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NEWS
By Tricia Bishop and Tricia Bishop,SUN STAFF | August 16, 2003
Some legal experts fear the enforcement of the state's Open Meetings Act has been significantly weakened by a Howard County judge's ruling that private citizens cannot sue for violations without showing they suffered personal damages. "It decimates the power of the act," said Alice Neff Lucan, a media attorney based in Washington, who worries about the effect the decision will have on freedom of information. "This is of great concern." The ruling, signed by Howard County Circuit Judge James B. Dudley on Aug. 8, states that citizens do not have the legal standing to sue public bodies for open-meetings violations unless they can prove they have suffered injuries beyond those of the general population, which some said missed the purpose of the law altogether.
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NEWS
By Ian Duncan, The Baltimore Sun | July 22, 2014
Lawyers for the state and gun rights advocates debated in federal court Tuesday about the government's power to hem in the Second Amendment to ward off mass shootings. Spectators crammed into a federal courtroom in downtown Baltimore to watch the hearing regarding bans on the sale or sharing of assault rifles and magazines capable of holding more than 10 rounds. Those provisions, which took effect in October, were among a package of measures enacted to strengthen Maryland's gun laws after 26 people were killed in an elementary school shooting in Newtown, Conn.
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NEWS
By Athima Chansanchai and Athima Chansanchai,SUN STAFF | July 30, 2002
Westminster officials plan to tap a decade-old state nuisance law to clean up a troubled neighborhood by cracking down on landlords who allow their properties to foster drug trafficking. The law - which ultimately would allow the city to "padlock" such structures - provides Westminster with an immediate tool in the revitalization of the Pennsylvania Avenue neighborhood. Crime, drug trafficking, housing code violations and vandalism have vexed the area in recent years. A group of government officials, social service agencies, residents and a landlord formed in the spring to devise a plan to rehabilitate the neighborhood, a several-block area of older homes, apartment buildings and few businesses on the city's west side that borders McDaniel College, formerly known as Western Maryland College.
NEWS
By Erin Cox, The Baltimore Sun | July 10, 2014
Maryland election officials have determined Republican candidate for governor Larry Hogan broke no laws in converting his Change Maryland advocacy organization into a campaign operation. But in a memo released Thursday, officials pointed out that a loophole permits corporations such as Change Maryland to test the water on behalf of candidates without disclosing donors or spending, as the candidates themselves must do. The ruling came after two of Hogan's rivals in last month's Republican primary filed complaints with the State Board of Elections in May. Jared DeMarinis, director of candidacy and campaign finance for the board, wrote in the memo that he was dropping the complaints.
NEWS
January 6, 2002
MARYLAND'S wiretap laws need to be brought up to date to deal with cell phone technology that gives criminals the upper hand. Under current law, investigators must get court permission for each phone line they wish to tap. The applications for these taps require pages of affidavits and take a lot of time to process. Meanwhile, drug dealers are buying cheap cell phones by the dozens and throwing them away after a few calls. It's nearly impossible for authorities to get and keep a tap on such quickly disposable lines.
NEWS
By Larry Carson and Larry Carson,SUN STAFF | August 26, 2004
A Howard County Council bill approved last month banning leg-hold animal traps is unenforceable because it conflicts with state law, county lawyers have concluded. Based on a six-page legal opinion signed by County Solicitor Barbara M. Cook and Senior Assistant Solicitor Ruth Fahrmeier, County Executive James N. Robey said he would tell police Chief Wayne Livesay not to enforce the ban the council approved as part of a larger reform of animal-control laws. "We don't have any authority to enforce it," Robey said.
NEWS
By Joan Jacobson and Gerard Shields and Joan Jacobson and Gerard Shields,SUN STAFF | November 1, 2001
A Baltimore County judge has struck down a 1997 state law that prevented the controversial Pulaski Incinerator from reopening in East Baltimore. In an order signed this week, Circuit Judge J. William Hinkel found the law unfairly targeted the incinerator, owned by construction magnate Willard Hackerman, because it allowed the state's other 104 incinerators to continue operating. The law was the result of a more than decade-long battle waged against Hackerman's waste operation by East Baltimore politicians and community leaders, who blamed the 44-year-old incinerator for air pollution and high cancer rates.
NEWS
By Dennis O'Brien and Dennis O'Brien,SUN STAFF | December 31, 1997
A coalition of neighbors filed suit yesterday to block construction of the 41-story Wyndham Hotel, alleging that the city violated state law when it approved the project.The suit filed in Baltimore Circuit Court alleges that when the project was reviewed by the City Council's land-use committee Nov. 20, city officials did not allow opponents to ask questions and did not keep a transcript of the hearing -- both required under state land-use laws.The lawsuit filed by the Scarlett Place Residential Condominium Association and the Waterfront Coalition -- an umbrella group of nine homeowner and business groups -- asks that the ordinances enacted as a result of that hearing be stricken from the city's books.
NEWS
By Walter F. Roche Jr. and Walter F. Roche Jr.,SUN STAFF | May 16, 2003
Noting approaching Baltimore city elections and the need for a definitive statewide ruling, the state prosecutor is appealing a circuit judge's decision striking down the ban on Election Day "walk-around" money. State Prosecutor Stephen Montanarelli filed formal notice yesterday in Prince George's Circuit Court to appeal the April 24 decision by Judge Richard H. Sothoron Jr., who declared unconstitutional a state law barring the payment of Election Day workers. "We need a statewide opinion," said Montanarelli, noting that technically Sothoron's ruling applies only to Prince George's county.
NEWS
By Alec MacGillis and Alec MacGillis,SUN STAFF | June 1, 2004
MAN, W.Va. - Billy Wiley could be forgiven for not knowing that under a new state law, he wasn't supposed to be driving his four-wheel all-terrain vehicle onto the two-lane road running through this coal-mining town. After all, it's long been routine for West Virginians to drive their ATVs on paved roads, even on state highways. The new law generated widespread talk in the days leading up to its debut on Wednesday, but Wiley missed all that: he was off riding his ATV in the hills, he said.
NEWS
By Justin George, The Baltimore Sun | July 5, 2014
Law enforcement agencies across Maryland are no longer required to collect and report the race of drivers in traffic stops to the state because legislators didn't notice a 3-year-old law expiring. Police, sheriff's departments and other similar agencies also no longer have to provide the state with information about their SWAT deployments as another expiring law had stipulated. The American Civil Liberties Union of Maryland decried the lapses, especially the lifting of the requirement to track traffic stops by race.
BUSINESS
By Erin Cox, The Baltimore Sun | July 4, 2014
More than 30 Maryland cab companies filed a lawsuit Thursday against the popular ride-sharing company Uber, alleging antitrust violations and demanding an unspecified amount of damages for upending the state's cab industry. The lawsuit, filed late Thursday in Baltimore Circuit Court, joins a string of legal actions against Uber as traditional taxicab companies and regulators across the country confront the company's cheaper and consumer-friendly army of drivers. Led by five major cab companies and their drivers, the lawsuit contends that Uber's surge-pricing model is akin to price-fixing, that its refusal to abide by traditional cab regulations creates an unfair marketplace, and that taken together, the company has interfered with cabdrivers' relationships with their clients.
NEWS
By Gwendoline Glenn | May 19, 2014
A new Main Street restaurant is the first in Laurel's Historic District to take advantage of the state law change that allows liquor licenses within 500 feet of a church. Olive on Main, which opened April 21 in the former site of Salute Italian Restaurant, is in the 500 block of Main Street and a block away from both First United Methodist Church and St. Philip's Episcopal Church. In 2013, the Maryland General Assembly passed a law amending a state law that denied establishments to serve alcohol within 500 feet of a church.
NEWS
By Yvonne Wenger, The Baltimore Sun | April 27, 2014
Want to see what gifts Baltimore's elected officials and government workers have received? You can check out the details online, but you first have to make a stop at City Hall to sign up. The city's Ethics Board says it is not allowed to make the process totally digital because of a requirement, based on a state law, that individuals show up once in person, show identification and fill out a contact form. The city is among the first local governments to provide online access to the records, which also include disclosure of certain loans, family income sources and business relationships.
BUSINESS
By Jamie Smith Hopkins, The Baltimore Sun | February 21, 2014
Ralph Jaffe, a perennial candidate for governor, said he is suing Baltimore Gas and Electric Co. for $1 billion over a power outage response he called illegally slow. Jaffe said his Pikesville home lost power during the Feb. 5 ice storm and remained out for two days, which he alleges in his suit is a violation of the state's Electricity Service Quality and Reliability Act. He said BGE paid for far too few crews to work on the problem. "The people have to know that the real reason why they suffer is that BGE lowballs the number of crews that they make available, and they take that money saved from the restoration responsibilities and give it to the stockholders," said Jaffe, a volunteer teacher who is running as a Democrat in the state gubernatorial race.
NEWS
February 17, 2014
Even after paying their debt to society, millions of Americans who have been imprisoned for committing a crime remain unable to exercise the most fundamental right of citizens in a democracy. State laws that bar felons from voting after their release - in some cases for the rest of their lives - undermine their efforts to rehabilitate themselves as productive members of society and disproportionately affect minorities, who make up more than a third of the nearly 6 million people affected by such laws.
NEWS
By Liz Atwood and Liz Atwood,SUN STAFF | June 24, 1996
OAKLAND -- Steve and Flora Dirlik found their idyllic vacation retreat 200 miles from home, on 5 wooded acres in the mountains of Garrett County. But the Silver Spring couple didn't go far enough to escape the problems of suburbia.Traffic on their gravel road is increasing. Someone broke into their log cabin. The deer, bear and beaver that were once their neighbors are fleeing to a nearby state park.And the Dirliks wonder whether the flow of Baltimore and Washington suburbanites to the county will ever end. "I'd like to see a way to stop the growth," Flora Dirlik says.
NEWS
By Walter F. Roche Jr. and David Nitkin and Walter F. Roche Jr. and David Nitkin,SUN STAFF | April 25, 2003
A Prince George's Circuit Court judge declared unconstitutional yesterday a state law barring the payment of Election Day poll workers, and threw out criminal charges against three workers tied to Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr.'s 2002 election campaign. In an eight-page decision issued just six days after a hearing, Judge Richard H. Sothoron Jr. said the 1979 law improperly infringed on guaranteed free-speech rights and had been interpreted to give "carte blanche authority" to restrict Election Day activities.
NEWS
By Paul G. Pinsky | February 11, 2014
Maryland has long been considered among the bluest of blue states, firmly in the Democratic camp. Its recent progressive record on social justice has only further burnished that reputation: passing the Dream Act to allow in-state college tuition - and college affordability - for young immigrants, marriage equality, abolition of the death penalty and legislation to restrict gun violence. When it comes to corporate tax justice, however, Maryland has seen only red. The state has allowed many of the very largest multi-state, multi-national corporations operating here to use a tax avoidance scheme resulting in the loss of hundreds of millions of dollars in state corporate taxes and, sadly, placing Maryland-only businesses at a distinct competitive disadvantage.
HEALTH
By Jean Marbella, Justin George and Erin Cox, The Baltimore Sun | January 28, 2014
Barry Considine still has to buy marijuana illegally, as he has since he first asked around a biker bar for it to help treat his post-polio syndrome. Ken Kopper still fears another possession arrest for using it to ease chronic pain resulting from a couple of car accidents. And Gail Rand still can only watch from afar as a boy in Colorado who has the same form of epilepsy as her 4-year-old son has become seizure-free after regularly ingesting an oil derived from marijuana. "There's a plant out there that can help my son, and he can't get it," said Rand, whose son Logan has an average of 10 seizures a day. "I'm not willing to give up. Something has to help my child.
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