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New Year’s Day Schedule Changes, “Second-Tier” Driver’s Licenses, and George Eyes Public Financing

A look at some of the schedule changes for the first day of 2014. A new law offers “second-tier” MD driver’s licenses to some immigrants living in the US illegally. Delegate Ron George considers taking public financing as he runs for the Republican nomination for Governor.

New Year’s Day Schedule Changes: It's the first day of 2014-- many Marylanders were up late last ringing in the new year; and for most, there's no hurry to get back up today, as there's not much going on in our state. Schools, courts, banks, and public libraries are closed... federal, state, and local government offices are closed as well. There's no regular mail delivery from the post office. Most jurisdictions have canceled or postponed trash and recycling pickup today; if you live in Baltimore City, your makeup day is Saturday. There are no changes to curbside collection schedules in Anne Arundel County. MARC trains aren’t running today. Most commuter buses aren’t either… the exception is for those on Route 201, but they’re on a Holiday schedule. Holiday schedules are also in place for the Light Rail, Metro Subway, and local MTA buses. MTA information is available here. Here in Baltimore, the Charm City Circulator is running from 9am to 8pm. And it's a parking meter holiday in most jurisdictions, including Baltimore City and Baltimore County. The Baltimore Sun has a comprehensive list of schedule changes here.

Immigrant Driver’s License Law: Some immigrants living in the US illegally will be able to get Maryland drivers licenses, under a new law taking effect today. The law creates a “second-tier” version of the state’s drivers’ license – unlike the “first-tier” version, the document wouldn’t be recognized by federal agencies… so as the Washington Post reports, it couldn’t be used to board an airplane. In order to get the license, applicants would need to show that they’ve filed state tax returns for the last two years, and would have to pass the driving tests and written tests administered by the Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration. The measure was signed into law back in May; it replaces a temporary program that’s been in place for several years, but was set to expire. There’s more here from the Daily Record.

George Considers Public Financing: Anne Arundel County Delegate Ron George says he’s “seriously considering” taking part in the state’s public financing system, as he runs for the Republican nomination for Governor. Candidates who take public financing become eligible for matching funds… but first, they need to raise a quarter-million-dollars in individual donations of less than $250. And then, they’re only allowed to spend about $2.5 million during the primary election. And if publicly financed candidates hold state office – as Delegate George does – they can also accept donations of up to $250 while the upcoming General Assembly session is underway. (Other state office holders running for governor, such as democratic state Attorney General Doug Gansler, are legally prohibited from fundraising while the legislature meets.) If Delegate George does take public financing, he’ll be the second candidate to do so in 20 years; last month, Montgomery County Delegate Heather Mizeur – who’s running for the Democratic nomination for governor – announced that she is participating in the system. There’s more here from the Washington Post.