News_You_Can_Use_graphic_(2).pngFor one of the wealthiest states -- by some accounts THE wealthiest -- we are doing very poorly by our children. It's a constant refrain but reinforced by the annual KidsCount report from the Annie E. Casey Foundation, as we see in News You Can Use, below. Also, how the Inflation Reduction Act's climate provisions will fit nicely with Maryland's recent climate moves in the Assembly; the Hogan administration slow-walks provisions to protect workers from heat, just when the weather is at its worst; a shortage of nurses in the state; "Big Chicken" under fire from state attorneys general for ganging up on small farmers, and more. Read on.

The Kids (of Maryland) are not all right

The Maryland Center on Economic Policy (MDCEP) analyzes the just-released annual AE Casey FND kids count   The study ranks our state in 19th out of the fifty states in “overall child well-being” and breaks that down into Economic well-being (16th); Education (18th); Health (18th) and Family and community (21st).

How do we make sense of this sorry showing in a state that US NEWs ranked the wealthiest state in 2020 with a median income of $87, 638? The most recent (2018) state by state comparison of economic inequality (by the Economic Policy Institute) ranked Maryland 35th most unequal state among the fifty.

 

Md Matters commentary: Two environmental advocates write that while every state will see clean energy investments soar [now that] the Inflation Reduction Act [is to become] law, Maryland is especially well-positioned. ”Just as important,” the co-authors say,  “laws passed by the General Assembly in the past few years already provide the framework for our energy transition. The Maryland Clean Energy Jobs Act and participation in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative are driving fossil fuels out of our power sector and rapidly replacing them with clean, renewable energy. The Climate Solutions Now Act is pushing our [state’s] entire economy to decarbonize, largely through broad electrification, and has set the most ambitious 2031 greenhouse gas reduction goal in the country.”

Also, Politico reports on how the President can declare a climate emergency to unlock regulatory powers that Democrats were unable to include in the budget reconciliation package. (TX to Megan Essaheb of People's Action for that)

The Baltimore Sun has a roundup on what the new Inflation Reduction Bill will likely mean for Maryland and its residents.

POLITICO Playbook said Monday that Joe Biden “is expected to sign [the bill] this week.” He’s on a family vacation on Kiawah Island, SC but the WaPo is reporting Monday that Biden will address a Democratic National Committee event next week in the DC suburbs of Maryland.

PROTECTIONS AGAINST HEAT STRESS IGNORED, WORKER ADVOCATES SAY: Backers of Maryland’s legislation to protect workers against heat stress are frustrated by what they call the Hogan administration’s “lack of urgency” and transparency in creating regulations to implement the bill, nearly two years after it became law. The recent heat wave highlights the importance of heat regulations as the state Department of Labor continues work on carrying out House Bill 722, which passed the General Assembly in 2020. Maryland Matters. (last Thursday)

 

“Big Chicken” called out for anticompetitive crushing of small farmers

(Wednesday) The attorneys general of 10 states, including Maryland’s AG Brian Frosh,, are backing a proposed rule by the U.S. Department of Agriculture that is meant to get poultry growers fair agreements with meat processors, but they want stronger oversight.

“Maryland supports its poultry farmers,” Frosh said. “This rule will bring them fairer prices and help stop anticompetitive conduct in the poultry industry.”

“One of the many reasons it’s tough for small poultry farmers — and small farmers of all kinds — to afford their lives is because of imbalances of power, money and information between farmers and processors,” Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison (D) said Monday when he joined his counterparts in nine states to publicly comment on the USDA proposal. “These imbalances lead to unfair competition and bad outcomes not only for these farmers, but for their communities and way of life.”

Big poultry companies bargain fiercely and from positions of power with individual farmers in an effort to shave costs at the farmers’ expense. More from Maryland Matters

 

Tuesday: MD HOSPITAL ASSOCIATION SAYS A QUARTER OF NURSING POSTS ARE EMPTY: Maryland is experiencing its worst health care staffing shortage in recent memory, a study commissioned by the Maryland Hospital Association claims, with one in every four nursing positions currently being vacant. Johanna Alonso/The Daily Record. More from MD Matters: https://www.marylandmatters.org/2022/08/08/md-hospitals-face-most-critical-staffing-shortage-in-recent-memory-report-finds/

Tuesday: Josh Kurtz’s political notes in Maryland Matters:

Progressive Maryland counts wins

With the July 19 primaries now three weeks in the rearview mirror, the group Progressive Maryland is touting its wins in a series of Democratic primaries across the state.

In all, Progressive Maryland leaders said 64% of the candidates they endorsed wound up winning, including Laurie-Anne Sayles, who won the Democratic primary for a Montgomery County Council at-large seat; Natali Fani-Gonzales, who was nominated for a Montgomery County Council seat in District 6; Wala Blegay, a union lawyer who won a seat on Prince George’s County Council for District 6; Krystal Oriadha, who won a seat on Prince George’s County Council for District 7 and will become the first openly-LGBTQ person to serve on the council there; Prince George’s Councilmember Edward Burroughs, who was re-elected to the District 8 seat; Tiffany Jones, an LGBTQ candidate who won a seat on the Baltimore City Democratic State Central Committee for District 45; Michele Gregory, a member of the Salisbury City Council, who won her primary for state Senate in District 38 on the Lower Shore; Jamila Woods, who won a primary for delegate in Prince George’s County’s District 26; and Del. Sheila Ruth (D-Baltimore County), who was the top vote-getter in the primary in District 44B.

“We are excited to be shifting the playing field here in Annapolis,” said Progressive Maryland Executive Director Larry Stafford. “Voters are moving away from the developer-backed politics that have left Black and Brown communities underserved for too long and towards a grass-roots funded politics that will actually work for our communities.” Maryland Matters (Tuesday)

Note also the referendum on Fair Elections in Anne Arundel County for which PM gathered signatures. Signatures are still being verified.

 

And Maryland shares with many other states a shortage of affordable housing -- really a shortage of all housing that is driving up rental costs as well as home sale prices. Megan E of People's Action reports on a proposed solution: "The Homes Guarantee campaign has made a media splash on its demands that the Biden Administration take action to curb rent inflation. From the Washington Post: 

“The White House hasn’t done enough to fight rent inflation, says a coalition of tenant unions, community organizations and legal groups calling on the Biden administration to launch an all-out government intervention.

"A set of proposals, shared with The Washington Post, calls on the Biden administration to declare a state of emergency on housing and explore ways to regulate rents. The proposals span six government agencies and are intended to push federal regulators to consider new ways to curb rental costs, which were up 5.8 percent in June compared with the year before.” Homes Guarantee tenant-leaders are profiled in this Bloomberg article, this NPR article and in this Truthout article addressing rising rent and their demands that the Biden administration take action. "

 

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M.A. and Ph.d. from University of Maryland Merrill College of Journalism, would-be radical, sci-fi fan... retired to a life of keyboard radicalism...