State Roundup: Gov’s office targets youth violence; parents question balance in 529 accounts; pilot program for a 4-day workweek proposed

State Roundup: Gov’s office targets youth violence; parents question balance in 529 accounts; pilot program for a 4-day workweek proposed

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra and Gov. Wes Moore, right, listen as Miriam E. Delphin-Rittmon, Ph.D., Assistant Secretary for Mental Health and Substance Use, speaks. Governor's Office photo by Patrick Siebert.

MOORE SEEKS WAYS TO CURB YOUTH VIOLENCE: During a roundtable discussion inside the Behavioral Health System Baltimore, Gov. Wes Moore said rates of violence among youth are rising statewide and his administration is looking at ways of interrupting the cycle of violence early. In Baltimore City alone, at least two students have been shot and killed, with several others injured near school campuses, this month. Wambui Kamau/WYPR-FM

  • During the discussion, crisis responders said the new 988 crisis line, designed to replace the national 10-digit National Suicide Prevention hotline, is starting to gain traction in Maryland, one of the few states allocating direct funding to the effort. Sarah True/The Baltimore Banner.

PARENTS SCRAMBLE TO PAY TUITION AS 529 CHIEF TRIES TO EXPLAIN FLAWS: The director of Maryland 529, which runs the state’s troubled college tuition savings program, offered new details late last week about the agency’s flawed new recordkeeping system in the wake of angry account holders descending on Annapolis to complain of the trust and its administrators. William Zorzi/Maryland Matters.

  • Maryland’s college savings agency said it is wrapping up examinations of prepaid accounts after an error led it to suspend interest earnings last summer — an issue that left some parents scrambling to pay tuition. The agency said it erroneously applied the formula in a way that inflated the values of accounts between November 2021 and April 2022. Danielle Douglas-Gabriel /The Washington Post.

STATE SUES PG RECYCLING BUSINESS, CITING POLLUTION: Maryland’s environmental protection agency is suing a Prince George’s County recycling outfit, alleging that the company has violated anti-pollution laws for years at two rat-infested, oil-leaking, garbage-strewn sites in Cheverly and Baltimore. Frederick Kunkle/The Washington Post.

DEL. WASHINGTON TO FILL SEN. PINSKY’s SEAT: Gov. Wes Moore (D) announced Friday that he had confirmed the appointment of Del. Alonzo Washington, a fellow Democrat, to fill a vacant Maryland Senate seat representing District 22 in Prince George’s County replacing longtime legislator Paul Pinsky (D) who has been named to head the Maryland Energy Administration. William Zorzi/Maryland Matters.

A proposal would test the 3-day weekend for some Maryland workers.  Photo by Andrea Piacquadio for Pexels.

PROGRAM WOULD TEST 32-HOUR WORKWEEK: Could a three-day weekend become the norm? Maybe. At least for some workers in Maryland if the General Assembly gives the green light to a bill that creates a pilot program offering incentives to companies that cut the workweek from 40 to 32 hours — without reducing salaries. Ovetta Wiggins/The Washington Post.

ENVIRONMENTALISTS PRAISE MOORE RESCINDING RECESS APPOINTMENTS: With a single, swift personnel move this week, Gov. Wes Moore (D) may have done more to advance Maryland’s battle against climate change than volumes of legislation or months of advocacy ever could. That’s the optimistic view of many environmentalists after Moore announced Wednesday that he was rescinding 48 recess appointments to state boards and commissions that his predecessor, former Gov. Larry Hogan (R), made last year. Josh Kurtz/Maryland Matters.

STADIUM AUTHORITY’s KELSO TO HELP WITH TRANSITION: In his first public comments since Gov. Wes Moore announced the decision to rescind Tom Kelso’s appointment as the chairman of the Maryland Stadium Authority, Kelso said he understood the decision and will continue working as long as necessary through the transition. Andy Kostka/The Baltimore Banner.

JUDICIAL ELECTIONS DEBATE REIGNITED: A decades-old debate over whether Maryland should end contested judicial elections was reignited Friday when an appointed judge who opposes the practice and a senator who supports it squared off during a legislative briefing by a work group studying the issue. Steve Lash/The Daily Record.

BILL WOULD ALLOW FREDERICK SHERIFFS TO REQUIRE POLYGRAPHS: Frederick County’s 15-member delegation to the state legislature voted along party lines to sponsor a bill that would expand whom the Frederick County Sheriff’s Office can require to take a polygraph test. Maryland state law permits the Sheriff’s Office to require polygraph tests for correctional officers. The bill, HB49, would give the Sheriff’s Office the authority to require any employee who works in the Adult Detention Center, which it oversees, and has direct contact with inmates to take a polygraph test as a condition of employment. Jack Hogan/The Frederick News Post.

BATES’s PUSH TO TOUGHEN GUN SENTENCES GAINS TRACTION: As Baltimore City State’s Attorney Ivan Bates’s crime proposal on tougher gun sentences gains more bi-partisan support. Current law for misdemeanor gun possession for people 21 and older, the max penalty is three years in jail. But if you’re 18 to 20 the maximum sentence is five years. Bates’ plan calls to make the max sentence five years across the board. Maxine Streicher/WBFF-TV.

POLITICAL NOTES: BUNCH OF BILLS, BUT ONLY 90 DAYS: Among items: after state lawmakers submitted a record high number of bill requests days before a key drafting deadline, Senate President Bill Ferguson cautioned senators to be realistic about what the chambers can accomplish in the 90-day legislative session. Emily Sullivan, Brenda Wintrode and Taylor DeVille/The Baltimore Banner.

FERGUSON: CONCERNS ABOUT WIEDEFELD SHOULDN’T KILL APPOINTMENT: Maryland’s top Senate Democrat said concerns about Gov. Wes Moore’s pick to lead the Department of Transportation shouldn’t derail his confirmation. Moore Tuesday announced the nomination of Paul Wiedefeld to lead the department he left nearly a decade ago. Senate President Bill Ferguson said Wiedefeld’s time in Washington, D.C., and concerns about the safety of the transit system there are not a cause for concern. Bryan Sears/The Daily Record.

BIDEN TO TOUT JOB CREATION, LABOR AGREEMENTS AT B’MORE VISIT: President Joe Biden will tout job creation and labor agreements during a visit to Baltimore on Monday to highlight a $6 billion, federally funded project to replace the Baltimore and Potomac Tunnel, which dates to the Civil War era, according to the White House. Jeff Barker/The Baltimore Sun.

BUT WATCH OUT FOR THE TRAFFIC: President Joe Biden’s arrival in Baltimore on Monday will likely cause traffic downtown, city transportation officials said. Some MTA bus and light rail routes will be impacted, and a route on the Charm City Circulator will be detoured in preparation. Lilly Price/The Baltimore Sun.

FREDERICK’S SCHOOLS OVERUSED RESTRAINT, SECLUSION, DATA SHOWS: Frederick County Public Schools secluded or restrained students more than 10,000 times during two and a half school years, according to newly released data that sheds light on the scale of the district’s malpractice. The U.S. Department of Justice investigated and ultimately settled with FCPS in December 2021, finding that the district was systematically misusing seclusion and restraint against students with disabilities. Jill Atelsek/The Frederick News Post.

OPIOID ODs, DEATHS DOWN IN 2022: Opioid overdoses and fatalities in Anne Arundel County and Annapolis decreased between 2021 and 2022, according to county and city data. The Anne Arundel County Health Department’s overdose dashboard noted an 18% decline in overdoses in general and a 30% decline in fatal overdoses last year. Annapolis overdoses declined 21% and fatalities were down 41% during the same period. Dana Munro/The Capital Gazette.

HARFORD SEES CRIME INCREASE IN 2022: Harford County saw a rise in crime in 2022 from the prior year. The Maryland State Police Bel Air Barrack recorded a combined total of 186 murders, rapes, burglaries, thefts, auto thefts, aggravated assaults and robbery crimes. These classified Part 1 crimes were up 20.7% from 154 recorded crimes in 2021. A specific breakdown per crime was not provided. Jason Fontelieu/The Aegis.

TONE OF MOSBY CASE LIKELY TO CHANGE: Just before noon Friday, U.S. District Judge Lydia Kay Griggsby allowed Marilyn Mosby’s lead defense attorney, A. Scott Bolden, to quit her perjury and mortgage fraud case, likely putting an end to the always contentious and often personal battle between Bolden and federal prosecutors. Lee Sanderline/The Baltimore Sun.

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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