We are in the rapids and paddling furiously, now that the General Assembly has the budget from a Democratic governor to massage. Follow the news on that, as well as managing the transition to Blueprint schools and watching the energy improvement possibilities. It's all news you can use. Read on...
MARYLAND – Assembly Session and Budget
Our allies on the Maryland Legislative Coalition are keeping tabs on specific progressive bills that have hearings coming up – help to keep good bills from being eroded in committee by dialing in and maybe testifying. Check the info here https://mailchi.mp/283c12cffb16/mlc-13829406?e=d378240ba7
And here is MLC’s calendar of most hearings this week https://mailchi.mp/1b4601db7954/mlc-5th-13830514?e=d378240ba7
The Assembly has more power to work with and on the Governor’s budget than in previous years. As a supermajority Democratic general assembly meets a Dem governor after eight years of Larry Hogan, will kumbaya ensue?
Here is Maryland Matters‘s account of freshly inaugurated Gov. Wes Moore’s budget intro speech, in which he reiterated his campaign position that Maryland is a state that’s “asset rich and strategy poor.” And the contrast he drew with the policies of his predecessor “In budget introduction, Moore takes down Hogan policies”
Capital News Service (in Maryland Reporter) has a more detailed breakdown on the new budget.
Maryland Center for Economic Policy has a Feb. 3 noontime virtual workshop on the new budget process and Assembly’s boosted powers here.
The Department of Energy has established a competition for solar developers that will award $10 million in prizes to accelerate the development of community solar projects that focus on access for low- to moderate-income households, increased household savings, resilience and grid benefits, community ownership and equitable workforce development. Utility Dive
While we in Maryland wait for our “first” offshore wind project to get unstuck, “Feds advance Maine's application for first-in-the-nation floating offshore wind project” -- Democratic Gov. Janet Mills announced that a federal agency has determined that Maine's application to lease federal waters for an offshore wind research project can proceed. The project would be the first of its kind in the United States and would include up to 12 offshore wind turbines on floating platforms pioneered by the University of Maine. mainepublic.org
Maryland’s “529” college savings plan had a serious glitch that deprived parents of access to the money they had stashed there. It cost the head of the program’s board his job. And the background: House Speaker Adrienne Jones kept watch Thursday as delegates from two standing committees grilled the leaders of the state’s college savings program, which has struggled to make payments to some families since fall because of an interest rate calculation error. Maryland Matters.
School Systems Begin Addressing Education Blueprint:
The challenge of rolling out the Blueprint for Maryland’s Future, the state’s landmark public school reform plan, will grip the attention of education leaders for years to come. The far-reaching plan became law in 2021, kicking off an enormous effort across multiple state departments, agencies and 24 public school systems that will take a generation of students to complete. The Baltimore Sun.
Recently, the Washington County Board of Education and its new superintendent, David Sovine, met with the Washington County Commissioners to start working through the Blueprint, focusing on how the school system is implementing the “college and career readiness” piece … Hagerstown Herald Mail.
NATIONAL NEWS -- From Megan Essaheb at People’s Action:
Senate committee assignments are up, so here are specifics you can bug our local senators about.
Chris van Hollen is working the money side; he chairs a juicy appropriations subcommittee, Subcommittee on Financial Services and General Government, and sits on the Bernie Sanders-chaired Committee on the Budget. Find the whole Senate committee lineup here.
The Housing crunch: Politico reported on a new executive action to protect tenants that the White House is expected to roll out soon: “The White House is preparing to roll out new measures as soon as this month to protect tenants in the wake of post-pandemic price spikes, according to housing advocates and industry lobbyists who have met with administration officials… could include promoting grace periods for late rents and the right to counsel for tenants facing eviction, among other steps, advocates say.”
Some lawmakers and advocates want the administration to stop rent increases in units with government-backed mortgages, a heavier lift not getting traction with the White House.
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