State Roundup: Geothermal test network proposed across Maryland; lawmakers consider ways to hike health care wages; Alsobrooks event interrupted by Gaza war protesters

State Roundup: Geothermal test network proposed across Maryland; lawmakers consider ways to hike health care wages; Alsobrooks event interrupted by Gaza war protesters

Geysers, like this one in Iceland, are the most visible examples of the Earth's geothermal heating power. While Maryland doesn't have geysers, it still has geothermal heat. HB 397 would create a pilot program to establish networked geothermal projects in a handful of neighborhoods across Maryland. Photo by Hans of Pixabay.

HOUSE BILL WOULD SET UP PILOT PROGRAM OF NETWORKED GEOTHERMAL PROJECTS: A bill making its way through the Maryland General Assembly is aimed at chipping away at carbon emissions as required by state law. The Climate Solutions Now Act of 2022 set in motion a mandate to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 60% by 2031 and to reach net-zero emissions by 2045. House Bill 397, Working for Accessible Renewable Maryland Thermal Heat, or WARMTH Act, creates a pilot program that would establish networked geothermal projects in a handful of neighborhoods across the state. Rosanne Skirble/Maryland Matters.

COMMENTARY: TO MEET CLIMATE CRISIS WE NEED MORE CLIMATE SCIENTISTS: On the one hand, Americans are concerned about climate change and want measures implemented to address it; and on the other, we’re not producing enough graduates in the very fields that will guide this implementation. The University System of Maryland is uniquely positioned to produce these graduates. Jay A. Perman and Michele Masucci /Maryland Matters.

LAWMAKERS CONSIDER WAYS TO HIKE HEALTH CARE WORKERS WAGES: Maryland lawmakers are grappling with how to increase wages for long-term health workers while also keeping nursing homes and similar facilities afloat. A new bill would increase Medicaid payout rates to those businesses by 8% from 2026 to 2029, and require that at least 75% of that rate hike go to increasing pay for employees. Scott Maucione/WYPR-FM.

POST-PANDEMIC DAY CARE CRISIS IN ARUNDEL: The Four Seasons Elementary School in Gambrills is the site of one of Anne Arundel County’s 50 lower-cost childcare centers for which demand has skyrocketed since the pandemic. Meeting that need is difficult due to state regulations and high staff turnover, depriving many families in need of the program’s convenience, affordability and enrichment benefits. Dana Munro/The Capital Gazette.

MARYLAND OFFICIALS JOIN AMICUS BRIEFS ON ABORTION PILL ACCESS: The U.S. Supreme Court has been inundated with dozens of organizations seeking to weigh in on the future of the abortion pill by filing “friend of the court” briefs. The groups include governors, attorneys general – including Maryland’s Gov. Wes Moore and Attorney General Anthony Brown – state lawmakers and members of Congress as well as medical organizations, civil rights groups and pharmaceutical companies — all of whom argue the justices’ ruling will have significant effects on American society and health care. Jennifer Shutt/Maryland Matters.

GAZA WAR PROTESTERS INTERRUPT ALSOBROOKS CAMPAIGN EVENT: A handful of pro-Palestinian protesters shouting “Ceasefire now” briefly disrupted a campaign event for U.S. Senate candidate Angela Alsobrooks in Columbia on Saturday. The lead protester was carried out of the room before she and allies who followed her out could hear Alsobrooks, the Prince George’s County executive, who said she supported a ceasefire in the Gaza war, more aid to the Palestinians, and a two-state solution. Len Lazarick/Maryland Reporter.

APRIL DELANEY LEADS IN FUNDRAISING FOR 6th CONGRESSIONAL RACE: In the latest campaign finance reports from Maryland’s 6th congressional district, an open seat due to U.S. Rep. David Trone’s decision to run for Senate this year, the bottom line numbers from the last three months of 2023 show April McClain Delaney, a lawyer, philanthropist and former U.S. Commerce Department official, far ahead of the rest of the Democrats. Josh Kurtz/Maryland Matters.

TRONE SINKS $23.3M INTO SENATE RACE; ALSOBROOKS LEADS IN FUND-RAISING: U.S. Rep. David Trone has sunk nearly $23.3 million of his own money into an aggressive and highly advertised campaign for U.S. Senate while his principal opponent, Prince George’s County Executive Angela Alsobrooks, has continued to dominate in donations from supporters in preparation for the final months of the Democratic primary contest, new campaign finance reports show. Sam Janesch/The Baltimore Sun.

TREASURER DAVIS TO KEEP FUND-RAISING: State Treasurer Dereck Davis (D) has not been on a ballot in five years but that has not stopped him from soliciting and accepting campaign contributions. The nearly $44,000 Davis collected last year is all part of an effort by the 56-year-old treasurer to stay prepared should political opportunity knock. While his fundraising efforts are a break from the practice of recent state treasurers, they are completely legal. Bryan Sears/Maryland Matters.

VIGNARAJAH HOPES TO ACCESS PUBLIC DOLLARS FOR MAYORAL RACE: Baltimore mayoral candidate Thiru Vignarajah has run financially competitive campaigns, some costing upward of $1 million, fueled by donations from some of the region’s most well-funded business executives and community leaders. n 2024, however, Vignarajah hopes to harness hundreds of thousands of dollars in public money — potentially up to $1.7 million — to help pay for his campaign. Emily Opilo/The Baltimore Sun.

BA CO COUNCILMAN HOPES TO CLEAR UP LEGISLATIVE PROCESS: Baltimore County Councilman Pat Young plans to introduce reforms Monday night designed to bring order to the legislative chaos. Young said he got to thinking about what government transparency should look like after last year’s confusing debate over banning single use plastic bags, when council members struggled with a flurry of last minute amendments. John Lee/WYPR-FM.

BA CO SCHOOLS PROPOSES CUTTING HUNDREDS OF JOBS: Baltimore County’s superintendent of schools proposed cutting hundreds of jobs, but the school board won’t know which ones until after it votes on the $2.5 billion budget at the end of February. That was by design. Kristen Griffith/The Baltimore Banner.

BA CO CUTS DEAL WITH BRAMBLE TO BUILD HOUSING: Baltimore County and MCB Real Estate, LLC are teaming up to provide 460 affordable housing units across Baltimore County – a deal that officials have called the “largest attainable housing agreement in county history.” The Baltimore City based developer, led by David Bramble, has purchased three multiplexes in Nottingham, Parkville and Sparrows Point with a total of 918 units. Emily Hofstaedter/WYPR-FM.

CECIL STUDY FINDS FINANCIAL BENEFITS FROM THE ARTS: Cecil County Arts Council now has proof that there are not only social and cultural benefits in the arts but also economic benefits. Results are in from the Art & Economic Prosperity 6 study conducted by Americans for the Arts on behalf of CCAC. Annemarie Hamilton, executive director of the arts council, obtained grants to cover the $15,000 cost of the survey, which discovered that the arts and humanities generated nearly $35 million in economic benefits for the county in 2022. Jane Bellmyer/The Cecil Whig.

PETER ANGELOS & HIS COMPLICATED RELATIONSHIP WITH THE ORIOLES: Thirty-one years ago, Peter G. Angelos was his hometown’s hero — a tavern owner’s son who came of age in working-class Highlandtown, built a legal empire and used his fortune to purchase the Orioles. Angelos cared less about the mechanics of baseball than he did about restoring local ownership for a cherished civic institution. The story of the Angelos family’s legacy with the Orioles is a complicated one, blending civic pride with long stretches of abysmal baseball, sharp business decisions with baffling public relations missteps and a 2022 lawsuit that exposed personal rifts. Childs Walker/The Baltimore Sun.

MO CO SUPERINTENDENT LEAVES POSITION: Superintendent Monifa McKnight will be departing Montgomery County Public Schools in a “mutually agreed separation” following scrutiny over the school system’s handling of the sexual harassment allegations against former principal Joel Beidleman. Her separation was announced in a press release from the Board of Education around 5 p.m. Friday. Ginny Bixby, Elia Griffin and Courtney Cohn/MoCo 360.

EVENING SUN PULITZER WINNER JON FRANKLIN, 82, DIES: Jon D. Franklin, two-time Evening Sun Pulitzer Prize winner and award-winning author who taught journalism at the University of Maryland, died Jan. 21 at the Hospice of the Chesapeake in Pasadena, Anne Arundel County, of complications from a fall he suffered earlier in the month. He was 82. 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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