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Entries in Maryland (5)

Wednesday
Apr112012

Maryland Bill Bans Employers from Asking for Facebook Passwords

LOIC VENANCE/AFP/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- If you’re worried about an employer or potential employer asking for your Facebook or Twitter password, you might just want to move to Maryland.  The state’s general assembly has become the first to pass a bill to keep social media passwords safe from employers.

Just a few weeks ago, national attention was put on the issue of job applicants and employees being asked for their Facebook passwords so that companies could ensure the individuals had appropriate social media identities.

In response, New York Sen. Charles Schumer and Connecticut Sen. Richard Blumenthal asked the U.S. Department of Justice to investigate if the practice violates federal laws.  But Maryland already had legislation in the works.  And on Tuesday it passed the House as Bill 433. 

[CLICK HERE TO SEE THE FULL TEXT OF THE BILL]

“In a nutshell, it protects employees and employers.  It prohibits employees from having to provide access to their digital content or social media account information,” Bradley Shear, a Maryland social media lawyer who worked to get the bill passed, said.

The bill also protects employers. 

“It’s a pro-business bill; it provides employers with a shield against lawsuits,” Shear added.

Maryland State Sen. Ronald Young was instrumental in pushing the legislation.  Young couldn’t be reached for comment, but he told ABC News earlier this month that he felt that such social media password practices were an “infringement on constitutional rights.” 

Facebook’s privacy officer Erin Egan has called such password requests wrong.

Wrong and illegal is exactly what it will be in Maryland as soon as the bill is signed by Gov. Martin O’Mailey.

And other states might not be far behind: Minnesota and Illinois have also drafted legislation based on Maryland’s bill, and Washington State, Massachusetts and New Jersey lawmakers have announced their intentions to introduce similar legislation.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Friday
Jul292011

Threat of Moody's Downgrade Forces States to Push Congress on Deal

Scott Eells/Bloomberg via Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- After Moody’s Investor Service announced it was reviewing both Maryland and Virginia for a possible downgrade from their perfect AAA credit rating, the states’ governors have ratcheted up their rhetoric demanding Congress reach a deal and avoid default.

But with a Democrat to the north and a Republican to the south, Washington’s neighbors have starkly different messages for their comrades inside the Beltway.

Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley, head of the Democratic Governors Association, blamed the brinksmanship on the “dinosaur wing of the Republican party led by Eric Cantor” which he said is threatening to “drive us needlessly into a default.”

Meanwhile the Republican governor of Virginia, Bob McDonnell, places the stalemate blame on the president.

“Your new programs and spending, and unfunded state mandates, have exacerbated the problem,” McDonnell wrote in a letter to President Obama last week. “Your failure to get the job done is hurting the businesses and citizens of our Commonwealth.”

Both Governors are facing a possible smear on their state’s finances after Moody’s announced Thursday that it was considering downgrading the AAA credit rating of 162 local governments, including 15 in Virginia and five in Maryland.

Moody’s cited the states’ high concentration of federal employees and dependence on federal contracts as two reasons for their possible credit downgrade.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Thursday
May122011

What’s In Your Gas? Energy Officials Conduct Surprise Inspections

Jupiterimages/Thinkstock(BALTIMORE) -- The average price of a gallon of gasoline now stands at $3.96 a gallon, according to the latest Department of Energy numbers, so imagine not getting what you pay for. ABC News went along with Maryland inspectors as they conducted surprise inspections at the pump.

First and foremost, the Maryland comptroller's office tests to see if the gasoline is the correct octane level. Inspectors also look for contaminants, like diesel, sediment and water in the gas. Much of the fuel these days is a blend of gasoline and ethanol and if even a few drops of water get into it, it will separate. If you put that in your car, it will stall and could even ruin the engine.

The first station the inspector visits passes on all accounts. The second is a different story. The premium sample from the pump isn't 93 octane like it should be. So the inspector draws a sample straight from the underground tank. It fails, too.

Maryland's state of the art fuel testing laboratory provides the official verdict.  "It is a fail," Mark Brandenburg of the Maryland Comptroller's Office said. The pricey premium gas that's supposed to be 93 octane is actually only 90.5 octane.

"When the economy is as bad as it is, see the gas prices rising, the food prices rising, everyone is very sensitive to whether they are getting a short end of the stick," Peter Franchot, comptroller of Maryland, told ABC News.

In this particular case, the inspector returned to the station and ordered it to stop selling premium. The station blamed the supplier.

The Maryland Comptroller's Office has one of the most aggressive fuel-testing programs in the country.

Only 40 of the 50 states perform surprise inspections. Here are the 10 states that do not yet have a program in place to test the octane level and purity of gasoline:

  • Hawaii
  • Alaska
  • Idaho
  • Illinois
  • Kentucky
  • New Jersey
  • Oregon
  • Rhode Island
  • Vermont
  • West Virginia

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Friday
Apr012011

Obama on Jobs Report: 'Have to Keep the Momentum Going'

JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images(LANDOVER, Md.) -- President Obama says the new jobs numbers out Friday -- 230,000 new private jobs added to the economy -- represent good news, but not the end game.

“Although we got good news today, we have to keep the momentum going,” he told an audience at a UPS facility just outside of Washington D.C., where he was touting clean vehicle technology. “That makes 1.8 million private sector jobs created in last 13 months,” he said.

The new jobs number also led to a steep drop in the unemployment rate -- a full percentage point down in just four months.

“The last time that happened was during the recovery during 1984 where we saw such a significant drop in the unemployment rate,” Obama said.

But the president maintained that still isn’t enough.

“I know there’s a lot going on in the world right now so the news has been captured by the images of the Middle East and what’s happening,  the tragedy to our friends in Japan. And I’m focused on those issues but you should know that  keeping the economy going and making sure jobs are available is the first thing I thing about when I wake up in the morning, it’s the last thing I think about when I go to bed each night,”  he said.

“That’s what we’re focused on, that’s what we’re fighting for,” he said to applause.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Sep232010

Maryland Nail Salon Charges Men More Than Women

Photo Courtesy - ABC News(UPPER MARLBORO, Md.) -- A Maryland man who was charged $4 more than his female companion at a nail salon filed a lawsuit Monday claiming "gender-based price discrimination."  Jimmy Bell of Upper Marlboro said he was shocked when he noticed that Rich's Nail Salon in Landover, Md. had charged him extra.  "I went to go pay and the person was going over the bill and I noticed that when he said the price for [my date's] manicure and pedicure, it was different than mine," Bell said of the Nov. 7, 2009, incident.  "At that point I asked, 'Why do I have to pay more than her,' and he said, 'Because you're a man.'  They're saying that men have to pay more for the exact same service and it's wrong, it's illegal."  An employee at the salon had no comment but confirmed that the cost of a woman's pedicure is $20, compared with $22 for men.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio







ABC News Radio