April 14, 2020 •

Three In-Person Voting Centers for April 28 Special Election

Maryland Capitol Building - Jimmy Emerson

The Maryland Board of Elections has announced there will be three in-person voting centers for the 7th Congressional District special general election on April 28. The centers are for voters who are unable to cast their ballots by mail. One […]

The Maryland Board of Elections has announced there will be three in-person voting centers for the 7th Congressional District special general election on April 28.

The centers are for voters who are unable to cast their ballots by mail.

One voting center will be located in each local jurisdiction: Baltimore City, Baltimore County, and Howard County.

The board is recommending all 7th district voters who can vote by mail do so.

Voting by mail is the safest way to vote.

However, concerns over safeguarding the voting rights of those unable to vote by mail led to the decision to open the three in-person voting centers.

The local elections boards will select the location of the in-person voting centers.

Locations will be announced no later than April 20.

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March 19, 2020 •

Maryland General Assembly Adjourns

Maryland Capitol Building - Jimmy Emerson

After shortening the session, the General Assembly managed to pass over 650 bills in three days before adjourning sine die on Wednesday March 18. Among the passed legislation is House Bill 315, which increases penalties for bribery and extends revolving […]

After shortening the session, the General Assembly managed to pass over 650 bills in three days before adjourning sine die on Wednesday March 18.

Among the passed legislation is House Bill 315, which increases penalties for bribery and extends revolving door restrictions.

House Bill 315 and other passed bills will now go to Gov. Larry Hogan who can sign, veto, or let them become law without his signature.

This does not affect lobbyist reporting.

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March 17, 2020 •

Maryland’s April Primary Elections Postponed

Maryland Capitol Building - Jimmy Emerson

Gov. Larry Hogan has announced the April primary elections have been postponed until June 2. The special election for the 7th Congressional District held by the late Rep. Elijah Cummings will still take place on April 28. However, the election […]

Gov. Larry Hogan has announced the April primary elections have been postponed until June 2.

The special election for the 7th Congressional District held by the late Rep. Elijah Cummings will still take place on April 28.

However, the election will be a mail-in only election, becoming the first federal election to shift to mail voting in response to COVID-19.

The Board of Elections will mail ballots out to all eligible voters later this month.

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March 17, 2020 •

Maryland General Assembly to End Session Early

Maryland Capitol Building - Jimmy Emerson

The General Assembly has announced the 2020 session will adjourn on Wednesday, March 18, due to concerns about COVID-19. Though they intend to reconvene the session the last week of May, lawmakers are pushing to complete legislation by Wednesday’s self-imposed […]

The General Assembly has announced the 2020 session will adjourn on Wednesday, March 18, due to concerns about COVID-19.

Though they intend to reconvene the session the last week of May, lawmakers are pushing to complete legislation by Wednesday’s self-imposed deadline.

Senate President Bill Ferguson stressed the importance of focusing and prioritizing the most important measures and policies.

Among these important measures is the budget bill constitutionally required to be completed during this session.

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March 13, 2020 •

Maryland General Assembly Closed to the Public Amid Coronavirus Concerns

Maryland Capitol Building - Jimmy Emerson

On March 12, the Maryland General Assembly announced the State House, the House and Senate office buildings, and Department of Legislative Services will be closed to the public. Only people with a state-issued credential are permitted access. Further, a mandatory […]

On March 12, the Maryland General Assembly announced the State House, the House and Senate office buildings, and Department of Legislative Services will be closed to the public.

Only people with a state-issued credential are permitted access.

Further, a mandatory telework policy has been put into effect for all non-essential personnel.

The announcement came after Gov. Larry Hogan instituted a similar telework policy for state agencies.

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January 20, 2020 •

Baltimore City Council President Seeks to Close Lobbyist Gift Loophole

Baltimore City Hall

City Council President Brandon Scott introduced a proposed ordinance in an attempt to close a loophole regarding gifts to elected officials from lobbyists and persons doing business with the city. Council Bill 20-0483 will prohibit elected officials and their staff […]

City Council President Brandon Scott introduced a proposed ordinance in an attempt to close a loophole regarding gifts to elected officials from lobbyists and persons doing business with the city.

Council Bill 20-0483 will prohibit elected officials and their staff from accepting gifts from not only anyone they know to be a lobbyist, but also anyone they reasonably should know to be a lobbyist.

Like current gift restrictions, this prohibition will also extend to those doing business with the city, engaging in regulated activity, or having a financial interest in the performance of an elected official’s duties.

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December 11, 2019 •

Federal Appeals Court Rejects Maryland Online Political Ad Law

Maryland Capitol Building - Jimmy Emerson

The 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that a Maryland law aimed at extending the state’s campaign finance oversight into online political ads to prevent foreign interference in local elections is unconstitutional because it violates the First Amendment. The […]

The 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that a Maryland law aimed at extending the state’s campaign finance oversight into online political ads to prevent foreign interference in local elections is unconstitutional because it violates the First Amendment.

The Online Electioneering Transparency and Accountability Act, passed by state legislators in 2018, requires newspapers and other media platforms to collect and self-publish information about sponsors of online political ads.

The three-judge panel found that the law targets political expression and compels certain speech, and affirmed a lower court’s ruling to strike down the law.

The state’s attorney general’s office will review the decision and decide whether to file an appeal.

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December 2, 2019 •

Maryland State Senator Retires

State Sen. Shirley Nathan-Pulliam

Sen. Shirley Nathan-Pulliam announced she is retiring from the Maryland State Senate District 44 seat, effective December 1. Nathan-Pulliam cited health issues as the reason for stepping down from the seat. Both the Baltimore City and Baltimore County state central […]

Sen. Shirley Nathan-Pulliam announced she is retiring from the Maryland State Senate District 44 seat, effective December 1.

Nathan-Pulliam cited health issues as the reason for stepping down from the seat.

Both the Baltimore City and Baltimore County state central committees are now accepting resumes and will make a recommendation to Gov. Larry Hogan.

Gov. Hogan officially makes the appointment to fill the vacant seat.

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November 26, 2019 •

Maryland Governor Appoints New District 22 Delegate

Del. Nicole Williams

Gov. Larry Hogan has announced the appointment of Nicole Williams to represent District 22 in Prince George’s County. Williams is replacing Del. Tawanna Gaines, who resigned last month after pleading guilty in federal court to illegally using campaign funds for […]

Gov. Larry Hogan has announced the appointment of Nicole Williams to represent District 22 in Prince George’s County.

Williams is replacing Del. Tawanna Gaines, who resigned last month after pleading guilty in federal court to illegally using campaign funds for personal benefit.

Gov. Hogan appointed Williams following the unanimous recommendations by the Prince George’s County Democratic Central Committee.

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November 26, 2019 •

Montgomery County, Maryland Launches Bid Solicitation Tracker

The Montgomery County Office of Procurement has launched a new online tool to find the status of a solicitation from issuance to contract execution. The new system increases transparency by giving the public the ability to view the solicitation process […]

The Montgomery County Office of Procurement has launched a new online tool to find the status of a solicitation from issuance to contract execution.

The new system increases transparency by giving the public the ability to view the solicitation process from beginning to end.

The tracker system is located on the procurement website.

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November 1, 2019 •

Maryland Governor Sets Special Election Date

Congressman Elijah Cummings

Gov. Larry Hogan has set February 4, 2020, as the date for the special primary election to fill the vacant 7th Congressional District seat. The seat is vacant after Rep. Elijah Cummings passed away earlier this month. The special general […]

Gov. Larry Hogan has set February 4, 2020, as the date for the special primary election to fill the vacant 7th Congressional District seat.

The seat is vacant after Rep. Elijah Cummings passed away earlier this month.

The special general election to fill the remainder of Rep. Cumming’s term will be held on April 28, 2020; the same day as Maryland’s regularly scheduled primary election.

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October 28, 2019 •

Court of Appeals to Hear Arguments on Maryland Political Ads Law

The U.S. Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals is set to hear arguments on Wednesday in a case focused on Maryland’s Online Electioneering and Transparency Act. Maryland legislators passed the act in order to prevent foreign interference in local elections. However, […]

The U.S. Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals is set to hear arguments on Wednesday in a case focused on Maryland’s Online Electioneering and Transparency Act.

Maryland legislators passed the act in order to prevent foreign interference in local elections.

However, the sweeping scope has sparked a First Amendment outcry from multiple newspapers, including The Washington Post and The Baltimore Sun.

The newspapers and the Maryland-Delaware-D.C. Press Association argue in a lawsuit that the act violates the First Amendment because it requires collecting and self-publishing information about sponsors of online political ads.

The act also requires retaining records of the ads for inspection by the state Board of Elections.

The bill became law without the signature of Gov. Larry Hogan, who commended the law’s goals, but had concerns about the constitutionality.

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October 17, 2019 •

Maryland Governor to Call Special Election After the Passing of Rep. Elijah Cummings

Congressman Elijah Cummings

Gov. Larry Hogan will soon issue a proclamation stating a special primary and a special general election will be held to fill the vacant 7th Congressional District seat. The seat became vacant after Rep. Elijah Cummings passed away early Thursday […]

Gov. Larry Hogan will soon issue a proclamation stating a special primary and a special general election will be held to fill the vacant 7th Congressional District seat.

The seat became vacant after Rep. Elijah Cummings passed away early Thursday morning.

A date for the special election has not yet been determined.

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October 15, 2019 •

Baltimore City Ethics Board Implements Online Lobbying System

In 2018, the Baltimore City Council enacted the Transparency in Lobbying Act requiring lobbyists to file reports twice a year and affirmatively identify their clients when approaching city government officials. The effective date of the act was contingent on a […]

In 2018, the Baltimore City Council enacted the Transparency in Lobbying Act requiring lobbyists to file reports twice a year and affirmatively identify their clients when approaching city government officials.

The effective date of the act was contingent on a viable online reporting system being implemented.

The Baltimore City Ethics Board has implemented the online lobbying reporting system.

Lobbyist registrations and reports can now be filed electronically.

The next year-end report is due on or before January 31, 2020, covering all of the reporting period immediately preceding January 1 through December 31, 2019.

The ethics board has advised persons that previously filed paper registration statements to submit the year-end report on paper and not electronically.

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