News_You_Can_Use_graphic_(2).pngWhat's new? The oldest of old-- Larry Hogan, fresh from eight years of degrading Maryland's environment, finances and reputation, has announced a run for the Senate. Does he know what he's stepping in? We'll see. Meanwhile, the Assembly churns on and we have details, plus news from the states and the (choke) federal government saddled with the current House of Representatives. All-Star Weekend is definitely over.,

$111m In Blueprint Funds To Be Disbursed For Health Care: Approximately $111 million will start to be disbursed this year to provide a variety of health care services for families and their children as part of the Blueprint for Maryland’s Future education reform plan. Maryland Matters via MD Reporter

 Moore Vows To Hold Juveniles Accountable, Provide Services: Gov. Wes Moore, Prince George’s County State’s Attorney Aisha Braveboy and Baltimore State’s Attorney Ivan Bates vowed during a forum Monday night to hold juvenile offenders accountable while promising to pursue expanded services for young people in trouble, with the governor reiterating plans to spend more and hire more staff to address problems in juvenile services.  Baltimore Sun.

>>“By the end of this General Assembly, we are going to have a bill that is going to be strong, that is going to focus on the key thing that I said any bill dealing with juveniles has to focus on, and that's accountability," said Moore. The Department of Juvenile Justice was facing steep challenges when he took office last year, he said, so he ordered a top-to-bottom review of the department. WBFF-TV News. via MD Reporter

 Hogan Takes Same Path In A Very Different Landscape: In 2018, Larry Hogan followed a seldom-traveled route to become the first Republican in 70 years to be reelected Maryland governor. He prevailed by presenting a low-key brand of moderation to win critically needed, crossover Democratic votes in one of the nation’s bluest states. Now, Hogan seems poised to adopt a similar approach in his recently announced U.S. Senate campaign, decrying partisan labels and distancing himself from the state Republican Party. But though he is navigating a similar path, the surrounding landscape looks different.  Baltimore Sun.

Larry Hogan’s recent decision to run for U.S. Senate comes as a shock to many of the state’s lawmakers — especially Democrats who worked with the former Republican governor and think he wasn’t all that cooperative with the legislature. Now, he’s aiming to serve as a lawmaker himself, this time on the national level. Capital News Service via MD Reporter

Moore Announces $90m To Reduce Carbon, Seek ‘Enviro Justice:’ Gov. Wes Moore announced plans Friday for spending $90 million on reducing carbon pollution in Maryland, using an unexpected pot of money to fight what he called “environmental injustice.” Capital News Service/

>>Electrifying large buildings and expanding Maryland’s capacity of electric school buses and charging stations will be the focus of $90 million in new spending as the state takes its first steps toward fulfilling an aggressive climate plan.  Baltimore Sun.

Commentary: Maryland Deserves A Better Environmental Justice Bill  Instead of prioritizing problems identified by Maryland’s hardest-hit communities, MDE went a different way. The agency’s bill allows MDE to use pollution burden to influence decisions for a list of permits, which has been in Maryland law for over 30 years, with only one change during that time. More troubling, the list largely excludes air pollution permits, one of the top concerns for Curtis Bay residents. Commentary by UMCP’s Dr. Sacoby Wilson and Michael Middleton in Maryland Matters

Md Counties Support Extension of Student Loan Repayment Program to School Nurses HB 545 extends eligibility for the existing loan assistance program to public school nurses who are licensed as registered nurses. Counties view this as an additional tool to help hire and retain school nurses as school systems struggle with staffing shortages, and hearing testimony by the Maryland Association of Counties affirmed the organization’s support for the bill. Conduit Street

 Bill Would Allow Undocumented To Purchase Health Insurance: Sponsored by House Health and Government Operations Chair Bonnie Cullison and Sens. Antonio Hayes and Clarence Lam, all of whom are Democrats, the Access to Care Act would allow undocumented Marylanders to purchase individual health insurance through the state’s Health Benefit Exchange. Baltimore Sun via MD Reporter

Our Allies at the Maryland Legislative Coalition are keeping an eye on events in the Assembly so we don’t have to. Here is their lineup of bills that deserve our support because they are good for families and underserved groups, as well as a heads-up on what important hearings are coming up soon. As a bonus, this one explains what the mysterious term “crossover” means.

State’s New Online Tax Portal Delays Refunds: Tens of thousands of people have already filed their taxes in Maryland, but many of them are still waiting on their tax refunds. For some, it’s been weeks since they filed their taxes and still no refund. The Maryland Office of the Comptroller said the launching of its new online tax portal had a big hand in the delay. WJZ-TV News via MD Reporter




SOCIAL MEDIA: At least four states are actively considering legislation aimed at protecting children’s online privacy, modeled after bills passed in the United Kingdom. Legislators in Maryland, Hawaii and Vermont heard testimony on age-appropriate design code legislation last week, and Minnesota lawmakers will take it up this week. (Pluribus News)

INFRASTRUCTURE: The Biden administration will distribute $5.8 billion for water infrastructure projects under the bipartisan infrastructure law signed in 2021. Most of the new money will go to upgrade waste treatment plants and lead pipe replacement, and $1 billion will be directed to a Great Lakes drinking water project. (Associated Press) via Pluribus

 CONTRACEPTIVES: A bill to expand birth control access is headed to the Idaho House floor after it advanced out of committee. The bill, which already passed in the Senate, would require that insurance companies provide up to a six-month supply of prescribed contraceptives to enrollees, the Idaho Capital Sun reports. Pluribus

SHORT-TERM RENTALS: The Maine legislature’s Taxation Committee is considering a bill that would allow communities to use short-term rentals to help alleviate the affordable housing crunch by tapping them for additional tax revenue, the Maine Morning Star reports. The bill would grant municipalities the power to impose an extra 1% tax on short-term rentals, with the additional revenue to be spent on affordable housing programs. Pluribus

Federal Permitting Hampers Climate Goals and Natural Disaster Mitigation, Counties Say
County and state officials, who are calling for reforms, say environmental regulations shouldn’t lead to yearslong waits to build transmission lines or impede their ability to respond to natural disasters. Route Fifty



People’s Action fed-watcher Megan E reports:

Senator Chris Van Hollen [D-MD] was leading a group of Senators in offering an amendment to the package to condition the funding to Israel on Israel upholding international and human rights law and allowing access for humanitarian aid organizations. Politico reported that the White House issued a national security memorandum in place of the amendment. ………. The U.S. is expected to veto a cease fire resolution in front of the UN Security Council once again; however, this time the U.S. is putting forward a temporary ceasefire resolution for a vote. Biden also publicly called for a pause in fighting and said he’d personally pressed Netanyahu to hold off on a Rafah assault amid concerns about mounting casualties. Senator Mark Warner (D-VA) who has many protesters at his office said this, “As someone who’s been a long-term supporter of Israel, I worry about a generation of Americans that might not have that automatic support. And I don’t know whether the Israeli people know that, get that” (from Punchbowl News).The protests against Democrats certainly seem to be making an impact.

Agents of Chaos have Johnson’s Ear - The House is on recess and doesn’t return until February 28th, two days before the first government funding deadline of March 1st. The second deadline is March 8th. Far right Republican Members of Congress are pushing Speaker Johnson to shut down the government

Advocates of the Senate-passed tax bill which contains the expanded Child Tax Credit and an extension of Trump’s corporate tax breaks hope to attach the tax deal to one of the funding packages.

Actions and asks: Representatives Pramila Jayapal (D-WA), Jan Schakowsky (D-IL) and Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) are leading a letter alongside Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-CT) urging the Biden administration to increase data transparency, regulation and enforcement of the Medicare Advantage program, which we and many others have described as a cash cow for health care insurance companies. Please reach out to House offices and select Senate offices on this issue.

New avenues: Vox reports “For more than a decade, researchers and advocates have argued that housing is a fundamental part of health care. Beginning this fall, for the first time, federal Medicaid dollars will start going toward paying some people’s rent.”


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...