BIPARTISAN GROUP OF LAWMAKERS SUPPORT IMPROVED MENTAL HEALTH CARE ACCESS: A bipartisan group of Maryland lawmakers on Friday gathered to express their support for a package of legislation to modernize and improve access to mental health services in the state. The measures focus on getting people help earlier, preferably in community and primary care settings, before they experience a mental health crisis requiring costly trips to the emergency room or in-patient care. Brian Witte/The Associated Press.
- The lawmakers are backing the package of seven bills they say would accomplish “twin pillars” of the plan: to improve access to mental health treatment and to modernize the mental health care system in Maryland. Danielle Gaines/Maryland Matters.
KEEPING MINOR DEFENDANTS FROM ADULT COURT: The Youth Equity and Safety Act seeks to flip the state’s current practice of automatically charging some juvenile defendants in adult court. Instead of presumptively sending those cases to criminal court and requiring defense attorneys to petition the cases back down to juvenile court, the process would be reversed. William Ford/Maryland Matters.
ENVIRO ACTIVISTS PROMOTE ELECTRIC VEHICLES IN ANNAPOLIS: With real-time evidence of climate change plainly visible — cherry blossoms blooming weeks ahead of schedule — environmental activists gathered in front of the State House on Monday urging officials to do all they can to promote the use of electric trucks and school buses in the state. Josh Kurtz/Maryland Matters.
COMMENTARY: WES MOORE WHITEWASHES ABORTION ISSUE: Gov. Wes Moore’s appeal to Black Marylanders has shifted away from them, specifically with respect to abortion, in favor of a colorblind approach that ignores major racial disparities. On Feb. 9, Moore and top Democrat leaders announced support for a package of measures protecting abortion rights, including a state constitutional amendment. Missing from the speech was one cold fact: Black Americans have a disproportionately higher number of abortions than their white counterparts. Chris Anderson/MarylandReporter.com.
BILL WOULD PROTECT EDUCATORS INTERVENING IN SCHOOL FIGHTS: Maryland lawmakers are now reviewing House Bill 0137, which seeks to protect teachers who intervene in fights from liability related to property damage or personal injury. “What this bill does is it provides very narrow immunity for teachers, administrators, school staff members who are acting in good faith,” Del. Robin Grammer, Jr. said. Kellye Lynn/WJLA-TV.
MOORE REVERSES CHANGES TO VEHICLE EMISSIONS TESTING: Gov. Wes Moore’s administration is reversing changes to Maryland’s vehicle emissions program that were enacted late in Republican Gov. Larry Hogan’s administration. Under the Hogan-era changes, new cars would have been exempt from emissions checks until they turned 6 years old. Christine Condon/The Baltimore Sun.
DEL. LOPEZ PUSHES AGAINST ‘CYBER-FLASHING:’ A Maryland legislator is looking for ways to address the problem of people who send offensive, unsolicited pictures, sometimes called “cyber flashing.” “We gotta figure out how to hold these creeps accountable,” Democratic Del. Lesley Lopez of Montgomery County said last week on social media. Hannah Gaskill/The Baltimore Sun.
BILL WOULD EXPAND OPEN MEETINGS ACT TO SCHOOL REVIEW COMMITTEES: A state delegate from Frederick County has filed a bill that would expand how the Maryland Open Meetings Act applies to public school systems. Del. April Miller’s proposal, HB 1203, would require public school system committees that “will review or discuss curriculum content; textbooks or other course materials; library books; or supplemental materials” to follow the act. Jillian Atelsek/The Frederick News Post.
BILL WOULD EXPAND MEALS PROGRAM FOR CHILDREN: Ayesha Holmes and Juwan Blocker are working to ensure the passage of a bill to expand meals for students in low-income schools. HB-514, introduced by Montgomery County Del. Jared Solomon, seeks to build upon the Maryland Meals for Achievement program established in 1998 to provide access to breakfast for children in communities with high poverty rates. This bill will be heard on Feb. 28 in front of the Appropriations Committee. Richard Elliott/The Washington Informer.
MOORE DECLARES FEB. 20 CIVIL RIGHTS HEROES DAY: Gov. Wes Moore declared Monday, Feb. 20 as a statewide Civil Rights Heroes Day, recognizing the 128th death anniversary of abolitionist Frederick Douglass and contributions of other Maryland civil rights icons. Lilly Price/The Baltimore Sun.
DAN COX TAPPED FOR WICOMICO SPECIAL COUNSEL: Former gubernatorial candidate Dan Cox could remain a fixture on the Eastern Shore after being named as possible special counsel for Wicomico County in a limited capacity. Wicomico County Executive Julie Giordano plans to name Cox to the post during today. Following his loss to Gov. Wes Moore in the November election, Cox accepted the job as chief of staff to Pennsylvania state Sen. Doug Mastriano, but Giordano noted Cox would only handle “about 5% of the county’s workload.” Kristian Jaime/The Salisbury Daily Times.
A HISTORY LESSON: A MARYLAND SENATOR AIMS AT SPUTNIKS: While President Dwight D. Eisenhower stewed about Sputnik as it streaked across the firmament, U.S. Sen. John Marshall Butler, a Republican from Maryland and a rabid anti-Communist, had an idea, albeit a technically impracticable one, given the times. “Senator John Marshall Butler believes the United States should take a good aim and shoot Russian sputniks out of the skies as fast as they appear,” The Sun reported. Frederick Rasmussen/The Baltimore Sun.