State Roundup: Complaints persist after state treasurer takes over 529 savings agency; Md. is among 30 states expanding subsidies for community college; Blueprint calls for major changes in early childhood education

State Roundup: Complaints persist after state treasurer takes over 529 savings agency; Md. is among 30 states expanding subsidies for community college; Blueprint calls for major changes in early childhood education

MD.’s TAKEOVER OF TROUBLED 529 SAVINGS AGENCY OFF TO A ROCKY START: Weeks after Maryland Treasurer Dereck Davis assumed control of the state’s troubled college savings agency, parents are accusing his office of a lack of transparency and urgency in figuring out the value of their investments in the prepaid college trust. Davis took the helm of Maryland 529 on June 1, after Gov. Wes Moore (D) signed legislation to overhaul the agency. Lawmakers and account holders criticized Maryland 529 for obfuscation and incompetence after the agency suspended earnings on 31,000 prepaid tuition accounts last year, citing a calculation error. Danielle Douglas-Gabriel/The Washington Post

STATES EXPAND COLLEGE SUBSIDIES AS ENROLLMENTS FALL AND COSTS RISE: More states are moving to subsidize community college tuition and fees by reducing or eliminating costs for students as enrollment in higher education plunges. Thirty states – including Maryland, Virginia and New York – subsidize two-year college expenses through “first-dollar” payments, which cover all costs, or “last-dollar” programs that pay for whatever federal grants don’t cover, according to the Campaign for Free College Tuition. Enrollment declines at four-year universities are driving states to expand programs as rising costs discourage high school graduates, according to the American Association of Community Colleges. Sean Salai/The Washington Times

MD. PLANS MAJOR EXPANSION OF EARLY CHILDHOOD EDUCATION: The Blueprint for Maryland’s Future sets early childhood opportunities as its first pillar, or priority. That includes universal access to prekindergarten for 3- and 4-year-old children. As prekindergarten opportunities expand, school systems must also ensure early childhood curricula are more inclusive for children with disabilities, according to Rene Averitt-Sanzone, executive director of The Parents’ Place of Maryland. William J. Ford/Maryland Matters

ABSTINENCE NOT REQUIRED FOR DRUG TREATMENT PROGRAM: A mobile health clinic that operates in some of Baltimore’s most drug-ravaged neighborhoods exemplifies an ongoing shift in the nation’s approach to stemming overdose deaths, which surged during the pandemic to unprecedented heights as the potent synthetic opioid fentanyl replaced heroin in drug markets across the country. The so-called harm reduction model, which has received endorsement and funding from the Biden administration, offers potentially life-saving services to opioid users, without requiring abstinence in return. Lea Skene/Associated Press in The Baltimore Banner

CEMETERY COALITION BOYCOTTS MONTGOMERY CO. JUNETEENTH CELEBRATION: The Bethesda African Cemetery Coalition has called for a boycott of the Juneteenth celebrations sponsored by Montgomery County to pressure officials to return bones and bone fragments recovered in 2020 at the development site of Bethesda Self Storage. Instead, the coalition is offering its own celebration Monday, with touted appearances from U.S. Rep. Jamie Raskin and Del. Lorig Charkoudian. Elia Griffin/MoCo360

THREE SLAIN MEN MOURNED AT ANNAPOLIS VIGIL AFTER FAMILIES MEET WITH MOORE: Families, friends and neighbors of three fathers fatally shot in Annapolis gathered for a somber Father’s Day vigil at City Dock on Sunday. The families of the slain men started the morning with a private meeting at the State House with Gov. Wes Moore, a Democrat who appeared at an initial news conference last week to denounce the shooting. Last month, the governor signed into law new gun control regulations. Annapolis Mayor Gavin Buckley, who attended the meeting along with fellow Democrat and Anne Arundel County Executive Steuart Pittman, told the families at City Dock that the governor “has your back.” Sam Janesch/The Baltimore Sun

B’MORE MAYOR’S FILM DEPICTS FRICTION WITH HOGAN: “The Body Politic,” the documentary about Baltimore Mayor Brandon Scott, made its North American premiere Sunday in Washington, D.C. Most of the film is concerned with Scott’s anti-violence efforts: namely, the group violence reduction strategy. The documentary shows brief clips of Scott convincing statehouse and federal elected officials that the form of deterred focus is the right way to curb Baltimore’s homicide and shooting rates, setting up then-Gov. Larry Hogan as the antagonist who refuses to discuss the policy with the mayor or even meet face to face. Emily Sullivan/The Baltimore Banner

POLITICAL ANALYST CALLS FOR “MORE MEAT’ IN MOORE’S CRIME REDUCTION PLAN: Political analyst John Dedie said the three pillars of Gov. Wes Moore’s new crime reduction plan are a good start, but he believes Moore now has to sell the plan. “You can have all these ideas, but I think there needs to be more detail, more meat into, ‘here’s the specifics of what we’re trying to do,’ ” Dedie said. Emilie Kylie/WBFF Fox

WEST BALTIMORE GROUP PITCHES EAST-WEST SUBWAY FOR REVIVED RED LINE: The president of the Edmondson Community Organization in Baltimore, Joe Richardson, envisions replacing the West Baltimore MARC stop with a multimodal hub that would be the first stop of a new east-west transit line, a place where passengers arriving from Washington, D.C., could switch to a subway line and complete a trip to downtown Baltimore in as little as 45 minutes. His organization and its development wing — HUB West Baltimore — call it the “ Smart Line.” Now that Gov. Wes Moore has resurrected the Red Line planning, the group’s leaders hope officials will seriously consider their Smart Line subway idea. Giacomo Bologna/The Baltimore Sun

BACON BROTHERS PITCH IN TO RESTORE STREAM IN ANNAPOLIS: When Kevin and Michael Bacon aren’t on stage or working on a film, you can sometimes catch them helping out in different communities. The brothers strapped on their work boots over the weekend and planted native plants at a stream restoration project at Broad Creek Park in Annapolis. Khiree Stewart/WBAL TV

Sen. Norman Stone (photo by govpics)

Sen. Norman Stone. File photo by govpics

NORMAN R. STONE JR., LONGEST-SERVING MEMBER OF MD. SENATE AND ASSEMBLY, DIES: Norman R. Stone Jr., a bricklayer who went on to become both the longest-serving member of the General Assembly as well as the Maryland State Senate, died Friday at Anne Arundel Medical Center, according to his son, Norman R. Stone III, a retired Baltimore County District Court judge. A cause of death was not immediately disclosed. The former Dundalk lawmaker, who moved to Anne Arundel County in his later years, was 87.  Bryan P. Sears/Maryland Matters

BRUCE ROMER, FORMER LONGTIME MO CO CHIEF ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICER, DIES: Bruce Romer, a Bethesda resident who served as Montgomery County’s chief administrative officer for 12 years, died June 10 at age 78, after a brief illness, according to a family obituary. Romer assembled a task force of law enforcement and government officials to respond to sniper attacks in the county in 2002 and mentored a generation of leaders in the county government, mourners noted. Courtney Cohn/MoCo360

COMMENTARY: IT’S TIME TO EXTINGUISH THE WORD  “FIREMEN”:  The Maryland State Firemen Association has the opportunity to modify its name at its June convention to recognize ALL its courageous members — not just the men. Diane E. Conway/MoCo360

About The Author

Regina Holmes

Contributing editor Regina Holmes has worked as a journalist for over 30 years. She was an assistant business editor at the Miami Herald and an assistant city editor at Newsday in New York City, where she helped supervise coverage of 9/11, anthrax attacks and the August 2003 Northeast Blackout. As an assistant managing editor of the Baltimore Examiner, she helped launch the free tabloid in 2006. Before joining Maryland Reporter, she was the managing editor for Washington, D.C.-based Talk Media News, where she supervised digital, radio and video production of news reports for over 400 radio stations. The Baltimore native is a graduate of Vassar College and Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism.

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