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NEWS
April 2, 2012
There is a certain reliable pattern to each Maryland General Assembly session: The House and Senate will be at odds, 90 days worth of legislating will be condensed to about three weeks, and most bills of substance will be deferred or delayed. It's also predictable that at some point, local governments will groan and moan about how state government is usurping their authority. Well, with less than a week left in the session, it's that time of year again. Local leaders from Western Maryland to the Eastern Shore see Annapolis trampling local decision-making rights from land planning to government ethics, and they don't much like it. At some level, it's understandable that county executives, commissioners and council members want to make their choices unencumbered by state and federal mandates.
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NEWS
By Jonah Goldberg | May 12, 2014
The notion that something can simultaneously be wrong and constitutional really seems to bother a lot of people. Consider the Supreme Court's recent decision on public prayer. In Greece v. Galloway the court ruled, 5-4, that the little town of Greece, New York, could have predominantly Christian clergy deliver prayers at the beginning of town council meetings. As a constitutional matter, the majority's decision seems like a no-brainer to me. The authors of the Constitution permitted -- and required!
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NEWS
By Erin Cox, The Baltimore Sun | February 20, 2013
Local governments and police on Wednesday attacked a sweeping proposal to change Maryland's speed camera law. During the first hearing on whether to revamp a law that has been lucrative for local governments but also has sparked concerns about fairness, speed camera proponents defended what has been called a "bounty system" of paying contractors based on the number of tickets issued to drivers. Program supporters also rejected as unfeasible a proposal to require precise time-stamped photos and painted lines on roadways that would more easily allow motorists to challenge the $40 tickets in court.
NEWS
May 5, 2014
The Supreme Court's decision to allow explicitly Christian prayer at the start of local government meetings will have the unfortunate effect of alienating those with minority religious beliefs or no religious faith at all. The 5-4 decision turned largely on the long-standing American tradition of prayer before legislative meetings and on the notion that the practice is not inherently coercive. But Justice Elena Kagan is right in her dissent when she argues that the majority's ruling violates the Constitution's promise that "when each person performs the duties or seeks the benefits of citizenship, she does so not as an adherent to one or another religion, but simply as an American.
NEWS
By Yvonne Wenger, The Baltimore Sun | January 1, 2014
Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake and county government leaders say they will press the General Assembly to restore hundreds of millions of dollars a year in funding for local transportation projects. But state lawmakers say that's going to be a tough sell. The legislature began siphoning money collected from the gas tax and motor vehicle fees to balance the state budget in the aftermath of the recession. Lawmakers declined to reverse the change as part of last session's debate on Maryland's long-term transportation plan.
NEWS
By William Thompson and William Thompson,Evening Sun Staff | December 10, 1991
In the sixth and perhaps most painful round of budget cuts this year, Gov. William Donald Schaefer today unveiled a $225 million cost-reduction plan that includes more cuts to state services, sharply reduced aid to local governments and, for the first time at the statewide level, employee furloughs.Although officials knew more cuts were inevitable, the proposed reductions in state aid to cities and counties shocked local officials, who scrambled to renew their pleas for higher state taxes.
NEWS
January 5, 1994
When it comes to enacting laws, the Maryland General Assembly is adept at passing along the cost of implementating them. More than 750 so-called unfunded mandates have been placed in state law books, imposing a huge but hidden burden on county and local governments.Local leaders are fed up. They are demanding that state officials pause long enough before passing new laws to consider whether they will mean added costs to city and county governments. And for once, state officials seem to be listening.
NEWS
By Neal R. Peirce | November 27, 1995
CHICAGO -- Mad as hell and unwilling to take it any more, leaders of the nation's counties and cities gathered in Chicago November 13 and 14 for the first-ever national convocation of America's local governments.All year long, the officials complained, they've stood by helplessly as Congress, with scarcely a word of consultation, prepared deep cuts in programs vital to them and their communities.And it's not just in Washington, or in White House-Capitol Hill budget negotiations, that local government leaders feel denied a voice or a seat at the table.
NEWS
By Marina Sarris and Timothy Wheeler and Marina Sarris and Timothy Wheeler,Annapolis Bureau | March 21, 1992
A bill that would have barred counties and municipalities from regulating pesticide use died in the House of Delegates yesterday by a 57-72 vote.The defeat was a blow for farmers and the lawn-care industry, who are trying to negate a U.S. Supreme Court ruling last year upholding the right of local governments to enact pesticide use rules more stringent than federal law.The measure, which would have left pesticide regulation in the hand of the state Agriculture...
NEWS
By Larry Carson and Larry Carson,larry.carson@baltsun.com | May 25, 2009
A regional web of fiber-optic cable would spread from Maryland's Eastern Shore to its western mountains under a plan by local governments to tap federal stimulus money for communications expansions. If the effort is successful, it could mean $100 million or more flowing into Maryland, out of a $7.2 billion chunk of federal money set aside for fiber-optic projects. Working separately, two groups of local governments are working to snare their share of funds, which officials said could create networks that would be cheaper than buying the service from private companies.
NEWS
By Alison Knezevich, The Baltimore Sun | March 3, 2014
A relentless winter has left local governments scrambling to replenish their supplies of road salt and some consumers finding empty shelves when they turn to hardware stores for ice-melting materials. State officials say they have enough salt to meet immediate needs, but at least one county was rationing its use Monday to stretch existing supplies, and local government spending for salt has climbed drastically from recent years. Even before this week's snow, Baltimore County road crews had spread about three times the salt used to improve traction and melt snow and ice on roads last year - about 108,000 tons compared with about 37,000.
NEWS
Luke Broadwater and Scott Calvert, The Baltimore Sun | March 1, 2014
Police officers rushed into the downtown parking garage, weapons drawn. As Detective Anthony Fata sat bleeding from a leg wound, officers scrambled around corners and up stairwells, frantically searching for a "junkie-looking black male. " The decorated 14-year veteran who'd made the emergency call - Signal 13: Officer Down - told of a violent struggle in which he was shot at close range. He also said that he had fallen down a flight of stairs while unloading his .40-caliber Glock, dislocating a shoulder.
NEWS
February 26, 2014
When it comes to the potential for on-the-job dangers, few workers can match the risks faced by firefighters. That they willingly run into places the rest of us would flee in terror, all to save our lives and property, is nothing short of remarkable. For that, we owe them not just gratitude but some degree of certainty that we will take care of them if their selflessness results in debilitating injury or disease. The difficulty is in determining just how much certainty we owe them.
NEWS
February 24, 2014
It's a given that politicians like to spend money but they don't like to raise taxes. After all, the former makes them popular with their constituents and the latter has the opposite effect. Rarely is this more evident than in an election year. Marylanders may want to keep that in mind if they're bewildered by how less than one year after the General Assembly approved a major gas tax increase, lawmakers are back debating whether to raise transportation-related taxes again. To the outsider, it has the look of a pack of ravenous wolves squabbling over a recent kill while eyeing a deer across the meadow rather than being satisfied with the bounty before them.
NEWS
By Christopher B. Summers | January 27, 2014
Marylanders who thought our debate over transportation taxes ended with last year's historic gas tax increase may be in for a surprise. A new study released by the O'Malley-Brown administration suggests that state government's long arm may reach into the commuter's wallet yet again. Quietly released in December, the report from the Local and Regional Transportation Funding Task Force floats the concept of regional transportation financing authorities, or RTAs, that would enable Maryland's local governments to impose new taxes to pay for road projects and transit operations.
NEWS
By Yvonne Wenger, The Baltimore Sun | January 1, 2014
Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake and county government leaders say they will press the General Assembly to restore hundreds of millions of dollars a year in funding for local transportation projects. But state lawmakers say that's going to be a tough sell. The legislature began siphoning money collected from the gas tax and motor vehicle fees to balance the state budget in the aftermath of the recession. Lawmakers declined to reverse the change as part of last session's debate on Maryland's long-term transportation plan.
NEWS
By Tom Bowman and Tom Bowman,Washington Bureau | February 12, 1992
WASHINGTON -- Recession-weary local governments, burdened with low tax revenues and decreasing federal aid, have become like tired car batteries, officials told Congress yesterday."
NEWS
By Tom Pelton and Tom Pelton,SUN REPORTER | June 5, 2008
The O'Malley administration plans to use Maryland's new Chesapeake Bay cleanup fund to target runoff pollution into some of the state's smaller rivers, including the Corsica and the Wye. The Department of Natural Resources plans today to ask local governments and nonprofit organizations to start applying for money from the $25 million fund established by the General Assembly. Data analysis The state's BayStat program, using computerized analysis of scientific data, will determine which pollution-control proposals get the money, said John R. Griffin, natural resources secretary.
NEWS
November 4, 2013
With the 2014 general election almost exactly one year away, at least five of Maryland's gubernatorial candidates are scheduled to debate environmental issues for the first time tomorrow in Annapolis. No doubt questions will range from smart growth to climate change to the future of the Chesapeake Bay, but surely no topic is likely to prove more contentious than what Maryland should do about polluted run-off from city and suburban streets. Voters would be wise to pay attention to what the candidates have to say on the subject as it may prove the best way to sort those who claim to care about clean water from those who are willing to do something about it. The political grandstanding over the state's "rain tax" has been one of the more disheartening developments to hit the local environmental movement in recent years.
NEWS
Aegis report | November 4, 2013
Harford County Government has a new television show called "Harford Happenings" airing on Harford Cable Network, and hosted by the county's Public Information Officer Sherrie Johnson. Each month, Johnson will bring an inside look at county government, its departments and its staff. The goal of the show is to educate the public on the activities of their government. "We want to let people know the positive things that are happening in Harford County Government and I am so excited to have this opportunity to showcase our initiatives," Johnson said in a press release.
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