Comptroller seeks more powers to combat tax fraud

Legislation supported by Maryland Comptroller Peter Franchot and Gov. Larry Hogan would give new powers to the comptroller’s office to combat tax fraud. Testifying Tuesday before the House Judiciary Committee, Franchot, a Democrat, asked lawmakers to “give me the power to make a difference here.” At a summit he hosted last month, Franchot said it’s “an existential threat to our agency that tax fraud is increasing.”

State House Democrats propose legislation aimed at Trump policies

Democratic lawmakers in Annapolis announced five priorities Tuesday aimed at resisting policy efforts by President Donald Trump’s administration and the Republican-controlled Congress. One would withdraw all of Maryland’s past calls for a constitutional convention, another would direct the attorney general to oppose “harmful” federal policies, two would create commissions to monitor health and financial regulatory developments at the federal level, and the fifth would instruct the state’s congressional delegation and governor to resist any effort to repeal the Affordable Care Act.

Maryland grows more politically polarized, like rest of U.S.

While Maryland voted for the Democratic candidate in 2016 for the seventh straight presidential election, a deepening Republican loyalty in more rural areas of the state indicates increased polarization throughout Maryland. While liberal-leaning urban areas helped Hillary Clinton secure Maryland’s 10 electoral votes and Democratic candidates won all but one U.S. House seat Tuesday, the state’s liberal base didn’t perform according to expectations.

Advocates seek immunity for young victims of sex trafficking, but police object

A state workgroup is recommending that juvenile victims of human trafficking will not be prosecuted for sex crimes in Maryland, despite objections from law enforcement. From 2012 to October of this year, 82 girls in Maryland were confirmed as victims of human trafficking. Police say youth victims of human trafficking are usually recovered in areas near airports with higher population density, and often come from low-income families with a history of neglect and substance abuse.

New Maryland laws take effect Oct. 1: drunk driving, police conduct, equal pay

This Saturday, many of the laws passed during this year’s General Assembly session go into effect. Some key new laws Oct. 1 include measures to : require ignition interlocks for drunk driving and increase penalties for killing people while driving drunk; to
make drivers carry cards showing current insurance coverage; to expand protections for equal pay for equal work and employees discussing their salaries; to improve public oversight of the police; to encourage more reporting of child abuse and neglect; and
withhold tax refunds for people with outstanding arrest warrants;. Other new laws deal with solar hookups, pesticides that kill bees, freedom of the press for students, and gambling on card games and mahjong at home (no kidding).