Maryland 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!
HERE IN MARYLAND
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.
STATE BY STATE BY STATE….
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 https://cleanpower.org/market-report-2022/ 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?
THE NATIONAL FRONT
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.
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