State Roundup: House of Delegates overwhelmingly passes juvenile justice reform legislation; state Child Victims Act goes to court

State Roundup: House of Delegates overwhelmingly passes juvenile justice reform legislation; state Child Victims Act goes to court

Juvenile justice reform has passed the House of Delegates and is expected to be taken up by the state Senate today, where it is expected to pass. Photo by Tingey Injury Law Firm on Unsplash

HOUSE OVERWHELMINGLY PASSES JUVENILE JUSTICE REFORM: The Maryland House of Delegates gave final approval Friday to a bill that makes several changes to juvenile justice laws in the state. The headlining piece of legislation received near unanimous support — it passed by 126-6 vote — but it lacked the enthusiasm typically seen for something approved with that kind of margin. Matt Bush/WYPR-FM.

  • The bill would require the state Department of Juvenile Services to complete a three-year plan that includes programs for youth who are “at the highest risk of becoming victims or perpetrators of gun violence.” The bill designates that those programs would be targeted for youth ages 10 to 14. William Ford and Josh Kurtz/Maryland Matters.
  • The Senate is expected to vote on the bill today, sending it to Gov. Wes Moore’s desk. The bill is hailed by supporters as a measured response to rising rates of gun crimes and carjackings committed by children. But it drew vocal concerns from youth advocates over months of debate, with critics cautioning that the changes could harm recent legislative efforts to reverse what Moore during his inaugural address called an “inexcusable fact”: that Maryland incarcerates Black youth at a higher rate than any other state in the nation. Katie Shepherd/The Washington Post.

STATE CHILD VICTIMS ACT TO GET A COURT HEARING: Debate over the constitutionality of Maryland’s Child Victims Act, long argued in the legislature and, more recently, in legal filings, is set to take place in a courtroom for the first time this week. The landmark law allows people sexually abused as children to sue those responsible, no matter how much time has passed. It was enacted last spring, with abuse survivors championing the measure as a long-overdue avenue to hold perpetrators accountable on the victims’ timelines. Alex Mann/The Baltimore Sun.

AID-IN-DYING BILL FAILS FOR ANOTHER YEAR: Lawmakers have tabled a fiercely debated bill that would have granted terminally ill Maryland residents the right to end their lives, a setback to supporters who hoped it would finally pass this year. Senate President Bill Ferguson, D-Baltimore City, said Friday that the measure had not won enough support among the 11 members of the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee to move forward this term. Sapna Bansil of Capital News Service/

LAWMAKERS STRUGGLE TO MAKE CANNABIS STATEWIDE: One year after setting up an industry that sought to tackle an inequitable, decades-long war on drugs, Maryland lawmakers are getting into the weeds on a handful of proposals some say will keep the state’s burgeoning recreational cannabis system on track. Del. C.T. Wilson, one of the architects of the 2023 cannabis law, is focused on a bill to make sure counties opposed to dispensaries can’t block them from opening. Sam Janesch/The Baltimore Sun.

PG LAWMAKERS GIVE ALSOBROOKS MORE SAY OVER SCHOOL FUNDING: Maryland House members from Prince George’s County gave their support Friday to two bills that would give County Executive Angela D. Alsobrooks (D) more discretion over how to pay for schools, a move officials said could offer some relief as local leaders confront a looming budget deficit this spring. Lateshia Beachum and Nicole Asbury/The Washington Post.

AFTER LOCKDOWN, LAWMAKERS RAISE CONCERNS ON COMMUNICATION: A day after a threat to the state capitol prompted a near two-hour lockdown, lawmakers applauded the quick work of law enforcement but raised concerns about efficient communication. Angelique Gingras of Capital News Service/

COMMENTARY: UNIONIZING CAN SHAPE THE FUTURE: Leaders in Maryland’s Democratic-held House and Senate are approaching critical votes to give faculty, staff and graduate workers at public colleges and universities the right to unionize. But, as is a common thread in state and national political discourse, this vote’s immediate impact stretches beyond four-year university workers and the “ivory tower.” This bill is among those with a long-term, sizable, and inescapable impact on every aspect of Maryland — perhaps even extending to our collective ability to survive in our shared environment. Ivy Lyons/Maryland Matters.

ALSOBROOKS BLASTS TRONE; BUT FOES AGREE ON DEFEATING HOGAN: Prince George’s County Executive Angela Alsobrooks said at a candidates’ forum Saturday that her U.S. Senate election opponent, David Trone, “is trying to buy” the election. Trone responded that his mostly self-financed campaign gives him independence from special-interest contributors. Jeff Barker/The Baltimore Sun.

  • At a Maryland Democratic forum for U.S. Senate hopefuls Saturday afternoon, the prospect of Republican Larry Hogan on the ballot loomed large. The former governor — and his recruitment for the seat by top GOP leaders — was mentioned three times in the first 10 minutes and in closing arguments. Erin Cox/The Washington Post.
  • Trone and Alsobrooks found common ground on just one point: the need for Democrats to defeat Republican candidate Larry Hogan and his party in the general election. Alsobrooks said Hogan is a threat because he will vote with Republicans against women’s rights, voting rights and other Democratic priorities. Pamela Wood/The Baltimore Banner.

NOT QUITE READY, RUPPERSBERGER’s RETIREMENT NEARS: Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger, D-Maryland, isn’t quite ready to say goodbye yet, despite announcing his retirement after 40 years in public office, the last 22 in the U.S. House of Representatives. “I’m not happy and I don’t want to leave, but I got five grandchildren,” Ruppersberger, who turned 78 in January, said in an interview in his memento-filled office with a view of the U.S. Capitol. Yesenia Montenegro of Capital News Service/

WHAT WILL OLSZEWSKI DO WITH $1.73 MILLION IN STATE CAMPAIGN ACCT? Two days after announcing his congressional campaign, Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewski Jr. said last month that he had raised $400,000, which would create the largest war chest so far of any candidate in the race to succeed retiring U.S. Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger. That sum would pale in comparison to the $1.73 million Olszewski had banked in his state campaign account, which as a federal candidate, he is barred from using. What the Democrat will do with the excess cash now that he’s running for U.S. instead of Maryland office? Lia Russell/The Baltimore Sun.

OCEAN CITY MAYOR REJECTS WIND COMPANY OFFER: Ocean City Mayor Rick Meehan is preemptively rejecting millions of dollars from an offshore wind company. In an online statement, Meehan said the CEO of US Wind emailed him in December 2023 offering a benefits package. US Wind is behind MarWin, a projected that is expected to have up to 22 wind turbines more than 20 miles off the coast of Ocean City, according to the company. Cody Boteler/The Baltimore Banner.

CLIMATE CHANGE LAWSUIT TO BE HEARD IN STATE COURT: A lawsuit brought by Annapolis and Anne Arundel County against major oil and gas companies for what the city called the costs and consequences of climate change will be heard in state court, a federal appeals court has ruled. The decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit, released Feb. 26, remands the lawsuit from federal to state court as requested by the plaintiffs. Megan Loock/The Baltimore Sun.

SINCLAIR’s SMITH SUBPOENAED TO TESTIFY IN SCHOOL LAWSUIT: David Smith, the executive chairman of Sinclair Broadcasting Group who recently purchased The Baltimore Sun, has been subpoenaed to testify about his involvement in a taxpayer lawsuit against Baltimore City and its school system. Sinclair Broadcasting Group and the limited liability company Smith’s associated with, Election Law Integrity, were named as interested parties in the case after plaintiff Jovani Patterson revealed that the entity was paying his legal bills. Lilly Price/The Baltimore Sun.

RODNEY ORANGE, FORMER NAACP CHAPTER HEAD, DIES AT 82: Rodney A. Orange Sr., former president of the Baltimore chapter of the NAACP, died Feb.15 of heart failure at his Gwynn Oak home. He was 82. In 1988, one of the Orange’s sons was killed when he surprised burglars at his Baltimore home. Both Mr. Orange and his wife, who taught English for 50 years in city public schools, became passionate opponents of the death penalty. 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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