Tami Howie: Only Congress Can Regulate the Internet

It’s a no-brainer to support protecting the rights of consumers to unfettered access to the wide-ranging services and sites offered on the internet. But, similarly, states like Maryland must ensure that the robust internet infrastructure that fuels our digital economy continues to advance and make Maryland an attractive place to do business. There is a way to accomplish both, but the current furor among advocacy groups, state legislators and governors seeking to impose state-by-state solutions, some of which are inconsistent with other state solutions, is not the best approach. While some states have chosen a “go-it-alone” approach, others like Virginia, understand that regulating the internet on a state-by-state basis is not the best policy approach -- particularly as is relates to their state’s economic competitiveness in a digital age that promises such things as automated vehicles, telemedicine, smart cities, and 5G technology. In Maryland, four different bills in the General Assembly... Continue reading
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MINISTER DUANE WILLIAMS, JR: Baltimore’s Baffling Ban Makes Take-Out Containers Criminal

I'm from Baltimore. I'm a former Baltimore City Police Officer and currently an educator at a Baltimore City Public School, and for as long as I can remember, Baltimore has had a littering problem. In a single day, our famous Mr. Trash Wheel has collected as much as 38,000 pounds of trash from the Jones Falls Watershed. Instead of additional recycling and clean up efforts to combat this growing problem, especially in some of our most neglected neighbornoods, the Baltimore City Council has proposed a foam food container ban that brings with it a criminal penalty for restaurant owners who don’t comply. This legislation comes as the homicide rate in Baltimore continues to surge to an all-time high and the city continues to struggle to attract new residents. The city council must get their priorities straight: instead of adding costly and unnecessary criminal legislation to the books, it should focus on... Continue reading
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Gene Ransom: The Gag rule needs to be broken

Physicians and other medical health professionals share concern with their patient’s over the rising cost of healthcare. As insurance premiums, co-pays and deductibles continue to rise, patients feel the pain, and they feel it acutely at their local pharmacy counter. A regimen of life-changing prescription medications should not be a source of stress and anxiety. That's why The Maryland State Medical Society (MedChi) supports state legislation sponsored by Delegate Bromwell and Senator Klausmeir to eliminate the "gag rule" that prevents pharmacists from telling patients when the out-of-pocket cost of their prescription drug would cost less than their insurance co-pay. (SB 576 / HB 736) At a time where many drug prices are actually stabilizing, out-of-pocket patient costs continue to rise. The causes of the out of pocket increases are complicated. One issue related to drug costs is the “gag rule.” Insurance companies actually set the price for what most patients pay... Continue reading
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Zachary Mills: National School Breakfast Week

Bringing great food to my community is my pride and joy. As a chef, I spend countless hours considering how best to prepare and showcase ingredients to provide my guests with a dining experience they’ll remember. This week is National School Breakfast Week – a great time to tell you more about someone who has worked just as tirelessly to make sure her students get a healthy meal at school each and every morning. Last year I had the opportunity to witness school breakfast in action, visiting several high-need schools to see the work of the No Kid Hungry campaign. As we toured the schools, I was so inspired by how passionate everybody was about making sure their students are well-nourished. When kids aren’t getting the consistent nutrition they need, it impacts their health and growth, and has negative consequences on their ability to learn and engage at school. Expecting kids... Continue reading
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Craft Brewers Legislation in Annapolis

Last Friday, General Assembly committees considered dueling bills on “craft brewers.”  On one side was the Task Force empaneled by Comptroller Peter Franchot and his much ballyhooed “Reform The Tap” bill; the other was a proposal by Delegates Davis and Branch to repeal 2017 legislation on craft brewers which has been roundly criticized by Franchot as a knife in the back to the brewing industry despite the fact that it liberalized rules requested by the craft brewers. The “Gospel” according to Franchot was detailed by Brian Griffiths, the editor-in-chief of Red Maryland in his post on February 10th entitled “Speaker Busch Declares War on Maryland Beer Industry.”  Red Maryland is a group which often peddles “alternative facts,” promotes Republican agenda items and demonizes Democrats, excepting Franchot who is politically aligned with Republican Governor Hogan whom Red Maryland wholeheartedly supports. In the interest of full disclosure, I have more than a passing... Continue reading
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