Politics & Business

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.

Baltimore County announces new data center, targeted policing to combat crime

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Baltimore County Police Chief Melissa Hyatt, center, speaks as Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewski Jr., second from right, and council members Israel “Izzy” Patoka, left, and Julian E. Jones Jr., right, look on. Credit: Baltimore County Police Department.

After seeing an 85 percent increase in homicides last year, Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewski Jr. and Police Chief Melissa Hyatt today announced a new Real Time Crime Center and an increase in discretionary spending for police to combat violent crime.

Olszewski said the new public safety plan is a “deliberate and decisive response” to the 50 homicides in the county last year, a total that surpassed the previous high of 43 killings in 1992, seven years after the FBI began collecting local data on violent crime.

Young begins search for new DPW director

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Image via YouTube.

With DPW Director Rudy Chow leaving his post on Feb. 1, Mayor Bernard C. “Jack” Young today launched a national search for a new head of the agency.

On the day Chow leaves, Deputy Director Matt Garbark will become acting director, according to the city charter.

Mayor reveals renderings for Elijah E. Cummings Courthouse, proclaims day in late lawmaker’s honor

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A rendering of the Elijah E. Cummings Courthouse with the new signs installed. Credit: Ziger/Snead Architects.

Mayor Bernard C. “Jack” Young today unveiled renderings of two signs that will be installed on the Courthouse East Building as part of a plan to rename the structure in honor of the late Rep. Elijah Cummings.

Young also proclaimed that Jan. 18, the congressman’s birthday, will henceforth be Elijah E. Cummings Day in Baltimore City. Cummings, who died last October, would have turned 69 on Saturday.

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.

New poll shows mayor’s race is wide open

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Photo via Wikimedia Commons

A new poll shows that Thiru Vignarajah, City Council President Brandon Scott, former Mayor Sheila Dixon and Mayor Bernard C. “Jack” Young are all bunched together in the race for the Democratic nomination for mayor.

Vignarajah, a former federal prosecutor and Deputy Attorney General of Maryland, and Scott were tied at 18 percent, but both Dixon (16 percent) and Young (15 percent) fell within the poll’s margin of error of plus-or-minus 6 percent.

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.

Work begins on $16.8 million reconstruction of Baltimore’s Rash Field Park

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Years after it was first proposed, the reconstruction of Baltimore’s Rash Field waterfront park has finally begun.

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