CHILD POVERTY IN MARYLAND MORE WIDESPREAD THAN EARLIER REPORTS: Child poverty in Maryland is deeper and more widespread than previously calculated, with a new state government analysis finding more than half of public school students now qualify for a range of anti-poverty programs. Erin Cox/The Washington Post.
MOORE’s FAMILY PROSPERITY ACT TO GET AIRING: On Thursday, Gov. Wes. Moore’s proposed Family Prosperity Act gets its first airing before lawmakers. The Family Prosperity Act hopes to strengthen two tax credits that experts say do the job they’re supposed to do in incentivizing work and providing a break to struggling taxpayers: the Earned Income Tax Credit and the Child Tax Credit. Coupled with increases in the minimum wage, this would help thousands of Maryland families with children begin to climb out of poverty, according to Moore’s administration. Pamela Wood/The Baltimore Banner.
GUN RIGHTS, JUVENILE JUSTICE ADVOCATES PUSH AGAINST BATES’ MEASURES: Increasing penalties for illegal gun ownership was a centerpiece of Ivan Bates’ successful election campaign for State’s Attorney of Baltimore City in 2022. But he needs the General Assembly to approve such measures for his promises to come true, and the first hearing Wednesday in Annapolis showed the political resistance Bates faces. Matt Bush/WYPR-FM.
- The bill that would increase the maximum sentence for people who are 21 and older for wearing, carrying or transporting a handgun without a permit to five years in prison — a proposal that drew opposition from than a dozen people including gun rights supporters and criminal justice reform advocates. Dylan Segelbaum/The Baltimore Banner.
- Heather Warnken, who leads the Criminal Justice Reform at the University of Baltimore Law School, said her organization opposes the legislation and called on lawmakers to “have the courage” to allow other policies to show results, “rather than regressing to politically expedient, yet utterly failed strategies in the past.” Mikenzie Frost/WBFF-TV.
JUDGE RULES AGAINST TEACHER ELECTED TO HARFORD COUNCIL: A Harford County teacher will appeal a judge’s ruling that he can no longer serve on the County Council unless he resigns from his position as a middle school science teacher. In a judgment entered Wednesday, Harford County Circuit Court Judge Richard S. Bernhardt, Sr. said Jacob Bennett (D) can no longer serve on the county council while he remains employed by the Harford County Public Schools. Danielle Gaines/Maryland Matters.
- In a Facebook posting after the ruling was announced, Bennett said: “We are incredibly disappointed by today’s ruling and are preparing our appeal to the Supreme Court of Maryland. It is shocking to hear the judge rule not just that he views me as a county employee and potentially also a state employee, but also that there is an inherent incompatibility of office by being a school teacher in the county I serve.” Jason Fontelieu/The Aegis.
MOORE FINANCIAL INTERESTS STILL NOT IN BLIND TRUST: Four weeks into his tenure, Gov. Wes Moore has yet to fulfill his pledge to put all of his investments and business interests in a blind trust in order to avoid conflicts of interest. Pamela Wood/The Baltimore Banner.
DEMS ON PANEL MOVE JUVENILE JUSTICE NOMINEE TO FULL SENATE: A Senate nominations committee on Wednesday voted along party lines to advance Vincent Schiraldi, Gov. Wes Moore’s juvenile services Cabinet pick, to the full Senate. Brenda Wintrode and Pamela Wood/The Baltimore Banner.
- Schiraldi has come under fire for some of of his views on juvenile justice — many of them published during his time working at a think tank or as a university researcher. Many of those views focus less on incarceration of juveniles including those sometimes involved in violent crimes. He’s also published opinion pieces arguing that adults 25 years old and younger should be treated as juveniles and tried in family courts because their brains are not fully mature before that age. Bryan Sears/The Daily Record.
SENATE CONSIDERS EXPANDING GAMING TO ONLINE: The Maryland Senate began hearings Wednesday on a bill to remove some of the last blocks to unfettered gaming statewide — a plan that would ask voters to legalize online gaming for sponsors paying a hefty licensing fee. Michael Charles of Capital News Service/MarylandReporter.com.
TREASURER DAVIS WARNS AGENGIES ON COSTLY LAWSUITS, SETTLEMENTS: State Treasurer Dereck Davis called on state agencies to exhibit restraint and avoid costly lawsuits and settlements in response to three settlements before the Board of Public Works on Wednesday. All three payments, totaling more than $130,000 were to settle federal lawsuits against the Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services that were filed during the two terms of Republican Gov. Larry Hogan. Bryan Sears/The Daily Record.
STATE MAY STUDY IMPROVEMENTS TO MENTAL HEALTH SERVICES: Maryland may completely overhaul how it approaches mental health services in the coming years if the General Assembly approves a bill that creates a new commission to study and recommend ways to improve how the state handles nearly every facet of mental health. That includes how services are provided, how the state holds private insurers accountable, how services are priced and the types of mental health services offered to individuals on insurance plans. Scott Maucione/WYPR-FM.
MOORE ADMIN HALTS SCALED-BACK VEHICLE EMISSION TESTING PROGRAM: As former Gov. Larry Hogan (R) was heading out the door a few weeks ago, his administration attempted to push through changes to the state’s vehicle emissions inspection program — over the objections of environmentalists and a legislative panel that examines proposed state regulations. But now the new regulation — and an accompanying procurement process designed to execute the Hogan administration’s plan to scale back emissions inspections — has been put on hold. Josh Kurtz/Maryland Matters.
KELLY ISSUE DID NOT COME UP AT MOCO DEM COMMITTEE MEETING: Montgomery County’s Democratic Central Committee voted Tuesday night to recommend that Del. Ariana Kelly (D-Dist. 16) fill a vacancy in the state Senate District 16 seat—amid disagreement about whether she had verbally attacked one of her challengers in the days prior. The chair of the panel said the committee was not the appropriate venue to adjudicate the allegation, and the allegation was not aired at the meeting. Steve Bohnel/MoCo360.
VIRGINIA PUSHES SPRINGFIELD FOR FBI HQ: Virginia’s political leaders made their case Wednesday for moving the FBI’s headquarters from the nation’s capital to the state, arguing that the federal government would be wise to follow the steps of Amazon and other big companies that have come to the commonwealth. In recent weeks and months, Maryland officials have argued that equity concerns should push the General Services Administration to pick one of the two sites in their state’s Prince George’s County, which has a majority Black population. Matthew Barakat/The Associated Press.