Awareness: about your rent, your electric bill, your schools, reproductive health and the Manchin dance

News_You_Can_Use_graphic_(2).pngLots here you might miss: The Public Service Commission gives your local Exelon franchise unmonitored access to federal $. State panel mulls how to improve teaching while state school board extends provisional teacher tickets two more years; pressure applied to build the Beltway toll lanes; Dems push another pause in student loan repayment. And more.



 

 

IN MARYLAND

Election results are still coming in around the state and firm conclusions about change are few – except in Prince George’s, where (hear the sound of gritted teeth in the WaPo newsroom corner offices) Monday’s news is  Prince George’s council poised to see new liberal majority – Progressive Maryland’s support for three new and one re-elected progressive members is highlighted.

And this: a coalition led by Progressive Maryland, the League of Women Voters of Anne Arundel County, Common Cause Maryland, and Maryland PIRG delivered petitions with more than 11,000 signatures to the Board of Elections to put a charter amendment on the ballot that would create a small donor campaign finance system for Anne Arundel County executive and council races. If certified by the Board, the amendment will then be included on the ballot in the general election this November for consideration by Anne Arundel County voters.

PSC GIVES GRANT OVERSIGHT TO UTILITIES; AGENCY SAYS IT IS A VIOLATION: A recent decision by Maryland’s Public Service Commission allowing electric utility companies to access millions of dollars in federal grants without public oversight or input violates the commission’s regulatory responsibilities, the state agency representing ratepayers said this week in its latest filing. The PSC has a majority of Hogan appointees. Inside Climate News via Baltimore Banner.

STATE GIVES CONDITIONAL TEACHERS TWO-YEAR EXTENSION: Conditionally certified teachers in Maryland have received an extension from the state’s Board of Education, giving them two more years to become fully licensed teachers. Maryland districts employed more than 3,500 conditionally certified teachers during the most recent school year, double the number employed five years ago, said Mohammed Choudhury, Maryland’s state superintendent of schools. WTOP-FM. Last week we noted that Maryland is a net importer of trained teachers because our state U system doesn't have capacity to train all we need.

Meanwhile, an accountability board designed to keep the Blueprint for Maryland’s Future educational upgrade on track spent its most recent meeting mulling how to elevate teachers’ status and improve performance.   Maryland Matters

Largely business-linked group led by former Hogan flunky urges federal government to ignore pleas for delay on Capital Beltway expansion project. Of course, others beg to differ

More than 100 congressional Democrats are urging the White House to extend the pause on student loan repayment beyond the Aug. 31 deadline. They included Reps. Anthony Brown and Jamie Raskin and Sen. Chris Van Hollen. Maryland Matters

Ice Detainees Being Sent Out Of State After New Md Law: In Annapolis last year, immigrant advocacy groups hailed the passage of the Dignity Not Detention Act – a measure that would end private detention in local Maryland jails by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), with the intent of reducing ICE’s enforcement within Maryland. But many immigration attorneys say that ICE is instead transferring detainees to other facilities, and that new detainees immediately get taken out of state. The practice is further separating detainees from friends, family and quality legal counsel. Baltimore Brew

  As renters around the state struggle with skyrocketing rents and pandemic-bruised landlords trying to recoup losses, The [Montgomery County] council decided not to vote [at least until it returns in September from recess]  on a bill that would have capped rental increases at 4.4% for six months, as Bethesda Beat reports. “...tenant organizations have argued that some form of rent stabilization is needed to prevent price gouging by landlords who currently don’t face restrictions on how high they can raise rents.” On the other hand, as the WaPo reported over the weekend, Montgomery County reopens coronavirus rent relief program, “The fourth phase of the program has reopened to provide short-term rental assistance to residents who fell behind on paying rent because of the pandemic.”  

 

NATIONAL

From Sunday’s POLITICO Playbook: — : “Concern about abortion explodes among Democrats, fueling a push to vote,” by USA Today’s Susan Page, Chelsey Cox, Ella Lee and Katherine Swartz: “64% of Democrats say the court's action makes them more likely to vote in November, potentially a crucial factor in midterm elections that traditionally have low turnout. That's more than double the 29% of Democrats who expressed that view in a USA TODAY/Suffolk survey taken after a draft of the landmark decision was leaked in June.”

People’s Action FedGov monitor Megan Essaheb updates us on the Schumer-Manchin pact: “Schumer hopes to start the process of moving the [health care, climate etc.] bill through the Senate on Thursday through a vote-a-rama (many amendments will be offered). They hope to have the final vote this weekend and then the senate will break for August recess. The House already went on recess on Friday but will have to reconvene to pass the budget bill. 

“The climate provisions appear to be locked but I’m looking into whether there will be Democratic amendments,” Essaheb reports.” Rep. [Pramila] Jayapal is still working to get a fund for uninsured people who need insulin into the bill via amendmen”t…. Meanwhile as Manchin’s consent exacted inclusion of more options for oil drilling, “the Sierra Club scolds that Big Oil is out with their latest quarterly earnings and top three. Chevron, Exxon, and Shell alone made a combined $46 billion just in the last quarter.”

Meanwhile, House leadership (looking at you, Steny) tried to bundle two pro-cop bills with the assault weapons ban (Senate GOP candy?) but “Progressives blocked the package twice,” Megan E reports, “and Friday, the House passed the assault weapons ban as stand alone legislation.  It barely passed,” with two GOP Reps for and five Dems against. A Senate GOP filibuster is considered likely to doom the ban.