Capital News Service

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Bill allows motorists to keep driving past Real ID deadline

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Courtesy: Motor Vehicle Administration.

By Jeff Barnes
Capital News Service

ANNAPOLIS — Maryland drivers who have their licenses confiscated due to Real ID non-compliance would be protected under legislation being heard this week in the General Assembly.

In 2005, the federal Real ID Act mandated that all U.S. residents obtain an updated identification card in order to travel on commercial aircraft and access federal facilities. The rule, which goes into full effect on Oct. 1, requires states to verify documentation that proves name, birth date and residence.

Lawmakers look to repeal ‘archaic’ sex laws in MD

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The dome of Maryland’s State House rises above buildings in Annapolis, Maryland, on Nov. 5, 2019. (Capital News Service photo by Elliott Davis.)

By Jeff Barnes
Capital News Service

ANNAPOLIS — Maryland lawmakers hope to repeal “archaic” provisions in the state’s spousal defense for sex crimes and sodomy laws with the reintroduction of legislation this session.

Lawmakers on Jan. 30 expect to hear Senate Bill 230, which would repeal the use of marriage as a defense to prosecution of some sex crimes and, earlier this week, introduced House Bill 81, which would repeal the crimes of sodomy and unnatural or perverted sexual practice.

Among bills for small business, ‘big lemonade’ stands out

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Photo by Julie Depenbrock/Capital News Service

By Ryan E. Little
Capital News Service

ANNAPOLIS — State legislators always want to support small business. But one bill introduced this session aims to help the smallest of businesses.

A bill introduced in the Maryland House would protect lemonade stands from local authorities who might want to enforce local permit laws that could shut them down.

Bill would make possession of ransomware a crime in Maryland

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Photo by Martin Falbisoner, via Wikimedia Commons

By Wesley Brown
Capital News Service

ANNAPOLIS — State lawmakers heard arguments Tuesday on a bill that seeks to add criminal penalties for knowingly possessing ransomware with the intent to use it in a malicious way.

Ransomware is a type of malware that can impede the use of a computer or computer network indefinitely until a ransom is paid. It is already a crime in Maryland to use the malicious technology in a way that costs victims money—this bill would criminalize mere possession of the software.

Returning bill to require background checks on transfer and sale of rifles and shotguns

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Members of the House Judiciary Committee hear testimony on legislation that would regulate the sale and transfer of shotguns and rifles in Maryland. (Capital News Service Photo by Fatemeh Paryavi)

By Fatemeh Paryavi
Capital News Service

ANNAPOLIS — A bill returning to the Maryland legislature this session aims to regulate certain sales and transfers of rifles and shotguns.

Maryland law requires the regulation of the “sale, transfer, rental, and possession of regulated firearms, which consist of handguns and assault weapons,” according to a state analysis. However, this regulation does not currently apply to rifles and shotguns, which lead sponsor of House Bill 4, Del. Vanessa Atterbear (D-Howard County), has been striving to pass.

Hogan focuses new budget on ‘accountability,’ Baltimore crime

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Gov. Larry Hogan holds a press conference at the State House on Tuesday, Jan. 14, 2020, to reveal highlights of the 2021 fiscal budget. (Capital News Service Photo by Alexis Duda.)

By Ryan E. Little
Capital News Service

ANNAPOLIS — The governor’s 2021 budget will prioritize fighting violent crime in Baltimore, provide “record levels” of education funding and finish paying for a major economic development project.

Gov. Larry Hogan (R) released the details of his “Accountability Budget” at a news conference on Tuesday morning. The full text of the $47.9 billion budget isn’t expected until Wednesday, but Hogan touted the highlights that include a 1 percent increase in expenditures with no new taxes.

Analysis: Maryland’s suburbs saw a large influx of prescription opioids from 2006-2012

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Opioids. Photo via Flickr, CC by 2.0.

By Emily Top
Capital News Service

Between 2006 and 2012, Maryland saw a large influx of prescription opioids, more of which, per person, were sent to suburban areas of the state than the urban or rural areas, according to a Drug Enforcement Administration database published by The Washington Post.

Much of the rest of the nation also saw suburban areas hit harder than rural or urban areas, but Maryland saw fewer pills per person on average than across the nation.

Additionally, urban areas in Maryland had the lowest number of pills per person—compared with rural areas and suburbs—whereas nationally, urban areas had the second-largest influx of prescription opioids per person.

Election Guide: a look at the race for Rep. Elijah Cummings’ seat

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Image via Elijah Cummings’ website

By Nora Eckert
Capital News Service

Nearly two months after Rep. Elijah Cummings’ death, 32 candidates–including his widow, a former staffer and several state lawmakers–are competing in the packed race to fill his seat.

The longtime Baltimore congressman died Oct. 17 from “longstanding health conditions,” according to spokesperson. The 68-year-old Democrat left behind a legacy of fighting for civil rights, lowering prescription drug prices and most recently, serving as a powerful voice on the House Oversight and Reform Committee.

Now, a pack of 24 Democrats and 8 Republicans are either challenging that legacy or dedicating their platforms to continuing it.

MD lawmakers expect education to dominate 2020 session

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The dome of Maryland’s State House rises above buildings in Annapolis, Maryland, on Nov. 5, 2019. (Capital News Service photo by Elliott Davis.)

By Elliott Davis
Capital News Service

ANNAPOLIS — Reforming Maryland’s public education system. Building new schools. Addressing gun safety. Funding the state’s Historically Black Colleges and Universities. These are some of the issues that Maryland state lawmakers expect to dominate the 2020 General Assembly session.

When legislators return to Annapolis in early January, much will be different.

There will be new committee assignments. With multiple lawmakers having resigned during the fall, there will be new faces at the State House.

MD youths needing psychiatric care find long waits, drives

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By Natalie Jones
Capital News Service

The first time Jeannine LeMieux’s daughter was hospitalized for a psychotic episode, she was only 8 years old.

LeMieux took her daughter to a hospital emergency room near her home on Maryland’s Eastern Shore, where it was determined that she needed to be hospitalized. Her first admission was to Sheppard Pratt, a privately run psychiatric hospital with child and adolescent inpatient units in Towson, nearly a two-hour drive away.

“They didn’t do anything,” said her daughter, now 19. “I just remember a kid that smacked me in my face one time.”

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