In miniature, July 29

  • “It ought to be possible to terminate cops short of criminal convictions for incidents like that involving Gray’s” [Ed Krayewski; more from Reason on police unions here, here, and here]
  • Will national Dems throw away redistricting issue by installing Martin O’Malley, author of nation’s worst gerrymander, as DNC chair? [Baltimore Fishbowl, Jonathan Shurberg/Maryland Scramble] Despite discomfort in Annapolis, it’s “in Democrats’ best interests to fight gerrymandering on all fronts” [Eli Briody-Pavlik, Maryland Reporter] Gerrymandering’s effect within a party can be as powerful as its effect in contests between parties [J. Miles Coleman on District 8 Dem primary]
  • 5-part series on StingRay [cell phone tracking] use in Maryland law enforcement [Courtney Mabeus, Maryland Reporter]
  • Should create an opening for the local GOP, right? Montgomery County plans a massive 8.7 percent property tax hike with spending binge to match [Adam Pagnucco, The Seventh State]
  • Homeowners in Cumberland, Md., resist city’s eminent domain plans [Save Rolling Mill via Institute for Justice]
  • I criticized “Grace’s Law,” the Maryland statute criminalizing some online actions causing distress to minors, at the time; now a Eugene Volokh amicus challenges it on First Amendment grounds [Volokh Conspiracy]

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Will Baltimore County force landlords to take Section 8?

In Baltimore County, county executive Kevin Kamenetz has introduced a bill to ban “housing voucher discrimination,” that is to say, a bill requiring landlords to take Section 8 tenants. “Kamenetz is required to introduce the bill as part of a housing discrimination settlement with the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development that was reached this year. … If [it] does not pass the County Council, the HUD settlement requires it to be reintroduced in future years.” Landlords and property owners say that it is unfair to force them to enroll against their will in a program with cumbersome paperwork and inspections. [Pamela Wood, Baltimore Sun] HUD is now arm-twisting jurisdictions nationwide into enacting these bad laws; earlier here (bad renter trashes unit), here, etc. [cross-posted from Overlawyered]

Update: County legislature votes down bill 46-16 [Baltimore Campaign for Liberty]

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South Mountain Creamery owner will get the rest of his money back

Good news in the Randy Sowers case, written about often in this space. [Institute for Justice, Edward Ericson, Jr./Baltimore City Paper, Jacob Sullum, earlier, more on forfeiture] [cross-posted from Overlawyered;

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In miniature, June 23

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Taxes and the wish to leave

Gallup finds that even after controlling for other factors, there’s a “strong relationship” between total tax burden and the level of desire to leave a state [Steve Malanga, City Journal] And just a reminder of its relevance to us: “Maryland Has the 7th Highest State and Local Tax Burden” [Randolph May, Free State Foundation]

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In miniature, May 22

  • The graphics department at the Frederick News-Post needs to go back to school on the “bar chart baselines should start at zero” rule [graphic; more on rule here and here].
  • State’s attorney Mosby, in Freddie Gray trial, charges false arrest as assault, a “pretty radical theory” if accepted [Kate Levine/PrawfsBlawg] More: officer Nero acquitted at bench trial, Gray family lawyer Billy Murphy responds in judicious and non-incendiary manner;
  • A tiny step forward, lifting just one redundant burden on gun owners, but in Maryland any progress is welcome [NRA News on Gov. Hogan’s signing of HB 312 (Saab/Hough) repealing redundant fingerprinting requirement]
  • Frederick county police got a new armored vehicle and now city police want one too, which I could understand if the two were expecting to fight each other [Jeremy Arias, Frederick News-Post]
  • Horrible package of new laws regulating pay: a reminder why veto-proof Democratic rule in Annapolis needs to end [Vox]
  • Its economy closely related to trade, Maryland stands to be hurt by White House candidates’ swing toward protectionism [Joelle Lang, Auburn Mann and Troy Jefferson, CNS/Maryland Reporter]

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Frederick’s Flying Dog Brewery wins labeling fight and launches “First Amendment Society”

A great story starring one of our community’s favorite businesses:

Maryland’s Flying Dog Brewery won in its battle with the Michigan Liquor Control Commission, after the agency tried to ban the sale of Flying Dog’s delicious, Belgian-style IPA because of the brew’s name: Raging Bitch….

Now, Flying Dog has announced that it will use the damages received in that case to found the ‘1st Amendment Society,’ a non-profit dedicated to awareness-raising and advocacy around free-speech issues and organizing events that promote “the arts, journalism and civil liberties.”

Flying Dog will launch the organization with a May 31 event at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., featuring constitutional lawyer Alan Gura. Some of the society’s first orders of business will be establishing a scholarship at the University of Maryland’s College of Journalism and hosting a banned-book club this summer at Flying Dog Brewery.

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Gov. Hogan signs forfeiture reform

Gov. Larry Hogan yesterday signed an important package of reforms to forfeiture law in Maryland. Applause to all who helped make this happen, including Sen. Michael Hough, Rob Peccola and Lee McGrath of the Institute for Justice, and Gov. Hogan.

P.S. Some coverage of a January press event in which I participated at the Capitol, calling attention to the case for asset forfeiture reform in Maryland: Frederick News-Post, Maryland ReporterWBAL.

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Gov. Hogan on redistricting reform

While redistricting reform did not pass this year — or even get a committee or floor vote from the ruling Democrats — Gov. Larry Hogan will “probably come back and fight some more. It’s an issue I really care about.” [Len Lazarick interview, Maryland Reporter]

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In miniature, May 9

  • Reminder: Rep. Chris Van Hollen, winner of the Democratic primary for U.S. Senate, was deeply involved in the push for an IRS squeeze on right-leaning nonprofits that led to the Lois Lerner scandal;
  • I was a guest of Prince George’s County criminal defense lawyer Mirriam Seddiq and our very wide-ranging interview included some local topics [podcast via Overlawyered]
  • Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Delaware all offer retirees a better deal, which might be why a proposal for sizable Maryland tax exemptions for pension income is now forthcoming from the liberal side of the aisle in Annapolis, namely Del. Karen Lewis Young (D-Frederick) [Maryland Reporter]
  • Also introduced by Del. Young, and one to watch assuming it returns next year: 2016 MD HB 56, the Right to Try Act for Experimental Drugs [Maryland Legislative Watch]
  • Sponsors of Poultry Litter Management Act keep claiming it’s pro-farmer, but most actual farmers sure seem to oppose it [DelmarvaNow, Maryland Reporter]
  • Elizabeth Nolan Brown’s Reason article on how the war on sex trafficking is shaping up as the new Drug War won a magazine award, which makes a good occasion to bring up Brown’s post countering a flawed Capital News Service series on human trafficking in Maryland.

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