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).

prescription drugs

Md. health group wants legislation to attack high cost of prescription drugs

With EpiPens and other prescription drugs rising in cost, families who desperately need them but do not have health insurance coverage are bearing a huge financial burden, according to community advocates. The Maryland Citizens’ Health Initiative, a coalition of more than 1,200 religious, labor, business and policy groups seeking affordable health care, wants the state legislature to address that financial burden by overhauling some of the laws governing drug pricing.

From Freedom House to Freddie Gray: Maryland well-represented in new African-American museum

Although the Smithsonian’s new National Museum of African American History and Culture opens Saturday in the heart of Washington, the state of Maryland from which D.C. was carved has a strong presence. From a freed slave house in Montgomery County to photographs of Baltimore’s unrest after Freddie Gray’s death, Maryland’s black experience throughout history is broadly represented. According to the museum’s online collection, Maryland was among the top 15 states with the most artifacts.

Pepco, Delmarva seeking higher electric rates

In less than a year, three Exelon-owned power companies have filed petitions with the Public Service Commission of Maryland to raise the price of electric bills. After Baltimore Gas and Electric Co.’s rate adjustment was granted in June, Delmarva Power and Pepco now seek to raise their prices, citing millions of dollars invested into improving their electric systems and services during the past few years. However, many, including Montgomery County councilmember Roger Berliner, said they believe these rate adjustments are unwarranted and will disproportionately affect lower-income residents already struggling to pay bills.

Wealth may be a factor in Maryland’s Olympic success

Athletes from Maryland – including Michael Phelps (Towson) and Katie Ledecky (Bethesda) – dominated at the 2016 Rio Olympics, bringing home 16 gold medals. Why did so many Olympic stars hail from Maryland? It might be because Maryland is one of the nation’s wealthiest states. And training for the Olympics is not cheap.

Bad words on license plates get reviewed by Md. high court

The Maryland Court of Appeals is considering whether the state’s Motor Vehicle Administration acted unconstitutionally in recalling vanity license plates sporting a Spanish scatological word. In 2009, John T. Mitchell of Accokeek, Maryland, requested and received vanity license plates from the Maryland MVA that read “MIERDA,” a Spanish term that translates to “s**t” or “junk.”

Construction workers by RICarr on Flickr Creative Commons

Spending on infrastructure unites candidates

With big differences in economic policy separating the presidential candidates, one researcher said there’s common ground that could help boost wages, create jobs and close the socioeconomic status gap. Alice Rivlin, senior fellow at The Brookings Institution, said tackling the nation’s deteriorating infrastructure could be an economic unifier for the nation.

Maryland delegates feel unified after Clinton’s acceptance speech

PHILADELPHIA — Maryland delegates for both Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton said they felt optimistic and united coming out of the Democratic National Convention that closed Thursday night. After a nomination acceptance speech from Clinton that made her the first woman to head a major political party’s ticket, many from the Maryland delegation emerged from the balloons and confetti saying they felt uplifted.