. Julie Palakovich Carr introduced House Bill 231:  “Establishing that the discovery or perception of, or belief about, another person’s race, color, national origin, sex, gender identity, or sexual orientation, whether or not accurate, does not constitute legally adequate provocation to mitigate a killing from the crime of murder to manslaughter or an assault from the crime of assault in the first degree to assault in the second degree or another lesser crime.” This bill was introduced previously during the 2020 Maryland General Assembly session as House Bill 488.

McDaniels: The attack on Black history month

Some parents at a Utah charter school were so against their kids learning about Black history this month that the school recently offered an opt-out option from such lessons.  The Maria Montessori Academy in North Ogden has since reversed its decision to allow some children to skip Black History Month lessons and festivities as the school “works to change hearts and minds with grace and courtesy,” school director Micah Hirokawa wrote in a Facebook post addressing the issue.

Read More: Baltimore Sun
Rodricks: Finally, someone tries to untangle Baltimore’s mess of overhead wires, but what about the trash?

Someone has finally stepped up to do something about a blight on Baltimore and suburban neighborhoods — the tangles of telephone wires and television cables, many of them dormant, that hang over alleys like the badly designed webs of giant, demented spiders. When I first described this problem in 2016, it generated only a modest response because these eyesores are mostly out of eyesight. They are located behind houses and not instantly visible. Unless you’re an infrastructure nerd, unless you’re in the habit of being in alleys and looking up, you probably have not noticed.

Read More: Baltimore Sun
Editorial: What do you call a 311-mph train serving Baltimore? Transformative

If Baltimore is to fully recover from the COVID-19 pandemic and flourish in a way that it was not before the virus even arrived, what it needs most is for its residents to have better access to well-paying jobs. Expecting those jobs to suddenly plop down in Baltimore once herd immunity is achieved is beyond improbable. But what if the city could be served by a high-speed train that could get passengers from a station in Cherry Hill to the heart of Washington, D.C. and its wealth of employment opportunities in just 15 minutes?

Read More: Baltimore Sun
DeFilippo: It’s Not About Traffic Safety, It’s About Revenue

The tax assessor is the stalking horse for elected officials. But officials now have a new cover: Speed cameras. When Baltimore City officials recently decided to install 45 new speed and red-light cameras, they imperceptibly shifted a portion of the city’s tax burden and potential revenue growth away from property owners and onto motorists. Those who are both could get a double whammy. The additional cameras will bring the total number in Baltimore to 165, with probably more to come as the merchants of menace scout additional locations.

Read More: Md Matters
Our Say: Lawmakers are ready to override Hogan’s vetoes. Now the governor faces a choice.

It’s veto override week in Annapolis. Some of these looming votes we applaud — a bill extending background checks to private sales of rifles and shotguns — some we lament. But the facts are clear. Democratic leaders in the General Assembly say they have counted the votes and are ready to begin moving legislation into law that passed last year with what proved to be veto-proof majorities. One piece of legislation, in particular, has dominated the conversation more any other proposal to come through Annapolis in recent years: the Blueprint for Maryland’s Future.

Andrea Chamblee: Gun violence continues, Maryland lawmakers should overturn Hogan’s veto of background check expansion

This responds to your story catching readers up on the gun violence in Maryland in “Anne Arundel has a plan for how to prevent gun violence. But COVID-19 takes priority as nonfatal shootings are up” (The Capital, Jan. 7). Thank you for keeping this story in the public eye. However, I have two issues with this update. First, the article reports that “There were 27 non-fatal shootings overall in 2019, including when no one was injured.” I can assure you that there is never a case of gun violence where no one is injured. When people are exposed to violence, directed at them or even at others, there is injury. The injuries aren’t limited to psychological ones: the hippocampus in the brain shrinks.

Legislation needed to protect Maryland well owners

If you’re one of roughly 2 million Marylanders whose drinking water comes from a private well, you or your property owner is responsible for maintaining the well and ensuring its water is safe — no exceptions. That’s because federal clean water laws don’t cover private wells or small water systems, and state-level protections vary dramatically. In Maryland, those protections are few and far between. In a recent Center for Progressive Reform (CPR) report on state-level efforts to protect private well owners, Maryland ranked among the five states with the fewest protections.

Read More: Baltimore Sun

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