Browsing the "News" Category

Senate approves online travel tax

March 24th, 2015 | by Len Lazarick

The Senate in a 32-15 vote Tuesday passed a bill its sponsors claim closes a tax loophole for online travel sites, but those companies as well as brick-and-motor travel agents are protesting it as a new tax on services


Uber and taxis duke it out over level of regulation

March 24th, 2015 | by Capital News Service

With standing room only, the battle over the ridesharing “Uber bill” began in the state Senate Finance committee Tuesday. Sponsored by Sen. Bill Ferguson, D-Baltimore, the bill would keep power in the hands of ridesharing companies to conduct their own drivers’ background checks and vehicle safety inspections rather than require state oversight


Legislation creates compliance board and ombudsman for public information requests

March 23rd, 2015 | by Maryland Reporter

Major changes are in the works for getting public records from state and local governments in Maryland designed to make the process easier, more uniform and less expensive. In a unanimous vote, a Senate committee brought legislation to the floor Monday night that will create a new Public Information Act Compliance Board to oversee fees. It will also establish that those fees must be actual costs to assemble the records -- with the first two hours free -- and create a new ombudsman in the office of the Attorney General to mediate and offer guidance to all government agencies about requests for public records


Race and gender may help Donna Edwards in race to replace Mikulski

March 23rd, 2015 | by Glynis Kazanjian

Filling the shoes of retiring Sen. Barbara Mikulski is going to be tough, but Congresswoman Donna Edwards, a leading voice among progressives, says she's up to the task. Other prominent Maryland Democrats are considering a run for the seat, and Congressman Chris Van Hollen has already announced his candidacy, carrying a similar progressive torch - including advocating for women's rights


Why the Purple Line makes sense

March 23rd, 2015 | by Maryland Reporter

In response to last week's commentary opposing the proposed Purple Line, Richard Parsons, vice chair of the Suburban Maryland Transportation Alliance, describes why it should be built


Removing mandatory minimum sentences for some drug crimes stokes House debate

March 22nd, 2015 | by Rebecca Lessner

Proposing to remove the mandatory 10-year minimum sentence for those convicted of drug crimes, one delegate came under fire on the House floor for putting his faith in the court system. Under HB 121, judges will no longer impose minimum sentences, but be given a maximum cap on the amount of years dished out: 20 years for first-time offenders


Rascovar: Pension move betrayed state workers

March 22nd, 2015 | by Barry Rascovar

Once again, the House of Delegate took the easy way out of its budget bind -- and in the process stuck it to future state workers, teachers and taxpayers. The Senate is on a glide path that follows that same flawed approach. Instead of facing up to its fiduciary pension obligations, Annapolis delegates opted to play games, placing at risk the safety of state retirement programs


Online travel firms claim bill is new tax, legislators say it closes loophole

March 19th, 2015 | by Len Lazarick

Is a bill targeting online travel companies creating a new tax on services, as opponents claim, or an attempt to close a loophole and collect sales tax on hotel charges the companies are pocketing for themselves? Those are the key issues the state Senate will be debating Friday as it takes up SB190 that passed out of its Budget and Taxation Committee Wednesday


Aiding some ex-offenders troubles one delegate

March 19th, 2015 | by Rebecca Lessner

“Power to the criminal,” said the legislator standing on the House floor, shaking his fist in the air. “This is the year of the criminal, apparently.” It is not unusual for Del. Patrick McDonough, the populist conservative from Middle River, to be the lone rabble rouser on legislation. But Thursday morning’s display of confusion and upset stemmed from his belief that more and more bills this year are rewarding criminals with earlier releases or softer penalties



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