NUCU_logo_new.pngMost of the news in Maryland is not great, and a lot of it concerns health -- both the wait times in Maryland's ERs, among the nation's worst, and the poor value of behavioral health coverage in many insurance plans. And even though Maryland has a firm right to reproductive health on the books, nobody should overlook how some Supreme Court cases under way might threaten those rights (withouit a constitutional amendment, that is).

On the good side, despite the looming costs, polls show "overwhelming support" for the education reforms in the Blueprint for Maryland's Future. How about good news elsewhere? The UAW pro-union vote at the Chattanooga VW plant was a very big deal in the right-to-work South, but it shouldn't throw shade on still another Starbuck's union win right here in Maryland.


Report identifies reasons behind long ER wait times in Maryland While long emergency department wait times are a problem everywhere in the country, they are particularly bad in Maryland. Besides Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico, there’s no place in the United States where people wait longer to be seen. Patients in Maryland spend 4 hours, 7 minutes, on average, from the time they arrive in emergency departments to the time they leave. Baltimore Sun via Maryland Reporter.

Report: Patients less likely to get behavioral health covered by insurance than other needs: Maryland health officials often tout the state’s relatively low 6% uninsured rate, but a new report shows that even the state’s insured population can struggle to receive coverage for a major component of overall well-being: behavioral health services. Marylanders who seek behavioral health professionals such as psychiatrists and psychologists are more likely to have to look “out-of-network” than they would for most other health services, according to a new report from a nonprofit research institute called RTI International. Maryland Matters


Poll: Blueprint Gets Overwhelming Support: In spite of looming fiscal challenges and a high price tag, an overwhelming majority of Marylanders support the state’s ambitious Blueprint for Maryland’s Future education plan, according to a new poll  Baltimore Sun.


How Might U.S. Supreme Court Cases On Emergency Abortion Care Impact Maryland? Two U.S. Supreme Court cases involving states with near total abortion bans could allow emergency rooms to refuse to provide emergency abortions even in the case of severe, life-threatening pregnancy complications. While abortion-rights advocates have sounded the alarm on what the case could mean for patients and providers living in states with restrictive abortion laws, the Supreme Court decision on the matter could also create complications for Marylanders if they need emergency abortion care. They could decide whether federal protections to receive life-saving emergency care include emergency abortions when the pregnant patient’s life is in danger. Maryland Matters


Md Starbucks Workers Vote To Unionize: Workers at the Shipley’s Grant Starbucks cafe in Ellicott City voted to unionize last week, just days ahead of a Supreme Court case involving the company’s challenge of a federal labor injunctionCapital News Service/




Too Many Cubicles, Too Few Homes Spur Incentives to Convert Offices to Housing: Cities and suburbs around the country are struggling with vacant office space as remote work becomes an established post-pandemic reality. States are stepping in with tax breaks and zoning changes to help replace the unwanted cubicle farms with much-needed housing. In suburbs, the answer might be tearing down an office complex and replacing it with a residential building. In more urban environments it might mean renovating and retrofitting office buildings to create apartments. “Office vacancy has climbed to a 30-year high and at the same time there’s a housing shortage. So naturally the question is, ‘Why can we not convert all these vacant office buildings into housing?’” said one real estate planner. Route Fifty


In One City, Litter Meets Its Mechanical Match A pilot program in Detroit has enlisted a trash removal robot to reduce plastic pollution on the beach and prevent it from entering local waterways. Route Fifty. *This one reminds us of the water wheel that cleaned Baltimore harbor*


VW Workers in Tennessee Vote for Union, a Labor Milestone: United Auto Workers Score Big Win The Volkswagen plant in Chattanooga is set to become the first unionized auto factory in the South not owned by one of Detroit’s Big Three. The outcome is a breakthrough for the labor movement in a region where anti-union sentiment has been strong for decades.

 WORKFORCE: Legislatures across the country are advancing bills to alter or restrict occupational licensing laws, efforts to boost workforces by breaking down barriers. Louisiana’s legislature is moving a bill to end licensure requirements for florists. Illinois will recognize real estate licenses granted in other states. Maine has joined a multi-state social worker compact. Pluribus

Work begins today on a new high-speed passenger rail line between Los Angeles and Las Vegas. Officials project the $12 billion project will open for business by 2028, running along the median of Interstate 15. (Associated Press) via Pluribus

Don’t Say Free: Louisiana House Votes to Ban ‘Free’ To Describe Government Giveaways The Louisiana House voted 55-46 this week to ban the use of the word “free” when referring to government benefits, products or services, though similar descriptions such as “ provided at no cost” or “complimentary” would still be permissible. “It’s a bill that I’ve nicknamed my ‘Don’t Say Free’ bill,” said Rep. Beryl Amedée, R-Schriever, sponsor of legislation, in a hearing earlier this month. “If we’re going to move forward in society and have people not be dependent on the government for everything, then we need to begin to change the vocabulary.” *Chances in the Senate may vary.* LA Illuminator via Stateline

Lawmakers Hope To Use This Emerging Climate Science To Charge Oil Companies For Disasters A fast-emerging field of climate research is helping scientists pinpoint just how many dollars from a natural disaster can be tied to the historic emissions of individual oil companies — analysis that is the centerpiece of new state efforts to make fossil fuel companies pay billions for floods, wildfires and heat waves. When a flood or wildfire hits, researchers in “attribution science” run computer models to help determine whether the disaster was caused or intensified by climate change. As those models become more precise, other scientists are working to measure how specific companies, such as Exxon Mobil or Shell, have contributed to climate change through their historic greenhouse gas emissions. States Newsroom

But will it affect you? Check this out:

 Environmental Damage Could Cost You a Fifth of Your Income Over the Next 25 Years

The world is already committed to warming that will undercut the global economy by 20 percent between now and 2050. That’s six times the price of limiting warming to 2 degrees Celsius. Ars Technica/Wired




A report from Megan E, the federal affairs director for People’s Action, national affiliate of Progressive Maryland.

Over the weekend, the House passed $95 billion in foreign aid for Ukraine, Israel and other U.S. allies over the weekend. The Ukraine, Israel and Taiwan aid votes were passed separately as was a measure to ban TikTok if the Chinese company that owns it doesn’t divest from it. The package was then bundled together.

The Israel bill included $17.1 billion in military spending and $9.2 billion in aid for Gaza. Thirty-three members of the 100-member Congressional Progressive Caucus voted against the Israel bill. One Democrat, Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-MS) who is not a CPC member, voted against. Thompson is a senior member of the Congressional Black Caucus. A handful of far-right Republicans voted against the bill because they opposed the aid to Gaza. You can see how your Member of Congress voted on each item here.

The Senate is trying to fast track the legislation this week, but there will be amendments. Senator Bernie Sanders will offer amendments to the Israel funding portion of the bill.

In better news, Congratulations to our Care Over Cost campaign for a powerful action on United Health Group’s headquarters last week in Minneapolis! UHC announced $7.9 billion in profits by profiting off of taxpayers and denying people care. 100 people participated, with several doing a die-in and risking arrest. They secured a meeting with one senior person and have been promised a follow-up meeting. United Health Group CEO is being called to testify in front of the Senate Finance Committee. A 4 minute video of the action is available here. Please sign and share our petition.

Today, our members, VOCAL-NY, VOCAL-KY & VOCAL-TX are engaged in actions in front of the Supreme Court and around the country to tell the Supreme Court not to criminalize homelessness. See Johnson v. Grants Pass. Lift them up online. I'm keeping this short so I can go support VOCAL's die in!

Megan E

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...