Workgroup: Adult-Use Cannabis Legislation Not Ready for Prime Time in 2020 Session

The leaders of the Maryland General Assembly's Marijuana Legalization Workgroup have indicated that they will not be endorsing legislation legalizing recreational use of marijuana for the upcoming 2020 session. Rather, the group will continue to study and work through the remaining legalization issues for a possible path forward in Maryland. The Baltimore Sun reports: “I think the consensus is: We are not recommending legislation this session to legalize adult use,” said Del. Kathleen Dumais, who…

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New HIV Cases in Maryland Reach 30 Year Record Low

The Maryland Department of Health has reported that in 2018 there were 997 new cases of HIV in the state -- the lowest rate of new cases in 30 years. The Washington Post reports: He [Peter DeMartino, Director of Infectious Diseases Prevention] credited the drop in HIV infections not just to the state’s efforts to protect people from acquiring the virus — including traditional methods such as safe-sex education programs and condom distribution, and access…

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New Funding for Rape Kit Testing to Help Police Departments

Police Departments across Maryland are eligible for new state and federal funding to help process rape kits. In recent years police departments have reported a significant backlog of cases. The Baltimore Sun reports: The funds include $3.5 million that is part of a new state fund for testing, plus a portion of a $2.6 million federal grant that also will help track kits and support survivors. And Baltimore County recently received a private $300,000 grant from a…

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City Police Commissioner Announces New Use of Force Policy

Baltimore City Police Commissioner Michael Harrison has released a new 15-page use of force policy. The policy, which went into effect on Sunday, covers 11 core areas and is centered around reducing and resolving conflict. From The Baltimore Sun: At Tuesday’s press conference, Harrison said officers completed “several modules” of online training courses and 16 hours of in-class, scenario-based training. Additional training on use of force will be provided to officers next year. .. The…

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Diversity Caucus to Host Reception at MACo Winter Conference

The Maryland County Officials Diversity Caucus (Diversity Caucus), a chapter organization of MACo, will host a reception at the MACo Winter Conference. The reception will be held Thursday, December 5, 2019 from 5:00 pm – 6:00 pm at the Hyatt Regency Chesapeake Bay Hotel in Cambridge Maryland. This year the reception will highlight the 2020 census and hard to count communities with remarks from Diversity Caucus Treasurer Prince George's Council Member Deni Taveras. It is…

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County Executive Seeks Stricter Security Rules to Prevent Stolen Guns

Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewski Jr. is proposing local legislation to create new licensing and security requirements for gun shops and temporary gun shows. The Secure All Firearms Effectively (SAFE) Act is scheduled to be introduced at the December 16, 2019, Baltimore County Council meeting. The goal of the bill is to better protect against burglaries where guns are stolen and end up in the hands of criminals or on the black market. Gun shops…

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Hogan Paroles Three Lifers, Convicted as Juveniles

Governor Larry Hogan has granted parole to three juvenile lifers -- the first time a Maryland governor has granted such parole in 24 years.  More than 300 people are serving life sentences in Maryland for crimes committed before they were 18 years old. Under Maryland law, an inmate serving a life term that is eligible for parole may only be paroled with the Governor's approval. Of the three individuals that were granted parole -- two…

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Symposium Showcases Policy Making Through a Racial Equity Lens

In collaboration with Associated Black Charities, the MD Center on Economic Policy, and Maryland Hunger Solutions, MACo hosted an eye-opening day-long symposium on policy making through a racial equity lens. Speakers and panelists included: A. Adar Ayira, Associated Black Charities Shelly Hettleman, Maryland House of Delegates Benjamin Orr, Maryland Center on Economic Policy Valeria, Wilson, Economic Policy Institute Michael Wilson, Maryland Hunger Solutions Aliza Wasserman, The National League of Cities Tiffany Ward, Montgomery County The event was…

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Prince George’s County Council Passes 5G Small Cell Bill

Prince George's County Council has adopted local regulations for small cells. It was one of the final actions the Council made before concluding its 2019 legislative year. It brings the county into the ranks of counties and cities across Maryland that have taken the action to regulate small cells locally. From a county council news release: Tuesday’s Council adoption of CB-058-2019 and CB-059-2019, submitted by the County Executive and concerning small wireless facilities in the County, now moves…

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Frederick Sues Vape Company Juul

Frederick County is the latest in Maryland to join a class-action lawsuit against e-cigarette company Juul and its stakeholder Altria. State and local governments across the nation are suing the companies for marketing vapes to teens as well as advertising false or misleading health claims. Montgomery County joined the suit in October. From the Frederick News-Post: Frederick County joins states California, which filed against the company Monday, and New York, which filed its own lawsuit Wednesday, according…

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