Governor Hogan Requests More Temporary Visas for Seasonal Seafood Workers

Governor Larry Hogan sent a letter to the Trump administration Tuesday advocating for more H-2B visas in response to labor shortages in Maryland's seafood industry. He estimates that another year of unaddressed shortages could permanently damage the industry. In his letter, Governor Hogan asked the Acting Homeland Security Secretary and the Secretary of Labor to help create a long-term solution to the problem that threatens the State's $355 million industry. From coverage by WMAR: In…

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General Assembly Veto Override Votes Delayed Until Next Week

Senate President Bill Ferguson and Speaker of the House Adrienne Jones announced Tuesday in their respective chambers that bills vetoed last year by Governor Larry Hogan will be taken up next week by the legislature. They were scheduled to be presented for action on the House and Senate floors this week, but have been pushed back to January 30. In 2019 Governor Hogan vetoed several pieces of legislation, the majority of which were passed with…

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Maryland Commission on Climate Change Working Group To Meet January 21st

The Maryland Department of the Environment's Commission on Climate Change Mitigation Working Group (MCCMWG) will hold its next meeting on Tuesday, January 21. MACo members and staff are encouraged to participate. When: Tuesday, January 21, 2020, 10:00 AM - 12:00 PM Where: Maryland Department of the Environment office; 1800 Washington Boulevard, Baltimore, MD 21230. From the Commission's website: The purpose of the MWG is to recommend regulatory, market-based and voluntary programs to reduce greenhouse gas…

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General Assembly Will Again Consider Carbon Tax

The Maryland General Assembly will again consider legislation that adds a tax on greenhouse gas emissions with a goal of zero emissions by 2040. The bill sponsors say Marylanders are already paying for pollution through costs associated with damage to public health and the environment.  “Our Children’s Future Act” will be introduced by Delegate Fraser-Hidalgo and Senator Kramer during the 2020 session. This will be the third time carbon tax legislation is introduced in the…

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Both Governor and General Assembly to Examine State Ethics Laws

Ethics is likely to be a large focus of the General Assembly during the 2020 Session. Recently, several elected officials in Maryland have been the subject of investigations over ethics violations. In response legislative leadership and the Governor have both stated their intent to put forth ethics reform proposals, with the Governor electing to include it as the centerpiece of his legislative package. The Governor has declared the 2020 General Assembly Session the "Accountability Session".…

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Sentinel Papers Going Out of Business

Local papers Montgomery County Sentinel and Prince George's County Sentinel are folding after over 150 years in existence. Ownership says the decision comes after the paper lost profitability in 2019.  Many local newspapers across the country are struggling to transition into the digital world of news consumption, and some have lost revenue streams in advertising. The Sentinel Papers cover topics such as local sports and entertainment in Montgomery and Prince George's Counties, along with national…

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Congressional Letter Voices Concerns Over EPA’s Chesapeake Bay Cleanup Enforcement

Twenty members of Congress wrote Friday to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) seeking answers on whether the Agency is prepared to force states to comply with Chesapeake Bay pollution reduction goals. The move comes after the Chesapeake Bay Program Director Dana Aunkst reportedly described Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) targets as "aspirational." Nine members of Maryland's congressional delegation along with eleven other members that represent the Bay area have several questions for the EPA.…

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Maryland Will Sue Pennsylvania to Protect Chesapeake Bay Restoration Efforts

Governor Hogan has directed the State Attorney General to pursue legal action against Pennsylvania and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) over failed Chesapeake Bay restoration efforts. Pennsylvania's Bay cleanup plan has been heavily criticized by environmental activists that claim it under-funds needed restoration efforts by $250 million. They also find fault with the EPA who they say has not done enough to force Pennsylvania into contributing more to reach its 2025 cleanup goals. The…

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Trump Administration Announces Big Changes to Environmental Rules

Thursday morning President Trump announced new rollbacks to decades-old environmental regulations that require impact assessments for large public works projects such as pipelines, major roads, and water infrastructure. The move could have a strong effect on the number of projects approved. The environmental changes will apply directly to the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), which the Trump administration believes is unduly decelerating the rate at which large projects are approved. "Project sponsors and ordinary Americans…

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Capital Gazette: Maryland Should Sue Pennsylvania Over Bay Cleanup Failures

The Capital Gazette editorial board weighs in, advocating that Governor Hogan sue Pennsylvania, who they say is not doing their fair share to cleanup the Chesapeake Bay. The Chesapeake Bay is a defining natural, cultural, and economic centerpiece of the state of Maryland. This unique resource has been subject to significant restoration efforts over the last decade by all levels of government in the region with varying levels of contributions. Since 2010 the EPA has…

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