State House as sun sets

Md. legislators get high marks from consumer group — but not GOP

A consumer advocacy group is giving state lawmakers high scores for passing laws in the 2014 General Assembly session that raise the minimum wage and reduce the impact of foreclosures.

The Maryland Consumer Rights Coalition, a nonprofit whose mission includes advancing fairness and justice for consumers, also released four-year scores that depicted state lawmakers as generally favorable to consumer issues. Only nine of 47 senators and 46 of 141 delegates got four-year scores lower than 80%.

Extra tax break for ‘House of Cards’ folds in final hour

Six lawmakers, three from each chamber of the Maryland General Assembly, standing in a ring in the House of Delegates lounge at a half hour before midnight, vehemently haggling over a single bill.

They had only 30 minutes before the close of the 2014 session, and they needed to find middle ground on legislation that would grant the popular Netflix drama an additional $3.5 million in tax dollars.

Budget agreement reached, ditching provisions on stormwater, House of Cards

House and Senate negotiators working out their differences in the $38.7 billion state budget reached agreement Thursday evening, eliminating provisions on stormwater fees and “House of Cards” property. An alternative to the stormwater remediation fee proposed by Anne Arundel Sen. James DeGrange was ultimately eliminated from the Budget Reconciliation and Financing Act (BRFA).

Preventing House of Cards departure might not be legal

Legislative life mimicked legislative fiction last week when Del. Bill Frick successfully introduced an unforeseen amendment to the budget that stipulates the state could seize the property of “House of Cards” if its producers abandon the state, as they have threatened.
But there’s a question if the use of this power is even legal.

Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown, right, and his running mate, Howard County Executive Ken Ulman

At the first mile-marker in the money race for the 2014 campaign

Money can’t buy you love, but in campaigns, it can buy you lots of other things: attention, status, respect, advertising, mailers, staff and headlines. The candidates with the most money don’t always win. But they win most of the time since they often happen to be incumbents. An incumbent in any office with solid money in the bank, high name recognition and low negatives will win.