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State Board of Elections Announces New Early Voting, Voter Registration Dates

Early voting for the delayed July 19 primary will begin on July 7, according to an announcement Monday from the Maryland State Board of Elections. The deadline to register to vote in the primary will now be June 28, and the deadline for primary voters to request a mail-in ballot is July 12, according to the Maryland Elections Administrator Linda H. Lamone said in a news release.

Maryland juvenile justice reform bill passes state Senate

The Maryland Senate passed a substantial juvenile justice reform measure Monday as lawmakers reached a milestone day in their 90-day session with three weeks left. The reform legislation, which now goes to the House, generally says a child younger than 13 will not be subject to the jurisdiction of juvenile court for delinquency proceedings and may not be charged with a crime. But juvenile courts would have jurisdiction over a child who is at least 10 and has committed the most serious crimes, like murder and other crimes of violence.

Read More: Times-News
Two years removed from Baltimore mayoral candidacy, Thiru Vignarajah announces run for state’s attorney

Thiru Vignarajah, the former city, state and federal prosecutor who has run for Baltimore state’s attorney and mayor, is running for state’s attorney again, setting the stage for a potential rematch of the last election for the city’s top prosecutor. Unsuccessful bids for the Democratic nominations for state’s attorney in 2018 and mayor in 2020 make Vignarajah a familiar face in Baltimore. He has been a partner at the law firm DLA Piper and prosecuted a range of high-profile cases during stints as deputy Maryland attorney general, special U.S. attorney for Maryland and chief of major investigations in the Baltimore state’s attorney’s office.

Read More: Baltimore Sun
Baltimore County Council redistricting case focuses on extent of racial polarization

A court hearing on Baltimore County Council’s proposed map of its council districts focused heavily on disagreement over the extent to which county residents’ voting breaks down along racial lines. U.S. District Judge Lydia Kay Griggsby heard arguments Monday afternoon over whether the council’s newly redrawn map of its district boundaries is fair to Black voters. The plaintiffs, including the Baltimore County NAACP branch and a number of county residents, have said the new map — like the first one — would disadvantage Black voters.

Read More: Baltimore Sun
Md. Senate passes ‘watered down’ judicial transparency bill

The Democratic-led Maryland Senate passed legislation this month calling on a state commission to compile and post circuit court sentencing data on a largely county-by county-basis, rebuffing Gov. Larry Hogan’s proposal that the posted information provide by name the sentence each Maryland judge rendered for violent criminals. Following the Senate’s 46-0 vote, attention now has shifted to the House Judiciary Committee, which is scheduled to hold a hearing on the Senate-passed bill Tuesday.

Baltimore City Council introduces legislation to combat vacant properties

Baltimore City Council introduced five bills Monday aimed at combating the city’s problem with vacant properties. The legislation, which includes three bills sponsored by City Council President Nick Mosby and two from Odette Ramos, calls for increasing several fees associated with owning a vacant property in Baltimore. Another bill would streamline the city’s newly approved in rem foreclosure process to make sure it’s aligned with state law.

Read More: Baltimore Sun
Maryland donating 50 ventilators to Ukraine as the Russian invasion continues

Gov. Larry Hogan announced Monday that the Maryland Department of Health donated 50 ventilators to Ukraine to help hospitals treat the wounded during Russia’s invasion. The Republican governor said the Astral portable ventilators were donated to the Paul Chester Children’s Hope Foundation — a Dickerson-based grassroots medical organization that provides surgical care to people in developing countries.

Read More: Baltimore Sun
On ‘Crossover Day,’ Lawmakers Address Myriad Pandemic Challenges — And More

“Crossover Day” in the General Assembly — the day bills have to get through one chamber of the legislature to guarantee consideration in the other chamber — has a certain rhythm to it. The House and Senate churn through bills at a furious cadence, and debate on the floor of the two chambers is usually clipped. Monday was the closest it’s been to a “normal” Crossover Day in three years, as senators and delegates went through their paces largely unencumbered by COVID-19 emergencies or protocols — save for a mask requirement for lawmakers on the floor of the House.

100 us dollar bill
Maryland Senate passes $58.5 billion budget plan; House to vote next week

The Maryland Senate approved a $58.5 billion budget plan on Friday morning that would increase temporary cash assistance payments, fund the launch of a state paid family leave program, steer an additional $700 million to government construction projects, and provide an estimated $350 million in tax breaks — though lawmakers are still inking a deal on what form the tax relief would take.

Read More: WTOP
Corporate Funding of “Astroturf” Ad Campaigns Must Be Disclosed, House Leader Says

An influential legislator is taking aim at what he considers “astroturf” lobbying by large government contractors. Under a measure sponsored by House Majority Leader Eric Luedtke (D-Montgomery) and 14 others, companies with million-dollar state government contracts would be required to disclose contributions they make to advocacy organizations. “It’s a transparency bill that allows the public in Maryland to know whether the people advocating for major taxpayer-funded projects in their community have a financial stake in the project in question,” Luedtke told members of two House committees at a March 10 hearing.

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