NUCU_logo_new.pngAs the US House flounders Speakerless with some big crises at hand, activists continue to push the local, state and federal measures that will help working families. Maryland's Senate leader hints that the hiring-hall grip of local central committees on who is appointed to the Assembly may get a serious look (at last!) from the legislators themselves. Meanwhile, fossil fuel use at the individual level in Maryland continues to be a huge contributor to poor air quality, and teachers are not really incentivized to stay in the profession since non-teacher salaries continue to show a bigger and bigger advantage. It's News You Can Use this week.


Fossil Fuel-Powered Appliances Big Contributor To Poor Air Quality: As Maryland policymakers look to fulfill the state’s many mandated climate goals, a new report suggests that the fossil fuel appliances and other heavy equipment used to power homes and businesses are contributing far more to poor air quality than all of the state’s power plants combined. Maryland Matters.


In Unique Approach, One County Utilizes A P3 To Build Public Schools  -- A national blog on local government takes note of PG County’s innovative approach: Instead of it taking six years to build six schools, it took three. The first-of-its-kind project saved Prince George’s County, Maryland, millions of dollars—and includes 30 years of maintenance. A suburban Maryland school district, faced with the staggering prospect of dealing with a $8.5 billion backlog in building repairs and upgrades just a few years ago, celebrated the opening of six brand new middle schools this fall. Route Fifty [ Note that the county has resisted Project Labor Agreements that would ensure minority-sourced union labor. ]


Changes to Filling Maryland Legislative Vacancies Said Possible... Senate President Bill Ferguson on Monday predicted that the General Assembly would give serious consideration next year to bills changing the way legislative vacancies are filled in Maryland, saying he is uncomfortable with the power local party central committees possess over vacancies in the House and Senate. Maryland Matters.


Ba Co Schools Ok $2.66m Contract For Security Camera Upgrade: Baltimore County Public Schools is spending millions to upgrade security cameras with a technology that purports to detect guns on campus. In August, the school board approved a $2.66 million contract through May 2027 with Omnilert, part of a growing school security industry in the wake of America’s epidemic of school shootings.  Baltimore Sun.


Federal Government Overpayments To Medicare Advantage Subject of Study -  Physicians for a National Health Program released a new report on federal government overpayments to Medicare Advantage (privatized Medicare) programs. The report estimates $88 - 104 billion in overpayments in 2022. This amount would cover the cost of expanding traditional Medicare to cover dental, vision and hearing. From People’s Action


Teacher Pay Penalty Still Looms Large. Over the past two decades, the weekly wages and total compensation of public school teachers have fallen further and further behind. Because public school teachers must attain at least a bachelor’s degree to teach in the U.S., this research compares teachers with college graduates working in other professions. Providing teachers with compensation commensurate with that of other similarly educated and experienced professionals is necessary to retain and attract qualified workers into the profession. Economic Policy Institute


SAFER Act Allowing Cannabis Vendors to Have Bank Accounts Advances

 Cannabis banking bill closer to a vote in the U.S. Senate -- The bill would address a problem that has led to half of the nation’s cannabis dispensaries being robbed or burglarized. The bill, which states and cities have long said would cut robberies of cannabis businesses by letting them open bank accounts, is moving towards a vote in the U.S. Senate, where marijuana advocates expect it to be passed. Concerned senators cheered its emergence from a committee hurdle Tuesday. City & State


Federal funds for rural broadband access hard to navigate -- The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act provides $42.45 billion for broadband deployment in rural areas. Rural counties are struggling through barriers to participation, and the big providers are not helping. This money is vital for rural broadband because without the subsidy, there is little to no incentive for internet companies to lay fiber optic cables in rural areas. It would never be financially feasible for them to bring high-speed internet to some of these communities because the take rate is so low. The Daily Yonder


The Wages of No Wages – Only the richest 20% of Americans have any pandemic-era savings left while everyone else has less cash than in 2019,  according to new data [from a Fed report]. “The figures point to dwindling firepower available for US consumers, whose resilience has kept the economy growing at a rapid clip this year and staved off the recession that many expected. Some analysts warn a downturn is still in the cards as households run low on spare cash.”  Bloomberg via Reddit


High Interest/Mortgage Rates suppress home building, allow rents to skyrocket – Landlords can freely raise rental rates and still stay under the current ceiling for most home buyers. Slumlords wallowing. From Stateline Daily 



The US House is Speakerless (and helpless) but that doesn’t mean you have no voice. Here are dispatches from People's Action Federal Affairs director Megan E.

Action Wed 10/11: The Care Over Cost campaign is holding a day of action on Oct. 11th. Retweet People’s Action’s tweets & those of our member organizations on #CareOverCost on this Wednesday and Thursday (10/11 & 10/12) as we push out word about these actions, photos, videos and letters to private health insurance corporations. As background or for use in social media here is Care Over Cost explainer video.


In Depth Issue Update: HOUSING

From the Boston Globe: An eviction record in itself can also lead to a criminal record, and vice versa, potentially leading to an increased likelihood of entering the criminal legal system due to housing instability. And individuals with criminal records may struggle to maintain housing stability, which can indirectly lead to violations of probation or parole conditions that dictate a person’s location, further entangling them in the system.

To be clear, beyond the use of police force, evictions and displacement are inherently violent, and more must be done to prevent them from happening in the first place. They remove people from their homes and neighborhoods and put them into uncertain and unstable situations. The impact of this extends beyond physical harm — the trauma and stress ripples through communities and perpetuates poverty. Put simply, evictions disrupt lives, destabilize families and fracture the social fabric of communities. As Homes Guarantee Director Tara Raghuveer told The Nation, “Every eviction is an act of violence.”


California's Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom signed a law Saturday to bolster eviction protections for renters and close a loophole in an existing law that has allowed landlords to circumvent the state's rent cap. The move updates a 2019 landmark law that created rules around evictions and establishing a rent cap at 5% plus the inflation rate, with a 10% maximum.


One Charlotte neighborhood is pushing back against Wall Street landlords. After 50% of homes sold there in 2021 and 2022 went to large investors who paid cash, according to the Times, homeowners voted to cap the total number of neighborhood rentals allowed at 25% of all homes.


70% of Households Finding It Harder to Pay the Rent. Nearly 70% of renter households have a gross family income that is less than the US median and soon (if not already) that is catching up to them in their ability to pay rent.

Kentucky Tenants pushes for Lexington to adopt a Tenants’ Bill of Rights. Kentucky Tenants is pushing for Lexington to adopt a Tenants’ Bill of Rights. The bill of rights has four parts to it: eviction prevention, anti-discrimination, representation and accountability.

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...