REPRODUCTIVE HEALTH RECORDS, ENSHRINING ABORTION ACCESS: Facing a changing national landscape for abortion care access, state senators considered legislation Wednesday that would help protect reproductive health care providers, patients and their health data by prohibiting records about reproductive health care, including abortion, from crossing state lines via digital health information exchanges. Patients would need to consent for their records to be transferred. Hannah Gaskill/The Baltimore Sun.
- Although Maryland a state with strong pro-abortion laws, the Democratic-led legislature is pushing for a constitutional amendment because of the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision last year to overturn Roe v. Wade, ending the constitutional right to an abortion. William Ford/Maryland Matters.
LAWMAKERS PUSH EQUITY FOR TRANSIT PROJECTS: A group of state lawmakers wants to make equity a required part of any transit project or program decision. Still smarting from a decision to cancel construction of the Red Line light rail project in Baltimore, lawmakers said more focus is needed on those who use public transportation — specifically low-income workers and minorities. Bryan Sears/Maryland Matters.
SUPREMES RULING ON STUDENT DEBT RELIEF COULD IMPACT 800,000 MARYLANDERS: A ruling from the Supreme Court against the White House’s student debt relief program could impact more than 800,000 Maryland student loan borrowers who are currently eligible for relief according to data from the federal Department of Education. So far, about 320,000 Maryland borrowers have had their loans forgiveness applications approved by the Education Department. Hunter Savery of Capital News Service/MarylandReporter.com.
BILLS TARGET REFORM OF 529 COLLEGE SAVINGS PLAN: Two General Assembly bills aim to abolish the board of Maryland 529, the beleaguered state higher education savings agency, and move the organization under the auspices of the state treasurer by June, a change State Treasurer Dereck Davis supports. Del. Cathi Forbes, a Baltimore County Democrat, has introduced the House version of the legislation and Sen. Joanne Benson, a Prince George’s County Democrat, is the chief sponsor of an identical bill in her chamber. Lia Russell/The Baltimore Sun.
MILLER URGES TAX CREDIT EXTENSION FOR LOW-INCOME RESIDENTS: Lt. Gov. Aruna Miller urged lawmakers Wednesday to approve an extension and expansion of tax credits for low-income residents that have helped them during the coronavirus pandemic but are set to end. Brian Witte/The Associated Press.
FUNDS MAY END TO KEEP PEOPLE HOUSED, HEALTHY: An experimental program providing extra services to help keep once-homeless Marylanders in stable housing appears to be working — with participants not only staying under a roof but out of the hospital and healthier. But more than 200 households in Baltimore could lose that support if funding pledged by hospitals comes to an end in June and no other funding source is secured. Hallie Miller and Meredith Cohn/The Baltimore Banner.
BPW OKs $7M PAYOUT TO MAN BEATEN WHILE IN CUSTODY: The Board of Public Works has agreed that the state will pay $7 million to settle the pending state Supreme Court appeal of a man who was savagely beaten while in state custody and whose jury award of $25 million had been slashed to $200,000 under the Maryland Tort Claims Act. Steve Lash/The Daily Record.
ACTING TROOPER SUPER BASHES TICKET QUOTAS: Acting Maryland State Police Superintendent Lt. Col. Roland Butler told lawmakers Wednesday that a quota system for tickets and arrests was “inappropriate and blatantly wrong.” Pamela Wood/The Baltimore Banner.
BWI CONCESSION AGREEMENT EXTENDED AS NEW VENDOR SOUGHT: The Board of Public Works agreed Wednesday to extend a concession contract for the Baltimore/Washington Thurgood Marshall International Airport while a new vendor is identified. Fraport Maryland, the current contractor, will maintain the right to lease, develop and manage food services, retail and service concessions at the airport. Dorothy Hood of CNS/MarylandReporter.com.
- Gov. Wes Moore also pledged to include a “labor peace” agreement when the state next awards a contract to run the concessions operations at BWI , a commitment long sought by labor leaders and many lawmakers and other stakeholders. Josh Kurtz/Maryland Matters.
HARFORD DEMS SEEK TO FILL COUNCIL SEAT, NOW IN LIMBO DURING SUIT: The Harford County Democratic Central Committee is looking to fill the vacancy on the Harford County Council left by Jacob Bennett after a Circuit Court judge ordered that he not serve on the council while he’s employed as a Harford County Public Schools teacher. Jason Fontelieu/The Aegis.
ARUNDEL NONPROFITS GET RESCUE PLAN GRANTS: Forty-two Anne Arundel area nonprofits received grants following the release of a 2022 report identifying county residents’ most immediate needs. A total of $1 million in American Rescue Plan funding was distributed to the nonprofits that do work in areas ranging from arts to health care and food distribution to addiction recovery. Dana Munro/The Capital Gazette.
BIDEN URGES HOUSE DEMS TO CLAIM CREDIT: With an eye on the 2024 elections, President Joe Biden repeatedly urged U.S. House Democrats meeting Wednesday evening in Baltimore to help the party claim credit for various initiatives, including a massive infrastructure package and gun safety measures. “Folks are going to understand what you’ve done. We’re going to make sure of it,” he said. Jeff Barker/The Baltimore Sun.