News_You_Can_Use_graphic_(2).pngThe Maryland General Assembly enters its March sprint to get to sine die in early April. Good bills could fail to make it over the finish line while bad bills breeze through. Keep an eye on that. And support for low-income families, which was frequently the difference during the Covid and post-Covid realignment, is now lapsing. Catastrophe is always just a paycheck away now. See what states and the feds are doing (or not) to fill the gap.



Senate Panel Considers Creating Firearm Violence Prevention Center: A few hours before the Maryland State House went on lockdown Thursday, the Senate Finance Committee held a hearing on legislation to create a Center for Firearm Violence Prevention and Intervention. Senate Bill 475 is part of a package released in January by Gov. Wes Moore (D) and led by the legislature’s presiding officers. Maryland Matters


Md. Senate Grants Preliminary Approval To Juvenile Justice Bill: One day after the Maryland House of Delegates granted preliminary approval to a juvenile justice reform bill, the Senate did the same on Thursday. Senate Bill 744 contains 12 amendments adopted by the Judicial Proceedings Committee earlier this week, with many matching the House version. Maryland Matters.

The WaPo followed up today (March 4) with: Overall youth crime has been declining for more than a decade, but state leaders said they had to act after a summer of high-profile incidents. A state Senate vote is expected today. Supporters have hailed it as a measured response to rising rates of gun crimes and carjackings committed by children. Critics caution the changes could harm recent efforts to address Maryland’s disproportionately high incarceration of Black youth.

Speaking of the General Assembly, here is an update by our allies at Maryland Legislative Coalition on upcoming hearings and worthy bills to support that threaten to get stuck in committee. And see our blog on recent action in Annapolis boosting a batch of health care bills being resisted by the usual lobbyist brigade.

Ocean City ‘Cannot Be Bought,’ Mayor Told US Wind In Community Benefit Package Rejection   Mayor Rick Meehan of Ocean City said US Wind had offered community benefit packages in exchange for local officials refraining from negative comments about the offshore wind project. Utility Dive


State’s Relationship With Corrections’ Health Provider Is Up In The Air: Maryland has about a month to decide whether it will continue to do business with YesCare Corp., a correctional health care provider that has drawn a flurry of lawsuits from currently and formerly incarcerated people over alleged malpractice. Meanwhile, a cascading series of events in a related Texas bankruptcy case has thrown the viability of YesCare into question. Baltimore Banner


Cue the lobbyists… Hike In Sin Taxes Proposed To Address Budget Gaps: A top Democrat in the House is proposing nearly $90 million in taxes on alcohol and cigarettes as part of an effort to address billions of dollars in projected budget gaps. Democratic leaders in the House and Senate do not agree on how to tackle the revenue shortfall issue this session.Maryland Matters.


Who’s talking? Three professors at Maryland universities write that increasing the number of multilingual learners who receive college degrees in the state is a pressing social and racial justice issue Maryland Matters

Commentary: Unionizing Can Shape The Future: Leaders in Maryland’s Democratic-held House and Senate are approaching critical votes to give faculty, staff and graduate workers at public colleges and universities the right to unionize. But, as is a common thread in state and national political discourse, this vote’s immediate impact stretches beyond four-year university workers and the “ivory tower.” This bill is among those with a long-term, sizable, and inescapable impact on every aspect of Maryland — perhaps even extending to our collective ability to survive in our shared environment. Maryland Matters.


Climate Change Lawsuit To Be Heard In State Court: A lawsuit brought by Annapolis and Anne Arundel County against major oil and gas companies for what the city called the costs and consequences of climate change will be heard in state court, a federal appeals court has ruled. The decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit, released Feb. 26, remands the lawsuit from federal to state court as requested by the plaintiffs. Baltimore Sun





EDUCATION: The Alabama House has passed legislation to expand the number of families eligible for Education Savings Accounts worth up to $7,000 to pay for private or religious schools. The expansion will apply to families making less than 300% of the federal poverty line, or about $90,000 a year. (Yellowhammer News) via Pluribus


And, Right Next Door, State-Approved Propaganda with a Captive Audience: The West Virginia Senate approved a bill that would require public schools to show a video on fetal development produced by an anti-abortion group. Similar bills are up for debate in Iowa, Kentucky and Missouri. (Associated Press) via Pluribus Wed


Biden Administration Announces New Efforts To Boost The Nation's Housing Supply Federal officials will extend a program that has helped develop or rehabilitate nearly 12,000 affordable rental homes. Route Fifty

More Than 17M Low-Income Households Will Experience Service Disruptions If Internet Subsidy Ends: Without the Affordable Connectivity program, millions of families could lose internet access that they rely on for work, school and health care, new survey data show. Congress has dodged pleas to renew it. Route Fifty

Trump’s Allies Ramp Up Campaign Targeting Voter Rolls
A network of right-wing activists and allies of Donald J. Trump is quietly challenging thousands of voter registrations in critical presidential battleground states, an all-but-unnoticed effort that could have an impact in a close or contentious election. Calling themselves election investigators, the activists have pressed local officials in Michigan, Nevada and Georgia to drop voters from the rolls en masse NY Times

Lawmakers Across the U.S. Seek To Curb Utility Spending On Politics, Ads And More Extras: At least a dozen states have considered bills to limit how gas, water and electric utilities can spend customers’ money in order to get their way with ratepayers and lawmakers. States Newsroom


New Analysis: U.S. Kids Lag International Peers, Could Lose Trillions in Future Pay International test scores released in December show that American students still lag behind their international peers in math after the pandemic, according to a new analysis by Stanford economist Eric Hanushek. The report, released by the Hoover Institution, found that even students in the top-scoring state, Massachusetts, scored lower than their counterparts in 15 countries. “If our best-performing state school system is 16th in the world … that doesn't seem good to me," Hanushek told The 74’s Kevin Mahnken. The 74


They can just barely manage to keep the government open, but cut back poor kids’ college options – oh, “that we can do.” Congress curtails move expanding Pell Grant access for some students: The change effectively blocks a decision announced by the Education Department earlier this week. WaPo

"Vote No and take the dough" -- Paul Kane, ace congress-watcher for the WaPo, details how GOP House members get credit for voting against spending and then go home and brag about their earmarks for the home folks: "House Republicans often vote no on spending, but love to add pet projects" -- Of the four congressional caucuses, House GOP has most money set aside for members’ earmarks.



INFO and fightback tasks as detailed by People's Action, our national affiliate. Thanks to PA federal affairs director Megan E for this update.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell announced that he will step down from leadership at the end of the year. This kicks off a "three Johns" campaign to succeed him (Thune, Barrasso, Cornyn) -- all from the fossil patch, as was/is McConnell, who says he will serve out his term.

But the House… well, actually they did something, wrapping six appropriations bills in a “minibus” to beat this week’s deadline Saturday. Next can in the road deadline is March 22, for the remaining half-dozen apps bills (a more controversial and harder lift). Last week, Congress had passed two one week continuing resolutions to keep the government open an extra week for each deadline. Yesterday (Sunday) Congressional leadership announced a deal on those first 6 spending bills which need to be passed by Saturday. Assuming they pass Congress still needs to pass 6 more spending bills that contain more controversial spending priorities and 70 of overall governmental funding. That deadline is now March 22nd. For both these packages, the Senate will have to muster a filibuster-proof 60 votes. Let’s see how they do.

Elections: Thousands of NY voters switch to Dem Party  ahead of 'Squad' member's primary: 'antisemitism' on ballot. More than 2,000 voters in New York's Westchester County registered as Democrats ahead of the party's primary, when Squad member Jamaal Bowman will face George Latimer.

An estimated 2.5 million people were forced from their homes in the United States by weather-related disasters in 2023, according to new data from the Census Bureau. The United States experienced 28 disasters last year that each cost at least $1 billion.









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...