Brown pledges to cap tuition increases

Lt. Gov. Anthony G. Brown (D) promised on Wednesday that he would cap annual tuition increases at public universities at 3 percent during his four-year term if he is elected governor.

Brown’s pledge would maintain the same policy goal of his boss, outgoing Gov. Martin O’Malley (D), who has made college affordability a priority since taking office in 2007.

After years of sizable increases, tuition at Maryland universities was frozen for four years under O’Malley and has grown modestly in the latter part of his tenure. O’Malley has proposed allowing a 3 percent increase in the coming academic year.

Brown faces Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler (D) and Del. Heather R. Mizeur (D-Montgomery) in the June Democratic primary. Gansler’s campaign declined to comment on Brown’s proposal. The Mizeur campaign did not respond immediately.

— John Wagner

House passes fineson underage gamblers

A bill that will create penalties for underage gamblers who are caught in any of the state’s casinos is close to becoming law.

The House of Delegates passed its version of the legislation unanimously Wednesday — two weeks after the Senate approved a similar bill unanimously.

Under the bill approved by the Senate and the House, an adult younger than 21 would be subject to a fine of up to $100 the first time he or she is caught in a casino. The fine would be a maximum of $500 for a second offense. For a third, the fine would be a maximum of $1,000 with mandatory participation in a gambling addiction program. A person under 18 would go to juvenile court.

— J. Freedom du Lac

Sickles drops out of 8th District race

Del. Mark D. Sickles announced Wednesday that he was dropping out of the race to succeed retiring Rep. James P. Moran Jr., saying an internal campaign poll showed his prospects to be dim.

“I wish that I could report that there was a clear and viable path to victory for me,” Sickles (D) said in a statement. “While I was heartened by the strong support from those who know me best, I cannot in good conscience continue to ask for support from you, my friends, and political allies.”

Sickles’s exit from the race still leaves a crowded field of Democrats seeking the party’s nomination in Northern Virginia’s deep-blue 8th District, including four other state legislators. The party’s nomination will be decided in a June 10 primary.

— Laura Vozzella