State Roundup: Biden infrastructure program means $2.6B for Maryland projects; Laurel Park could be on losing end of racing changes; undocumented workers shut out of health exchange

State Roundup: Biden infrastructure program means $2.6B for Maryland projects; Laurel Park could be on losing end of racing changes; undocumented workers shut out of health exchange

In an attempt to decrease the number of road work zone deaths, the state is raising fines for speeding through them. In January, fines will be on a tiered scale. Photo by Mika Baumeister on Unsplash

FEDERAL INFRASTRUCTURE BILL POURS $2.6B INTO MARYLAND: President Joe Biden’s infrastructure program so far has funneled $2.6 billion over the last two years to projects in Maryland, according to White House data. The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law has been touted as a once-in-a-generation piece of legislation and the president is highlighting it as one of his key accomplishments as he makes his bid for reelection. Ian Decker of Capital News Service/Maryland Reporter.

LAUREL PARK COULD BE LOSER IN NEXT PHASE FOR RACING: Just a few years ago, the Maryland Jockey Club pushed to move the Preakness from Baltimore to Laurel Park. But soon, the track midway between Baltimore and Washington might not host any horse races at all. As the racetrack owners, horsemen and the General Assembly — which recently created a state-operated racing authority — contemplate the future of Maryland horse racing, it’s Laurel Park that could be a casualty of the declining industry. Hayes Gardner/The Baltimore Sun.

UNDOCUMENTED WORKERS SHUT OUT OF HEALTH EXCHANGE: An estimated 275,000 undocumented immigrants residing in Maryland could have benefitted from a bill that would have allowed them to purchase health insurance on the Maryland Health Benefit Exchange. The bill failed in the legislative session that concluded this month. Sarah True/The Baltimore Banner.

ARUNDEL AMONG FIRST WITH POLICE ACCOUNTABILITY BOARD: Anne Arundel is among the first of Maryland’s 24 jurisdictions to implement a a state-mandated police accountability board and an administrative charging committee to review allegations from the public against police officers and recommend any disciplinary action. William Ford/Maryland Matters.

INFLUX OF CHILD SEX ABUSE CASES ANTICIPATED: If the volume of calls to the Lutherville law firm of Rice, Murtha & Psoras and others or the number of advertisements courting potential clients for child sex abuse cases are any indication, Maryland courts are due for a tidal wave of lawsuits come Oct. 1, the day the Child Victims Act takes effect. Alex Mann/The Baltimore Sun.

***SUPREME COURT IN CRISIS: The League of Women Voters and the Francis King Carey School of Law at the University of Maryland Baltimore are hosting a presentation on Supreme Court: Crisis of Legitimacy and the Path to Reform Wednesday, May 3, 1 p.m. Westminster Hall, 519 W. Fayette St. in Baltimore. Speakers are Mark Graber, University of Maryland Regents Professor and Constitutional Scholar; Leslie Proll, Senior Director of Voting Rights, Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights; Jon Sherman, Litigation Director, Fair Elections Center. For more information and to register for the event, click here.***

DISABLED VETS SEEK CAREER CHANGE IN MARYLAND; FIND MOUNTING DEBT: A group of veterans who used education benefits earned in the military to pay for the training, had signed agreements pledging to work in the VA’s troubled contracting and acquisition workforce — or repay related expenses if they left early. But some say they felt like they had little choice but to sign the agreements, and that program administrators misled them about working conditions in their internships and future jobs. They also never expected the agency dedicated to helping veterans would one day try to hurt them financially. Giacomo Bologna/The Baltimore Sun.

LT. GOV. MILLER DEFINES HER ROLE: In a room packed with government officials and an agenda containing millions of dollars’ worth of state contracts, Lt. Gov. Aruna Miller felt like she was breaking all the rules. The engineer turned politician sat in for Democratic Gov. Wes Moore at the powerful Board of Public Works meeting, it was the first time in more than over 20 years that women made up a majority of the three-member panel — and never before had a woman of color served as chair. Just Miller’s very presence had the feeling of “good trouble,” she said later, borrowing a phrase from the late U.S. Rep. John Lewis. Sam Janesch/The Baltimore Sun.

COURT SIDES WITH ARUNDEL SHERIFF IN DEFAMATION SUIT: A judge ruled that former Anne Arundel County Sheriff Ronald Bateman did not defame a Maryland State Police commander when Bateman reported allegations of misconduct to the agency amid a legal showdown surrounding the ownership of Eastport-based Compass Marketing. Dan Belson/The Capital Gazette.

BILL RATCHFORD, FORMER STATE BUDGET WATCHDOG, DIES: William Sawtelle Ratchford II of Annapolis passed away peacefully at his home on April 23, 2023. Bill was a beloved and revered figure in the Maryland political sphere and in the county community, having served as MACo executive secretary and later for many years as director of the Maryland General Assembly’s Department of Fiscal Services. Virginia White/Conduit Street.

  • As head of the legislature’s fiscal office for 22 years, Ratchford was the top budget adviser for an array of policymakers, helping to guide the state through the recession of the 1970s, the savings and loan crisis of the 1980s, and countless other challenges. His demeanor was quiet and unassuming — he was viewed by lawmakers as an honest broker and nonpartisan — and yet he was a forceful advocate for fiscal prudence and probity who recognized that everything that happened in Annapolis was driven by politics. Josh Kurtz/Maryland Matters.
  • U.S. Sen. Ben Cardin, who was speaker of the House of Delegates from 1979 to 1986, recalled, “It was a time when the Maryland General Assembly was dominated by the executive branch and Bill Ratchford played a critical part in the modernization of the assembly.” Frederick Rasmussen/The Baltimore Sun.

About The Author

Cynthia Prairie

Contributing Editor Cynthia Prairie has been a newspaper editor since 1979, when she began working at The Raleigh Times. Since then, she has worked for The Baltimore News American, The Chicago Sun-Times, The Prince George’s Journal and Baltimore County newspapers in the Patuxent Publishing chain, including overseeing The Jeffersonian when it was a two-day a week business publication. Cynthia has won numerous state awards, including the Maryland State Bar Association’s Gavel Award. Besides compiling and editing the daily State Roundup, she runs her own online newspaper, The Chester Telegraph. If you have additional questions or comments contact Cynthia at:

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