Governor Moore is ceremoniously signing some of his topline bills and the Assembly is taking a deep breath and realizing they don't have to wait for a Larry Hogan bombing run to see what vetoes they need to override next session. Some progressive allies are cheering how many of their bills made it. The rent is too damn high everywhere but even higher here, if you were wondering. And just when you think one school board story has quieted down, another one heats up. And more progressive news you can use.
Moore Signs Environmental Bills, Including Off-Shore Wind Incentive: Gov. Wes Moore signed four key environmental bills Friday, attacking air quality and setting the stage for more approvals on the host of environmental legislation approved by the General Assembly this session. Capital News Service/Maryland Reporter.
>One law will, among other things, incentivize private investment to expand offshore wind capacity to 8.5 gigawatts by 2031 — enough to power 3 million homes, according to the governor’s office. Another will require manufacturers to sell an increasing annual percentage of zero-emission trucks and buses beginning in the model year 2027. And a third provides grants to companies that purchase electric trucks. WaPo
>After touring the massive Tradepoint Atlantic development in Baltimore County, Moore joined dozens of dignitaries to hail the potential economic and environmental benefits of offshore wind. Tradepoint Atlantic is the site of the long-shuttered Bethlehem Steel plant at Sparrow’s Point, and several political, business and labor leaders said wind energy development will be an integral part of the renaissance of the massive property — and the state’s economic future. Maryland Matters.
>“Maryland steel led the American economy in the 20th century,” Moore said. “I want Maryland wind to lead the American economy in the 21st century.” If the target goal of 8.5 gigawatts of offshore wind power is reached, the governor said that would be enough juice for three million homes. WYPR-FM.
Moore Approaches Education With Funding: When the Blueprint for Maryland’s Future school reform plan passed in 2021 by the Maryland General Assembly, it came on an override of former Gov. Larry Hogan’s veto of the bill. In contrast, Gov. Wes Moore allocated an extra $500 million on top of the required amount for funding the Blueprint and shifted some transportation funding into education, for a total of $900 million excess dollars. CNS/Maryland Reporter.
A member of the Kirwan commission, which designed the Blueprint, argues that the Assembly and Governor’s long-term funding package needs to be applied as soon as possible to remedy the damage of COVID and neglect: “the Blueprint is not due for final implementation until 2033, but each lost year of quality instruction — particularly for students who are poor and of color and in the early grades in reading and math — can be an academic death sentence.” Commentary, Maryland Matters
Report Calls For 3,400+ More Correctional Officers In Md. Prisons: Maryland’s prisons need 3,417 more correctional officers to safely operate, according to a report by the union representing them released Thursday. An analysis performed by a firm contracted by the Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services recommended that the agency add an additional 2,535 positions. Combined with the 428 employee vacancies, the agency acknowledged it needs nearly 3,000 more workers. But the staff analysis team of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) that worked on the union’s report believes that number is too low. Baltimore Sun
Union Leaders Say Hogan Administration Was Uncooperative: Union leaders said certain extracurricular activities for prisoners are canceled due to limited correctional staff. And some of the violence inside prisons is the result of limited correctional officers who work up to 80 hours per week, according to the union. Union leaders said Thursday this report is the first with union representation, especially with the Hogan administration “refusing” to share staffing information or completing a report without making it public. Maryland Matters
Is Land-Use Reform the Missing Tool in Combating Climate Change? A new report argues that rezoning for more mixed-use and transit-oriented developments could significantly reduce carbon emissions and help meet global climate goals. Route Fifty
Harford School Board Member’s LGBTQ+ Remarks at ‘Moms for Liberty’ Event Draw Fire. At the Harford County Board of Education meeting Monday night, parents and members of community groups reacted strongly to board member Diane Alvarez’s LGBTQ+-related comments at a recent town hall meeting sponsored by Moms for Liberty. A few parents said the comments were offensive… Others supported Alvarez. Baltimore Sun/Aegis
Maryland Legislative Coalition Cheers Progressive Bills Sent To Gov’s Desk. “Sixty-seven MLC-priority bills made it to the Governor’s desk compared to 43 last year, with a vastly different response from the Governor’s mansion.” They have details.
Maryland Rental Costs Trend Above National Average, Begin To Level Out In 2023 A Capital News Service report shows “Housing rental costs in Maryland have been above the national average since at least 2018. Even as average rents started to level out in January and February of this year, rents in Maryland are still above the national average.” CNS
The University of Maryland’s chapter of United Students Against Sweatshops Friday held a rally on McKeldin Mall to advocate for a $22.65 per hour minimum wage for this university’s employees. Friday’s rally was part of the organization’s “Time For 22” movement, an initiative that also aims to secure the right to unionize for all employees at public universities in Maryland. The event included attendees from other local and on campus labor organizations. UMD Diamondback
Around the states:
Hired to Cheat in an Election, He Cheated the One Who Hired Him Failed Chicago mayoral candidate Paul Vallas has sued campaign consultant Chimaobi Enyia, alleging the strategist bilked his campaign out of $700,000 for work that was never performed. The suit alleges Enyia claimed he had an army of activists removing anti-Vallas signs from Black neighborhoods, when no such group existed. (Chicago Tribune) via Pluribus
LABOR: The National Push For Legislation Allowing More Minors To Work Longer Hoursis backed by the Foundation for Government Accountability and its lobbying arm, the Opportunity Solutions Project. The group has hired 115 lobbyists across 22 states. It is funded in part by conservative donors like the Uihlein Family Foundation and a nonprofit connected to judicial activist Leonard Leo. “The reason these rather unpopular policies succeed is because they come in under the radar screen,” said David Campbell, professor of American democracy at the University of Notre Dame. “Typically, these things get passed because they are often introduced in a very quiet way or by groups inching little by little through grass-roots efforts.” WaPo via Pluribus
And in DC...
What the feds are up to, from People’s Action, Progressive Maryland’s national affiliate US House Speaker Kevin McCarthy plans to bring a debt ceiling bill to a vote this week that has numerous harmful provisions attached to it. The bill would lift the debt ceiling for a year, expand work requirements for safety net programs, and make across the board cuts to safety net and domestic programs. It also includes Republicans' pro fossil fuel bill, HR 1. A list of his reported demands created by Politico is available here. The Congressional Progressive Caucus Center Action Fund had put together a factsheet on the impacts of such cuts available here. Republicans need to hear that the public opposes these policies and Democrats need to receive the message that they shouldn’t cave to Republicans’ taking the economy hostage. Here is a toolkit and take action portal for people to contact their Members of Congress to tell them not to default on our debt. --
The NY Times reports on a forthcoming proposed rule by the EPA limiting greenhouse gases from power plants. “Almost all coal and gas-fired power plants would have to cut or capture nearly all of their carbon dioxide emissions by 2040, according to the people familiar with the regulation, who asked not to be identified because the rule has not been made public.” The Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative consortium of states includes Maryland plus neighbors VA and PA and is basically cap-and-trade practices but should be able to leverage this EPA initiative to meet RGGI’s planned reductions sooner.
Megan Essaheb, Fed Affairs, People's Action
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