News_You_Can_Use_graphic_(2).pngMaryland legislators have better-than-average state gun safety regulations in place, but free-lance Second Amendment types may hope to get the Trump-addled Supreme Court to overturn them. So the Assembly will work to make them, er, bullet-proof against judicial meddling and make Marylanders safer.

The very expensive and very necessary package of public school enhancements called the Blueprint for Maryland's Future is getting some tweaks from an oversight board before being put into play. The General Assembly is being invited to take a look at some changes.

Women candidates won new gains in Maryland -- and the rest of the nation -- in the November elections. As we see, it was not accidental.


And more progressive News You Can Use for Monday, December 5, 2022. Read on.


Maryland Lawmakers To Test Limits Of Gun Rights Legislation: Ten years after enacting a far-reaching gun control law, the Maryland General Assembly will consider legislation this coming session aimed again at protecting Marylanders from firearm violence but in a more challenging legal environment” – that is, to wall off Maryland gun regulation from attack by the Trump-packed Supreme Court. “ Chief among the proposals will be a bill prohibiting gun possession in “sensitive locations,” such as schools, places of worship, parks, libraries and hospitals, said Sen. William C. “Will” Smith Jr., D-Montgomery and chair of the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee. The Daily Record (paywalled)

 Pluribus News adds, citing the DR: Maryland: … Democrats said they would also introduce bills to raise the minimum age to legally possess a rifle or shotgun to 21, and to require gun purchasers to receive training before they qualify for a license.


Blueprint board adopts multibillion-dollar education plan, sends it to lawmakers

A $3.8 billion education plan was adopted unanimously Thursday, but there’s still more work ahead for the board that approved it to ensure that school officials implement it.

The Blueprint for Maryland’s Future Accountability and Implementation Board (AIB), established by state law to administer the 10-year plan, will send a 185-page document to the governor, General Assembly and all 24 school systems. One change adopted Thursday focused on a goal for “all” Maryland students to become successful. Some educators, parents and advocates had expressed frustration with the phrase “nearly all” in the previous draft.

The AIB added these features:

  • Create partnerships with Head Start programs and the state’s four historically Black colleges and universities and other minority-serving institutions;
  • Implement a 9th grade student progress monitoring system;
  • Ensure that professional development for teachers will be aligned with evidence-based research and will promote cultural competency and social emotional learning, as appropriate; and
  • Allow Blueprint money to be used for arts education and non-college and career readiness programs.

Other suggestions, such as raising the minimum teachers’ starting salary above $60,000, were referred to the General Assembly as requiring an actual change in the Blueprint law.

The Maryland Association of Counties blog, Conduit Street, had this take: on the AIB’s four-hour final meeting.



D.C. Would be Biggest City Yet to Make Bus Rides Free

Washington, DC is considering an ordinance that would make bus rides originating in the District free to passengers. Lots of struggle ahead, but it has caught the attention of mass transit fans everywhere including at Route Fifty, a top state and local government newsletter.


A record number of women will serve in the Maryland legislature next year.

Seventy-one women were elected or reelected in the 2022 election — 56  to the House of Delegates and 15 to the Maryland Senate. – Maryland Matters

Some states have women majorities in one or both chambers, according to the count by Route Fifty. Colorado and Nevada have outright female majorities and New Mexico a majority in its lower house.

“Based on this fall’s election results, at least 2,376 women will serve in state legislatures, surpassing 2022’s record of 2,307, a new report found.” Route Fifty

Kathleen Matthews, a former head of the state Democratic Party, cheered the work of female-candidate advocacy and training by the group Emerge. “This year the hard work yielded some great victories, among them Brooke Lierman, who will be Maryland’s first female comptroller, and Jessica Fitzwater, who eked out a narrow victory for county executive in purple Frederick County. Both are graduates of Emerge Maryland’s first class in 2013. Thirty-three graduates of Emerge ran in the 2022 Maryland general election, and all but three won their races, a 91% win rate.”  Maryland Matters


Mental health disparities at crisis level

In a letter to congressional leaders, officials from 111 counties in 30 states noted that, according to the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, 30% of Americans live in counties that are considered to have a shortage of mental health professionals.

Here are Maryland’s data in map and chart form.

As negotiations begin in earnest over a funding bill that Congress has to pass by a Dec. 16 deadline, the officials are asking lawmakers to provide help to increase the number of psychiatrists, counselors, and other mental health professionals.


Promises, Promises — [Elon] Musk’s Boring Co. has promised localities across the country futuristic transport tunnels that could transform traffic — and then backed out “when confronted with the realities of building public infrastructure,” WSJ’s Ted Mann and Julie Bykowicz report from Ontario, Calif. “Boring has yet to make good on its most ambitious pitch: that it can design tunnel-boring machines that are so fast to operate that they will drive down costs and shake up the industry.” Plans in Maryland included a tunnel machine called Godot — which, fittingly, never showed up. POLITICO Playbook


Familiar fault lines in debate over judicial selection highlighted at public hearing – “As the workgroup mulls whether to recommend that the state get rid of the current system of circuit court elections — a move that would require a constitutional amendment subject to public referendum — it must grapple with how to assuage skeptics who fear that the diversity of the Maryland judiciary could suffer as a result.” Maryland Matters


Amtrak touts ridership growth as sign of recovery from pandemic

Amtrak carried 22.9 million riders in fiscal year 2022, up 10.8 million from the previous year. Before the pandemic, it had record ridership of 32.5 million. It services the most-populated areas of Maryland from New Carrollton to BWI, Baltimore and upper northeast to the Pennsylvania Line as well as Rockville and Cumberland en route to Chicago. More in WaPo

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...