MOORE SIGNS ABORTION, TRANSGENDER CARE BILLS: Gov. Wes Moore signed several measures into law Wednesday on abortion rights and trans healthcare. They position Maryland in direct opposition to Republican-led states which are curtailing such rights and healthcare. Matt Bush/WYPR-FM.
- “We are living at a time when the Supreme Court is actively working to take Americans’ rights away, instead of expanding,” Moore said ahead of the Wednesday bill signing. “We are living at a time when nearly half of all the states in our country are moving towards banning or seriously restricting abortion access.” Danielle Brown/Maryland Matters.
- The Trans Health Equity Act reduces barriers to gender-affirming care, removing state requirements for who could receive it. Instead, the new law leaves it up to patients and their doctors to determine when it is medically necessary. The act also lifts a prohibition on gender-affirming care for Medicaid recipients under 18. Erin Cox/The Washington Post.
- Just before the signing ceremony, House Speaker Adrienne Jones said, “Being a health care leader means providing more and better access to health care resources. It means equal access to care. It means working to lower health disparities, and improve health outcomes and communities that have been historically underserved.” Hannah Gaskill/The Baltimore Sun.
MARYLAND MOVES FROM MEDICAL MARIJUANA TO RECREATIONAL USE: The signing of legislation legalizing cannabis in Maryland marks a mile post in a long strange trip for one Republican former delegate turned marijuana policy advocate. Don Murphy, a former lawmaker from Baltimore County, once sponsored legislation two decades ago that made it possible for someone arrested for possession of the drug to argue it was for medicinal purposes. Bryan Sears/Maryland Matters.
A 5th HOUSE SEAT TO BE FILLED BY COMMITTEE, NOT VOTERS: The Montgomery County Democratic Central Committee is looking to fill yet another vacant seat in the Maryland General Assembly, this time in District 17 of the House of Delegates, where Kumar Barve announced that he will be leaving May 17 to join the Moore administration. This will be the fifth representative this legislative season who will be picked by the committee and not picked by voters. Ginny Bixby/MoCo360.
POLL: LESS THAN A QUARTER OF MARYLANDERS INTERESTED IN GAMBLING: Less than a quarter of Marylanders are interested in gambling their money in the state’s still-growing sports betting industry, according to the new Goucher-Baltimore Banner poll. Pamela Wood/The Baltimore Banner.
NEIGHBORS OF BWI TO GET STATE FUNDS FOR SOUND-PROOFING HOMES: Residents living near BWI Thurgood Marshall Airport will receive $1.1 million in state funding to reduce jet noise. The funds will provide 18 homes with sound insulation treatments. Wambui Kamau/ WYPR-FM.
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TRONE ENTERS RACE FOR CARDIN’s SENATE SEAT: U.S. Rep. David Trone (D-6th) on Thursday became the second major Democratic candidate to join the race to replace U.S. Sen. Ben Cardin (D) in 2024. Trone released a 90-second video and news release Thursday morning, vowing to build on Cardin’s fulsome legacy. Josh Kurtz/Maryland Matters.
- Trone, the mogul founder of Total Wine & More who has served in Congress since 2019, entered the ring Thursday morning and is so far the most high-profile contender. He is pitching himself as a progressive-minded Democrat who can use his business chops and a track record of working across the aisle to Maryland’s advantage in the Senate. Meagan Flynn/The Washington Post.
- “It’s really about the people and the issues,” he said in an interview. “I feel like we can make a big difference from the Senate, more so than the House.” Trone has emphasized criminal justice reform, combating fentanyl overdoses and improving access to mental health care during his congressional tenure. Jeff Barker/The Baltimore Sun.
MONTEIRO WORKS TO BRING GOV’s VISION OF SERVICE TO REALITY: Just a few days after being sworn in as secretary of the Department of Civic and Service Innovation, Paul Monteiro was working Friday to get the service year program—passed by the Maryland General Assembly as the SERVE Act, and a new vision from the governor—established and operational by this October. “The governor’s an ambitious guy, and that’s part of the appeal of the job, really,” Monteiro said. “You don’t often see government move this fast.” Kara Thompson of the Capital News Service/MarylandReporter.
MOORE SIGNS BILL TO STOP FRAUDULENT ASL INTERPRETERS: On Wednesday, on National Sign Language Interpreter Day, Gov. Wes Moore signed that bill to prevent fraudulent sign language interpreters. Moore said sign language interpreters “make sure that every single Marylander is able to engage in the work of government, that every Marylander can know what’s happening in the halls of power.” Kate Ryan/WTOP-FM.
HOW GRASMICK HANDLED TEST SCORE TRANSPARENCY: The Maryland State Department of Education is facing questions over transparency after redacting state test scores and making less information available to the public. Project Baltimore has learned this is not the first time the state has changed the way test scores are reported. But last time – in 2011 – it was handled very differently. Chris Pabst/WBFF-TV.
MONTANA POLITICIAN’s MARYLAND GIRLFRIEND THWARTS SWATTING ATTEMPT: Police in Maryland got a heads up from a person who said that her Montgomery County address would soon be familiar to them. It came from Erin Reed, who is in a relationship with politician Zooey Zephyr, Montana’s first transgender lawmaker. Zephyr was recently barred from the state house floor after speaking out in opposition of a bill to ban gender-affirming care for transgender youth. Megan Cloherty/WTOP-FM.
FORMER DIRECTOR OF CITY LEGISLATIVE REFERENCE DIES AT 77: Avery Aisenstark, former director of Baltimore City’s Department of Legislative Reference and adviser to the city’s Ethics Board, died of heart failure April 19 at Sinai Hospital. The Upper Park Heights resident was 77. Frederick Rasmussen/The Baltimore Sun.