Advocates for a Maryland site for the new FBI headquarters got a big boost when the criteria for the site were revised, downplaying nearness to the Quantico training ground and emphasizing "cost and social equity" concerns that make Prince George's County a more likely location. News is less tasty about a possible state budget deficit and a definite setback on the Purple Line -- later completion and more cost. And while you may not have been watching, 28,000 Maryland residents were dropped from the Medicaid rolls as the world forgets about the pandemic. Might be some household you know...
MARYLAND NEWS YOU CAN USE
Deficits From 2023 Session Expected To Reach $1 Billion in 2028: The most recent 90-day legislative session swung the Maryland’s fiscal picture from hundreds of millions in surplus to increasing projected deficits over the coming four years, according to the Department of Legislative Services. Deficits projected in the report for 2028 exceed $1 billion and approach levels not seen since The Great Recession. Maryland Matters.
GSA Change In FBI HQ Criteria A Big Boost For Maryland: The General Services Administration announced changes in criteria for choosing a location for a new FBI headquarters on Friday, boosting two potential places in Maryland, which has been competing with Virginia for the bureau’s new home. Associated Press.
The GSA is giving less weight to a location near facilities in Quantico, Va., and more weight to cost and social impact. Virginia had seemed to have the advantage in the sweepstakes for the multimillion-dollar headquarters, which carries some 7,500 jobs. But Maryland’s congressional delegation and Gov. Wes Moore (D) put up a spirited argument that the federal government was failing to prioritize values other than simple convenience. WaPo
Last week, Rep. Jordan Pushes Alabama Over Maryland, Virginia For FBI HQ: Ohio Republican Rep. Jim Jordan is calling on the U.S. House committee that controls government spending to bar any federal dollars from going toward a long-planned rebuild of the FBI headquarters in the Maryland or Virginia suburbs outside Washington, D.C. Jordan is thrusting himself into a years-long battle between Maryland and Virginia for the location of a new HQ. Maryland Matters.
The FBI headquarters is housed within the aging J. Edgar Hoover building in downtown Washington, D.C., built in the 1960s. The new headquarters could house an estimated 7,500 employees. The GSA has narrowed down the options for a new site to locations in Greenbelt and Landover in Maryland and in Springfield, Va. Maryland Matters.
Purple Line Runs Over Deadline And Over Cost: Maryland’s Purple Line will open at least seven months later than the previous estimate and cost $148 million more, state officials said Friday as they sought more resources to push the half-built and long-delayed project toward completion. WaPo
The Purple Line is expected to open in spring 2027, state officials announced Friday. Originally slated to cost $5.6 billion, the half-done project will now cost an additional $148 million, bringing the total price tag to $9.4 billion. MoCo 360.
67 Child Care Facilities To Share $11.5m In Capital Project Funding: Dozens of Maryland child care facilities have been awarded $11.5 million, thanks to the Child Care Capital Support Revolving Loan Fund, Gov. Wes Moore announced Tuesday. The funds will be shared among 67 child care centers in the state as part the inaugural round of funding is disseminated. Baltimore Sun.
Meanwhile, Ed Dept Oks Regs Over Cannabis Use At Child Care Facilities: With summer classes and the school year starting just weeks after the legalization of recreational cannabis in Maryland, the State Department of Education is taking action on how it wants the new law to impact schools, students and caregivers. At the department’s June 27 meeting, the State Board of Education passed an emergency regulation pertaining to cannabis usage at child care facilities. Baltimore Sun
Objections Raised To Potomac Ed's Rate Increase Request: Electric utility Potomac Edison has requested a rate change to bring in more than $50 million, eliciting backlash for a projected 10% increase in the average customer’s bill. In a filing with the Maryland Public Service Commission — which approves or denies utilities’ rate change requests — Potomac Edison asked to increase its distribution revenue by $50.4 million. Frederick News Post.
Carroll Bans Community Solar From Farmland: After months of discussion, debate and hearings, community solar panel projects on Carroll County farmland are no longer allowed. The Board of Carroll County Commissioners unanimously voted Thursday to ban community solar projects from being built on land zoned for agricultural. The action removes a section of the county code that has allowed community solar on agricultural property since 2021. Carroll County Times.
28,000 Marylanders Lose Medicaid Coverage: As new data report some 28,000 low-income Marylanders have been disenrolled from Medicaid in June alone and are losing out on federal health coverage, state health officials are looking for ways to make the administrative process for redetermination easier to ensure eligible people do not lose coverage. Maryland Matters.
How Did The 529 Savings Plan Go Off The Rails? When Maryland 529 issued year-end statements in December 2022, some accounts reflected tens of thousands of dollars less than families anticipated. Parents scrambled for alternatives to pay looming tuition bills, then launched a months-long campaign prompting legislators to create a law ordering the office of State Treasurer Dereck Davis to take over the agency by June 1. How did a plan so many Maryland parents and students rely on become so problematic? Baltimore Sun
Feds, states reach settlement in lawsuit over Chesapeake Bay pollution from Pa. A settlement agreement has been finalized in a lawsuit that alleged federal officials weren’t doing enough to stop Chesapeake Bay pollution originating in Pennsylvania. The settlement would end two separate lawsuits filed against EPA during the Trump administration. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, environmental groups and state governments filed a notice in U.S. District Court on Wednesday, dismissing the 2020 lawsuit. In April, the EPA published a tentative settlement agreement for public comment. Pennsylvania Capital-Star and Maryland Matters.
IN THE STATES:
Gun Politics in Oregon: A federal judge on Friday ruled that Oregon Measure 114, which bans the sale or manufacture of high-capacity magazines and requires a permit for purchasing a firearm, is constitutional. Judge Karin Immergut ruled the Second Amendment does not protect high-capacity magazines. (Oregonian) via Pluribus
Just because he feels like it, Youngkin completes review of new regs to pull Virginia out of carbon market by year’s end. Virginia is closer to withdrawing from a regional [cap-and-trade] carbon market at the end of the year following Republican Gov. Glenn Youngkin’s completion of a review of new regulations aimed at removing the state from the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative. [Maryland is one of 12 states in the RGGI; former Virginia Governor Ralph Northam (D) first took the state into the compact]. Virginia Mercury
Invasive species or Hollywood beast-horror special? Hunters in South Florida’s Big Cypress National Preserve captured a 19-foot Burmese python, the largest such snake ever measured. Though they are native to Southeast Asia, the two largest Burmese pythons ever found have come from South Florida. (Fort Myers News-Press) via Pluribus. But, but, we had a record snakehead… well, never mind.
FEDERAL GOVERNMENT WATCH
Here is the latest from Megan Essaheb, federal affairs director at our national affiliate, People’s Action:
Last week, Republican leadership in the House of Representatives took a bipartisan (though bloated) National Defense Authorization Act and added anti-abortion measures attacking reproductive freedom from the people who serve in our military. The amendment would prohibit a Pentagon policy paying for service members travel expenses for abortion care. The House also “adopted two transgender-related amendments: One would prohibit the health care program for active-duty service members from covering ‘sex reassignment surgeries and gender hormone treatments for transgender individuals’” and the other calls for prohibiting gender transition procedures through the Exceptional Family Member Program.” Two other adopted amendments “banned promotion of what many conservatives would call ‘woke’ ideas, specifically articulating prohibited topics such as the U.S. being ‘a fundamentally racist country.’”
The Defense bill narrowly passed the House floor along partisan lines. “Republican Reps. Andy Biggs (Ariz.), Ken Buck (Colo.), Eli Crane (Ariz.) and Thomas Massie (Ky.) broke from GOP leadership and opposed the measure. Democratic Reps. Don Davis (N.C.), Jared Golden (Maine), Marie Gluesenkamp Perez (Wash.) and Gabe Vasquez (N.M.) crossed the aisle and voted for the legislation.” It will have to be reconciled with a bipartisan senate version of the bill.
Congress is also working on legislation to fund the federal government. From Inside Climate News: “Republicans are doubling down on their attacks on clean energy and climate spending, kicking off their return to Congress this week with a slew of bills and amendments that would block key funding pools established under the Inflation Reduction Act and prohibit the federal government from advancing policies aimed at reducing the nation’s greenhouse gas emissions.” [Streetsblog reports that includes some big funding cuts to Amtrak, especially in the NE corridor].
About The Senator Next Door: “From Politico: Manchin’s favorite pipeline may not be a done deal
The Streets we occupied: The Homes Guarantee action at the convention received coverage: Tenants push Biden for Rent Control on all government-backed housing
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