lNews_You_Can_Use_graphic_(2).pngIn Maryland, state officials are struggling to unwind the new landscape of Medicaid post-COVID but fed money is coming into the state to care for Long COVID; Baltimore's big Trash-to-Energy incinerator at Curtis Bay pays big fines for violations while one county expands its food scrap composting activity by an order of magnitude. Lots going on in other states, too. About Congress? Don't ask...


We're starting as usual with Maryland and other states because, with the occasional glaring exception, the news is better at that altitude. We note below, however, that the Speakerless House of Representatives is not suffering under rules laid down in the US Constitution, but under the crazy set of rules they have spent several hundred years wrapping around themselves -- such as not being able to pass legislation when there is no Speaker, Change the rules, change the game. But watch them chicken out.



More Challenges As State Works Through Medicaid Unwinding: Several months into Medicaid unwinding, inappropriate terminations, computer errors and even call center wait times have added hurdles for the Maryland Department of Health and frustrations for some of the 1.8 million Marylanders on Medicaid waiting to see if their coverage will be renewed or if they will be rolled off and have to shop for insurance in the marketplace. Maryland Matters.

New Expungement Laws Make More Marylanders Eligible To Clear Records: Scores of Baltimore residents came to the third annual expungement clinic hosted by Maryland Legal Aid and Baltimore Gas & Electric in Baltimore’s Mondawmin Mall on Thursday. New state laws reducing expungement waiting periods and legalizing adult cannabis possession have made more Marylanders eligible to remove convictions from their records. Capital News Service/Maryland Reporter.

U.S. Awards Millions  To Expand Long-Covid Care: The Kennedy Krieger Institute, a nonprofit health organization affiliated with Johns Hopkins in Baltimore, will receive a total of $5 million over the course of five years from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to expand care for children with Long COVID symptoms, especially in underserved communities. Maryland Matters.

Moore Elected Chair Of Chesapeake Bay Executive Council: Gov. Wes Moore was unanimously elected to serve as chair of the Chesapeake Executive Council during a bipartisan meeting Thursday hosted by the Environmental Protection Agency in Washington, D.C. The council, comprised of the nine signatories to the 2014 Chesapeake Bay Watershed Agreement, serves as the primary policy and leadership body of the formal Chesapeake Bay Partnership’s effort to restore the Chesapeake Bay. Salisbury Daily Times.

Blueprint Board OKs Plan To Increase Students Enrolling In College: The Blueprint for Maryland’s Future Accountability and Implementation Board approved a plan Thursday that seeks to improve student enrollment in college and career readiness programs as part of the state’s education reform initiative. Maryland Matters.

Community Compost Collection Expands Meet one of the primary architects of a program that collects food waste from Prince George’s County residents and hauls it here instead of a landfill. Six years ago, the effort began with 200 residents; by January 2023, officials had made curbside containers available to about 75,000 residents, representing nearly half of the county’s eligible population. Bay Journal

Medical Waste Incinerator Fined $1.75m By State: They tried to mislead environmental regulators. They allowed human medical waste to fall on to the sides of public roadways. They did not completely burn medical needles before sending them to regular landfills. These were some of the findings made during a three-year investigation by the Attorney General’s office into Curtis Bay Energy, LP, the country’s largest medical waste incinerator facility. WYPR-FM.

  • The previous owners of the company pleaded guilty to 40 criminal counts for improperly disposing of medical waste. The company was also ordered to pay a $1 million fine to the Maryland Clean Water Fund, as well as another $750,000 that will be used for environmental projects in the Curtis Bay area. WMAR-TV News.
  • Curtis Bay Energy disposed of what is called "special medical waste" as "uncooked medical waste" after failing to completely incinerate it, according to Attorney General Anthony Brown. The company then transported the uncooked waste along state roads, which then leaked from trucks. WBFF-TV News.
  • After the start of the investigation, the facility was purchased by new owners in early 2021 and has made substantial improvements to infrastructure and in environmental compliance oversight. The new owners of Curtis Bay Energy have fully cooperated with the state’s investigation into historical violations, the attorney general’s office said. Maryland Matters.

Maryland Child Protective Services Lack Data: State child protection services evaluates thousands of potential cases of child neglect, abuse and mistreatment each year to determine what actions are needed to protect some of the state’s most vulnerable population: its youth. But according to a discussion last week during a Joint Committee on Children, Youth and Families meeting, there are holes in the state data reporting and it’s currently unclear how many families and children receive services to protect kids from mistreatment. Maryland Matters



Health Care: Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) has signed legislation codifying the Affordable Care Act into state law. The state law duplicates ACA provisions prohibiting insurers from denying health care based on preexisting conditions or kicking dependents off a parent’s coverage until age 26. Associated Press)via Pluribus

On the Move – about 39 million in the US moved in the 21-22 cycle, Pluribus reports. Most moved elsewhere in the same state but 8.2 million changed states. See Pluribus’s graphics on who went where.

Child Welfare Shortage: As New Mexico’s beleaguered child welfare agency continues to struggle with staffing shortages, it is seeing an uptick in child abuse and neglect cases among state youth, the Santa Fe New Mexican reports. Such case filings are on track to increase by more than 50% in the state this year. Stateline Daily. Note that N M appears to know how many cases they are not servicing, unlike Maryland (above).



Following the money and buying an audience: Verified Twitter Users Push Misinformation

Twitter/X’s “verified” users, who now pay to have a blue check, pushed 74% of X’s most viral false Israel-Hamas war-related claims, according to a NewsGuard analysis shared with Adweek. (Adweek)

“Collectively, posts advancing these myths received 1,349,979 engagements and were cumulatively viewed by more than 100 million times globally in just one week,” NewsGuard said in Thursday’s report. (CNN)

X has removed the gold “verified” badge from the New York Times’ account amid ongoing complaints about the news organization from X owner Elon Musk. (WaPo)

Adweek’s morning media newsfeed (Friday 10/20)


White Highways, POC Bedrooms – In a well-researched roundup, Streetsblog reviews the effect of limited-access urban freeway systems on low-income or minority neighborhoods who have little voice in highway policy but wind up being ground zero. Veterans will remember how Takoma Park and Mayor Sammie Abbott fought off an I-95 extension through their suburban town into downtown DC…



Here is the latest from People’s Action fed watcher Megan E :

Huge congratulations to Iowa CCI for their win in fighting off a carbon pipeline that would have run through Iowa and four other midwestern states! From Common Dreams: "As soon as Iowans learned about CO2 pipelines we knew these were not pipelines we wanted in our communities," said Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement. "Iowans organized to be heard:”

Last week, House Republicans continued their saga of trying to elect a Speaker of the House. Far right anti-immigrant Congressmember Jim Jordan (R-OH)  tried several times to get the votes for Speaker but swing district House members and appropriators blocked him. The latter group because Jordan has never voted yes for a government funding bill in his 16 years in Congress. The Republican caucus then voted to stop trying to elect Jordan. Now there are at least 10 House Members running for the position. Of course the House can’t pass any legislation until it elects a speaker. That’s by House rules (which they could vote to change); the Constitution says almost nothing about the Speaker

We are facing a looming government shutdown if Congress doesn’t pass a funding bill by November 17th. Appropriators on both sides of the aisle are discussing plans for another continuing resolution (extending funding at current levels) through February.

The White House is requesting a supplemental aid package for military spending in Ukraine and Israel. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell supports keeping the package together; however; many House Republicans don’t support Ukraine aid and want to see the packages separated, which would mean that the Ukraine aid doesn’t get passed.

Finally, People’s Action endorsed a rally in DC calling for a ceasefire in the Middle East on Friday. 



The Senate Finance Committee held a hearing on advertising in Medicare (dis)Advantage (privatized Medicare) plans last week. People’s Action’s Care Over Cost campaign held some meetings with Senators on the Senate Finance committee to discuss Medicare Advantage and submitted a statement for the record of the hearing. Senator Hassan shared a story in the hearing that Rights and Democracy gave her, which is also referenced in this article on the hearing. MA plans overall charge more than traditional Medicare, have higher rates of claims denials and some health care providers are leaving their networks which could leave people seeking care with INadequate access to healthcare. This NPR article (worth reading!) reported on how Medicare Advantage plans pay rural hospitals less than traditional Medicare and often refuse to pay for care. University of North Carolina’s health care system is publicly threatening to cancel its contract with United Healthcare citing abundant claim denials and inadequate pay. They urge their patients to select other plans this open enrollment period. And a federal appeals court has partially revived a closely watched class action by UnitedHealth Group beneficiaries accusing the insurer of wrongly denying claims for mental health coverage.


Lawyers for Good Governance have published an excellent explainer on the Low Income Communities Bonus (LICB) Adder. They also have an elective pay and tax resources page. Memo on funding a Green New Deal for Public Schools by the Climate & Community Project. 


More than Half of All Renters Are "Cost-Burdened" According to New Census Data: “Although rent growth has cooled significantly over the past year, the national median rent is still 23 percent higher than it was just three years ago, and in some markets, the increase has been even more substantial… Households that spend more than 50 percent of their household income on monthly housing costs are considered to be “severely” cost-burdened, and the share of American renters who are cost-burdened has risen to the highest level since 2012.

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...