Gov. Wes Moore with Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz outside White House after meeting with President Biden Wednesday. Screenshot

GOV. MOORE STANDS BY BIDEN: Gov. Wes Moore emerged from a “candid” White House meeting with President Joe Biden and other Democratic governors Wednesday saying he is standing behind Biden’s reelection bid despite concerns within the party about his age and recent debate performance.“The president has always had our backs. We’re going to have his back as well,” Moore said after the meeting. Jeff Barker/The Baltimore Sun.

ANOTHER WAVE OF JUVENILE JUSTICE BILLS: For decades, state legislators and criminal justice advocates have worked to change the juvenile legal system, striving to expand access to rehabilitation and keep young people from returning to crime. During this year’s legislative sessions, nearly every state has considered some form of juvenile justice legislation, according to a National Conference of State Legislatures database. Amanda Hernandez/Maryland Matters. 

END IN SIGHT FOR STOLEN SNAP BENEFITS: Maryland officials approved a new contract Wednesday with the company that manages the state’s electronic payments for food and cash assistance, hopeful that enhanced security features will curb welfare theft in the state. The contract promises to swiftly implement encrypted chip technology used in credit and debit cards — along with a myriad of protections — for Marylanders that use the state’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program and other cash assistance. Saul Pink/The Baltimore Banner.

  • A pending challenge of a contract to provide electronic benefits services to more than 900,000 state residents drew a stinging rebuke from Maryland Department of Human Services Secretary Rafael J. Lopez during a Wednesday meeting of the Board of Public Works.The three-member board led by Gov. Wes Moore (D) unanimously approved a contract with an initial five-year term despite ongoing appeals by a losing bidder, Fidelity Information Services. Bryan P. Sears/Maryland Matters

DEPT OF HEALTH WORKERS WIN $600K SETTLEMENT: Dozens of workers at state government hospitals will be paid a total of nearly $600,000 after Maryland acknowledged that it had circumvented overtime pay laws. A union for state workers discovered the pay discrepancy in 2022, alleging that hospital employees were not paid overtime for working extra hours. Instead, the Maryland Department of Health had them pick up extra shifts and hours as independent contractors, paying them a lower rate than if they has been compensated as state employees. Pamela Wood/The Baltimore Banner.

BETTER  POLLUTION CONTROLS NEEDED ON HIGHWAYS SAYS ADVOCATES: Environmental advocates are calling on the Maryland Department of Transportation to make more of an effort at cleaning up the polluted stormwater that washes off highways. Stormwater runoff represents the fastest-growing source of pollution in the Chesapeake Bay watershed, according to Chesapeake Bay Program computer models. Some of that can be traced back to the oil, gas, dust and other contaminants that rainwater carries into waterways from roads, experts say. Jeremy Cox/Bay Journal.

CROFTON PROPERTY MANAGERS GET $1 MILLION EPA FINE FOR EXCESS SEWAGE DUMPING: Crofton-based property managers Horizon Land Management accumulated more than $1 million in fines from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency early this year for dumping excessive pollutants into the Patuxent River and its tributaries through its wastewater treatment plants.  Dana Munro/The Baltimore Sun.

B’MORE’S VACANT HOUSING PROGRAM DRAWS HUNDREDS OF APPLICANTS, 11 QUALIFY: The first phase of a Baltimore program that aims to resurrect vacant homes by selling them to prospective homeowners for $1 drew applications from 459 city residents – only 11 of  whom ended up qualifying. The program had drawn a total of more than 1,400 applications by June 30, but many of those were from people who live outside the city, whose applications will not be processed until after those of city residents. Elijah Pittman/Maryland Matters.

COMMENTARY: MARYLAND LAWMAKERS MUST CONTINUE BREAKING DOWN INSURANCE BARRIERS TO HEALTHCARE:  Maryland patients, particularly those living with chronic illnesses, rely on consistent access to treatments to manage symptoms and live healthy lives. Daily management of a chronic or complex condition can already place a significant burden on patients and their families, yet some Maryland health insurance companies are making chronic illness management harder by adopting policies that block access to timely care. Gene Ransom/Maryland Matters.

HIGHER EDUCATION LEADER, ADVOCATE, BLUEPRINT COLLABORATOR,  RETIRES: Education advocates typically don’t garner much praise when it comes to trying to improve Maryland’s public education system, especially those who work quietly behind the scenes.But it’s hard not to notice the work Nancy Shapiro has either led or contributed to over 50 years as an educator that began as a Delaware high school teacher in 1974 and ended last Friday when she retired as an associate vice chancellor at the University System of Maryland. William J. Ford/Maryland Matters.

IT’S ‘POLITICAL FATIGUE’ FOR CARROLL COUNTY VOTERS: A sense of apathy and disinterest with November’s presidential election seems to have set in with Carroll County voters, as the political divide across the country grows stronger, according to Jordan Haegerich, co-chair of Central Maryland Braver Angels, a nonprofit organization that provides a safe place to talk politics. Sherry Greenfield/The Baltimore Sun.

MAYBE WE’RE NOT AS DIVIDED AS WE THINK: Americans are in greater agreement on many issues than the political extremes would have us think, writes Karl Vick in “The Polarization Myth” for Time Magazine. He cites multiple academic studies to prove his point.

FOURTH GENERATION CHESAPEAKE BAY PILOT DIES:: Captain Howland S. “Scotty” Roberts Jr., a Chesapeake Bay pilot who spent more than four decades guiding ships up and down the bay from Cape Henry, Virginia, to Chesapeake City, died from gastrointestinal bleeding June 25 at the University of Maryland St.Joseph Medical Center in Towson. The Cockeysville resident was 81. Frederick N. Rasmussen/The Baltimore Sun.

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