Human needs, violently active (environmental emergency responses) and newly visible (worrying new child poverty evidence -- and solution possibilities) occupy the General Assembly as it gets into the grind-it-out hearings section of its schedule. We have local and national news about human needs from the toxic-bombed railroad town in Ohio to wondering why we can't seem to get traction on restoring the Chesapeake Bay. It is News you can Use for this week. Read on.
Climate activists play ‘show and tell’ by bringing electric trucks and a battery-powered school bus to Annapolis With real-time evidence of climate change plainly visible — cherry blossoms blooming weeks ahead of schedule — environmental activists gathered in front of the State House on Monday urging officials to do all they can to promote the use of electric trucks and school buses in the state. The rally came as lawmakers consider two bills to make it easier to use and pay for electric trucks — one sponsored by Gov. Wes Moore (D) — and as House Republicans seek to limit Maryland’s participation in an aggressive nationwide vehicle emissions program. MD Matters
PSC, sedate and captured under Hogan, may be more a battleground in Moore’s tour: Maryland Gov. Wes Moore Friday shook up top leadership of the Maryland Public Service Commission and nominated two new members to the agency overseeing gas and electric utilities in the state and shaping Maryland’s clean energy ambitions. The nominations now await confirmation by the state senate. Inside Climate News
Bay Health Barely Budges: Despite decades of conservation efforts, the Chesapeake Bay Foundation gave the overall health of the Chesapeake Bay a D+ in its recently released 2022 State of the Bay report. In fact, the needle has hardly moved since the Chesapeake Bay Foundation began issuing the annual report in 1998. The original report gave the bay a score of 27 out of 100. Today that score has only improved to 32 out of 100. Capital News Service/MarylandReporter
Moore Admin Halts Scaled-Back Vehicle Emission Testing Program: As former Gov. Larry Hogan (R) was heading out the door a few weeks ago, his administration attempted to push through changes to the state’s vehicle emissions inspection program — over the objections of environmentalists and a legislative panel that examines proposed state regulations. But now the new regulation — and an accompanying procurement process designed to execute the Hogan administration’s plan to scale back emissions inspections — has been put on hold. Maryland Matters.
Child Poverty In Maryland More Widespread Than Earlier Reports: Child poverty in Maryland is deeper and more widespread than previously calculated, with a new state government analysis finding more than half of public school students now qualify for a range of anti-poverty programs. WaPo.
Child Poverty Solution? Moore’s Family Prosperity Act To Get Airing: On Thursday, Gov. Wes. Moore’s proposed Family Prosperity Act gets its first airing before lawmakers. The Family Prosperity Act hopes to strengthen two tax credits that experts say do the job they’re supposed to do in incentivizing work and providing a break to struggling taxpayers: the Earned Income Tax Credit and the Child Tax Credit. Coupled with increases in the minimum wage, this would help thousands of Maryland families with children begin to climb out of poverty, according to Moore’s administration. Baltimore Banner (paywalled)
State May Study Improvements To Mental Health Services: Maryland may completely overhaul how it approaches mental health services in the coming years if the General Assembly approves a bill that creates a new commission to study and recommend ways to improve how the state handles nearly every facet of mental health. That includes how services are provided, how the state holds private insurers accountable, how services are priced and the types of mental health services offered to individuals on insurance plans. WYPR-FM.
Moore To Recuse Himself From Under Armour Vote: Gov. Wes Moore plans to recuse himself today from a scheduled vote by the state Board of Public Works to decide whether to extend a warehousing contract with Under Armour. Moore served on the Baltimore-based athletic apparel maker’s board, resigning after he won the election in November, and owned thousands of shares of the company’s stock. Moore faces numerous potential conflicts of interest between his holdings and the business of running the state. The Baltimore Sun.
AG Brown Urges Lawmakers To Give Him Authority To Prosecute Police: Attorney General Anthony G. Brown urged lawmakers Tuesday to pass legislation giving him authority to prosecute local police officers he finds criminally at fault for having killed someone or caused an injury “likely to result” in death. Steve Lash/The Daily Record. (Paywalled) Brown, sworn in as the state’s top prosecutor Jan. 3, was testifying in Annapolis for the first time as attorney general. He inherited the investigations division which was created two years ago to review police interactions that result in the death, or injuries likely to result in death, of a “civilian.” Maryland Matters.
And, very close to our hearts, Maryland legislators consider bill to boost local journalism --House Bill 540 would allow small and medium-sized businesses to receive a tax credit of up to $3,000 for advertising in local news outlets such as newspapers, radio and television.“Sustaining local journalism is essential to protecting our democracy,” sponsor Montgomery Del. Joe Vogel told Capital News Service. Via MD Matters
National Progressive News from Megan E at our national affiliate, People’s Action…
Ohioans at ground zero wonder when state government will stop dragging its feet on seeking a disaster declaration for devastation from the train derailment in East Palestine, Ohio. The Biden administration did announce it wants to increase the maximum fine for railroad safety breaches and introduce other measures to prevent another disaster. But the feds are babying the rail barons too. Start in Ohio, Sign and share River Valley Organizing’s petition to Governor Mike DeWine to request a Federal Disaster Declaration related to the train derailment and chemical spill in East Palestine, OH.
From WaPo on the Farm Bill: “Congress has until the end of September to reauthorize the farm bill, which typically passes with bipartisan support. Already, House Democrats are working to include provisions aimed at helping farmers store more carbon in the soil, plant more trees and become more resilient in the face of extreme weather, Rep. Kim Schrier (D-Wash.) told The Climate 202.” She is looking at three buckets: sustainable forestry, conservation programs and research. Reps. Sean Casten (Ill.) and Mike Levin (Calif.) said “their task force will prioritize legislation to speed up the permitting process for energy projects, including the transmission lines needed to carry clean power across the country.”
From Energy News Network: From Across the Country, a big backlash to renewables is mounting.” “In a report updated last year, the Sabin Center for Climate Change Law at Columbia Law School found that ‘in nearly every state, local governments have enacted policies to block or restrict renewable energy facilities and local opposition has resulted in the delay or cancellation of particular projects.’” Not including what it called “reasonable regulations,” the 2022 edition of the report found 121 local policies (up 17.5% from 2021) that block or restrict renewable energy and 204 contested renewable energy facilities (up 23.6%).
Also note who’s financing the pushback: The headwinds affecting progress on renewable power generation are hardly an accident; they are coordinated and organized by big money from the Fossil Power and buffeting local officials who can’t or won’t access accurate info on renewables. Are your local officials – and media – parroting this disinformation? That’s their plan… From NPR working with Floodlight, an enviro organization.
Also on the Fed side, VP Harris In Bowie Tomorrow To Announce Housing Program: Vice President Kamala Harris and Housing and Urban Development Secretary Marcia Fudge will announce a new federal housing policy Wednesday in Bowie, Harris’ office said. The policy, aimed at lowering housing costs, will be announced at a Bowie location yet to be disclosed. The Capital Gazette.
Do you like this page?