BLUEPRINT BOARD OKs RELEASING FUNDS FOR 24 SCHOOL SYSTEMS: The Blueprint for Maryland’s Future Accountability and Implementation Board on Thursday approved releasing money earmarked for reforms to the state’s 24 school systems because each has met the board’s minimum requirements for their local education plans. The legislature approved a budget that included an additional $900 million in the Blueprint for Maryland’s Future fund, the state’s savings account for the ongoing education reform effort. William Ford/Maryland Matters.
MOORE: STATE BEGINS STOCKPILING ABORTION DRUG: Gov. Wes Moore announced Friday that the state has begun the process of stockpiling the drug mifepristone as the federal courts wrestle over the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s long-standing approval of the medicine, one of the pills prescribed for medication abortions. Hannah Gaskill/The Baltimore Sun.
- Less than 90 days into his first term, Moore appeared Sunday on ABC’s “This Week,” touting recent legislative victories in the General Assembly and promising that the state will take the lead in preserving women’s reproductive rights. Michelle Deal-Zimmerman/The Baltimore Sun.
BILL TO OVERHAUL PROCESS FOR RELEASING ILL, OLD PRISONERS FAILS: Legislation that would have overhauled the processes for releasing chronically ill and elderly prisoners did not pass again in the Maryland General Assembly in 2023, despite support from those including the chairman of the parole commission. Dylan Segelbaum/The Baltimore Banner.
IS CARDIN’s RETIREMENT ON THE HORIZON? U.S. Sen. Ben Cardin (D-Md.) roamed the stage of an auditorium at a senior citizen retirement complex in Gaithersburg, giving little indication that he has any plans to become a retiree himself. It is a question that hangs over the entire 2024 election cycle in Maryland. And the answer, in the view of many political professionals, is going to come very soon — perhaps as early as this week. Josh Kurtz/Maryland Matters.
WHERE WILL THE PROGRESSIVE AGENDA TAKE THE STATE NEXT? After a dominant election year and a hectic three-month General Assembly session, the majority party’s lawmakers poured out of the State House largely having stayed united, completed almost all of their agenda and set themselves up for another three years of progressive policymaking. It is, they said, just the beginning. Sam Janesch/The Baltimore Sun.
WHICH BILLS PASSED, WHICH DIDN’T: Maryland Democrats had an ambitious agenda at the start of the first session of a Gov. Wes Moore’s brand-new term. Here’s a look at which of the hundreds of bills filed made it to Moore’s desk at the end of the 90-day legislative session — and what wasn’t ready for prime time, starting with access to abortion. Hannah Gaskill/The Baltimore Sun.
COMPLAINTS SPIKE AGAINST GAS, ELECTRIC SUPPLIERS: Complaints have spiked against gas and electric suppliers in Maryland’s competitive energy marketplace, prompting heavy scrutiny in recent weeks from regulators looking to root out deceptive tactics. Lorraine Mirabella/The Baltimore Sun.
FRESHMAN DELEGATE CHARGED WITH FELONY ASSAULT: Freshman Del. Jeffrie E. Long Jr. (D-Calvert and Prince George’s) faces home invasion and first-degree felony assault charges stemming from an alleged April 4 incident in Calvert County. An attorney for the delegate denied the incident took place, adding that Long was not in the area when it occurred and that the charges are the result of an undisclosed family matter. Bryan Sears/Maryland Matters.
B’MORE DELEGATE CHARGED WITH MISDEMEANOR ASSAULT: A state delegate from Baltimore is accused of misdemeanor assault stemming from something that happened at a public event in November, court records show. An attendee of the event, Vann Millhouse, wrote in an application for charges dated March 7 that Del. Caylin Young twice put his hands on Millhouse and “physically removed” them from a public event held at the Reginald F. Lewis Museum. Darcy Costello/The Baltimore Sun.
AG: ARCHDIOCESE CONTINUES TO MISLEAD: Attorney General Anthony Brown’s office challenged the veracity of statements the Archdiocese of Baltimore posted on its website about the attorney general’s office 456-page report of sex abuse within the archdiocese, saying in an email Friday evening that the church has “continued to mislead their readers and mischaracterize the AG’s position.” Alex Mann/The Baltimore Sun.
TWO LARGE GOVERNMENT WORKERS UNIONS UNITE: Two of Maryland’s largest — and most politically active unions — have voted to become one. AFSCME Council 67, which represents nearly 15,000 city and county government employees, is joining forces with AFSCME Council 3, which represents nearly 30,000 state government workers and university employees. The combined union, which will carry the Council 3 name, will represent nearly 45,000 public employees across the state. Bruce DePuyt/Maryland Matters.
MOORE SAYS PARTNERSHIP WILL SPUR GLOBAL INVESTMENT IN STATE: Gov. Wes Moore on Friday announced the creation of the new Maryland Innovation Lab, which will aim to help Maryland companies thrive “by matching them with global technology companies to bring new innovations to life and spur global investment in the state,” according to state officials. The Maryland Innovation Lab will be a partnership between the Maryland Department of Commerce, Baltimore’s World Trade Center Institute, and L Marks, specialists in corporate innovation. Aliza Worthington/Baltimore Fishbowl.
MARYLAND LAWS LAG BEHIND CHANGES IN FUNERAL INDUSTRY: The funeral business is changing rapidly. Cremation has been on the rise for decades, surpassing traditional burial in Maryland for the first time in 2020. The coronavirus pandemic massively boosted the already growing practice of livestreaming funeral services. More people are asking for green burials and composting. And more women are entering the once male-dominated industry. But Maryland law has not kept up with the changes. Dan Belson/The Baltimore Sun.
BALTIMORE AUTHORITY OVER ITS POLICE REMAINS IN QUESTION: Supporters of local control of the Baltimore Police Department agree that the city’s elected officials, not the state’s, should be the ones with the ability to pass laws governing the law enforcement agency. Exactly where that power begins and ends, though, will likely present a legal gray area for the foreseeable future. Inaction by the Maryland General Assembly has left lingering questions over what constitutes the Baltimore police commissioner’s powers, and how and whether those can be legislated by the City Council. Emily Opilo and Darcy Costello/The Baltimore Sun.
MARC HOPES TO EXTEND TRAIN SERVICE INTO DELAWARE, VIRGINIA: Maryland is advancing negotiations to extend MARC commuter train service into Delaware and Virginia. The Maryland Department of Transportation said it reached an agreement with the Delaware Transit Corp. to close a gap in service between Perryville and Newark, Del. MARC’s Penn Line, which terminates in Perryville, could extend 20 miles to Newark under the plan, providing a service long sought by residents in Cecil County. Luz Lazo/The Washington Post.
STATE HOUSE PAGES GIVE TEENS A CHANCE TO SEE HOW LAWS ARE MADE: In the leadup to midnight on Monday, high school seniors wearing gray blazers lined the gallery balconies overlooking the State House chambers. As the clock struck 12, they released bags of confetti and balloons, showering the lawmakers below. They’re the Maryland General Assembly’s pages. Each year, 105 pages and 36 alternates from around the state spend two nonconsecutive weeks in Annapolis to learn about how a bill becomes a law. Christine Zhu/Maryland Matters.