Today in Maryland

Maryland governor urges Mnuchin not to delay $20 Tubman bill

ANNAPOLIS (AP) — Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan urged Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin on Tuesday to reconsider delaying the redesign of the $20 bill to feature abolitionist leader Harriet Tubman.

In a letter to Mnuchin, the Republican governor wrote that he hopes the U.S. Treasury Department will reconsider its decision "and instead join our efforts to promptly memorialize Tubman's life and many achievements."

Tubman was born on Maryland's Eastern Shore. She escaped from slavery to become a leading abolitionist and helped other slaves escape through the Underground Railroad.

"Harriet Tubman's countless contributions to our nation transcend race, gender, nationality, and religion," Hogan wrote. "She dedicated her life in selfless service to others and to the cause of freedom. Her unbelievable acts of heroism, courage, and sacrifice have more than earned her rightful place among our nation's most pivotal leaders. She deserves this honor."

The Tubman redesign was initially scheduled by the Obama administration to coincide with the 100th anniversary in 2020 of passage of the 19th amendment giving women the right to vote.

"I am incredibly disappointed to hear that now, citizens across Maryland and the country will instead have to wait nearly a decade for this new bill to reach general circulation," Hogan wrote.

Mnuchin said last month that the delay had been prompted by the decision to redesign the $10 bill and the $50 bill first for security reasons to make it harder for the bills to be counterfeited. He said those bills will now be introduced before a redesigned $20 bill. He also said the redesigned $20 bill will not come out until 2028 which he said means that a final design for that bill will not be announced until 2026.

The decision to replace Andrew Jackson, the nation's seventh president, with Tubman on the $20 bill had been made by Mnuchin's predecessor, former Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew, who had served in the Obama administration.

By Brian Witte, Associated Press

U.S. court appeals Maryland's move to block abortion changes

BALTIMORE (AP) — The federal government is appealing a court injunction against a Trump administration action that prohibits family planning organizations from referring pregnant women to abortion clinics.

Last month, the administration changed a public health law known as Title X, which from 1970 until now had required health care providers to make information about abortion available to low-income individuals at little or no cost.

The Baltimore Daily Record reported Monday that Maryland Judge Richard Bennett became the fourth judge to try to block the U.S. Health Department from enforcing the changes. Bennett filed an injunction at the end of May. The injunction states that the Title X changes violate the terms of President Barack Obama's health care law.

Maryland Senate president says his health is 'largely good'

ANNAPOLIS (AP) — Maryland's longtime Senate president has told lawmakers his health is "largely good today" as he updated them on his battle with Stage 4 prostate cancer.

Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller sent the letter last week.

The 76-year-old Miller says he still has back pain from cancer in his bones. But he wrote that he otherwise continues "to face an improving prognosis for the time being."

He also wrote that his doctor has cleared him for activities that include taking longer trips.

Miller says he is being treated with a regiment of Radium-223, which is an injectable radiation that both kills cancer and strengthens the bone. He says his medical team will re-evaluate next steps after he completes the treatment.

Miller is the longest-serving state Senate president in the nation.

Man convicted of killing veteran during Maryland carjacking

CAPITOL HEIGHTS (AP) — A Washington, D.C., man has been found guilty of first-degree murder in the death of a District veteran who was shot to death and robbed at a Maryland gas station.

The Washington Post reports 23-year-old Demarko Wheeler also was convicted Friday of armed carjacking in the 2016 attack on 68-year-old Alonzo Jackson. Authorities say the Marine veteran dropped his wife off at work one morning that July and stopped to get gas in Capitol Heights. They say that's when Wheeler shot Jackson and tried to steal the man's car, which police said was later found abandoned and burned.

Wheeler faces up to life in prison at his July sentencing.

Information from: The Washington Post,

Former Baltimore officer convicted of assaulting man

BALTIMORE (AP) — A former Baltimore police officer has been convicted on assault charges after being recorded punching a man repeatedly in a street confrontation last year.

The state's attorney's office for Baltimore says Arthur Williams was convicted Monday of second-degree assault and misconduct in office. Williams faces up to 10 years in prison for the assault charge at his August sentencing.

Williams was accused of assaulting Dashawn McGrier in August 2018. McGrier's attorney said his client suffered a broken jaw and broken ribs.

The incident was captured on police body cameras and a citizen's cell phone.

Media reports indicated that the two men had had previous run-ins and that McGrier had been arrested about six weeks before the incident after a struggle with Williams.

Defense seek to hold newspaper shooting trial in 2 phases

ANNAPOLIS (AP) — Lawyers for a man charged with killing five people at a Maryland newspaper are asking for his trial to be held in two parts, to determine guilt or innocence separately from whether his mental state made him not criminally responsible.

Jarrod Ramos' attorneys made the request in court filings last week.

Ramos has entered pleas of not guilty and not criminally responsible, Maryland's version of an insanity defense. He is charged with five counts of first-degree murder and other offenses. The state is seeking life in prison without possibility of parole.

County police said they captured the 39-year-old hiding under a desk at the Capital Gazette office after the June 2018 shooting in Annapolis, Maryland.

A pretrial hearing has been scheduled for June 25. A November trial has been set.

Board to take up $27.5M deal to demolish old Baltimore jail

ANNAPOLIS (AP) — A Maryland board is scheduled to consider a $27.5 million proposal to tear down nearly 40 structures that were part of the correctional complex at the closed Baltimore City Detention Center.

The contract is on the agenda for the next Board of Public Works meeting next week.

It calls for the demolition of 16 major structures and 23 minor structures. They include buildings that were part of the closed portion of the detention center, as well as some buildings that were part of the Metropolitan Transition Center, which was formerly known as the Maryland Penitentiary.

Gov. Larry Hogan, who is one of three members of the board, closed the detention center in 2015. Hogan wants to put a therapeutic treatment center on the grounds.

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