State Roundup: Bill would shield names of child victims in court records; new state portal causes delay in some tax refunds

State Roundup: Bill would shield names of child victims in court records; new state portal causes delay in some tax refunds

A bill moving through the General Assembly would require that the names of minors who are crime victims be redacted from publicly available court documents. Photo of the Clarence M. Mitchell Jr. Courthouse in Baltimore by Elvert Barnes with Fickr Creative Commons License

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BILL WOULD SHIELD NAMES OF CHILD VICTIMS IN COURT RECORDS: News organizations generally do not publish the names of victims of crimes such as sexual assault, including children. But the victims’ names are available for anyone to see in publicly-available court documents, including indictments and statements of charges. The process to remove those names is opaque and cumbersome — a facet of the justice system that lawmakers and advocates are working to change. Pamela Wood/The Baltimore Banner.

NEW STATE PORTAL CAUSING DELAY IN SOME TAX REFUNDS: It’s tax time, but some Marylanders’ refunds are delayed due to the launch of a new, self-service, online tax filing portal about two weeks ago. According to the state comptroller, 100,000 Marylanders filed their 2023 personal tax returns early this year, but there has been a delay in cutting refund checks due to the launch of the business tax-filing portal, Maryland Tax Connect. Katie Amara/WBAL-TV News.

REPUBLICANS REMAIN ABSENT FROM LEGISLATIVE WOMEN’s CAUCUS: About 30 members of the legislative women’s caucus — known formally as the Women Legislators of Maryland — gathered earlier this month at a news conference to discuss their priorities for this legislative session. The agenda items included support for the Equal Rights Amendment, expanded child care programs and workers’ rights. Notably, none of the eight Republican women serving in the General Assembly was present. Josh Kurtz/Maryland Matters.

$111M IN BLUEPRINT FUNDS TO BE DISBURSED FOR HEALTH CARE: Approximately $111 million will start to be disbursed this year to provide a variety of health care services for families and their children as part of the Blueprint for Maryland’s Future education reform plan. William Ford/Maryland Matters.

MOORE VOWS TO HOLD JUVENILES ACCOUNTABLE, PROVIDE SERVICES: Gov. Wes Moore, Prince George’s County State’s Attorney Aisha Braveboy and Baltimore State’s Attorney Ivan Bates vowed during a forum Monday night to hold juvenile offenders accountable while promising to pursue expanded services for young people in trouble, with the governor reiterating plans to spend more and hire more staff to address problems in juvenile services. Hannah Gaskill/The Baltimore Sun.

  • “By the end of this General Assembly, we are going to have a bill that is going to be strong, that is going to focus on the key thing that I said any bill dealing with juveniles has to focus on, and that’s accountability,” said Moore. The Department of Juvenile Justice was facing steep challenges when he took office last year, he said, so he ordered a top-to-bottom review of the department. Chris Berinato/WBFF-TV News.

COMMENTARY: JUVENILE JUSTICE REFORM WITHOUT SENSATIONALIZING: We have run two juvenile justice agencies between us and have worked a combined 65 years in the field of youth justice. Based on our experience, we urge Maryland residents, and especially Maryland policymakers, to apply their best critical judgment to sensationalized media coverage, follow evidence and common decency, and support best practices when it comes to setting policy affecting the state’s young people. Clinton Lacey and Patrick McCarthy/The Baltimore Banner.

CROWDED FIELD FOR GOP 6th CONGRESSIONAL SEAT DRAWS CROWD TO FORUM: Latecomers found themselves stuck in the hallway or sitting on the floor Thursday night for the Maryland 6th Congressional District Republican Candidates Forum. The event was the first of this election cycle attended by candidates Dan Cox, the 2022 GOP gubernatorial nominee, and Neil Parrott, a former state delegate. Candidates Chris Hyser, Mariela Roca, Tom Royals and Brenda Thiam returned for their second forum, which was sponsored by the Legislative District 15 Republican Club. Ginny Bixby/MoCo 360.

NATION’s OLDEST BOARDING SCHOOL GETS COURT OK TO EMERGE FROM BANKRUPTCY: West Nottingham Academy, the Cecil County boarding school that is the nation’s oldest, has a court-approved plan to emerge from bankruptcy. The school, founded in 1744, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection last year, the culmination of years of financial distress that threatened to shutter the campus and led to a sudden change in ownership that alarmed some alumni. Jean Marbella/The Baltimore Sun.

PRINCE GEORGE’S PUSHES FOR RIGHT TO RESTRICT CANNABIS SHOPS: The question of where new cannabis dispensaries should set up shop in Prince George’s County divided the council last fall, igniting a layered debate about quality development and the potential for legalization to advance social equity in a county harmed by the War on Drugs. While council members never settled on whether to restrict new shop locations, they are nearly united in opposing a move by state lawmakers that would block them from doing so in the future. Lateshia Beachum/The Washington Post.

POLICE PROBE DEATH OF STATE WORKER IN STATE OFFICE BUILDING: State officials are releasing few details about the death of a state employee inside a state government office building in Annapolis 10 days ago. Police and emergency medical crews were called to the Attman-Glazer building at 45 Calvert St. in Annapolis for reports of an employee who was found dead. Bryan Sears/Maryland Matters.

FORMER ACTIVIST, DEL. HOWARD NEEDLE DIES AT 88: Howard Jay Needle, an attorney and Pikesville community activist who worked to preserve an armory, died of aspiration pneumonia Jan. 29 at Gilchrist Center Towson. He was 88. Mr. Needle, a liberal Democrat, was elected to the Maryland House of Delegates and served from 1971 to 1978. Jacques Kelly/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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