State Roundup: Fines rise to curb road work zone deaths; vehicle registration fees also to rise; Maryland joins effort to modernize U.S. electric grid

State Roundup: Fines rise to curb road work zone deaths; vehicle registration fees also to rise; Maryland joins effort to modernize U.S. electric grid

In an attempt to decrease the number of road work zone deaths, the state is raising fines for speeding through them. In January, fines will be on a tiered scale. Photo by Mika Baumeister on Unsplash

FINES FOR WORK ZONE SPEEDERS TO INCREASE, THEN MOVE TO TIERED SYSTEM: Motorists who speed through highway work zones in Maryland will soon pay more if they get caught. A new law that takes effect Saturday increases the current $40 fine to $80. The new fines are only temporary. Beginning January 2025, the penalties increase, ranging from $60 to $1,000. The tiered system implemented next year will be based on vehicle speed. The fines will double if highway workers are present. Bryan Sears/Maryland Matters.

VEHICLE REGISTRATION FEES TO RISE SIGNIFICANTLY JULY 1: Maryland will increase the cost of registering vehicles in the state starting July 1, according to the Motor Vehicle Administration. Some drivers will pay almost 80% more each year. Dillon Mullan/The Baltimore Sun.

  • On the heavy-end, a two-year vehicle registration for a passenger car with a shipping weight over 3,700 lbs. (think family minivan) is scheduled to increase by 72 percent to $323. A one-year vehicle registration option for that weight of car for $161.50 is also set to be available. Dwight Weingarten/The Hagerstown Herald Mail.

MARYLAND JOINS EFFORT TO MODERNIZE U.S. ELECTRIC GRID: Maryland is one of 21 states joining a push by the Biden administration to modernize America’s aging electric grid, which is under pressure from growing demand, a changing power-generation mix that includes lots of wind and solar, and severe weather. Robert Zullo/Maryland Matters.

MOVEON PAC BACKS ALSOBROOKS, SIGNALS NATIONAL INTEREST IN RACE: The Maryland Senate race is already the third most expensive Senate race in the country — and it’s about to get more expensive., a PAC that supports progressive candidates, announced Wednesday that it will endorse Angela Alsobrooks, the Democratic nominee for the state’s open U.S. Senate seat. Analysts said the interest from national groups reflects the fact that Maryland’s Senate race, once safe for Democrats, has been scrambled by the GOP nomination of Larry Hogan, a two-term governor who was highly popular when he left office. Elijah Pittman/Maryland Matters.

450+ CLAIMS FILED AGAINST ARCHDIOCESE THUS FAR: More than 450 people filed claims of child sexual abuse in the Archdiocese of Baltimore bankruptcy case ahead of a critical deadline in the litigation. Survivors have until Friday to file a proof of claim, or an Official Form 410. People can but do not have to submit a sexual abuse claim supplement by that date. Dylan Segelbaum/The Baltimore Banner.

FIRST EAGLETS HATCH ON POPLAR ISLAND: Some eagle-eyed wildlife biologists have made a surprising discovery at Poplar Island, which the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and Maryland Port Authority have been rebuilding over the last 25 years in the Chesapeake in part to reestablish some of the waterfowl and shorebird habitat lost to rising seas, erosion and shoreline development. According to the latest count, about 40 bird species have successfully nested on Poplar and produced young. But one iconic species wasn’t among them — until now. Jeremy Cox of the Bay Journal/

***CHINA TODAY: Would you like to get beyond the political rhetoric and stereotypes that Americans have about China? Maryland Reporter’s Len Lazarick is leading a short seminar on China at Montgomery College’s Lifelong Learning Institute in Rockville. Four Thursdays, 2-4 p.m. on June 6, 13, 20, 27. The seminar is based on Len’s 30 years dealing with China and Chinese journalists. It combines lectures, PowerPoint, videos and discussion. It is designed for people who know little about China or may have been to China and would like to learn more. It examines the last 150 years of China-U.S. relations, Chinese society, culture, economy and politics. Tuition (but not fees) is waived for those over 60. The full course description and other information is in the institute’s brochure on page 8. Questions? Email

THE FUTURE OF MURAL DEDICATED TO BRIDGE COLLAPSE VICTIMS: Alongside Baltimore City fire engines and inflatable rescue boats in a Locust Point garage rests a beloved mural, created to honor the victims of the collapse of the Francis Scott Key Bridge. The 11 massive canvases are part of a sprawling homemade memorial to the six construction workers who perished when the bridge fell. The mural’s fate isn’t clear. But already, at least one museum has shown interest: the Baltimore Museum of Industry. Christine Condon and Cassidy Jensen/The Baltimore Sun.

THURMONT WELLS SHOW HIGHER LEVELS OF PFAS THAN EARLIER TESTS: Three of Thurmont’s wells showed notably higher levels of PFAS contamination during tests in May compared to the start of the year, and all of the town’s wells still exceed the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s new enforceable limit on the chemicals. Gabrielle Lewis/The Frederick News Post.

RESIDENTS FILE COMPLAINT AGAINST B’MORE OVER BRESCO POLLUTION: Baltimore City community and environmental leaders have filed a federal civil rights complaint against the city, saying essentially that Mayor Brandon Scott has once again broken a promise by failing to take actions to reduce the city’s dependence on the BRESCO incinerator and prevent the need to renew the contract in 2031. Fern Shen and Mark Reutter/Baltimore Brew.

  • The complaint, filed with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency by the South Baltimore Community Land Trust, alleges that the Baltimore Department of Public Works has violated the Civil Rights Act of 1964, by failing to take steps to address the harms that the towering WIN Waste incinerator has had on several of South Baltimore’s predominately Black and Hispanic neighborhoods. Adam Willis/The Baltimore Banner.

CARROLL TAKES IN 10,265 MAIL-IN BALLOTS: The Carroll County Board of Elections has finished counting mail-in ballots and certified the county’s results for the presidential primary election. According to Erin Perrone, the county’s election director, a total of 10,265 mail-in ballots were accepted and counted, including 5,665 registered Democrats and 4,600 registered Republicans. “The counting was very smooth,” Perrone said. Sherry Greenfield/The Carroll County Times.

SEVEN MARYLAND SPELLERS COMPETE IN NATIONAL SPELLING BEE: Seven Maryland spellers have qualified to compete in the 2024 Scripps National Spelling Bee at National Harbor this week, after earning a spot among 245 competitors by winning regional bees. The champion speller, to be named during final rounds on Thursday, will earn $50,000, a commemorative medal and The Scripps Cup, the official championship trophy of the Scripps National Spelling Bee. Allana Haynes/The Baltimore Sun.

COMMENTARY: HOLDING JUSTICES TO ACCOUNT: Many people have gloomily accepted the conventional wisdom that because there is no binding Supreme Court ethics code, there is no way to force Associate Justices Samuel Alito and Clarence Thomas to recuse themselves from the Jan. 6 cases that are before the court. Justices Alito and Thomas are probably making the same assumption. But all of them are wrong. U.S. Rep. Jamie Raskin/The New York Times.

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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