Plans, plans, plans... the state's climate plans are getting a hurry-up reboot, including the lagging task of cleaning up the Chesapeake Bay; the Blueprint for better schools sees likely tweaks from an implementation board; states aroundthe nation see Title I money threatened by the latest GOP House budget, and over 300,000 Maryland families have kids going hungry, that part definitely not planned by anybody but here it is. This and more on the state, national and even international level (German workers taking a lesson from Spain as Europe cooks and burns). It's never ALL the news you need, but we give it all we've got every week.
HERE IN MARYLAND
As policymakers begin to solicit public opinion on a recently released blueprint for achieving the state’s ambitious climate goals, the Maryland Department of the Environment recently issued a document outlining possible steps the state can take to meet the goals for reducing carbon emissions that were laid out in the Climate Solutions Act legislation of 2022. The agency has set seven town meetings across the state to gauge public opinion before issuing a final report by the end of the year with recommendations for tangible action. Many of the recommendations are expected to result in legislation to be taken up in the 2024 General Assembly session. The first meeting is scheduled for TOMORROW, Tuesday, July 25, at 6 p.m. at Bowie State University, 14000 Jericho Park Rd., Bowie, in the Proctor Building. The public can register to attend any of the sessions at http://bit.ly/MDlisteningsessions. Maryland Matters
The strategy shift reflects a growing public consensus that the bay remains significantly degraded despite 40 years of cleanup work. The state will focus on targeted strategies that rehabilitate specific, shallow-water habitats. The change to focus on many smaller sources of pollution — often flowing off private property — will require more coordination to implement. WaPo
Estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau’s Household Pulse Survey show that hundreds of thousands of Maryland families say their kids sometimes do not eat enough due to high costs of groceries, according to an analysis from a Maryland-based hunger relief non-profit. The Maryland Food Bank, working from the Census survey, has tracked the level of food insecurity many Marylanders are facing, and the most recent analysis of June data shows that a higher percentage of families have struggled with feeding their children enough food than in previous months. At least 313,952 families responding to the Household Pulse Survey said that their children sometimes or often were not eating enough because their families couldn’t afford enough food. Maryland Matters
Gov. Wes Moore this week launched the Maryland ActNow campaign, a public awareness campaign to help increase awareness of and enrollment for the Federal Communications Commission’s Affordable Connectivity Program — a $14.2 billion federal broadband benefit providing eligible households with a discount of up to $30 per month.
It’s also part of an effort that will also deploy $268 million in federal funding to support Maryland’s broadband infrastructure.
Only 27 percent of the nearly 800,000 eligible Maryland households are enrolled in the ACP. The Maryland Association of Counties is one of 20 Maryland-based trusted partners working with the administration and national non-profit EducationSuperHighway to get more ACP-eligible families signed up before the start of the new school year.
“Access to the internet is no longer optional – it is essential, and nobody should be locked out of the internet because of their income or where they live,” Moore said. Conduit Street
Board To Approve School Systems' Updates To Plans; The Blueprint for Maryland’s Future Accountability and Implementation Board recommends that local health and social service agencies share names and contact information with local school systems for families with children who could be eligible to enroll in free prekindergarten. However, to be eligible under terms of the Blueprint plan, a family needs to apply for “economic services” and a child must turn 3 or 4 years old by Sept.1. The proposal to have health and social workers make referrals would require a legislative change when the General Assembly convenes in January, staff told the board. Maryland Matters
Crossing the line with a smile -- EMOJI SPEED SIGNS: According to the Delaware News Journal, the Delaware Department of Transportation will install 11 "emotive radar signs" statewide later this year that will display a happy face or sad face depending on a driver's speed. Stateline Daily
THE NATIONAL SCENE
And those are just the ones we know about. There is no national evictions database or state-level reporting requirement. (A third of counties do not report evictions at all.) The metrics we have are the ones cobbled together by research groups and third-party organizations, culled from incomplete sets of court records and municipal data. That documentation does not include informal evictions, in which landlords (usually illegally) oust tenants without using the court system. On average, researchers estimate that evictions are roughly five times higher than the data reflect. States Newsroom
House Republicans seek 80% cut to federal program for students from low-income families
Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives want to dramatically slash funding for Title I, the long-running federal program that sends money to schools based on the number of children from low-income families that they serve.
A bill advanced by a Republican-controlled House subcommittee on Friday seeks to cut Title I grants by 80% or nearly $15 billion. Chalkbeat
After fears of a “she-cession” during the pandemic, women have returned to the workforce at unprecedented rates.
Much of the gain reflects a boom in jobs traditionally held by women, including nursing and teaching. Many good-paying jobs in fields such as construction and tech management are still dominated by men, a continuing challenge for states trying to even the playing field for women workers.
In June, the national share of employed women ages 25-54, considered prime working age, hit 75.3%, the highest recorded since the U.S. Census Bureau’s Current Population Survey started reporting the numbers in 1948. [Maryland is at exactly the national average]. The share of women 25-54 working or looking for work also hit a new high of 77.8% in June, the third straight month it beat the previous record of 77.3% from 2000. But there is still a gap between rates of men and women in the workforce overall in every state except Vermont. In Maine the gap is less than a percentage point where in Arizona it’s 18 points [Maryland’s is 14 points]. Stateline.
Home Of the Protestant Ethic Discovers Virtues of Chilling Out
Germany is embracing the siesta as a heat wave hits Europe. The national medical association told Germans to “follow the work practices of southern countries [by] getting up early … and taking a siesta at midday.” The health minister, too, said a siesta is “not a bad suggestion.” The New York Times noted that in Spain a decade ago, the traditional siesta appeared to be on the way out, in an attempt to boost sluggish productivity. In other countries, including Germany, it was held up as a symbol of Spaniards’ weak work ethic. But it survived, and now — as Germany swelters in 32 degrees Celsius (90 degrees Fahrenheit) heat — it is being adopted more widely. Semafor
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