State Roundup: Concerns rise over possible eviction crisis; Black Caucus eyes police restraint, cannabis equity; BPW sets goal of more minority contracts

State Roundup: Concerns rise over possible eviction crisis; Black Caucus eyes police restraint, cannabis equity; BPW sets goal of more minority contracts

Gov. Wes Moore, center, flanked by Treasurer Derrick Davis, left, and Comptroller Brooke Lierman, will be recusing himself today from a vote on an Under Armour contract. Governor's Office file photo by Patrick Siebert.

ADVOCATES SOUND ALARM OVER PENDING EVICTION CRISIS: Gov. Wes Moore’s proposed $63.1 billion spending plan includes no money for rental assistance, as evictions rise across Maryland and hundreds of millions in federal pandemic rental aid is about to run out. Instead, Moore wants to accelerate the state’s timeline to boost the minimum wage to $15, and has earmarked money in his budget to provide legal help for those facing eviction. But without additional funding for rent assistance, Maryland could be facing an acute eviction crisis in the coming months. Sophie Kasakove and Callan Tansill-Suddath/The Baltimore Banner.

  • Baltimore will exhaust its federal eviction relief money by sound the alarm about dwindling funds.mid-March, officials told members of Baltimore City Council, making the city the latest to Since 2020, the Mayor’s Office of Children and Family Success has received $82 million in local, state and federal funding for emergency rental assistance as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. Emily Opilo/The Baltimore Sun.

POLICE RESTRAINT, CANNABIS EQUITY AMONG BLACK CAUCUS’s PRIORITIES: Establishing a criminal justice policy that prevents police officers from stopping drivers and searching vehicles just because they smell cannabis and recruiting more people of color to teach in public schools are two of more than a dozen priorities the Legislative Black Caucus of Maryland laid out Wednesday. William Ford/Maryland Matters.

  • During the group’s first press conference of the session Wednesday, Baltimore Sen. Jill P. Carter noted the importance of including the Black community when establishing the state’s recreational cannabis industry. The caucus wants to prioritize growing, possession, and dispensation licenses for those who have faced disproportionate harm from the past criminalization of cannabis. Callan Tansill-Suddath/The Baltimore Banner.

FEDERAL SUIT CLAIMS POLICE BEAT FAMILY AFTER SMELLING CANNABIS: A new federal civil rights lawsuit claims that Baltimore County police officers violently beat five members of the same family after claiming to smell an odor of marijuana coming from a parked vehicle with its windows up. Madeleine O’Neill/The Daily Record.

NEW BPW PROMISES INCREASED EFFORT TO EXPAND MINORITY CONTRACTS: State lawmakers and members of the Board of Public Works Wednesday called for increased efforts to ensure expanded participation in state contracting by minority-owned businesses. The renewed interest follows Gov. Wes Moore’s campaign promises to view every aspect of state government through a lens of equity. Bryan Sears/The Daily Record.

  • “We will ensure that we are treating minority business enterprise goals not just as suggestions from prime contractors, but as promises and commitments made to both the state and our MBE communities who simply want a fair shot at competing for and receiving work,” Moore said. Danielle Gaines/Maryland Matters.

STADIUM AUTHORITY CHAIR, 47 OTHERS WITHDRAWN FROM APPOINTMENTS: Thomas Kelso, the Maryland Stadium Authority chairman under former Gov. Larry Hogan who has worked closely with the Orioles and Ravens on their stadium leases, won’t be reappointed under new Democratic Gov. Wes Moore. Kelso is on a list of Hogan appointees who Moore has opted to replace. Jeff Barker/The Baltimore Sun.

  • Kelso was one of 48 – among 316 – recess appointments submitted by Hogan last July to the Senate for approval that Moore has withdrawn. Kelso, Hogan’s former campaign chair, was one of the Republican former governor’s first appointments after taking office in 2015 and has overseen the agency as it expanded its reach over the last eight years. William Zorzi and Josh Kurtz/Maryland Matters.

AVIATION CHIEF EXPECTS TO STAY ON: Ricky Smith, who has headed the Maryland Aviation Administration since the early days of the Hogan administration and co-hosted a fundraiser during the fall for Gov. Wes Moore (D), said Wednesday that he anticipates running the agency for the foreseeable future. Josh Kurtz/Maryland Matters.

STUDENTS IMPROVE IN ENGLISH, STRUGGLE IN MATH: Students in Frederick County and across Maryland showed improvement in English, but continued to struggle with math on 2022 test scores, the first set of state data released since the pandemic began. The Maryland State Department of Education on Tuesday released results from last spring’s standardized tests, which were administered to all students in grades 3 through 8, as well as any student in Algebra I or English 10. Jillian Atelsek/The Frederick News Post.

HARFORD ELECTIONS BOARD EXTENDS APPLICATION DEADLINE: The deadline for Democrats to apply for a seat on the Harford County Board of Elections has been extended to Feb. 8 at noon. Now that Wes Moore, a Democrat, is governor, the Harford County Democratic Committee gets to appoint three of the board’s five members, giving the Democrats a majority, according to a committee newsletter. Jason Fontilieu/The Aegis.

About The Author

Cynthia Prairie

Contributing Editor Cynthia Prairie has been a newspaper editor since 1979, when she began working at The Raleigh Times. Since then, she has worked for The Baltimore News American, The Chicago Sun-Times, The Prince George’s Journal and Baltimore County newspapers in the Patuxent Publishing chain, including overseeing The Jeffersonian when it was a two-day a week business publication. Cynthia has won numerous state awards, including the Maryland State Bar Association’s Gavel Award. Besides compiling and editing the daily State Roundup, she runs her own online newspaper, The Chester Telegraph. If you have additional questions or comments contact Cynthia at:

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