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Quick News Updates – The Blog

Montgomery Mulls Bill to Ban Natural Hair Discrimination

Residents in Montgomery County are weighing in on a new bill that clarifies the county’s anti-discrimination law to include hair.The CROWN Act — Creating a Respectful and Open World for Natural Hair — was introduced last month in the Montgomery County Council. It clarifies the county’s anti-discrimination law to include hair traits that are historically associated with race, including hair texture and protective hairstyles such as braids, locs, tight curls and twists.Similar laws have already been adopted in California and New York.“For many years, I used chemical relaxers before I realized, like many other women, the danger of the...

Harris Votes No as House Condemns Trump’s Syrian Troop Withdrawal

The U.S. House on Wednesday approved a resolution condemning President Trump’s withdrawal of U.S. troops from northern Syria.The resolution passed the House with broad bipartisan support, delivering a stinging rebuke to the president. The final vote was 354-60.Maryland’s lone Republican member of the House, Rep. Andrew P. Harris, was among the 60 GOP lawmakers voting against the resolution. Maryland’s Democratic lawmakers voted for the resolution, with the exception of Rep. Elijah E. Cummings, who has been recovering from an illness and did not vote.Democratic and Republican lawmakers in both chambers have slammed the president after he ordered the withdrawal...

Some Educated Speculation About Jamie Raskin

Here are two items of speculation about U.S. Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-Md.) that are grounded in reality:Raskin, according to The New York Times, is on the verge of endorsing U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) for president.Raskin told the Times in an interview earlier this week that he has been “drawn in different directions” in the White House race and wanted to make an endorsement that’s both “passionate and strategic.”Raskin, a former law school professor, said a recent lunch he had with Warren, who is also a former law school professor, and her husband, Bruce Mann, a Harvard law school...

Medicare-for-All Advocates Host Town Hall Targeting Trone

Maryland progressive groups are continuing to attempt to pressure members of the state’s congressional delegation who have not signed on as co-sponsors of the Medicare-for-All legislation.Our Revolution Maryland and the Maryland Progressive Healthcare Coalition are holding their second Medicare-for-All town hall on Sunday at 2 p.m. at the Gaithersburg Public Library, this time targeting U.S. Rep. David J. Trone (D-Md.). The groups’ first town hall was in August in House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer's district.The scheduled speakers on Sunday are:Del. Gabriel Acevero (D-Montgomery) Laura Kaplan-Weisman, a family physician who is advocating for a single payer health care...

Rumor Mill Cranks Up as Senate Dems Set Caucus Meeting for Next Week

When the Maryland General Assembly session ended in April, Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller Jr. (D-Calvert), who had been undergoing treatment for stage 4 prostate cancer, promised to keep his colleagues apprised of his health and said he would convene a meeting of the Democratic Caucus in November to discuss whether he was physically able to stay on the job.On Tuesday, Miller, Senate President Pro Tem Katherine A. Klausmeier (D-Baltimore County) and Prince George’s County Sen. James C. Rosapepe, the Democratic caucus chairman, sent a memo to their Democratic colleagues summoning them to a caucus meeting on Oct....

Prince George’s Dems Set Hearing for Candidates Who Want to Replace Gaines

The Prince George’s County Democratic Central Committee will hold a public hearing on Oct. 29 to hear from people interested in replacing former Del. Tawanna P. Gaines (D) in the General Assembly.Gaines resigned on Oct. 4 and was charged by the Justice Department of one count of mail fraud after allegedly pocketing more than $22,000 in campaign contributions. She is due to be arraigned in U.S. District Court in Greenbelt on Thursday.Under state law, Gov. Lawrence J. Hogan Jr. (R) will pick Gaines’ replacement following a recommendation from the Prince George’s central committee. The filing deadline for candidates interested...

Hate Bias Incidents in Maryland Drop But Concerns Remain

A new report compiled by Maryland law enforcement agencies shows the number of statewide hate bias incidents in 2018 dropped to 375, down about 6% from the year before.It marks the end of a three-year period during which reports of such incidents rose rapidly, but the numbers remain troubling for the Anti-Defamation League.“We did see a slight decline,” said Doron Ezickson, Washington, D.C., regional director of the ADL. “Unfortunately, this was the second-largest number of incidents in the last 10 years.”There were 203 reports in 2015, 296 reports in 2016 and 398 reports in 2017.The lowest number over the...

Slow Your Roll: Police to Launch Speed Enforcement on I-495 This Weekend

Those with lead feet, beware: Maryland State Police will be cracking down on speeding and aggressive driving this weekend ahead of Columbus Day.Authorities said in a news release that the initiative will take place on Interstate 495 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday with troopers from the College Park and Forestville barracks.Prince George’s County police will assist troopers on the Capital Beltway.It follows a three-year crash analysis study that determined “Columbus Day weekend has a high propensity for speed-related collisions,” police said in a release.According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, speeding was a factor in 26%...

Md. Matters on the Air

Maryland Matters' Danielle Gaines will be appearing Friday evening on Maryland Public Television's public affairs show "State Circle." She'll be part of a roundtable discussion of current events with Luke Broadwater of The Baltimore Sun and Jeff Salkin, the "State Circle" host.The program airs at 7 p.m. It will be livestreamed here -- and we'll put a link of the show after it's posted to the "State Circle" website.Speaking of Marylanders on public television, Gov. Lawrence J. Hogan Jr. (R) is set to appear on PBS' "Firing Line" with Margaret Hoover this weekend. The interview was taped on Thursday evening...

Gender in Politics Report Highlights 2 Md. Dems

Gender disparities in American politics weren’t upended by the 2018 election, but representation by women increased – particularly among Democrats.A new report from the Center for American Women and Politics at Rutgers University studied women candidates from 2018 to offer insight into the 2020 election cycle. And two of Maryland’s 2018 gubernatorial candidates were highlighted.Krishanti Vignarajah (D) was highlighted as a candidate who drew upon her gender as an asset and not a hurdle to overcome. Vignarajah “unapologetically identified as a woman and a mother in her first campaign ad,” which included images of her breastfeeding, the report noted.Then-state...

Montgomery Lawmakers Blast Fund Cut for ‘Crucial’ Transit Project

Montgomery County lawmakers are expressing their “extreme disappointment” with the Maryland Department of Transportation’s decision to remove a long-planned transit line from the state’s list of funded priority projects.In a letter to Transportation Secretary Pete K. Rahn on Thursday, the county’s Annapolis delegation called the Corridor Cities Transitway “crucial” to Montgomery’s economic growth.The CCT is a proposed 15-mile bus rapid transit line that would run from the Shady Grove Metro station in Gaithersburg to Clarksburg. In their letter, lawmakers note that the state has already spent $38 million to start design and complete environmental reviews, adding that “to cancel the project...

Goodbye, Columbus

The federal and state governments are closed on Columbus Day. Many local governments in Maryland celebrate the holiday as well.But in Prince George's County, next Monday will be the last official Columbus Day holiday ever.Not that there still won't be a holiday on the second Monday in October. It will henceforth be known as Native American Day.“The native and indigenous peoples of Prince George's County and the United States of America have contributed to every element of the rich fabric of history and culture in our communities," County Councilman Mel Franklin (D), who introduced the bill changing the designation...

11 Flu Cases Confirmed in State

Flu season has arrived in Maryland. There have been 11 cases of flu in the state since the beginning of September, the Maryland Department of Health reported this week.Influenza, also known as flu, is a contagious respiratory disease that can cause fever, body aches, sore throat, coughing and fatigue about one to four days after exposure. The disease spreads through coughing or sneezing, from person to person and touching contaminated objects.It can be deadly: In 2018, there were 82 flu-related deaths reported to Maryland health officials. Four were younger than 18.Flu season generally picks up in October and November,...

Partisan Hogan and Bipartisan Hogan in Close Proximity

Gov. Lawrence J. Hogan Jr. (R) was first elected four years and 11 months ago.But he’s still campaigning against his predecessor, Martin J. O’Malley (D).O’Malley’s image figures prominently in a Hogan Facebook post from Wednesday, his latest diatribe against the work of the Kirwan Commission, which is devising a formula to fund its proposed reforms to bolster public education.“They're at it again,” Hogan writes on his non-governmental Facebook page. “The same politicians that raised your taxes 43 consecutive times during the O'Malley years have been meeting in secret to raise your taxes.“The so-called Kirwan Commission is the legislature's vehicle...

2 Md. Cities Crack Top 20 List of Best Places for People With Disabilities

Columbia is the 10th best American city for people to live in who have disabilities, a recent survey found. Baltimore is No. 17.That’s according to WalletHub, a financial services website that studied economic opportunities for people with disabilities, quality of life and amenities, and quality and accessibility of health care. In all, 182 U.S. cities were surveyed.Columbia ranked 22nd in the economy category, 94th in quality of life, and 16th in health care. Baltimore was 152nd in economy, 21st in quality of life, and 26th health care.“When searching for a new home, people with disabilities often have a longer...

Hogan Appoints Jackson, Forbes to Fill Baltimore County House Vacancies

It's official: Gov. Lawrence J. Hogan Jr. (R) appointed Democrats Carl Jackson and Catherine Forbes to fill vacancies in the Maryland House of Delegates. The governor appointed Jackson and Forbes following the recommendations of the Baltimore County Democratic Central Committee.“I am confident that Carl Jackson and Cathi Forbes will represent the citizens of Baltimore County admirably in their new role as state delegates,” Hogan said in a statement. “I offer them both my sincere congratulations and look forward to working with them in the upcoming legislative session.”Jackson, an analyst at the University of Maryland School of Social Work, will...

A New County Attorney for Baltimore County

Baltimore County Executive John A. Olszewski Jr. (D) announced Tuesday that James R. Benjamin Jr., will join his leadership team as county attorney.Once confirmed by the County Council, Benjamin will replace Michael Field, who has held the job for nine years and has been with the county's law department since 1997. Field will remain with the county government as a senior policy advisor to Olszewski.Benjamin is currently an attorney at Gordon Feinblatt LLC in Baltimore, where he handles environmental and administrative matters for his clients and regularly counsels clients on state and local regulatory issues. He has substantial trial...

Maryland Ranks Well When It Comes to Road Infrastructure

Road infrastructure in Maryland and Virginia is among the best in the nation, according to an insurance site’s assessment of Federal Highway Administration data.The insurance site, QuoteWizard.com, crunched federal data and assigned composite scores for all 50 states based off the percentage of roads in poor condition, the annual cost per motorist due to roads in need of repair and the percentage of structurally deficient bridges.The rankings went from 1 to 50, such that the first on the list, Rhode Island, had the worst infrastructure and the 50th state on the list, Tennessee, had the best.Maryland ranked 46th; the...

MPT to Air an Evening of Nostalgia to Mark 50th Anniversary

Oct. 5, 1969: The Archies’ “Sugar Sugar” topped the charts. Across the pond, “Monty Python’s Flying Circus” debuted on the BBC.In sports, Johnny Unitas connected on 18 of 24 pass attempts to lead the Baltimore Colts to a 21-14 victory over the Atlanta Falcons. The Orioles edged the Minnesota Twins, 1-0, in 11 innings, to take a 2-0 lead in the American League Championship Series. Dave McNally pitched a complete game for the O's.Also on Oct. 5, Maryland Public Television, the only statewide TV network in Maryland, debuted.Launched as the Maryland Center for Public Broadcasting, MPT runs the usual...

Crashes, Fatalities Continue Despite State’s Expanded ‘Move Over’ Law

One year after Maryland expanded its “Move Over” law to prevent roadside crashes, State Highway Administrator Greg Slater isn’t satisfied.“If you look at the numbers, unfortunately, not much has changed,” Slater said.In addition, state highway workers are also at risk every day, including Tuesday morning, after a two-vehicle crash on the Outer Loop of the Capital Beltway: “Our emergency personnel stopped to assist the vehicles in the crash — our operator got out of the car to assist, and was hit by another car,” Slater said.While the number of crashes in which troopers and state highway workers have been...