State Roundup: Access to abortion still a concern for Maryland advocates; despite Blueprint money, school systems still struggle; new laws slated to take effect

State Roundup: Access to abortion still a concern for Maryland advocates; despite Blueprint money, school systems still struggle; new laws slated to take effect

In February of 2023, Gov. Wes Moore stands with legislative leaders as he announces support for more abortion rights legislation. Despite the state's abortion rights stand, some now worry that that isn't enough to protect the procedure. Photo from the governor's Facebook page

DESPITE MARYLAND’s ABORTION STAND, ADVOCATES WORRY ABOUT ITS FUTURE: Two years after the U.S. Supreme Court upended 50 years of abortion law with its Dobbs decision, Maryland has reaffirmed its position as an abortion-friendly state while other states have restricted or banned the procedure outright. But advocates realize that even in abortion friendly states such as Maryland, the landscape could shift at any time — perhaps as early as this week when the Supreme Court is expected to rule on whether federal law overrules state law on emergency abortions. Danielle Brown/Maryland Matters.

BLUEPRINT POURS MONEY INTO EDUCATION; SCHOOL SYSTEMS STILL STRUGGLE: The Blueprint for Maryland’s Future, the state’s education reform plan, invests billions of dollars into public education over a decade, but that money is designated for very specific programs. School boards are left paying for other services with the remaining flexible funds and banking on county governments to approve huge requests above the legal funding requirement. Not all counties can afford to cover the gaps. Programs are cut and positions eliminated to save money, resulting in larger class sizes and involuntary teacher transfers. Lilly Price/The Baltimore Sun.

NEW LAWS TO BEGIN TAKING EFFECT JULY 1: The first big batch of bills passed during the 2024 legislative session goes into effect next week. Democratic Gov. Wes Moore signed 1,049 bills in the weeks after the 90-day session, which saw big budgetary issues and a push for changes in the state’s juvenile justice system, adjourned April 8 for the year. Hannah Gaskill/The Baltimore Sun.

RED LINE REVIVAL PROMISED, BUT WILL TI BE A TRAIN OR A BUS? Roughly a year after Gov. Wes Moore revived plans for the Red Line, an east-west rapid transit project that would link East and West Baltimore, officials are gearing up to answer the potentially billion-dollar question: Will it be a train or a bus? State officials have said an announcement on whether Baltimore will get roughly 14 miles of new light rail track or dedicated rapid bus lanes will be made before the end of June. Daniel Zawodny/The Baltimore Banner.

BAY DEAD ZONE GROWS, BUT SLOWLY: The Environmental Protection Agency said Friday that the Chesapeake Bay’s “dead zone” is expected to be just 4% larger than normal this summer, despite significantly heavier spring rains that led to a sharp increase in nutrient runoff. Elijah Pittman/Maryland Matters.

LGBTQIA+ PEOPLE STILL FACE DISCRIMINATION: As thousands of Marylanders celebrate Pride Month, separate reports from the Maryland Commission on Civil Rights and the Maryland Commission on LGBTQIA+ Affairs indicate there’s still discrimination against people in that community. William Ford/Maryland Matters.

HATE CRIME COMMISSION TO GET OVERHAULED: The Maryland Commission on Hate Crime Response and Prevention was deep into its work last fall, creating a web portal to report hate crimes and holding community forums on the importance of fighting such bias. Then the commission became embroiled in controversy and chaos when one member made a series of what some said were anti-Israel social-media posts. Now the commission is getting an overhaul. John John Williams/The Baltimore Banner.

EDITORIAL: CLEMENCY DONE RIGHT: Gov. Wes Moore’s executive order forgiving low-level marijuana offenses for an estimated 100,000 people is a good example of clemency done properly. The bulk of the cases are misdemeanors, involving possession and possession with intent to use drug paraphernalia. The pardons also help correct a glaring racial disparity. The Editorial Board/The Washington Post.

BPW TO MULL KEY BRIDGE REMOVAL CONTRACT: Maryland’s Board of Public Works will consider at its next meeting a $50.3 million contract between the Maryland Transportation Authority and Skanska, a Swedish construction company, for “removal, disposal and cleanup of debris” following the collapse of the Key Bridge. The proposal is on the board’s July 3 agenda, which was posted Friday. “The debris consists mainly of large sections of highway bridge trusses, steel girders, the bridge deck, and concrete parapets,” the agenda item stated. Hayes Gardner/The Baltimore Sun.

BAY BRIDGE TRAFFIC DELAYED FOR DALI MOVE TO NORFOLK: In the meantime, traffic on the Chesapeake Bay Bridge will be temporarily suspended late Monday morning as the Dali — a cargo ship that collided with Baltimore’s Francis Scott Key Bridge, leading to its collapse — makes its journey to port in Norfolk, Va. Josh Barlow/WTOP-FM.

HOSPITAL OVERSIGHT CHIEF TO STEP DOWN: After a handful of issues with hospitals and nursing homes, Maryland’s top oversight official for health care quality will step down effective June 27. Tricia Nay, the office’s executive director, served in the position since 2014. While the Maryland Department of Health did not provide an official reason for Nay’s departure, the office has been beleaguered by incidents in the last year. Scott Maucione/WYPR-FM.

HOGAN COURTS JEWISH VOTERS: Gloria Greenspun was prepared to dismiss Republican Larry Hogan as a “typical politician” when he visited her retirement complex outside Baltimore to sell his campaign for the U.S. Senate. To her surprise, Greenspun, an 86-year-old former preschool teacher who’s Jewish, found herself choking up as Hogan recounted a trip to Israel he made as governor. Paul Swartzman/The Washington Post.

MD LAWMAKERS LAUD SUPREMES DECISION ON GUN, DOMESTIC VIOLENCE: The U.S. Supreme Court Friday upheld a federal law that bars people subject to domestic violence restraining orders from owning a firearm. “This ruling is a step in the right direction, helping to keep survivors and their families safe from preventable gun violence,” Maryland Attorney General Anthony Brown said. Sen. Jeff Waldstreicher (D-Montgomery), the vice chair of the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee, called the 8-1 ruling “a vindication for Maryland’s bold and comprehensive approach to gun violence.” Ariana Figueroa/Maryland Matters.

SLAIN PAROLE AGENT HONORED AT FUNERAL SERVICE: More than 1,000 mourners, including Gov. Wes Moore who gave the eulogy and scores of law enforcement officers from as far away as Connecticut, gathered Saturday for an emotional farewell to Maryland Parole and Probation Agent Davis G. Martinez, who was killed May 31 in the line of duty. Martinez became the first parole and probation agent in Maryland to be killed in the line of duty. John Rydell/Maryland Matters.

HARFORD BECOMES CENTER OF IMMIGRATION FIGHT: With the capture last week of a suspect in Rachel Morin’s killing, Harford County is not only reliving the horror of her homicide, it’s become ground zero in the latest flareup over the nation’s immigration and border policy in a presidential election year. That’s because the suspect entered the United States unlawfully four times in early 2023 in Texas and New Mexico. Jeff Barker, Cassidy Jensen and Matt Hubbard/The Baltimore Sun.

COLUMN: TURNING FAMILY TRAGEDY INTO POLITICAL FODDER: If you thought about this tragedy for more than a minute, you had to feel sorrow and sympathy for Rachel’s family. … Your instinct would not be to politicize a family’s tragedy — not even after learning that the man accused of killing Rachel Morin is an undocumented immigrant and, authorities say, a violent one connected to other crimes. That’s because you have a sense of decency. You have that thing called informed perspective. Dan Rodricks/The Baltimore Sun.

COLUMN: IN MORIN’s DEATH, LET’s NOT CALL UP THE GHOST OF WILLIE HORTON: Republicans, Democrats and some in the media would be wise to heed the ghost of Willie Horton, whose story still haunts us 36 years after his name became an American code word for connecting race and crime. In the case of Rachel Morin’s murder, we are in danger of making the same mistake we did then — feeding justifiable horror over a terrible crime into the grinder of political tribalism, with a travesty of generational consequences coming out on the other end. Rick Hutzell/The Baltimore Banner.

WALTER McCARDELL, NOTED SUN PHOTOGRAPHY; DIES AT 98: Walter M. McCardell Jr., a veteran Baltimore Sun photographer whose career spanned more than four decades, died of kidney cancer June 15 at a daughter’s Stoneleigh home. He was 98. During his career, he photographed every president from Truman to George H.W. Bush, regional and national news events such as President John F. Kennedy’s funeral, the March on Washington in 1963 and the 1968 riots following the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. 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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