News_You_Can_Use_graphic_(2).pngMaryland is burbling with news, even in a week when the kabuki production on budget reduction soaked up all the coverage. Choice of a new elections administrator narrowed down; can a spouse rape a spouse?; in search of sustainable concrete; shakeup at the Purple Line (again?); reproductive health facilities exit WVA for MD; court-ordered prisoner moves falling behind; and Maryland grows older as we all age. Oh yes, and a well-regarded scorecard for General Assembly members points the finger at several who failed of their promise. All that in News You Can Use for this short post-holiday week. Keep up!




How did the General Assembly do this year? Though a lot of regular observers were encouraged that legislators were able to successfully land the plane and adjourn sine die as usual, others lamented the way important bills were mistreated in the scramble to finish up. Our allies at the Maryland Legislative Coalition have a scorecard that is of high interest because of the low behavior by the Senate, as they see it – particularly the Senate President and the chair of Senate Finance, who were big-time roadblocks.

3 Finalists for New Elections Administrator: The search for a new state elections administrator is now down to three finalists. The five-member Maryland State Board of Elections met Friday to review a tranche of applications for the position and determine which candidates are invited for interviews next week. Maryland Matters.


Spousal Rape Defense to be Outlawed: Later this year, Maryland will do away with the spousal defense for rape and sexual assault, handing supporters a victory that had been long sought. Under current Maryland law, there are four sex crimes for which a legal spouse cannot be prosecuted - first and second-degree rape, and third and fourth-degree sex offense. Come Oct. 1, that will no longer be the case. WYPR-FM. Via Maryland Reporter


 "Cleaner Concrete" for State Projects: Del. Kenneth Kerr (D) of Frederick County sponsored a bill, which passed the General Assembly, that would reduce the pollutants that go into the concrete manufacturing process for “state projects or any project that's over 50% state funded,” said Kerr. That would include schools, roads and bridges. The bill is effective July 1. WYPR-FM. Via Maryland Reporter


Del. Moon's Star Rises in Annapolis: Owlish, bookish, soft-spoken, a little socially awkward and unapologetically progressive, with a list of lefty causes on his resume that’s so expansive that it would intimidate many of his fellow Democrats, never mind the Republicans in the legislature. Del. David Moon of Montgomery County was never destined to become one of the boys in Annapolis. How things change. Now nine years into his legislative career, Moon has just become House majority leader. Maryland Matters.


Exec Director of Purple Line is Out: The long-troubled Purple Line development is undergoing more change, as two key leaders, Executive Director Matthew Pollack and Communications Director David Abrams, are out at the Purple Line, a state transportation spokeswoman announced Friday. MoCo 360. Via Maryland Reporter


W. Va. Abortion Clinic Moves to Cumberland: A new Maryland clinic that will offer abortion services is an extension of the Women’s Health Clinic of West Virginia, which had to stop performing abortions due to that state’s near total abortion ban that went into effect in September. The new location is Cumberland — just five miles from the border of West Virginia. Maryland Matters.


Commentary: Moore Wades into Culture War: Gov. Wes Moore released a video condemning the state of Florida for the “banning of history and this altering and erasure of the history of African Americans,” and encouraged residents of states with “so-called leaders, who are going to condemn or erase the history of broad portions of the population there, come to Maryland.” Not coincidentally, the video was timed to release with Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ official presidential campaign announcement. Maryland Reporter.


[May 5] 130 Inmates Still Await Move to State Hospitals Bryan Mroz, acting deputy secretary of the Maryland Department of Health – Healthcare Systems, says there is still a backlog of inmates that are required by court order to be transferred from county detention facilities into the state’s hospital system. That number is around 130, down from 161. In the meantime, local facilities continue to shoulder the financial cost of holding individuals with severe psychiatric needs longer than 10 days, when the state is intended to be the recipient of these patients. Conduit Street. Via Maryland Reporter


[May 5] Census 2020: Maryland's Population Growing Older as a State: The population of Maryland and the United States is skewing older, new 2020 census data shows. Maryland’s median age of 38.8 — the same as the national median — is eight-tenths of a year higher than it was in 2010. The figures come from 2020 census data released Thursday. Baltimore Sun. Via Maryland Reporter




State and local governments are making steady progress in strategies for fighting climate change – a commentary in Route Fifty


HOWEVER US installations of green energy sources fell this year, reports American Clean Power via Semafor  The headwinds to renewables include serious backups on permitting for a modernized grid ... Utility Dive detailed the provisions and conflicts in the “permitting reform” section of the bill and quoted one of the GOP negotiators in what must be the understatement of the week “Congress doesn’t understand [grid modernization] well…”

Pluribus News reports “Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds (R) signed a bill [that along with book-banning etc.] “requires schools to notify parents if a student asks to use new pronouns. (Des Moines Register).” Also “Reynolds has signed legislation allowing 16- and 17-year olds to serve alcohol in restaurants and letting teens as young as 14 work up to six hours a day during the school year. (Des Moines Register)” – “The Texas legislature approved a school safety measure that requires an armed security officer at every school and compels school districts to create active-shooter plans. (Texas Tribune)”

Sometimes it is hard to express enough outrage at some of these cold-blooded violations of what ought to be everyone’s rights against exploitation.

Are we getting older, as a society? Did you have to ask?


Joe Manchin’s insistence on “permitting reform” (which would reduce those headwinds) in the debt-limit deal seems to have been limited to Coal Baron Joe’s favorite cause, the Mountain Valley Pipeline.

Overall effects of the “deal dodging debt default” (catchy, eh?) are being debated even as the weekend cliffhanger agreement is moving through House Rules (maybe) early this week, even today. People’s Action’s Megan Essaheb has a read on the effects on most vulnerable communities: “The bill would raise the work requirement for people who receive SNAP (food stamps) from 50 to 54. The bill would also exempt veterans, the homeless and people who were children in foster care from food-stamp work requirements — a move White House officials say will offset the program’s new requirements, and leave roughly the same number of Americans eligible for nutrition assistance moving forward.” According to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, the bill also “ratchets up requirements on states to show that very low-income parents receiving TANF income assistance are meeting rigid work requirements that are often ill-suited to the needs of families.”

Part of the problem, advocates say, is that new paperwork requirements may cut some folks off from benefits just because they are too confusing, a common strategy imposed by conservative austerity-mongers. States where unemployment numbers are high can get exemptions from work requirements.

But which states would that be? Here are the latest numbers.

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...