STATE ROUNDUP: Push for abortion rights in Maryland; Southwest Airlines ‘We messed up’;

STATE ROUNDUP: Push for abortion rights in Maryland; Southwest Airlines ‘We messed up’;

Gov. Wes Moore with legislative leaders announces support for more abortion rights legislation. Photo from the governor's Facebook page

PUSH FOR MORE ABORTION RIGHTS IN MARYLAND: Maryland’s top legislative leaders and Gov. Wes Moore and Lt. Gov. Aruna Miller lent their support Thursday to a slate of bills to protect abortion rights—including a constitutional amendment, which would put the issue to voters in the next statewide election in 2024. Kara Thompson, Greg Morton/Capital News Service in Maryland Reporter

SOUTHWEST AIRLINES ON ON CAPITAL HILL: Southwest Airlines’ Chief Operations Officer Andrew Watterson told senators Thursday the carrier “messed up” when its holiday meltdown in December left millions of passengers scrambling. A “cascade” of factors, including a winter storm and outdated crew-tracking technology, caused the airline to cancel more than 16,700 flights over the Christmas week, Capt. Casey Murray, president of the Southwest Airlines Pilots Association, said during a hearing by the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee. Destiny Herbers/Capital News Service in Maryland Reporter

BILL AIMS TO CURB ‘BAIT AND SWITCH’ AT GAS STATIONS: A Maryland senator is lobbying to pass a bill that would require gas stations to clearly display both cash and credit prices. Maryland Sen. Cheryl Kagan (D-17) is sponsoring the Gas Price Gouging Act, which she said on Thursday would limit what she calls “bait and switch” and price gouging. Currently many gas-station signs display the prices for cash purchases, which typically cost less per gallon than credit sales. Miana Massey/WJZ-13 (CBS)

UNINSURED MARYLANDERS HAVE ANOTHER CHANCE: The open enrollment period closed last month, but Marylanders still will have a chance this tax season to sign up for health insurance during this tax season. State Comptroller Brooke Lierman, U.S. Sen. Chris Van Hollen (D) and other state officials and health care advocates plan to gather Friday morning to encourage uninsured residents to check a box on their state tax return to start the process of signing up for affordable health insurance. Angela Roberts/The Baltimore Sun

REP. JAMIE RASKIN URGES NEW U.S. HOUSE COMMITTEE TO STAY APOLITICAL: Maryland Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-8) was among the U.S. House Democrats urging the GOP lawmakers Democrats running the new Select Subcommittee on the Weaponization of the Federal Government on Thursday to work with them on genuine oversight investigations that weren’t political or focused on leveling grievances.  Chairman Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) mentioned the FBI, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the IRS as possible probe targets. Jennifer Shutt/Maryland Matters

WILL IVAN BATES’ PROPOSAL TO CRACK DOWN ON HANDGUNS DETER CRIME?: Speaking to lawmakers, Baltimore State’s Attorney Ivan Bates said he ran for office vowing to prosecute people who illegally carry handguns — a campaign promise that he’d like to keep. Bates was recently in Annapolis to push his proposal to increase the maximum sentence for those 21 and older for wearing, carrying or transporting a handgun without a permit in Maryland from three years in prison to five years. Gov. Wes Moore (D), former Gov. Larry Hogan (R) have both come out in favor of the proposal and U.S. Rep. Kweisi Mfume, a Democrat from Baltimore, said he wholeheartedly backs the bill. Dylan Segelbaum/Baltimore Banner

BALTIMORE CITY COUNCIL COMMITTEE TO SUBPOENA BGE-CONDUIT DOCUMENTS: A Baltimore City Council committee investigating a proposed management agreement with Baltimore Gas and Electric Co. for the city’s conduit system has agreed to issue several subpoenas after voicing concerns about the proposal. The subpoena vote came at the end of a hearing that lasted more than four hours Thursday night — the first meeting since the new legislative investigations committee convened in response to the swiftly moving proposal. Council members lamented about the lack of communication from the city administration and a lack of analysis about what the proposal would do to customer rates. Emily Epilo/The Baltimore Sun

MEETING WILL DISCUSS PLANS TO BUILD ELDERSBURG STORAGE FACILITY: A proposed five-story, 750-unit self-storage facility planned in Eldersburg is causing concern among area residents, prompting Carroll County commissioners to call for a town hall meeting to address the issue later this month. Carroll County Commissioners’ President Ed Rothstein (R-5), whose district includes Eldersburg, will host the town hall meeting from 6:30 to 8 p.m. on Feb. 28 at the South Carroll Senior Center, 5928 Mineral Hill Rd., Eldersburg. Sherry Greenfield/Carroll County Times

OPINION: PASS THE TRANS HEALTH EQUITY ACT: In a guest commentary, a trans woman, mother and activist urges Maryland lawmakers to pass the 2023 Trans Health Equity Act. A lack of access to life-saving health care is one of the biggest barriers transgender Marylanders face. Passing the Act is a critical step towards correcting this injustice. Margot Quinlan/Maryland Matters

About The Author

Regina Holmes

ReginaHolmes@hotmail.com

Contributing editor Regina Holmes has worked as a journalist for over 30 years. She was an assistant business editor at the Miami Herald and an assistant city editor at Newsday in New York City, where she helped supervise coverage of 9/11, anthrax attacks and the August 2003 Northeast Blackout. As an assistant managing editor of the Baltimore Examiner, she helped launch the free tabloid in 2006. Before joining Maryland Reporter, she was the managing editor for Washington, D.C.-based Talk Media News, where she supervised digital, radio and video production of news reports for over 400 radio stations. The Baltimore native is a graduate of Vassar College and Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism.

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