Md. Gov. Larry Hogan names Matthew Clark chief of staff

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan (R) is making key changes to his executive staff, announcing Wednesday that Matthew Clark, his former communications director, will return to Annapolis as his new chief of staff. Clark, who served as communications director for the first 18 months of Hogan’s term, rejoins the governor’s executive team after working for the past year as managing director with D.C.-based FTI Consulting, a business advisory and strategy consulting firm. (Wash. Post)

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Hogan opposes 'skinny repeal' of Obamacare

Gov. Larry Hogan weighed into the health care fray again Wednesday, signing a bipartisan letter to Senate leaders that opposes the so-called “skinny repeal” plan emerging as a potentially viable option to dismantle Obamacare. “Congress should be working to make health insurance more affordable while stabilizing the health insurance market,” Hogan and nine other governors wrote in the letter. (Balt. Sun)

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Candidate for Md. governor shares son’s health story, slams Congress

Maryland gubernatorial candidate Alec Ross (D) is using his son’s recent experience with a potentially life-threatening thyroid condition to lambaste efforts by congressional Republicans to roll back the federal government’s role in health care. In eight tweets Tuesday after Senate Republicans opened debate on legislation to repeal the Obama-era Affordable Care Act, the Baltimore tech entrepreneur explained how his family’s robust insurance plan paid for a successful surgery to remove tumors from 10-year-old Sawyer’s neck. (Wash. Post)

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Cabinet secretaries Peters, Schrader miss first full paycheck

Two of Gov. Larry Hogan's Cabinet secretary nominees weren't paid this week.  Wednesday marked the first full pay period for state employees in fiscal 2018. Maryland Planning Secretary Wendi Peters and Health Secretary Dennis R. Schrader weren't paid, pursuant to budget language passed by the Democratic Party-controlled General Assembly. Hogan (R) withdrew his appointments of both Peters and Schrader during the General Assembly session, only to reappoint them after legislators left the State House. (News-Post)

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Pugh said she still supports city gun law bill despite changes

Mayor Catherine Pugh said Wednesday she still backs a bill that would harshen punishments for illegally possessing a firearm, despite changes made to the legislation by the City Council. Pugh, who introduced the bill along with City Council President Bernard C. "Jack" Young and Police Commissioner Kevin Davis last week, said she "looks forward to the bill's ultimate passage." (Balt. Bus. Journal)

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Baltimore County scraps controversial severance policy for top officials

Baltimore County has scrapped rules that let top appointees receive severance payments in addition to their retirement benefits when they leave their jobs. Under the Executive Benefit Policy, eligible appointed employees could get between 80 and 120 days of severance pay in addition to their earned pension benefits. The policy, which benefits those who are already among the highest paid in county government, came under scrutiny recently. (Balt. Sun)

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State delegate recovering after pit bull mauling

The minority leader of Maryland’s House of Delegates is recovering after he was mauled and bitten by a pit bull over the weekend. Nic Kipke, who’s in an arm-sling and covered in bandages and claw and bite marks, says the attack left physical scars on him and emotional scars for his family, who saw it happen. (WJZ-TV)

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Citing jail concerns, Washington County election board books new early voting site

Concerned about an apparent plan to consolidate elections operations near the county jail, the Washington County Board of Elections has booked Hager Hall on Dual Highway to host early voting in 2018, the board's legal counsel said Tuesday. Backed by the presence of staff members, election board members and about two dozen election judges, attorney Roger Schlossberg told the Washington County Board of County Commissioners that election officials are united in opposition to consolidating election offices, including early voting, on Tandy Drive near the Washington County Detention Center. (Herald-Mail)

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