County lawsuits on opioids reminiscent of tobacco lawsuits

Baltimore City and Anne Arundel, Baltimore, Cecil, Harford, and Montgomery counties claim the pharmaceutical industry expedited the epidemic by hiding or minimizing addiction risks yet aggressively marketed their products to the public and medical professionals. The counties are requesting financial relief for their costs of responding. As many as 200 U.S. cities and counties have filed or plan to file so far. The David v Goliath tactic is reminiscent of the 1990s when every state joined a suit against the tobacco industry. The $246 billion settlement against 13 corporations was reached after four years of maneuvering.

Larry Hogan faces cancer with good humor — again

Gov. Larry Hogan will probably be sporting bandages on his face for a few days, so explaining that he was having the most common form of skin cancers removed on Saturday was probably a wise way to get ahead of potentially scary news. “Scars are cool. I hate to mess with this beautiful face,” Hogan said.  

Federal tax cuts prompting Maryland tax code revision

New federal tax laws will benefit most Marylanders in the short term and especially help those with children, but are likely to reduce charitable contributions, a comprehensive analysis released Thursday by the state comptroller predicted. Without changes in state law, Maryland taxpayers will pay upward of $572 million more in state and local taxes in the 2019 fiscal year, while their combined federal tax burden would decrease by $2.8 billion, state officials said.

Conowingo, growth, climate may threaten Bay cleanup deadline

The Chesapeake cleanup effort is facing major headwinds that threaten the region’s longstanding goal to implement by 2025 all of the actions needed to restore the Bay’s health. Draft figures presented to state and federal officials in December show that the combined impact of growth, climate change and the filling of the Conowingo Dam reservoir offset much of the nitrogen reduction efforts undertaken since 2010, when the most recent Bay pollution control plan was put into place.

Broken Police Part 4: Views on police differ by neighborhood

In East Baltimore’s, Butchers Hill, neighbors worry about muggings and stolen bikes. A few miles away, in Belair-Edison, residents fear shootings are on the rise. Across town, in Seton Hill, people worry about property theft. Baltimoreans say they are tired of crime. They say they want the police to do something about it, and that they want to be able to trust the officers.

Broken Police Part 3: Civilian Review Board lacks power to hold cops accountable

Established in 1999, Baltimore’s nine-member Civilian Review Board, which is part of the Baltimore City Office of Civil Rights, was relatively unknown until recently, and for good reason. It had only one full-time investigator, a meager budget and the power only to recommend discipline against police officers, but no way to ensure that it was actually meted out.