State Roundup: U.S. Rep. Ruppersberger to retire; Del. Bhandari to seek his seat; delegates renew push to get undocumented to buy health insurance

State Roundup: U.S. Rep. Ruppersberger to retire; Del. Bhandari to seek his seat; delegates renew push to get undocumented to buy health insurance

U.S. Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger will not be seeking re-election, saying that 'it is time to pass the torch to a younger generation of leaders.' MarylandReporter file photo.

LONGTIME U.S. REP. RUPPERSBERGER WON’T SEEK RE-ELECTION: Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger (D-Md.) will retire after two decades in Congress at the end of his term this year, he announced Friday, ending a 38-year stint in public service. Erin Cox/The Washington Post.

  • The departure, whispered about for months, creates yet another opening in Maryland’s federal delegation. The window of opportunity, however, may benefit one candidate more than any other. Currently, he serves on the House Appropriations Committee and its Defense Subcommittee. Bryan Sears/Maryland Matters.
  • “This was an incredibly difficult decision for me because, now more than ever, Congress needs thoughtful, end-game representatives like me – members who care more about constituents and our country and less about cable news hits,” said Ruppersberger in a statement. “But it is time to pass the torch to a younger generation of leaders and I am looking forward to spending more time with my family.” Marcus Dieterle/Baltimore Fishbowl.

COMMENTARY: THOUGHTS ON RETIREMENT OF U.S. REP. RUPPERSBERGER: Integrity, the highest value in human affairs, will suffer a blow upon Dutch Ruppersberger’s retirement, but if all politicians can take note of him, we can begin to re-establish that quality critical but largely absent from good democratic leadership today. Richard Vatz/Maryland Reporter.

DEL. BHANDARI TO SEEK DEM NOMINATION FOR RUPPERSBERGER’s SEAT: The race to succeed outgoing U.S. Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger received its first Democratic primary challenger three days after Ruppersberger said he would not run for reelection. Del. Harry Bhandari, a Baltimore County Democrat, said that he would run to succeed the outgoing Democrat in the May 14 primary. Maryland’s 2nd Congressional District encompasses parts of Baltimore and Carroll counties, and part of Baltimore City. Lia Russell/The Baltimore Sun.

DELEGATES RENEW EFFORT FOR UNDOCUMENTED TO BUY HEALTH INSURANCE: Thousands of undocumented immigrants live in Maryland and many of them do not have health insurance that covers regular health check ups and other needs. Some members of the House of Delegates are renewing an effort to allow Maryland’s undocumented population to buy private health insurance through the state’s insurance market place. Danielle Brown/Maryland Matters.

ØRSTED EXIT CASTS DOUBT ON REACHING ENERGY GOALS: Danish energy company Ørsted has exited an agreement with Maryland to sell electricity from an offshore wind farm it plans to build off the coast of Ocean City, casting a shadow of doubt on the state’s ability to achieve its target of 100% clean energy by 2035. Aman Azhar/The Baltimore Banner.

HIKE IN JUVIE CAR THEFTS, HANDGUN VIOLATIONS SPARKS NEW LOOK AT LAWS: According to the Maryland Department of Juvenile Services, there has been a 63% increase in car thefts involving juveniles and a 220% hike in youth handgun violations. Those statistics are motivating legislative leaders and Gov. Wes Moore to take another look at juvenile crime laws. David Collins/WBAL-TV.

COMMENTARY: WHY ‘YEAR FOR MILITARY FAMILIES:’ Packing up and moving to a new state, enrolling your kids in a new school – sometimes in the middle of the school year — finding new pediatricians and dentists, applying for a new job with a résumé dotted with positions scattered in cities across the country. … This is the life of a military spouse. Military families sacrifice so their loved ones can serve. … That’s why, in Maryland, we’ve declared 2024 the “Year for Military Families” and we’ve issued a package of legislative actions that would support and empower military and veteran families and caregivers. Aruna Miller and Dawn Moore/The Baltimore Banner.

STATE CONSIDERS GUARANTEED COLLEGE ADMISSION TO HIGH ACHIEVERS: Maryland will consider joining a number of states that guarantee admission to certain first-year students at one of the state’s four-year public colleges and universities. Proposed legislation – Senate Bill 5, sponsored by Senate President Pro Tem Malcolm Augustine (D-Prince George’s) — would require institutions to adopt an admission policy and accept Maryland high school students, from a public or private school, who are in the top 10% of their class. William Ford/Maryland Matters.

BIDEN ADMIN OFFERS $80M FOR STATE INFRASTRUCTURE: Infrastructure in Maryland will get a big boost thanks to $80 million in funding from President Joe Biden’s “Investing in America” agenda. Biden and U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg last Wednesday announced the funding through two major discretionary grant programs, the National Infrastructure Project Assistance grant program and the Infrastructure for Rebuilding America grant program. Aliza Worthington/Baltimore Fishbowl.

AND NOW FOR MARYLAND’s STATE FRUIT? Maryland has a state bird, a state flower, a state liquor, a state sport and even a state dinosaur. But it doesn’t have a state fruit. ”No one else has the persimmon as their state fruit,” Sen. Arthur Ellis said. Brenda Wintrode/The Baltimore Banner.

CRABS WERE ON THE LINE FOR RAVENS-CHIEF MATCHUP: Maryland crabs, crab pies and Old Bay are on the line during the Ravens’ matchup against the Chiefs on Sunday with Baltimore Mayor Brandon Scott and Maryland Gov. Wes Moore wagering some of their hometown favorites against their Democratic counterparts in Kansas and Kansas City, Missouri. Sam Janesch and Emily Opilo/The Baltimore Sun.

COMMENTARY: IT’s TIME FOR WES MOORE TO GOVERN: Governors, as the title implies, are expected to govern. For much of his first year in office, Maryland Gov. Wes Moore seemed stuck in campaign mode. His daily public schedule was crowded with speaking events and media appearances, sometimes two or three a day. It’s time to govern. And the principal instrument for governing, besides his staff and the hundreds of officials the governor appoints to run the departments and agencies, is the $63 billion state budget. Len Lazarick/The Business Monthly.

VACANCY APPOINTMENT POWER: WHAT HAPPENS NOW? Recent controversies illustrate why the current regimen of empowering political committees to fill legislative vacancies—which 90 years ago supplanted a system of special elections previously included in Maryland’s Constitution—has regularly spurred charges of backroom deals and lack of transparency. In turn, it has given rise to two pieces of legislation this year that call for a return to at least a limited system of special elections, along with another bill aimed at reforming the current appointment process throughout the state. Louis Peck/MoCo 360.

FAMILY BECOMES ADVOCATE OF MENTAL HEALTH ISSUES: It’s impossible to know whether 22-year-old Angelina Bolan’s death by suicide could have been prevented, but her family wants to call attention to what they say is a lack of compassion for those with mental health issues in Baltimore’s criminal justice and health systems. Even the docket set up to help such defendants can let them down and sometimes torment them. Alex Mann/The Baltimore Sun.

ARUNDEL CHAMBER PREVIEWS LEGISLATIVE AGENDA: Emergency department capacity, transportation, and reducing fees for startups were among topics legislators brought up at the Anne Arundel Chamber of Commerce’s annual legislative breakfast at the Crown Plaza hotel in Annapolis. George Berkheimer/The Business Monthly.

WHAT’s NEXT FOR MO CO’s EMBATTLED SUPERINTENDENT: It’s been a whirlwind of a week at Montgomery County Public Schools after Superintendent Monifa McKnight refused to step down after the Board of Education asked her to resign. Many are wondering about the next steps for the embattled superintendent who has about two more years left on her contract. Elia Griffin/MoCo 360.

BA CO WORKGROUP TO PROPOSE COUNCIL EXPANSION: The all-male Baltimore County Council with only one Black member is being presented as “Exhibit A” as to why the structure of the body needs to change. A workgroup is preparing to make recommendations to the council on whether the seven member County Council should be increased to nine or 11 members. John Lee/WYPR-FM.

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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