State Roundup: Stalwart motorcyclists continue to loosen helmet requirement; Moore advocates for affordable housing bills

State Roundup: Stalwart motorcyclists continue to loosen helmet requirement; Moore advocates for affordable housing bills

A group of stalwart motorcyclists, calling themselves A Brotherhood Against Totalitarian Enactments, are continue to seek a change in Maryland law that will allow them the option of wearing helmets. Photo by Bas Masseus for Pexels. Illustrative enhancements by Cynthia Prairie.

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BIKERS AGAIN SEEK TO MAKE HELMETS OPTIONAL: A group of bikers in leather vests and wispy beards greets lawmakers here each Monday of the legislative session, hoping this is the year they’ll succeed in their galvanizing cause: gutting a Maryland law that requires them to wear helmets. The group, which calls itself A Brotherhood Against Totalitarian Enactments, has experienced decades of setbacks on the helmet issue. Its vociferous critics say ABATE’s position is at a minimum, eccentric and at worst, dangerous. Sapna Bansil of Capital News Service/

MOORE ADVOCATES FOR NEW, AFFORDABLE HOUSING: Gov. Wes Moore, in a personal pitch for one of his top policy priorities this year, told lawmakers Tuesday they should pass a trio of bills to incentivize the development of new affordable housing, protect renters and rake in millions of federal dollars to solve Maryland’s housing shortage. Sam Janesch/The Baltimore Sun.

  • The state has both a shortage of available units — either to rent or to buy — and housing costs are too high for many Marylanders, the Democratic governor said. He estimated the state has a shortage of about 96,000 housing units. The Maryland Association of Realtors puts the housing shortage at a much higher number: Nearly 150,000 units. Pamela Wood/The Baltimore Banner.

JEWISH DELEGATES SEEK TO OUST MUSLIM ADVOCATE FROM HATE CRIMES BOARD: Jewish members of the Maryland House of Delegates are seeking to pass legislation to remove the representative of a Muslim advocacy organization from the attorney general’s hate crimes commission following her suspension for online comments about the Israel-Hamas war. Hannah Gaskill/The Baltimore Sun.

COMMENTARY: A LEVEL PLAYING FIELD: Despite all the strides we have made in girls’ athletics, we face a new hurdle to protect the medals, records and opportunities girls have today in sports. There are a growing number of trans-identifying biological boys competing against biological girls in sports. Boys’ clear physiological advantages over girls make them faster, bigger, quicker and stronger. House Bill 47/Senate Bill 381, Fairness in Girls’ Sports Act, was introduced last month. The bill limits Varsity and Junior Varsity girls’ high school sports to biological girls. Del. Kathy Szeliga /The Baltimore Sun.

BILL WOULD ALLOW TRONE WINE BUSINESS TO EXPAND IN MARYLAND: A frontrunner for the Democratic nomination for U.S. Senate is eyeing a change in state liquor laws that would allow his business a dramatic expansion in Maryland. Total Wine & More, a Maryland-based national chain owned by U.S. Rep. David Trone (D-6th) and his brother, is backing a bill that would expand the number of retail alcohol licenses that can be held by a single person. Current law allows for just one, but HB 1424 would increase the number of licenses to four. Bryan Sears/Maryland Matters.

BLUEPRINT FUNDS TO AID CHILD BEHAVIORAL HEALTH: Maryland state lawmakers on Tuesday announced $111 million in grant funding to 129 child-serving organizations across the state to help them bolster their behavioral health service offerings, including counseling, early intervention and parent encouragement programs. The money comes from the Blueprint for Maryland’s Future, a multi-billion dollar investment to boost the state’s schools. Angela Roberts/The Baltimore Sun.

STATE SAYS IT HAS PROCESSED HALF OF TAX RETURNS RECEIVED: The Maryland comptroller’s office said Monday that it has processed about half of the roughly 530,000 state returns received this year, following delays due to a tax system upgrade at the start of the season. Dan Belson/The Baltimore Sun.

DEMOCRATS SKEPTICAL ON BILL TO MAKE POLLUTERS PAYS: A bill to make fossil fuel companies pay for Maryland’s climate degradation ran into some skepticism Tuesday at its first public hearing of the General Assembly session — from climate-friendly Democrats. The RENEW Act of 2024 seeks to levy penalties on the 40 biggest emitters of greenhouse gases in Maryland over the past two decades — and use the funds for an array of climate mitigation, resilience and adaptation initiatives. Josh Kurtz/Maryland Matters.

POLITICAL NOTES: CAMPAIGN FUNDS FOR CHILD CARE; DEM SENATE FORUM: The House of Delegates gave preliminary approval Tuesday to a bill that would enable state and local political candidates to use campaign funds to pay for childcare expenses. The measure would codify in state law what has already been an accepted — but little-used — practice in the state since 2019. The top two Democratic candidates for U.S. Senate are scheduled to participate in forums in back-to-back weeks next month in the Washington, D.C. area. 3rd District congressional candidate Abigail Diehl has lined up a frontrunner’s team of consultants as she competes in the 22-candidate Democratic primary. Josh Kurtz and William Ford/Maryland Matters.

POLLS BODE WELL FOR HOGAN IN SENATE RACE: A poll commissioned by national Republicans indicates that Larry Hogan is starting his run for Senate in a strong position, with double-digit leads over each of the Democratic contenders, U.S. Rep. David Trone and Prince George’s County Executive Angela Alsobrooks. Pamela Wood/The Baltimore Banner.

  • Larry Hogan’s recently announced U.S. Senate campaign is off to a good start. Shortly after his announcement, a survey conducted by Emerson College Polling, The Hill, and DC News Now showed Hogan tied with one possible strong Democratic opponent (David Trone), with 42% supporting each in a general election matchup and 16% undecided. David Reel/The Duckpin.

MTA GETS $213M MORE TO UPGRADE LIGHT RAIL: The Maryland Transit Administration is getting a federal and state funding boost to modernize its aging light rail cars. The agency has said it urgently needs $450 million to replace its entire fleet of more than 50 rail cars dating back to the system’s launch in 1992. The U.S. Department of Transportation announced an award of more than $213 million, which comes on top of $127.6 million from the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act and $90 million in matching funds from the state. Lillian Reed/The Baltimore Banner.

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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