State Roundup: Human Services keeps arcane welfare policy it said it would jettison; bill to offer rehab to juvenile criminals moves to Senate floor

State Roundup: Human Services keeps arcane welfare policy it said it would jettison; bill to offer rehab to juvenile criminals moves to Senate floor

The Maryland State House. (Christine Zhu/Capital News Service)

STATE DEPT KEEPS WELFARE POLICY IT TOLD LAWMAKERS IT WOULD CHANGE: The General Assembly proposed a bill last session to reverse an arcane welfare policy limiting cash assistance for low-income families. Maryland was one of only a handful of states with this rule. The Department of Human Services told lawmakers it would change the policy without need for legislation. A year later, it still hasn’t. Brenna Smith/The Baltimore Banner.

BILL TO OFFER DIVERSION, REHAB FOR JUVIES MOVES TO SENATE FLOOR: The Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee voted Tuesday to move forward a bill to address the rise in certain crimes among juveniles by providing more diversion and rehabilitative services to children alleged to have committed crimes. The bill, now headed to the Senate floor where it is likely to face debate, was amended to closely match its companion bill in the House. Hannah Gaskill/The Baltimore Sun.

HIKE IN SIN TAXES PROPOSED TO ADDRESS BUDGET GAPS: A top Democrat in the House is proposing nearly $90 million in taxes on alcohol and cigarettes as part of an effort to address billions of dollars in projected budget gaps. Democratic leaders in the House and Senate do not agree on how to tackle the revenue shortfall issue this session. Bryan Sears/Maryland Matters.

RESALE TICKET PRICE GOUGING GAINS LEGISLATORs’ ATTENTION: Resale ticket price gouging is nothing new. High demand and low supply for concerts allow the secondary reseller market to thrive, capitalizing off of fans’ desire to see their favorite artist live. Resale tickets are sold for hundreds, even thousands of dollars more than the originals. The issue has recently gained the attention of Maryland legislators. Molly Szymanski of Capital News Service/

LEGISLATION SPARKED BY ENTREPRENEUR’s KILLING MOVES THROUGH GA: Legislation crafted to honor Pava LaPere — a 26-year-old entrepreneur who was killed in Baltimore last year — continued to move through the General Assembly as her mother personally took her case to lawmakers for the third time this month. She testified on bills aimed at continuing her daughter’s professional legacy and preventing the type of crime that led to her death. Sam Janesch/The Baltimore Sun.

AI-DEEP FAKE BILL GETS ‘ENDORSEMENT’ BY DEEP FAKE BIDEN, TRUMP: What’s this? Donald Trump and Joe Biden endorsing a piece of legislation in Annapolis? Thanks to a clever and illicit use of Artificial Intelligence, that’s exactly what appears to be taking place this week. In a short video submitted to the House Ways and Means Committee Tuesday, the 45th and 46th presidents of the United States appear to be backing a bill by Del. Anne Kaiser (D-Montgomery), which would establish regulations for the use of AI and other digital sources in campaign ads and other materials. Josh Kurtz/Maryland Matters.

LAWMAKERS DEBATE INTERNET GAMING: Just over a year after online sports betting became legal in the state, two bills in the General Assembly seek to give voters the option to legalize internet gaming, which is gambling via online slot machines, blackjack, poker and other casino games. Lawmakers heard testimony earlier this week from proponents, including casino and industry leaders, and opponents, including those concerned about the effects of problem gambling and addiction. A Senate committee has another hearing on the issue scheduled for today. Hayes Gardner/The Baltimore Sun.

STATE SENATE BEGINS REMOVING GOVERNOR FROM PAROLE DECISIONS: Maryland’s Senate took a step Tuesday toward removing the governor from the process of approving or denying parole to prisoners who are serving life sentences but pose no threat to public safety because of poor health or incapacitation. William Ford/Maryland Matters.

MARYLAND JUSTICE CALLS FOR BLOCKING TENANT SAFETY MEASURE: The Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Maryland is speaking out against a proposal that would offer more protections to renters seeking to challenge landlords in court over housing quality. The Hon. Matthew J. Fader, an appointee of former Gov. Larry Hogan, said in a memo to lawmakers that several elements of the Tenant Safety Act bill “cause concern” and asked them to block it from advancing. At its core, the measure seeks to increase the number of “rent escrow” filings, or the number of tenants who pay rent to the court until landlords make needed repairs. Hallie Miller/The Baltimore Banner.

CATHOLIC GROUP CALLS AG BROWN’s CHURCH PROBE ‘WASTE OF MONEY:’ A Catholic advocacy group called on Maryland Attorney General Anthony Brown to halt investigations into child sex abuse in the Archdiocese of Washington and the Diocese of Wilmington, Delaware. Bill Donahue, president of the national Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights, wrote in a letter Tuesday that the nearly 500-page report the attorney general published in April on the Archdiocese of Baltimore “a total waste of money,” and he argued that it was unfair for the state to scrutinize decades-old church abuse rather than probing abuse in public schools. Cassidy Jensen/The Baltimore Sun.

HARRIS AMONG MARYLAND LAWMAKERS DEFENDING UKRAINE: As the Russian war of aggression in Ukraine passes its two-year point, members of the Maryland congressional delegation, representing both political parties, are calling out the conflict for what it is: unprovoked and illegal. Co-chair of the Congressional Ukraine Caucus U.S. Rep. Andy Harris called the invasion “brutal and illegal” in a Feb. 23 statement released alongside the caucus’ congressional resolution commemorating the “heroic sacrifices of the Ukrainian people.” Dwight Weingarten/The Hagerstown Herald Mail.

STADIUM RULES: MARYLAND U.S. LAWMAKERS TO VOTE AGAINST RFK BILL: Voteless D.C. will not have a friend in Maryland when the much-anticipated bill to give the city control of the decrepit, federally owned RFK Stadium site goes up for a vote in the U.S. House this week. Maryland lawmakers, typically allies of D.C., this time are competing with the District for the chance to host a new football stadium for the Washington Commanders. The team currently plays at FedEx Field in Landover — and many members in the Maryland delegation want it to stay that way. Meagan Flynn and Erin Cox/The Washington Post.

PROSECUTORS REVISE INDICTMENT IN SHERIFF JENKINS GUN CASE: A federal judge has allowed prosecutors to file a revised indictment against Frederick County Sheriff Chuck Jenkins and Frederick business owner Robert Krop in their machine gun conspiracy case, and called Krop’s arguments against the revised indictment “meritless.” The revised indictment eliminated one count and part of another count. Clara Niel/The Frederick News Post.

CHIEF M.E.: STATE EMPLOYEE FOUND DEAD IN STAIRWELL COMMITTED SUICIDE: A state employee found dead in an Annapolis office building in early February committed suicide, according to the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner. The death has left lingering questions for members of Janai White’s family. White, 36, was found in a stairwell of the Attman-Glazer building in Annapolis around noon on Feb. 9. An obituary for White notes that she died a day earlier but was not found for nearly a day. Bryan Sears/Maryland Matters.

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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