News_You_Can_Use_graphic_(2).pngMaryland's usually compliant Public Service Commission says "no" to Exelon conglomerate's local minions; Gov. Moore will pardon 175,000 (!) marijuana "offenders" and the summer weather finally emerges from its lair and gets our attention. Plus doctors join the picket line, more or less, and it is getting harder to hire police. It's News You Can Use.


Maryland PSC rejects Exelon utility’s $213.6M multiyear rate plan

Instead, Pepco will be able to increase its rates by $44.6 million for a year while the state agency assesses the benefits of multiyear rate plans. Utility Dive


Senate Prez Ferguson Joins Renewable Energy Firm: Over the past several decades, the presiding officers in the Maryland General Assembly have either been lawyers, business owners or longtime local government employees. So it seems significant that Senate President Bill Ferguson (D-Baltimore City) has just taken a job as general counsel and senior vice president with a renewable energy company, a move that seems to subtly and indirectly elevate renewable energy as a policy priority in Annapolis. Maryland Matters via Maryland Reporter


Can Maryland Expect More Tornadoes? As the world reached 12 consecutive months of record global heat, the nine tornadoes that touched down earlier this month in Maryland raised the question of whether the state’s residents can expect to experience the threat more often in the face of climate change. Baltimore Sun.


Heat Wave to Bake MD: How Hot Will It Get?

The first heat wave of the year is heading to Maryland. Here are this week's forecast high temperatures, which are close to records. High temperatures will top 90 degrees in Maryland this week, with heat approaching record highs on the weekend. Increasing humidity will make it feel even more uncomfortable. A heat wave is defined in the northeast as at least three days with a high temperature of at least 90 degrees Fahrenheit, Accuweather reported. Meteorologists expect highs of 90 degrees and up for at least the next seven days in Maryland. Bowie Patch


Moore, Brown Hail Scotus Ruling On Abortion Drug: Gov. Wes Moore declared Thursday’s U.S. Supreme Court decision to continue to allow access to mifepristone, a contested drug approved to provide medication abortions, “a win” for reproductive justice. “Let me be clear: reproductive freedom is non-negotiable,” Moore, a Democrat, said in a statement. Maryland Attorney General Anthony Brown joined a lawsuit in 2023 challenging the restrictions on mifepristone. …In April 2023, the state entered into a memorandum of understanding with the University of Maryland Medical System to procure a stockpile of mifepristone with the health system using state funds in case it lost its FDA approval. Other states have done the same. Baltimore Sun


Moore To Pardon More Than 175,000 Marijuana Convictions: Gov. Wes Moore will issue a mass pardon of more than 175,000 marijuana convictions this morning, one of the nation’s most sweeping acts of clemency involving a drug now in widespread recreational use. WaPo  The Democratic governor plans to sign an executive order during a State House ceremony, nullifying guilty verdicts decided when carrying small amounts of the drug or paraphernalia was illegal. Details about the pardons – including how many people will be pardoned and how far back those convictions go — will be outlined today. Baltimore Banner. (may be paywalled)


Bumpstock Ruling Won't Affect Maryland Ban: Friday’s Supreme Court ruling striking down the definition of a semiautomatic rifle equipped with a bump stock attachment as a machine gun, won't affect Maryland's ban on bumpstocks. Maryland Attorney General Anthony Brown, who joined other attorneys general last year to file a brief to the Supreme Court in support of the federal bump-stock ban, called Friday’s ruling “a step backwards for common-sense gun laws.” Maryland Matters.


Right-Wing Coalition Appeals Tossing Of Election Integrity Case: A right-wing coalition that tried to prevent the certification of Maryland’s primary election results last month has followed through on its promise to appeal its case, which a federal judge threw out because she said the group lacked standing. The group had claimed the Maryland State Board of Elections had “lost control of the voting system.”  Baltimore Sun.


University Hospital Doctors Vote For Union: A group of more than 600 doctors at the University of Maryland Medical Center voted to form a union, according to a preliminary vote tally. The tallied vote came in Thursday night as 628 voting for and 19 against. Baltimore Banner


Baltimore Incinerator Draws Fire for Air Pollution -- Groups Accuse City of Civil Rights Violation for Burning Trash Environmental justice and clean air and water advocates who have been fighting for years to clean up or shut down a polluting trash-burning incinerator in heavily industrialized South Baltimore are trying a new line of attack. On May 28, the South Baltimore Community Land Trust filed a civil rights complaint with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, arguing that residents of predominantly Black and Hispanic neighborhoods nearby are disproportionately harmed by air emissions from the WIN Waste incinerator. Bay Journal


It’s Police Recruitment Season, But Filling Vacancies Is a Struggle Across Maryland Maryland has one of the lowest unemployment rates in the country, which would typically be considered a bright spot for the state’s economy. But for companies and government agencies searching for workers, Maryland’s low unemployment is a problem that’s leading to labor shortages. One of the hardest-hit industries is law enforcement. As police recruitment season kicks off—it generally runs from April to June—police departments across the state are recruiting more aggressively than ever to fill patrol cars. Many are offering larger salaries and bigger signing bonuses. “There are many occupational categories that suffer worker and skill shortfalls,” said Anirban Basu, chief executive of Sage Policy Group, an economic consulting firm in Baltimore. “But the most visible of these categories are public safety officials or police officers in particular,” he said. Capital News Service

Caught: Speeding Drivers In Maryland Work Zones Near D.C.: Thousands of drivers are being caught speeding in the Maryland work zones closest to the D.C. region — and fines for violators have just doubled under a new law that went into effect earlier this month. WTOP-FM.

Fatal Crashes During Police Chases Prompt AG Probe: The Independent Investigations Division of the attorney general’s office is investigating the deaths of three women killed weeks apart in April when drivers fleeing law enforcement struck the women’s vehicles. The close timing of their deaths — which took place in different counties and involved different agencies — has raised questions for the victims’ families and Attorney General Anthony Brown about the safety of police pursuits. Baltimore Sun.




How Local Government Fraud Has—And Hasn’t—Changed Since The Pandemic: Remote work and artificial intelligence are ushering in new kinds of fraud in state and local governments. When the COVID-19 pandemic upended the workplace, jobs went remote, offices had to adopt new technologies and longtime employees suddenly departed. Federal stimulus dollars flooded into state and local government accounts, and fraudsters had a heyday. The pandemic was only one of several recent disruptions to roil the financial operations of state and local governments, which oversee $4 trillion a year in spending. Payments—and paper trails—have gone digital. Scammers can now use AI tools to streamline their hunt for victims, including within government agencies. And local newspapers in the United States, one historic line of defense against graft, are disappearing at a rate of 2.5 a week. Propublica via Stateline Daily -- Read the original article


Burnout Among Government Workers Is Decreasing but Still High, According to New Pulse Survey Data Nearly half of government workers experiencing burnout said the main cause is their workload, followed by staff shortages and managing personal and professional life, both at 44%. Burnout among government employees has continued to steadily decline, according to new survey data, but researchers say it’s still at a concerning level. Forty-one percent of government workers surveyed in a February poll said they felt burnt out, which is a 24% decrease from roughly two years ago. Similarly, the poll found that 45% of U.S. employees in general reported feeling burnt out at work the same month.  Route Fifty




Local opposition to renewable energy projects ‘widespread and growing’: Columbia University report  

The report tracks 395 local restrictions on renewable energy development, with 55 of those emerging in the last year. Utility Dive


Banks Are Finally Realizing What Climate Change Will Do to Housing Extreme weather threatens the investment value of many properties, but financing for climate mitigation efforts are only just getting going. Rising sea levels, biodiversity collapse, extreme weather—these are the grisly horsemen of climate apocalypse. But don’t forget the fretting loan officers. A study published earlier this year found that US mortgage approvals tend to dip following periods of hotter-than-normal weather. WIRED Daily


Surgeon General Calls for Warning Labels on Social Media Platforms Dr. Vivek Murthy said he would urge Congress to require a warning that social media use can harm teenagers’ mental health. Murthy has long indicated that he believes social media poses a health risk to children and adolescents. He announced on Monday that he would push for a warning label on social media platforms advising parents that using the platforms might damage adolescents’ mental health. Warning labels — like those that appear on tobacco and alcohol products — are one of the most powerful tools available to the nation’s top health official, but Dr. Murthy cannot unilaterally require them; Congress must act. New York Times


Congress – both House and Senate – are out this week. How can anyone tell?


How US summer cooling costs are rising in 2 charts The average U.S. electric bill this summer is projected to set a 10-year record, finds a June 3 report from the National Energy Assistance Directors Association and Center for Energy Poverty and Climate.


 The Resistance to a New Trump Administration Has Already Started: An emerging coalition that views Donald J. Trump’s agenda as a threat to democracy is laying the groundwork to push back if he wins in November, taking extraordinary pre-emptive actions.“If Mr. Trump returns to power, he is openly planning to impose radical changes — many with authoritarian overtones. Those plans include using the Justice Department to take revenge on his adversaries, sending federal troops into Democratic cities, carrying out mass deportations, building huge camps to hold immigrant detainees, making it easier to fire civil servants and replace them with loyalists and expanding and centralizing executive power.” New York Times

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...