NUCU_logo_new.pngEarly Voting is under way throughout Maryland this week, ending Thursday, May 9 in  advance of the Tuesday, May 14 Primary Election Day -- so you have lots of chances to cast your ballot in what is turning out to be a high-tension primary. Other news includes serious problems in the state's child care system, which is hampered by its private status, as well as a deep-dive roundup of the number of agencies charged with taking a hard look at how the Key Bridge fell and what to do about it. Plus news from other states that have similar problems to Maryland's and what they are doing about them, for better or worse, and perspectives on what's happening in the branches of the federal government (get your popcorn ready). It's all News You Can Use.


EARLY VOTING Maryland-wide continues to Thursday, May 9: Early voting for Maryland’s presidential primary election began last Thursday, and elections officials are preparing to implement a new method of quashing misinformation about the deluge of mail-in ballot requests they received this year. There are 97 early voting centers across the state. One change Maryland voters will see this election cycle concerns provisional ballots.  Baltimore Sun. Eligible Marylanders can still register to vote in the 2024 primary election, according to the Maryland State Board of Elections. To maximize voter registration, the Board of Elections this week is mailing postcards to approximately 750,000 Marylanders who are not registered to vote, informing them they can still register and vote during early voting and on election day. The Cecil Whig. For both the 2024 Presidential Primary and General Elections, you can vote in an early voting center in the county where you live. The list of early voting centers in all counties can be found here(PDF) (en español). MSBoE


New Law To Allow Jurisdictions To Tax Vacant Buildings At Higher Rate: Last week, Gov. Wes Moore (D) signed a host of bills into law aiming to solve the ongoing affordable housing shortage across the state. Many did not get a lot of attention including HB 2, which will take effect on June 1, allowing local jurisdictions to impose higher taxes on vacant buildings or lots if they choose. Danielle Brown/Maryland Matters.


Maryland Destination For Migrant Children: Thousands of migrant children are coming to Maryland every year. One ZIP code in Southeast Baltimore saw an influx of nearly 1,800 migrant children from 2015 to 2023, among the most in the country over that time. Baltimore Banner. Via Maryland Reporter (may be paywalled)


One of the main selling points for constructing A $13 Billion Magnet-Propelled Train Line between Washington, DC, and Baltimore is speed. Proponents envision levitating train cars going 300 mph and higher, reducing the travel time between the two cities to a mere 15 minutes. But those go-fast ambitions have collided with the go-slow realities of acquiring state and federal permits. The mounting difficulties threaten to derail the high-profile project, [which was an early project of Larry Hogan’s rule but has stayed stifled for eight years].. Bay Journal


Private Child Care In Maryland 'Fundamentally Broken:' As of mid-March more than 22,000 families were receiving financial assistance to pay for care for nearly 33,000 kids. Enrollment in the state scholarship program is on the rise as care options aimed at low-income families shutter. Even as the state invests record numbers of people in the program, the model of private child care is still fundamentally broken, experts and advocates say.  Baltimore Sun.


Watch Out On The Way To The Beach: Despite our anchor position in the crowded Northeast Corridor, Maryland is not among the top dozen US states in road rage ratings. Bear in mind when you plan a trip to the beach, though – Delaware is in the top dozen. Jalopnik via Streetsblog.


Body Of 5th Bridge Worker Recovered: The body of a fifth worker killed when the Francis Scott Key Bridge collapsed in March has been recovered from the Patapsco River. Unified Command said Wednesday night they found the remains of 49-year-old Miguel Angel Luna Gonzalez of Glen Burnie. Baltimore Banner. Dive teams recovered Gonzalez inside a red truck — one of the construction vehicles that had been missing since the bridge collapse in March. WaPo. Via Maryland Reporter


A catastrophe as massive as the Felling Of Main Sections Of The Key Bridge by the off-course container ship Dali triggers investigations from a wide array of agencies. Here’s what they will say about the process and findings so far, more than six weeks later: a longread from the Baltimore Sun.


Former Del. Doyle Niemann, Long-Time Public Servant, Dies At 77: Doyle L. Niemann, who served for a dozen years in the House of Delegates and had an even longer record of public service in Prince George’s County, died Wednesday at the age of 77 at the Washington Hospital Center, his family announced. A former colleague said Niemann died of complications from surgery to remove a tumor. [Niemann’s rich personal journey across the political landscape is chronicled in] Maryland Matters.




Politics Next Door in WEST VIRGINIA: Attorney General Patrick Morrisey (R) leads the GOP field in the race to replace term-limited Gov. Jim Justice (R) with 32%, according to a new survey. But the race is tight: Businessman Chris Miller (R) takes 25%, while former Del. Moore Capito (R) takes 24%. Secretary of State Mac Warner (R) pulls just 10%. (WV MetroNews) … and in DELAWARE: House Minority Leader Mike Ramone (R) will run for governor. He will face state Republican Party chair Julianne Murray (R) and retired NYPD officer Jerry Price (R) in the September primary. The winner will be a big underdog in November. (Delaware Public Media) via Pluribus


Social Media Protections for Kids: At least 30 states are considering or have considered regulations on social media platforms this year over concerns about those platforms’ impact on teenagers. Governors in Utah, Florida and Georgia have signed their respective bills, while Colorado Gov. Jared Polis (D) and Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee (R) have bills sitting on their desks. (Pluribus News) [may be paywalled]


'Kidfluencer' Protections: The Minnesota House approved a proposal adding new legal protections for minors featured in social media posts. Under the proposal, kids under 14 would be barred from creating paid social media content. For accounts that feature kids younger than 14 in at least 30% of their content, all profits would be designated for the young person, according to Minnesota Public Radio. via Pluribus


Social Media Protections Likely to Pass in NY: New York lawmakers are on track to approve legislation barring online sites from collecting data from those under 18, and prohibiting social media platforms from providing “an addictive feed” to kids under 18. The bills have earned bipartisan support in the face of fierce tech industry lobbying. (Albany Times Union) via Pluribus


IMMIGRATION: The federal Justice Department has warned Iowa it will sue to block a new law criminalizing “illegal reentry” if the state seeks to enforce the law. The DOJ said the law violates the Constitution, which gives authority to enforce immigration law to the federal government. (Des Moines Register) via Pluribus




Microsoft Said It Would Back $10 Billion’s Worth Of Renewable Energy Projects, demonstrating the huge demand for electricity to power data centers worldwide. The deal with Canada-based Brookfield Asset Management would drive the building of 10.5 gigawatts of solar and wind farms through 2030. Data centers are consuming ever more power: The International Energy Agency estimates that by 2026, they will suck up as much as Japan. That demand is driving financial firms to strike deals to develop much-needed electricity sources. Semafor’s Net Zero newsletter reported that the private equity firm Carlyle is courting data centers as anchor customers for solar-power farms, while rival KKR predicts such facilities could represent a fifth of all global energy consumption in the coming years. Semafor


Racial Wealth Gap in Home Ownership Is Narrowing: Black homeowners’ property values are on the rise across the country, with some of the biggest upswings in Midwestern and Southern states. The boon to Black homeowners, after decades of lagging property values, could help them close a racial wealth gap that has kept the American dream out of reach. Home values increased on average 84% in majority-Black ZIP codes between 2016 and 2023, outpacing growth in white ZIP codes, where values grew 69%, according to a Stateline analysis of federal housing and census data. Stateline Daily


Biden Issues Rule Expanding DACA Health Care Access: The Biden administration will publish a final rule Friday that will allow about 100,000 uninsured people in the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program to enroll in state-run or private health insurance plans provided under the Affordable Care Act, administration officials said. The new rule from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services could provide an opportunity for those uninsured DACA recipients to enroll in health coverage through a Health Insurance Marketplace plan or a state-run Basic Health Program. Stateline Daily


4.16 million: The number of children who are no longer enrolled in government-paid health care programs, after states unwound pandemic-era rules. That’s according to a report from Georgetown’s Center for Children and Families. (Florida Politics) via Pluribus


The US House Agriculture Committee released a framework for the upcoming Farm Bill which is expected to be marked up on May 23, Rep. Glenn G.T. Thompson, R-Pa., said in a statement. POLITICO


And from People’s Action fed affairs director Megan E, this week’s view on DC:

Last week, People’s Action’s Care Over Cost campaign attended a hearing and bird-dogged UnitedHealth Group CEO Andrew Witty who was testifying in front of the Senate Finance Committee and later the House Energy & Commerce Committee. Members of Congress on both sides of the isle called for United Health’s monopoly to be broken up. Leaders from Progressive Maryland, Rights and Democracy and Center for Health Progress participated with people who are fighting their claims denials confronting Witty and other senior executives directly. The Washington Post covered our chanting and the reporter tweeted about our action. We’re in the AP photos in this article.


Rep. Henry Cuellar, one of the most conservative Democrats in the House  is being indicted on corruption charges for taking bribes taking $600,000 in bribes, one from a state-owned oil and gas company in Azerbaijan and the other from a Mexican-owned bank. The American Prospect reports on how establishment Democrats defended him against a 2022 progressive primary challenge and now Democrats may lose the seat to Republicans. 

House Republicans joined by many Democrats passed the “Antisemitism Awareness Act,” last week with a vote of 320-19. NY Democrat and the longest-serving Jewish Member of Congress, Jerry Nadler, led the opposition to the bill saying it would endanger free speech on college campuses. 

Last week, student protests against Israel’s killing and starvation of Palestinian civilians as well as calls for their universities to divest from Israeli companies, spread across the nation. In many locations police were called and made arrests, sometimes using pepper spray and other violent measures. Biden made remarks aptly characterized by the New Republic with this title: Biden’s Very Trumpian Response to the Peaceful Student Protests: He’s explicitly demonizing nonviolent demonstrators and implicitly supporting the disproportionate and violent police response.

While I [Megan E] was writing this email, Israel has begun airstrikes in Rafah hours after telling civilians in parts of the city to evacuate. The U.S. appears to be doing nothing to stop this, despite repeated warnings to Israel not to invade Rafah due to the one million civilians sheltering there. 




What's Happening: New Resources -- From the Green New Deal Network: How States Can Flex Federal Funding from Highways to Green Transit 

Issue Update: Climate

America Isn't Running Out of Power

We have the solutions to meet growing demand from AI, electrification, and clean energy manufacturing

“And yet there is a crisis brewing in the electricity sector, not because we’re running out of power, but because many of the companies and regulators in charge of building our electric grid are turning to fossil fuels to meet this growing demand.”

woody woodruff


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...