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8:54 am
Thu February 5, 2015

Rallying for Sunday Deer Hunting

Credit creative commons

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) - Hunting enthusiasts are rallying in Annapolis in favor of more Sunday hunting.

The Maryland Hunting Coalition is sponsoring Thursday's event. The group supports a bill in the General Assembly to allow Sunday deer hunting in Baltimore County, one of three that prohibit the practice. The others are Howard and Prince George's counties.

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Local News
8:47 am
Thu February 5, 2015

Ethics Bill Moves Forward in Virginia General Assembly

Former Governor Bob McDonnell and Maureen McDonnell
Credit official photos

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - An overhaul of Virginia's ethics laws governing public officials is advancing in the General Assembly.

The legislation was prompted by the conviction of Republican former Gov. Bob McDonnell last year on federal corruption charges.

A Republican-controlled House of Delegates subcommittee endorsed a measure Wednesday that would reduce the current $250 cap on gifts to public officials to $100. The bill would also eliminate the exemption in current law that places no cap on so-called intangible gifts such as meals, travel and entertainment.

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Local News
8:42 am
Thu February 5, 2015

Efforts to Block Fracking in Western Maryland

Credit creative commons

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) - A Maryland lawmaker is hoping to block the start of a hotly debated natural gas drilling method in the western part of the state.

Del. David Fraser-Hidalgo, a Democrat from Montgomery County, is set to announce a proposed moratorium on fracking during a news conference in Annapolis on Thursday.

Fracking is a style of natural gas drilling in which water, sand and chemicals are blasted underground, shaking loose rocks and releasing gas.

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Local News
8:39 am
Thu February 5, 2015

Jailed VA Lawmaker Supports Right to Porn by Inmates

Del. Joe Morrissey (D-Va)
Credit wikipedia

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - A Virginia lawmaker who spends his nights in jail is opposing a measure aimed at keeping pornography out of the hands of inmates.

Del. Joe Morrissey voted Wednesday against a bill that would prohibit inmates from possessing obscene material.

The bill passed by a broad majority and its sponsor said the state's wardens support the measure so that they can keep "hard-core" pornography out of the hands of inmates.

But Morrissey told reporters that the measure won't survive legal challenges and noted that he is a former constitutional law professor.

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Local News
11:53 am
Wed February 4, 2015

Strong Backing for Elected School Board in Wicomico County

Credit Wicomico County School logo

Wicomico County could soon have an elected school board.

Last night there was almost unanimous support from those attended a public hearing by the Board of Education.

Harry Basehart said that it should follow the model set by Caroline County where the board reflects the gender, ethnic and racial diversity of the local residents.  

Many complained that the Board is accountable to the governor not the county residents even though education takes up half of the Wicomico County budget.

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Local News
10:00 am
Wed February 4, 2015

Maryland Gov. Hogan's 2015 State of the State Address

Live video feed begins January 4th at Noon.

video courtesy Maryland Public Television

DPR Programming Notes
8:51 am
Wed February 4, 2015

Annapolis Summit 2015 Highlights

Credit creative commons

Recorded January 30th at the Governor Calvert House in  Annapolis, MD.

The Marc Steiner Show

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Local News
8:35 am
Wed February 4, 2015

MD Governor Set to Give First State of the State Address

Governor Larry Hogan (R-Md)
Credit change maryland website

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) - Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan will be delivering his first State of the State speech.

The speech, which is scheduled for noon on Wednesday in Annapolis, is expected to provide more detail about Hogan's main goals for the legislative session.

Doug Mayer, a spokesman for the governor, says Hogan plans to outline his legislative agenda in the speech, which will take place in the House of Delegates.

He also says Hogan will talk about some tax relief the Republican governor is backing this session.

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Local News
8:27 am
Wed February 4, 2015

Hogan Sets Aside $25 Million for Roads

Credit Don Rush

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) - Gov. Larry Hogan has set aside $25 million to help local governments make road repairs.

Hogan, a Republican, released a supplemental budget on Tuesday that includes the money.

Municipal governments will get $19 million and county governments will get $4 million. The city of Baltimore is slated to get $2 million.

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Local News
8:24 am
Wed February 4, 2015

Death Row Inmate Seeks Lesser Sentence Despite Commutation to Life

Jody Lee Miles
Credit mugshot

SALISBURY, Md. (AP) - A Maryland inmate whose death sentence was commuted to life in prison is hoping to argue for less time behind bars.

On Jan. 20, former Gov. Martin O'Malley commuted the death sentences of four inmates who had been sentenced before the state banned capital punishment in 2013. Among them was Jody Lee Miles, convicted in the 1997 robbery and murder of Edward Atkinson in Wicomico County.

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Local News
8:21 am
Wed February 4, 2015

Environmentalists and Agriculture Agree on Conowingo Dam

Conowingo Dam
Credit Exelon Corp. website

There’s legislation in the Maryland General Assembly that would urge Congress to do something about the state of the Conowingo Dam.

The dam is blamed for sediment flowing into the bay which contains harmful nutrients such as phosphorus and nitrogen when the dam floods.

The Maryland Senate resolution wants the Congress to get the Army Corps of Engineers to conduct a study on the state of pollution at the dam.

Last November a $1.4 million study found that cutting pollution into the bay would fall mostly only the shoulders of agricultural communities.

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Local News
8:16 am
Wed February 4, 2015

Cigarette Tax Hike Could Promote Healthier Living

Credit Don Rush

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) - Supporters of a tax hike on cigarette packs are hoping the higher price will also increase healthier living.

The Healthy Maryland Initiative is set for a hearing Wednesday before a Senate committee. The proposed legislation would increase the state's tobacco tax by one dollar per pack.

Advocates for the bill say the additional revenue could help fill gaps in health care coverage for pregnant women and contribute dollars toward overall public health care needs.

The bill is being proposed by Sen. Rich Madaleno, a Montgomery County Democrat.

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Local News
8:12 am
Wed February 4, 2015

Delaware Asks Dismissal of Lawsuit by All-Girls Charter School

Reach Academy for Girls
Credit charter school website

DOVER, Del. (AP) - Attorneys for Delaware's Department of Education are asking a federal judge to dismiss a lawsuit by a struggling, predominantly black all-girls charter school trying to stave off a second state-ordered closure.

DOE attorneys argued in court papers Tuesday that the state's decision not to renew the charter of Reach Academy for Girls in New Castle doesn't amount to intentional gender discrimination, especially because another all-girls charter school could open in the future.

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Local News
8:01 am
Wed February 4, 2015

Wallops Group Emphasizes Non-Military Attractions

Wallops Island Flight Facility
Credit nasa.gov

There’s been a name change for a group supporting the development of the Wallops Flight Facility.

The business group is now called the Wallops Island Regional Alliances.

That’s a shift from the Eastern Shore Defense Alliance.

Chairman of the organization Peter Bale told the Salisbury Daily Times that the group wanted to move away from the emphasis on the military applications.

The flight facility has placed more emphasis on private commercial rocket launches.

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Local News
7:57 am
Wed February 4, 2015

Tie-Breaker for VA Sexual Orientation Job Discrimination Bill

Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam (D-Va)
Credit campaign website

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - Thanks to a tie-breaking vote by Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam, the Republican-controlled Virginia Senate has passed a bill prohibiting discrimination in public employment on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.

It was the first tie-breaking vote of the 2015 legislative session by Northam, a Democrat.

Two Republicans, Sens. Jill Holtzman Vogel of Fauquier County and John Watkins of Powhatan County, joined minority Democrats in support of the bill, resulting in a 19-19 tie.

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Local News
7:45 am
Wed February 4, 2015

MD Congressman Objects to Access Fees for C&O Canal Park

Chesapeake and Ohio Canal
Credit Davis Bacon / creative commons

HAGERSTOWN, Md. (AP) - U.S. Rep. John Delaney is asking the National Park Service to abandon its proposal to impose access fees along the entire, 185-mile length of the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Historical Park.

The Maryland Democrat sent the letter Tuesday to agency Director Jon Jarvis. Delaney says the proposed fees would be a burden on his constituents. He says the park's financial challenges should be addressed through the budget and appropriations process.

The park currently charges entrance fees only at Great Falls Tavern in Potomac.

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Local News
7:40 am
Wed February 4, 2015

Reducing Senior's Tax Credit in Delaware, Unlikely

Senator Bruce Ennis (D-Smyrna)
Credit legis.delaware.gov

Delaware lawmakers said no to Governor Jack Markell’s proposal to cut $12.6 million in property tax breaks for seniors.

The plan cuts in half the $500 state subsidy paid to seniors to help with their tax bills.

During a hearing by the Joint Finance Committee yesterday Senator Bruce Ennis told the governor’s budget officials that the reduction would be difficult to get through the General Assembly.

It’s part of Markell’s effort to balance his $3.9 billion budget which still goes up by 2.4 percent over current levels.

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Local News
10:41 am
Tue February 3, 2015

Results Are In From Medical Examiner for Mansion Fire

Credit junior libby / creative commons

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) - Maryland's medical examiner's office says six family members killed in a massive mansion fire died of thermal injuries and smoke inhalation.
 
The Office of the Chief Medical Examiner released its findings confirming the deaths were accidental on Monday. Don and Sandra Pyle and their four grandchildren were killed in the Jan. 20 fire near Annapolis, caused after an electric spark spread to a 15-foot Christmas tree.
 
The blaze reduced a 16,000-square-foot riverfront mansion to ashes.
 

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Local News
10:03 am
Tue February 3, 2015

Fix-It Plan for West Salisbury Elementary School, Tour Questioned

Wicomico County Executive Bob Culver
Credit Don Rush

It’s a fix-it strategy for the West Salisbury Elementary School.

Wicomico County Executive Bob Culver has opted to make improvements in the aging structure rather than building a new facility.

Wicomico County released a report on the building needs and the fix-it strategy will come at a much lower price tag.

*****

Tour

(Questions Raised About Culver's Private Tour of School -- Salisbury Daily Times)

*****

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Local News
9:55 am
Tue February 3, 2015

Protesting Hogan's Education Budget

Credit Don rush

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) - Supporters of finding more room in Maryland's budget for education are launching a website to show how a current budget plan would affect school districts.

House Speaker Michael Busch is scheduled to be joined by Maryland State Education Association President Betty Weller on Tuesday in Annapolis, along with PTA President Ray Leone.

They are criticizing Gov. Larry Hogan's budget plan, because it scales back funding by roughly $144 million less than what schools were expecting to receive, based on past budgets in recent years.

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Local News
9:51 am
Tue February 3, 2015

Paid Sick Leave Would Save MD Businesses $13 Million (Update)

Credit courtney carmody / creative commons

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) - Supporters of a bill that would allow employees in Maryland to earn paid sick leave say the benefits of healthy employees outweigh the cost to employers.
 
A cost-benefit analysis conducted by the Institute for Women's Policy Research found that providing employees with an opportunity to earn paid sick leave would save Maryland businesses $13 million annually.
 
The figure was provided Tuesday during a press conference in Annapolis, ahead of a hearing on the Maryland Healthy Working Families Act.
 

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Local News
9:45 am
Tue February 3, 2015

Medical Confidentiality for Domestic Abuse Survivors

Credit creative commons

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) - Maryland officials are holding a briefing on a new law that ensures privacy of confidential medical information for survivors of domestic violence.

The law, which was passed last year, will be outlined Tuesday in Annapolis. It applies to victims who seek reproductive health care, mental health or medical treatment or counseling.

The hearing is being held to detail how a new form that the Maryland Insurance Administration uses to help to insure privacy and security. 

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Local News
9:39 am
Tue February 3, 2015

Grades May Not Be Just for Students Anymore

Credit hamiltonik12.nj.us

Students may not be the only ones getting a letter grade in Delaware.

The state Department of Education is looking at giving grades to schools as way to rank them.

Jay Owens, a member of the Academic Framework Working Group, said parents want to know how their school is doing in comparison to other schools.

A survey sent to 65-hundred parents, teachers and students found that a majority indicated they wanted a report card system for schools.

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Local News
9:33 am
Tue February 3, 2015

Delaware Lawmakers Begin Budget Process

Credit Don Rush

DOVER, Del. (AP) - Members of the General Assembly's budget-writing committee are set to begin hearings and discussion on Gov. Jack Markell's proposed $3.9 billion operating budget for the upcoming fiscal year.

The Joint Finance Committee was to convene Tuesday to begin a monthlong series of hearings on individual agency budget requests.

The committee was to begin its work with an overview of state revenues and Markell's budget proposal, followed by individual agency hearings for the state budget office and the Delaware National Guard.

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Local News
9:29 am
Tue February 3, 2015

VA Same-Sex Married Couples Get Names on Birth Certificates

Credit equality virginia website

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - Civil liberties lawyers are applauding Virginia's registrar of vital records for outlining new procedures to ensure the children of same-sex married couples are properly recorded by hospitals.

Registrar Janet M. Rainey outlined the procedures in a late January letter.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Virginia said the change is important to ensure that the children of same-sex married couples have the same legal protections as all married couples.

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Local News
9:24 am
Tue February 3, 2015

VA Governor and GOP Lawmakers Divided Over Ethics Bills

Former Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell and Former Virginia First Lady Maureen McDonnell
Credit official photos

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - Democratic Gov. Terry McAuliffe and the Republican-controlled General Assembly appear to agree they need to toughen Virginia's public ethics laws, but they disagree on how tough they should be.

Lawmakers have introduced dozens of ethics bills in the wake of former Republican Gov. Bob McDonnell's conviction on corruption charges last year. The first public airing of those proposals came Monday at a meeting of a House ethics subcommittee.

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Local News
9:08 am
Tue February 3, 2015

Army Corps of Engineers Speeds Up Dredging in Delaware River

Delaware River
Credit creative commons

The Army Corps of Engineers has approved speeding up $62.5 million for deepening the main channel of the Delaware River for the current budget year.

The agency wants to make sure that the entire 102 mile project is done by 2017.

Most of the money will go toward dredging, blasting and rock  removal on a portion just north of Edgemoor near the Philadelphia International Airport.

The Wilmington News Journal reports that the schedule was moved up to make sure that contractors could meet restrictions that limit work to a December 1st through March 15th time frame.

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Local News
9:02 am
Tue February 3, 2015

Two Maryland Replacement Senators Sworn In

Senators Andrew Serafini and Justin Ready
Credit msa.maryland.gov

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) - Two Maryland lawmakers were sworn in as senators to replace their peers who moved on to be part of Gov. Larry Hogan's administration.

Sen. Andrew Serafini, R-Washington, replaces former Sen. Christopher Shank, whom Hogan appointed as the executive director of the Governor's Office of Crime Control and Prevention.

Sen. Justin Ready, R-Carroll, takes the seat formerly filled by Sen. Joseph Getty, who now serves as chief legislative officer for the Hogan administration.

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Local News
8:45 am
Tue February 3, 2015

$1 Million Grant to Create Jobs in Delaware

Credit Don Rush

A Newark based network management company aimed at creating jobs in Delaware has been given a million dollars by the state’s Council on Development Finance.

SevOne was launched by the University of Delaware graduates in conjunction with the school system’s Science, Technology and Advanced Research program.

The Delaware Strategic Fund Performance grant of $956-thousand will give SevOne between $4-thousand and $7-thousand for each new job the company creates.

The money is tied to a job’s starting salary.

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Local News
8:21 am
Tue February 3, 2015

Maryland Lawmakers to Introduce Death With Dignity Bill

Credit creative commons

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) - Two lawmakers are planning to introduce a bill that would allow terminally ill people in Maryland to end their lives.

According to a draft of the bill, patients given no more than six months to live would have the option of getting a prescription for lethal drugs to be used at their discretion.

The requirements for filling the prescription include a terminal diagnosis as well as oral and written consent from two doctors.

Patients are not required to take the drugs, nor are they obligated to fill the prescription.

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