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In the Media: Carla Hayden Confirmed; Officials Presssed to Put Citizens on Police Trial Boards

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A digest of Baltimore news from local sources.

From the Baltimore Sun: Enoch Pratt leader Carla Hayden confirmed for Library of Congress

"The longtime leader of Baltimore's public library system was confirmed by the Senate on Wednesday to head the Library of Congress despite concerns from some conservative lawmakers about her past position on a law intended to limit children's access to pornography at schools and libraries.

"Carla D. Hayden, the CEO of the Enoch Pratt Free Library since 1993, will become the first woman and the first African-American to oversee the nation's largest library. Hayden was nominated by President Barack Obama in February and was confirmed by the Senate on a 74-18 vote.

"'She moved the Enoch Pratt into the digital age,' said Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski, a Maryland Democrat. 'She's a transformational leader.'

"Despite politically sensitive challenges facing the 216-year-old Library of Congress, including criticism that it has not kept pace with technology, Hayden's nomination initially was uncontroversial. Republicans and Democrats applauded her appointment, she sailed through her confirmation hearing in April and was unanimously approved by the Senate Committee on Rules and Administration last month.

"But in recent weeks, conservative groups and bloggers had expressed concern about Hayden's opposition to the Children's Internet Protection Act, a 2000 law that requires libraries to use filters to block access to pornography.

"Hayden had opposed the law, arguing that filtering technology available at the time could inadvertently block access to legitimate material.

"The issue came up briefly at her confirmation hearing. Hayden told lawmakers she believes that online pornography has no place at a library.

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From the Baltimore Sun: Baltimore officials pressed to put citizens on police trial boards

"City leaders are under pressure to require the Baltimore Police Department to add civilians to its internal disciplinary panels as part of ongoing labor contract negotiations.

"A new state law allows civilians to join the panels for the first time beginning Oct. 1. In Baltimore, the union must agree to the change.

"Baltimore's labor agreement expired last month, and the city's police union is negotiating with Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake's administration. It's unclear how long that process would take, and both sides have agreed not to publicly discuss what's being negotiated behind closed doors.

"A coalition of community activists, including the American Civil Liberties Union, is pushing for civilian participation on police trial boards as a way to bolster police accountability.

"'Baltimore has a history of police brutality. This helps to put civilians in a substantial position to be a deterrent,' said Dayvon Love, co-founder of the black empowerment group Leaders of a Beautiful Struggle, which is part of the coalition.

"Officers can request a trial board to contest the findings of an Internal Affairs investigation and the discipline recommended. Internal Affairs investigates whether officers violated department policy, including use of excessive force and misconduct.

"The trial board can recommend an officer be fired, suspended or docked leave that's been accrued. The police commissioner has final say.

"The six officers charged in Freddie Gray's arrest and death could request trial boards — which are independent of criminal proceedings — after an outside agency's review of their cases.

"Instead of an internal affairs investigation by the Baltimore police, an outside agency will be selected to handle the Gray case. That review won't happen until the criminal proceedings are complete. Two officers have been acquitted, while another trial is underway and the remaining three have been scheduled.

"The General Assembly approved legislation this year that allows local governments to add specially trained civilians to the trial boards, subject to the agreement of police unions during collective bargaining in certain jurisdictions, including Baltimore.

"Up to two civilians with full voting rights can be added to the trial boards, composed now of three police officers.

"Civilians had been prohibited from serving on the panels under the state Law Enforcement Officers' Bill of Rights.

"Across the country, civilians have been given a greater role in reviewing alleged police misconduct. Washington, Chicago and Detroit are among a handful of places that give civilians authority in disciplining officers."

Full Article

From the Baltimore Sun: Morrhaim urges Maryland health industry to embrace medical marijuana

"A leading architect of the state's medical marijuana program urged representatives of the fledgling industry Wednesday to pressure health care providers and hospital administrators to remove obstacles to making the drug available to patients.

"Del. Dan K. Morhaim, the longest-serving physician in the General Assembly, told about 200 people at the first statewide conference of the Maryland Cannabis Industry Association that they need to be aggressive advocates as their business approaches its first legal sales — probably next year.

"'You've got to step up with the political process,' the Baltimore County Democrat said.

"Speaking at the conference at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County in Catonsville, Morhaim said it's also important for patients to push providers to be willing to recommend cannabis when it's medically appropriate.

"Physicians and certain other medical professionals are authorized to recommend cannabis to treat certain conditions, such as seizure disorders or the side-effects of cancer chemotherapy. The product would be grown and processed under state licenses, and would be sold by licensed dispensers.

"Morhaim said only 140 to 150 Maryland physicians have signed up for the program, but more are expected to join in next year.

"He said some specialists, such as oncologists and neurologists, have been more receptive to the use of medical cannabis than others. He said psychiatrists in particular have been reluctant.

"Morhaim said some hospitals have sent signals that physicians who sign up for the program risk losing admitting privileges.

"Morhaim urged members of the association to contact hospital administrators and board members to protest any policies that discourage doctors. He predicted hospitals would eventually come under competitive pressure from patients to set up their own cannabis programs.

"Carmela Coyle, president of the Maryland Hospital Association, said she has discussed the matter with Morhaim but knows of no instance in which a physician's privileges have been questioned by a hospital.

"'The decision to recommend medical cannabis belongs solely to the physician,' she said.

"The association conference was tangible evidence of the growing normalization of cannabis in Maryland. It brought together prospective growers, processors and retailers, as well as those interested in providing support services such as security, lobbying and legal counsel."

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