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From MarylandReporter.com:

GAY MARRIAGE: There's only one bill on the state Senate's agenda today, writes Annie Linskey of the Sun: Same-sex marriage. And debate is expected to run into the evening, and spill over into tomorrow.

Linskey blogs that Maryland is among six states poised to extend marriage rights to gays. Five other states and DC have already done so.

Liam Farrell of the Annapolis Capital writes that religion has shaped the way some view the legislation – for and against.

Proposed amendments to the bill – such as one added in committee last week to strengthen religious exemptions – could significantly slow approval, reports Robert Lang of WBAL-AM.

Click here to listen to the Senate debate beginning at 10 a.m.

DIME A DRINK: The dime-a-drink bill is stirring strong emotion as sides line up in the General Assembly, writes Lauren Fulbright of the Towson Times. The Senate bill is scheduled for a hearing at 1 p.m. today. The House version will have its hearing at 1 p.m. March 3.

ROADS TRUST FUND: A constitutional amendment that would lock down the money in the transportation trust fund found wide support yesterday – but financial analysts and some delegates questioned why such a measure is needed, writes Megan Poinski for MarylandReporter.com

RESTORE CUTS: Calling it the "Maryland First" budget, designed to protect the state's No. 1 public schools ranking and improve the its rankings for health care, transit and roads, six state senators are pushing to restore cuts through a variety of taxes, including on alcohol and gasoline, writes Scott Dance for the Baltimore Business Journal.

Barbara Pash of MarylandReporter.com said the package of bills is designed to raise an estimated $827 million in new revenues.

MEDICAL MARIJUANA: "You are seeing people you don't normally see work across party lines," said Del. Dan Morhaim concerning the medical marijuana legislation that is set for committee hearings next week. Steve Schuster writes the story for the Arbutus Times.

If the legislation passes, blogs Schuster in the Towson Times, it will be in conflict will federal law. But at this point, federal officers chose not to enforce it in most circumstances.

BUS SAFETY: Meg Tully of the Frederick News Post writes about a bill that would add cameras to catch drivers who illegally pass school buses as well as raise the financial penalty and assess points to the driver.

NEGRO MTN: Lisa Gladden was the only state senator to testify yesterday in favor of changing the name of Negro Mountain to Nemesis Mountain, blogs the Sun's Julie Bykowicz. While Western Maryland's legislators defended the original name as well as that of Polish Mountain, writes Andrew Schotz for the Hagerstown Herald Mail.

HARRISON CRITICIZED: Adam Meister of Charm City Current criticizes an article Len Lazarick wrote for MarylandReporter.com last week on Hattie Harrison's long tenure in the House of Delegates and adds, "We should be protesting such products of the political establishment."

EYES ON ICC: The Post's Katherine Shaver writes that while you are busy driving on the ICC on its opening day, you may have missed just how esthetically pleasing the route is meant to be. Here's a photo gallery of the ICC, beginning with Monday’s ribbon-cutting.

CALLOUS BOARD: The Sun editorial board blasts the recent decision by Frederick County's Board of County Commissioners to eliminate funding to its local Head Start program and calls statements by two commissioners "callous."

LEGGETT BACKS REFORM: Montgomery County Executive Ike Leggett has embraced many of the government-reform measures proposed earlier this month by a government commission, Michael Laris blogs for the Post.

PASSWORD PLEASE: The Post's Aaron Davis blogs about Maryland's prison system suspending its year-old practice of asking for prospective employees' Facebook passwords.

NET SEASON REOPENED: Pamela Wood reports for the Annapolis Capital that watermen will be allowed back on the water to net for rockfish Friday and Monday, the state announced after 12.5 tons of fish were found in illegal nets in recent weeks.

NEW MEDIA: Neal Shaffer of Bmore writes about the emerging web media outlets in the state, including yours truly, MarylandReporter.com.


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