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Regional Recap, May 20, 2010

Regional News From WBAL-TVwbaltv

MD Updates Benefits For Same Sex Couples.  Maryland updated its benefits policy for state employees on Wednesday to include same-sex spouses who possess a valid marriage certificate from another jurisdiction. The Maryland Department of Management and Budget updated the policy in its role as administrator of the state employee benefits program. The change was made after a legal opinion issued by Attorney General Doug Gansler in February that concluded Maryland must recognize out-of-state gay marriages until the Legislature or courts decide otherwise.

Man Found Guilty In Home Invasion, Slaying.  A man accused of leading a home invasion in Baltimore County that ended in the shooting death of the home’s owner was found guilty on Tuesday of first-degree felony murder, assault, burglary and a handgun violation.A Baltimore County Circuit Court jury found that James S. Tanner, 27, participated in the killing of Lamont Kareen Blackston during the Oct. 13 home invasion.

Trauma Awareness Month Recognized In MD.  Maryland’s emergency management and trauma system is recognizing May as Trauma Awareness Month as an opportunity to warn the public of the dangers of distracted driving.On Wednesday, members from several local trauma centers shared stories of what they’ve seen as a result of multitasking while driving.The event was also a reminder that texting and driving in the state will soon be outlawed.”We hope everyone will put down their cell phone and just concentrate on driving. You know, it wasn’t that long ago that we functioned without using cell phones. We just hope if you make a phone call, you do it before you drive,” said state Delegate James E. Malone.

City Considers Steep Jump In Public Indecency Fines.  If your good time turns into bad behavior on the streets of Baltimore, prepare to pay up.A new bill would increase fines on everything from disorderly conduct to public urination and on Wednesday night, it advanced through the Baltimore City Council.Sponsors insist this measure is about changing behavior, not raising money.However, no one can agree on how much the new fines would generate for the cash-strapped city. Estimates range from $220,000 a year to tens of thousand of dollars a night.The happy hour crowd is tame in Fells Point, but it’s what happens after last call outside some Baltimore bars that has City Council President Bernard Young concerned.

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