Dan Rupli

CORRECTED: Seven senators get free ride to reelection; Rupli returns to the fray

SEVEN members of the Maryland Senate, three Republicans and FOUR Democrats, are getting a free ride to reelection, with no opponents in either the primary or general election.

Tuesday was the deadline for party Central Committees to fill vacancies in races where candidates had no opponents. A few senators and delegates did pick up opponents nominated by their parties.

Assembly leaders back cutting estate taxes, but opponents knock break for wealthy

General Assembly leaders say they are fearful wealthy Maryland residents are moving out of state because of Maryland’s high estate tax and are promoting legislation that would cut the “death tax”

Maryland imposes a tax when property is transferred from the deceased to a living relative, if that property is valued at more than $1 million -- the tax caps at 16% of the entire estate.

Three bills seek to overhaul legislative redistricting process

Maryland’s controversial legislative redistricting is again the target of bills designed to overhaul the process and make it less partisan. Legislators are trying to introduce transparency and civic participation into the redistricting procedure, which now leaves the governor in control and the process wide open to political gerrymandering.

Marijuana legislation could save millions or cost taxpayers more

Two bills aiming to decriminalize or legalize marijuana heard in a Senate committee last week could potentially bring in millions in new revenue for the state, or could wind up costing taxpayers more than ever.

Proponents of the bills point to possible savings on jail time, courts and police, not to mention extra income from taxes on what is now illegal.

State board gives local election officials 12% pay raise

The State Board of Elections voted unanimously Thursday to give county election directors and their deputies a 12% salary increase.

Local election officials have not received a pay raise in 14 years. The board also took no formal action to rein in Lamone’s authority, as some board members had proposed earlier this month.