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Keeping Tabs On The City Council's Activities So You Don't Have To

On the Agenda for Oct. 18

10-0615 Promoting Honesty in Lobbying

Quintuples lobbying registration fee and increases disclosure requirements for lobbyists.

The Read: The new provisions specify that anyone who spends 20 percent or more of their time lobbying in any six-month period must register with the City Ethics Board as a lobbyist. The filing fee, formerly $20, would increase to $100. The lobbyist would also have to disclose his or her compensation and expenses. “The perception of our citizens is that City Hall has been plagued by scandal for some time,” City Council President Bernard C. “Jack” Young (D) said, introducing the bill. “It’s important that we work to regain the public’s trust.”

10-0616 Prohibited Distribution of K2 or “Spice”

Would ban the sale of synthetic “legal” marijuana substitute in Baltimore City.

The Read: Would add the possession or distribution of JWH-018 or JWH-073 to the list of substances banned in Baltimore. The criminal penalty would be a $500 fine and/or 60 days in jail. “We continue to fight the war on drugs in the city,” Councilmember Sharon Green Middleton (D-6th District) said after introducing the bill. She said she noted Baltimore County’s similar bill and wants to prevent the city from becoming a haven for users and sellers of the synthetic pot, which she deemed “more potent” than the natural stuff and “a serious health threat.”

10-0228R Request for State Legislation – Statewide Ban of Certain Synthetic Products

The Read: A companion to proposed ordinance 10-0616, the resolution asks the state delegation to ban K2 statewide. According to the resolution, which passed unanimously, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency has identified five “Spice canabinoids . . . as drugs of concern.” The stuff was selling in the county for $20 per gram—nearly six times the price of marijuana, the resolution continues. “It stands to reason that Baltimore County’s ban will result in an increasing monetary incentive for drug dealers to provide these substances not only to Baltimore City’s drug users but to Baltimore County’s as well. In a city already inundated with drugs and drug-related crime, it is imperative that the ban be extended to the entire State of Maryland.”

10-0229R Informational Hearing – BGE Application for Electric and Gas Rate Increases

Invites BGE’s CEO to address the City Council on the company’s rate increase proposal.

The Read: The state Public Service Commission has jurisdiction to hear and rule on BGE’s rate increase proposal, but the Council can ask the utility’s bosses to come and talk to them too. BGE has requested increases to its electricity and gas distribution rates totaling $110.8 million and $42.4 million, respectively. Consumer advocates say those requests are multiples of BGE’s actual costs.

The next City Council meeting is scheduled for Nov. 8.

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