State Roundup: Judge strikes down Maryland’s digital ad tax; grass-roots opposition grows to recreational cannabis

State Roundup: Judge strikes down Maryland’s digital ad tax; grass-roots opposition grows to recreational cannabis

The state Supreme Court has agreed to hear the comptroller's office appeal of a lower court ruling that struck down Maryland's first-in-the-nation tax on digital advertising. The funds were going to benefit Maryland schools. Photo by Austin Distel on Unsplash

JUDGE STRIKES DOWN STATE DIGITAL AD TAX: A judge struck down Maryland’s digital advertising tax Monday in Anne Arundel Circuit Court, ruling that the first-in-the-nation law was unconstitutional. In a ruling from the bench, Judge Alison L. Asti decided in favor of Verizon and Comcast, which filed a challenge in state court in 2021 against Maryland Comptroller Peter Franchot. Cassidy Jensen/The Capital Gazette.

  • The law also violates the federal Internet Tax Freedom Act’s prohibition on discriminatory taxes on online services insofar as Maryland does not similarly tax non-digital advertising, Asti said. Steve Lash/The Daily Record.

GRASS-ROOTS OPPOSITION GROWS TO RECREATIONAL CANNABIS: Although various polls show a majority of voters support a ballot measure to legalize recreational use of cannabis, Heidi Rochon of Caroline County on the Eastern Shore is part of a grass-roots movement that says no. She is executive director for the Parent Action Network. Part of her work is a grass-roots effort through Protect Maryland Kids, which informs voters through word of mouth and its website about why it opposes Question 4, the statewide ballot question on whether to legalize adult cannabis recreational use. William Ford/Maryland Matters.

STATE HEALTH DEPT PLANS MOVE TO METRO WEST: The Maryland Department of Health is planning to move its headquarters into the south building of the Metro West complex near Lexington Market. The Board of Public Works has added the planned move to its agenda and could approve the contract at a hearing later this month. According to the agenda, the state agency will pay more than $12 million annually to lease nearly 500,000 square feet at Metro West. Giacomo Bologna/The Baltimore Sun.

HOGAN URGES HOPKINS HEALTH, INSURER TO FIND AGREEMENT: A lingering contract dispute between the state’s largest health care system and its biggest insurance carrier is threatening to disrupt the health coverage that hundreds of thousands of Marylanders rely on — and Gov. Larry Hogan is urging the two sides to resolve their differences as quickly as possible. The dispute centers around the reimbursement rates Johns Hopkins receives for care provided by thousands of its doctors, nurses and other health care professionals. Hospitalization services are covered under a separate agreement. Bruce DePuyt/Maryland Matters.

EDITORIAL: POST BACKS GLASSMAN FOR COMPTROLLER: Barry Glassman is a traditional Republican who rejects the GOP’s MAGA wing and would take a restrained approach to the office of the comptroller, managing it as intended by the state’s laws and constitution. He represents the only realistic chance in this election cycle for any Republican to win statewide office in Maryland. Editorial Board/The Washington Post.

OPINION: WE HAVE FAILED THE BAY: The substance of the annual meeting of the Chesapeake Bay Executive Council, an advisory committee of Bay region governors and the EPA, was bleak: After decades of effort and billions of dollars spent, the most recent Bay cleanup plan was going to end far from meeting its goals by the deadline of 2025. That meant the failure of the third regional Bay cleanup agreement in a quarter century, with previous cleanup plans also failing in 2000 and 2010. Tom Pelton/Maryland Matters.

SINCLAIR BEEFS UP TERM-LIMIT EFFORT WITH $140,000: Sinclair Broadcast Group chairman David Smith has given an additional $140,000 to the effort to create term limits for Baltimore elected officials, bringing his total investment in the ballot question to $525,000, campaign finance reports show. Emily Opilo/The Baltimore Sun.

THIAM, GROSSMAN IN DISTRICT 2B DELEGATE RACE: Voters casting ballots in the Maryland District 2B state delegate race in the upcoming general election will choose between Republican incumbent Brenda Thiam and Democrat Brooke Grossman. Thiam defeated Thomas Stolz in the Republican primary on July 19, and Grossman won in a race against Ladetra Robinson in her party’s primary. Dave McMillon/The Hagerstown Herald-Mail.

HOWARD TEACHERS, SCHOOL OK COVID LEAVE POLICY: The Howard County teachers union and public school system reached an agreement earlier this month to provide paid administrative leave to staff who test positive for COVID-19 this school year, marking the continuation of a key pandemic-era support policy. Ethan Ehrenhaft/Baltimore Sun Media.

FOR U.S. ATTY GEN BEN CIVILETTI DIES AT 87: Benjamin R. Civiletti, a former U.S. attorney general who served from 1979 to 1981 during the Carter administration, a retired partner and chairman emeritus of Venable LLP and an advocate for the abolishment of capital punishment, died Sunday evening of Parkinson’s at his Lutherville home. He was 87. Fred Rasmussen and Jacques Kelly/The Baltimore Sun.

About The Author

Cynthia Prairie

Contributing Editor Cynthia Prairie has been a newspaper editor since 1979, when she began working at The Raleigh Times. Since then, she has worked for The Baltimore News American, The Chicago Sun-Times, The Prince George’s Journal and Baltimore County newspapers in the Patuxent Publishing chain, including overseeing The Jeffersonian when it was a two-day a week business publication. Cynthia has won numerous state awards, including the Maryland State Bar Association’s Gavel Award. Besides compiling and editing the daily State Roundup, she runs her own online newspaper, The Chester Telegraph. If you have additional questions or comments contact Cynthia at:

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