State Roundup: Blueprint priorities cause turmoil in school systems; proposal would overhaul crime victims compensation system

State Roundup: Blueprint priorities cause turmoil in school systems; proposal would overhaul crime victims compensation system

A tsunami of new state and local money was expected to wash over public schools. But the Blueprint requirements have caused turmoil for many. Photo "classroom" by goldberg is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0.

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MARYLAND SCHOOLS IN TURMOIL AS THEY SEEK TO ADOPT BLUEPRINT PRIORITIES: For the past several years, Maryland schools have been anticipating a tsunami of new state and local money to wash over them, allowing them to add prekindergarten, raise teacher salaries and create support for high-poverty schools. The reality is now here, and instead of euphoria, there’s shock, even from some educators who are deep in the weeds of the landmark education reform legislation. Liz Bowie/The Baltimore Banner.

MOTHER WORKS TO OVERHAUL CRIME VICTIMS COMPENSATION PROGRAM: A mother whose son was killed when his home was invaded testified before the House Judiciary and Senate Judicial Proceedings committees in support of legislation that would overhaul the Criminal Injuries Compensation Board, a body that’s designed to help victims of crime in Maryland. She said she’s been fortunate to have material privilege and wants to assist those who do not have economic means, noting the importance of undergoing counseling and receiving money to relocate if it’s unsafe. Dylan Segelbaum/The Baltimore Banner.

WORKGROUP REPORT ON CHOOSING JUDGES DELAYED: A workgroup created by Maryland’s judicial branch 18 months ago to undertake studies and conduct hearings on how best to choose judges was originally scheduled to present its report to the General Assembly at the outset of this year’s session. But completion of the report has been delayed, and it won’t be presented to legislators until the runup to the 2025 legislative session. Louis Peck/Maryland Matters.

CRISIS: STAFF SHORTAGE GROWS AS DOES PRISON POPULATION: Hundreds of correctional officers are leaving the department within a year of being hired, 310 of them in 2023, mainly due to the taxing demands of mandatory overtime, according to a recent legislative analysis. The cost of overtime has risen to $185.6 million, representing 14% of the Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services budget. The overall fiscal year 2025 budget is about $1 billion, up by $6.1 million from the current fiscal year. Ben Conarck/The Baltimore Banner.

COMMENTARY: MARYLAND A DUMPING GROUND FOR INDUSTRIAL SLUDGE: Industrial sludge – particularly dissolved air flotation or “DAF,” which is derived from the protein rendering process – is a mix of remains like blood and feathers generated by poultry and seafood processing plants. It has been plaguing communities throughout Maryland. Lax regulations, which are far less strict than neighboring states like Delaware and Virginia, have made Maryland a dumping ground for the gut-wrenching material. Some Maryland counties have adopted local rules in response, but a statewide solution is desperately needed. A companion House and Senate bill aims to better regulate industrial sludge and is currently under consideration by the General Assembly. Alan Girard/Maryland Matters.

EDITORIAL: TAX LAW FAVORS THE WEALTHY: Consider the Maryland taxpayer living a middle-class life paying his income, property, sales and other taxes, tolls and fees to state and local governments. Now compare that person to another living a few blocks away, but with a much bigger paycheck or, more likely, investment income. Or maybe even consider the branch office of that big corporation located downtown. What percentage of their assets are they forking over to the tax collector? Shouldn’t it be something equivalent to the middle-class Joe? It’s often not, and it’s tilted in favor of the wealthy. Editorial Board/The Baltimore Sun.

STATE POLITICAL NOTES: In seven weeks as a candidate for Congress, Harry Dunn, the former U.S. Capitol Police officer who battled rioters during the Jan. 6, 2021 insurrection, has raised about $3 million. Former Gov. Larry Hogan (R) stopped by Mills Fine Wine and Spirits in Annapolis on Monday, armed with a political message, now that he’s a candidate for U.S. Senate. Health care workers, patients and advocates formed a “picket line” on Lawyers’ Mall Monday night, asking for improved staffing numbers, increased access to health care and lower medical costs. Josh Kurtz, Danielle J. Brown and Bryan P. Sears/Maryland Matters.

FREDERICK POLITICAL BRIEFS: RECRUITING TEEN ELECTION JUDGES: The Frederick County Board of Elections is working with Frederick County Public Schools and the League of Women Voters of Frederick County to recruit eligible high school students to work as election judges this year. April McClain Delaney, a Democratic candidate in Maryland’s 6th Congressional District, opened her campaign headquarters in downtown Frederick last week. Ceoli Jacoby/The Frederick News Post.

HOWARD MOMS FOR LIBERTY MEETING MET WITH PROTESTS: When a Howard County chapter of Moms for Liberty wanted to learn how to remove books from schools, they were met with a swarm of protesters sporting rainbow colors and signs looking to send the message that such actions are not welcome in their district. Ironically, said one protester, they were meeting at the Howard County Public Library. Kristen Griffith/The Baltimore Banner.

About The Author

Cynthia Prairie

cynthiaprairie@gmail.com
https://www.chestertelegraph.org/

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: cynthiaprairie@gmail.com

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