Baltimore City Council passes new, tighter ethics rules after Pugh scandal

The Baltimore City Council unanimously passed Monday new, tighter ethics regulations in the aftermath of the self-dealing scandal and resignation of former Democratic Mayor Catherine Pugh. The council voted to pass 15-0 to back legislation from Democratic City Councilman Ryan Dorsey to require people filing financial disclosure forms to list all directorships they hold, not just those at entities that do business with the city. Pugh didn’t mention her role as a University of Maryland Medical System board member on forms she filed while mayor, although she disclosed it when she sought the office. (Balt. Sun)

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Planned Parenthood leaves federal family planning program

Planned Parenthood said Monday it’s pulling out of the federal family planning program rather than abide by a new Trump administration rule prohibiting clinics from referring women for abortions. Alexis McGill Johnson, Planned Parenthood’s acting president and CEO, said the organization’s nationwide network of health centers would remain open and strive to make up for the loss of federal money. But she predicted that many low-income women who rely on Planned Parenthood services would “delay or go without” care. (News-Post)

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‘Red Flag’ Laws Can Play A Role In Preventing Mass Shootings, Study Says

Determining how to prevent mass shootings in the United States has been a complicated debate, but there’s new evidence that one intervention could play a role in reducing the violence: “red flag” orders. Extreme risk protection order laws, colloquially known as “red flag” or ERPO laws, allow the temporary removal of guns from people deemed at high risk of harming themselves or others. They’ve been presented as possible solutions to help prevent the mass shootings that plague the United States. (CNN)

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Lawmakers considering recreational pot urged to think like users

Lawmakers are being advised to change their thinking on how they would tax and regulate recreational marijuana if they ultimately decide Maryland should join the few states that have legalized possession and use of the drug by adults. The advice comes on the heels of newly released research that suggests tax revenue would be highly volatile and susceptible to pressure from existing medical markets and even the black market. John Hudak, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, told members of the legislature’s joint Marijuana Legalization Workgroup Monday that legalizing recreational use of the drug would never fully eliminate illegal sales. (Daily Record)

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Democrats vow to move ahead with Kirwan school funding, reject Hogan ‘fear-mongering’ over potential tax hikes

Democrats vowed Monday to move forward with finding funding for an overhaul to make Maryland schools “world class," rejecting Gov. Larry Hogan’s remarks to county officials that raised the specter of massive tax increases to pay for the plan’s goals. Hogan warned those attending the Maryland Association of Counties conference Saturday in Ocean City that the plans of the so-called Kirwan commission for the state’s public schools will be too expensive. He called them “well-meaning," but “half-baked" and “fiscally irresponsible.” (Balt. Sun)

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‘Ready to throw officers under the bus’: Baltimore police feel angst over leadership, consent decree

Many Baltimore Police officers say making an arrest can be nerve-wracking because they feel overburdened by documenting even necessary force, they worry they will be harshly punished for their actions and they don’t feel supported by commanders, according to a recent report. “They’re ready to throw police officers under the bus to appease the media and don’t support us even when our actions are appropriate,” one officer was quoted as saying. (Balt. Sun)

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Baltimore County’s Olszewski names 4 to top jobs, including 2 former General Assembly allies

Two members of the General Assembly are leaving for newly created jobs in the administration of Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewski Jr. Olszewski on Monday named Del. Eric Bromwell to serve as the county’s first opioid strategy coordinator and Del. Stephen Lafferty as its chief sustainability officer, a position that will focus on climate change, green energy and development. Both were Democratic colleagues of Olszewski’s during his days in the General Assembly. (Balt. Sun)

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And Still More Notes from MACo

Boardwalk bros. Gov. Lawrence J. Hogan Jr. (R) and Comptroller Peter V.R. Franchot (D) took their bipartisan show on the road Friday, meeting each other for a midday walk down the Ocean City boardwalk for some fries, pizza and photos. The pair were barely on the boardwalk before Franchot pulled out a signature coin to present to a retired Korean War veteran, William A. Campion Sr., 85, who said he spends time “just about every day” handing out balloon animals to children who pass by. Hogan soon reached out to hand over one of his own coins, commenting that it was a much rarer gesture than the comptroller’s. (Md. Matters) 

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