NUCU_logo_new.pngThe most important issue for Marylanders this week is being actually cool, not just trendy. If you work outdoors or in tough spaces, better look out for yourself -- state agencies are still muttering over what kind of help to offer you (by insisting that your employers take responsibility for it).  In states where the worst of the heat wave has already come and gone, politicians are found to be busy telling other people what to do (for instance, Ten Commandments in each school's classroom, and displayed at 11 x 14 inch size or larger, thankyouverymuch).

In addition to the heat, Maryland leaders and activists are thinking about money, as always -- the Blueprint for educational improvement, the costs of the state's climate plan, and light rail on the next-version Key Bridge (as well as the revived Red Line in Charm City) are all getting a workout. Even in summer. Stay tuned to News You Can Use.





Yes, It’s Hot. Very Hot. But… Marylanders who can find refuge in cooled workplaces or homes (alas, few schools included) are comparatively lucky “Meanwhile, unions representing laborers who work outdoors are still waiting on new state standards that would help protect workers from heat exposure both indoors and outdoors. Discussion of those regulations began during the Hogan administration, and while they are nearing completion, they are not yet finalized. ‘Maryland Occupational Safety and Health programs are currently in the process of discussing a heat standard,’ said Clifford S. Mitchell, director of the Environmental Health Bureau in the state Department of Health.” Maryland Matters

Holy Smokes, is This an Unforeseen Advantage? -- As a heat wave continues to impact many parts of the Midwest and Northeast, a new study finds that politicians tend to use shorter words in speeches on hot days. Read more about this refreshing prospect in Route Fifty, republished from Grist.


Despite Maryland's Abortion Stand, Advocates Worry About Its Future: Two years after the U.S. Supreme Court upended 50 years of abortion law with its Dobbs decision, Maryland has reaffirmed its position as an abortion-friendly state while other states have restricted or banned the procedure outright. But advocates realize that even in abortion friendly states such as Maryland, the landscape could shift at any time — perhaps as early as this week when the Supreme Court is expected to rule on whether federal law overrules state law on emergency abortions. Maryland Matters / And note the Montana referendum (Montana!) mentioned below in “The Other 49”


Blueprint Pours Money Into Education; School Systems Still Struggle: The Blueprint for Maryland’s Future, the state’s education reform plan, invests billions of dollars into public education over a decade, but that money is designated for very specific programs. School boards are left paying for other services with the remaining flexible funds and banking on county governments to approve huge requests above the legal funding requirement. Not all counties can afford to cover the gaps. Programs are cut and positions eliminated to save money, resulting in larger class sizes and involuntary teacher transfers.  Baltimore Sun.


Meanwhile, Climate Adaptation is Pricey Too: An obscure but influential commission has begun to tackle a multibillion-dollar problem for the state of Maryland: How to pay for government’s ambitious climate goals. As state leaders tout Maryland’s tough standards for reducing carbon emissions — Gov. Wes Moore (D) earlier this month issued an executive order to advance certain climate initiatives — they have yet to identify ways to fund the various programs necessary to fully meet them. Maryland Matters


New Laws To Begin Taking Effect July 1: The first big batch of bills passed during the 2024 legislative session goes into effect next week. Democratic Gov. Wes Moore signed 1,049 bills in the weeks after the 90-day session, which saw big budgetary issues and a push for changes in the state’s juvenile justice system, adjourned April 8 for the year. Baltimore Sun.


Bay Dead Zone Grows, But Slowly: The Environmental Protection Agency said Friday that the Chesapeake Bay’s “dead zone” is expected to be just 4% larger than normal this summer, despite significantly heavier spring rains that led to a sharp increase in nutrient runoff. Maryland Matters.


LGBTQIA+ People Still Face Discrimination: As thousands of Marylanders celebrate Pride Month, separate reports from the Maryland Commission on Civil Rights and the Maryland Commission on LGBTQIA+ Affairs indicate there’s still discrimination against people in that community. Maryland Matters.


Hate Crime Commission To Get Overhauled: The Maryland Commission on Hate Crime Response and Prevention was deep into its work last fall, creating a web portal to report hate crimes and holding community forums on the importance of fighting such bias. Then the commission became embroiled in controversy and chaos when one member made a series of what some said were anti-Israel social-media posts. Now the commission is getting an overhaul.  Baltimore Banner. via Maryland Reporter


Rail on the Key Bridge Urged: A coalition of Baltimore transit advocates wants to delay reconstruction of the Francis Scott Key Bridge until light rail can be incorporated into the design. “Earlier this month, engineers from the MDTA announced plans for the new bridge. They’re focusing only on rebuilding it as it was - meaning no light rail or pedestrian walkways.”(WYPR) via StreetsBlog




SOCIAL MEDIA: New York Gov. Kathy Hochul (D) has signed legislation aimed at protecting teenagers from social media harms and from having their data harvested without permission. One of the bills, the Stop Addictive Feeds for Kids Act, requires social media companies to present chronological rather than algorithmic feeds to minors. (Pluribus News) may be paywalled.

EDUCATION: The Texas Senate will take up legislation mandating the display of the Ten Commandments in school classrooms, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick (R) said Thursday, a day after Louisiana Gov. Jeff Landry (R) signed first-in-the-nation legislation. The House has blocked previous Ten Commandments bills. (Dallas Morning News) via Pluribus

MONTANA: Supporters of a proposed constitutional amendment to guarantee abortion rights submitted 117,000 signatures, almost double the 60,000 they needed to win a spot on November’s ballot. Counties must finish counting and verifying signatures by July 19. (Daily Montanan) via Pluribus

CALIFORNIA – Proposition 13 Makes Zombie Return But is Ruled Out: The state Supreme Court removed a citizen-led initiative from November’s ballot that would have required voters to approve any new statewide taxes and raised thresholds for approving local taxes. Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) and other Democratic elected officials argued that only the legislature can put a proposed constitutional revision before voters. (Sacramento Bee) via Pluribus

States Trying to Boost Fleet Electrification Find Slow Going: Going electric with fleet vehicles is an important carbon reduction strategy because those cars and trucks are driven all day. But switching to electric is a more complicated process for fleet managers than it is for individual consumers, states and local governments are finding. Organizations must consider their long-term budgeting, which vehicles will need replacing when, what available vehicles would meet their needs, and whether their infrastructure is suitable for charging stations. In many cases, decisions must be discussed and approved by multiple stakeholders, like a nonprofit’s board of directors or all of the partners in a business. The numbers suggest fleets are making the conversion at a slower rate than personal owners, but Massachusetts is finding success. Route Fifty





1.2: The number of jobs per job seeker in the United States, according to Bureau of Labor Statistics data, down from a peak of two open jobs per job seeker at the height of the labor shortage in 2022. (Stateline) via Pluribus


Building Emergency Housing To Meet The Unique Needs Of Older Adults Increasingly, the face of homelessness in America is growing older. Last year, more than 138,000 individuals experiencing homelessness were 55 or older, with nearly half of them spending at least one night unsheltered. Those affected are members of the baby boom generation, which has been disproportionately impacted by homelessness. Route Fifty


>>>NO roundup on DC and Congress from People’s Action federal affairs director Megan E this week, but here are some tidbits from out favorite newsletters from the chattering class:


It’s all about appropriations in the House this week, with GOP leaders hoping to get the Defense, Homeland Security and State-Foreign Operations bills across the floor before the July 4 recess. Hundreds of amendments have been filed on each bill, with the customary smattering of culture-war provisions on offer (like, say, banning the Pentagon from buying lab-grown meat). But the provision to watch is playing out in committee: Wednesday’s Commerce-Justice-Science markup will signal how serious Republicans are about defunding special counsel Jack Smith.

The Senate won’t be back in session till July 8, so Majority Leader Chuck Schumer has some time to figure out his next move on the big tax bill that’s languished in his chamber after passing the House in January. As Morning Tax’s Bernie Becker reported Friday in-cycle Democrats are pushing for a vote as Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and other progressives argue the big-business breaks outweigh the Child Tax Credit expansion therein. Schumer will have to decide whether a likely-to-fail vote is worth the precious floor time.

SURVEY SAYS — “America’s new generation gap: Young voters say they’ll inherit a more challenging world. But will they vote in it? by CBS’ Anthony Salvanto, Fred Backus, Jennifer De Pinto.

"Their focus is on different issues from their elders' ..., with more on climate, abortion and promoting diversity [in politics and policy spheres]. Yet for all those concerns — or maybe because of them — they aren't planning to vote as much as their elders. They're thinking less about the election right now, and fewer of them say they'll definitely vote than their older counterparts. So the extent to which they do or don't participate in '24 could be the most immediate way they'll shape the future for us all."

WOWZA: “Law enforcement is spying on thousands of Americans’ mail, records show,” by WaPo’s Drew Harwell: “The U.S. Postal Service has shared information from thousands of Americans’ letters and packages with law enforcement every year for the past decade, conveying the names, addresses and other details from the outside of boxes and envelopes without requiring a court order. Postal inspectors say they fulfill such requests only when mail monitoring can help find a fugitive or investigate a crime. But a decade’s worth of records, provided exclusively to The Washington Post in response to a congressional probe, show Postal Service officials have received more than 60,000 requests from federal agents and police officers since 2015, and that they rarely say no.”

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...