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Commentary

Bill would close ‘tax loophole,’ dedicate ‘recouped revenue’ to Maryland’s HBCUs

As a graduate of Hampton University and Howard University School of Law, I am acutely aware of the quality of education Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) provide and the role they play in the social mobility of many Black residents. In Maryland, we are blessed with four excellent HBCUs, Coppin State University, Bowie State University, Morgan State University and the University of Maryland Eastern-Shore. However, our state’s track record on funding these institutions is spotty, and its history of underfunding is judicially confirmed. Since 2006, advocates for Maryland’s four HBCUs have fought the state of Maryland alleging violations of Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

Read More: Baltimore Sun
Standardized testing in Maryland schools can wait

Maryland students were slated to take new standardized tests last year — before COVID hit. The tests replace previous assessments, known as PARCC, that were criticized as taking up too much classroom time and as too difficult for students to pass. But, like many other things, the pandemic also disrupted plans for the rollout of the new Maryland Comprehensive Assessment Program. With students thrown into the precarious world of virtual learning, the state school system correctly decided that it was no longer the best time to implement new testing. There were other basics to worry about, such as if children had internet to log onto classes. But now Maryland State School Superintendent Karen Salmon, the state school board and the federal education department think students are ready to take at least some of the tests.

Read More: Baltimore Sun
Achieving Our Climate Goals With Composting

If Maryland is to achieve its climate goals, we need to source more renewable energy, reduce our energy usage and improve our waste management. One of the easiest and most effective strategies to reduce our waste stream is by removing organics from the system. In other words: support more composting. More and more residents are turning to recycling their fruits, vegetables and other food because these valuable resources should not be disposed of in landfills and in incinerators, but instead should be turned into soil building compost or diverted to food pantries for food insecure residents.

Montgomery should minimize the spread of the coronavirus before it reopens schools

In-person reopening during the coronavirus pandemic has become one of the most consequential battles in Montgomery County. Unfortunately, when teachers and administrators — people who dedicate their lives to working with students — voice their legitimate concerns regarding an incoherent plan, they are portrayed as uncaring, selfish boogeymen, especially if they’re unionized, as is the case in Montgomery County. Alternatively, proponents of prematurely reopening, such as the #OpenMCPS and #TogetherAgainMCPS groups who are calling for reopening without phasing in or meeting health metrics, often cast themselves as the saviors of low-income students and students of color.

US Navy Blue angels and US Air Force Thunderbirds flypast the US Capitol Building, May 2nd, 2020.
Editorial: The Senate’s first hearing on the Jan. 6 riot offered good questions — and few answers

“Who’s in charge? Who was ultimately responsible for the safety of the Capitol?” Those were the questions asked by Sen. Jon Ossoff (D-Ga.) Tuesday after the Senate concluded its first hearing into the breakdowns in intelligence-gathering and security preparations ahead of the Jan. 6 assault on the Capitol. Good questions, and no clear answers emerged from six hours of maddening testimony marked by finger-pointing and blame-shifting. Congress has much more work to do in finding out what went wrong and what needs to be done to prevent a recurrence.

Editorial: Maryland State Police must investigate allegations of discrimination against Black troopers

Some disturbing allegations have been made against the Maryland State Police and the way it treats its Black troopers. More than 20 of the officers took their complaints to members of the General Assembly’s Legislative Black Caucus, and last week lawmakers grilled Secretary of the State Police Col. Woodrow “Jerry” Jones III about an alleged culture of discrimination where Black officers feel there is little room for advancement and that they are disciplined more harshly for infractions than their white colleagues.

Read More: Baltimore Sun
Rodricks: A Baltimore councilman at war with city cops

Baltimore City Councilman Ryan Dorsey calls the local police union a “racist brotherhood” and the union president “psychotic” and says he has no interest in engaging the city chapter of the Fraternal Order of Police in any kind of dialogue. That language is shocking, vicious and counterproductive, but followers of Dorsey on Twitter are used to his rants on cops and, specifically, the FOP. In fact, the 3rd District councilman appears to relish being a constant critic of the union.

Read More: Baltimore Sun
Bresnahan: Annapolis Showdown on Utility Rip-Offs

This is the year the Maryland General Assembly needs to act. For years advocates having been trying to stop third-party energy providers from ripping off low-income and elderly customers on fixed incomes. Since 2014, Maryland families have paid $750 million more for their deregulated electricity and natural gas supply. Maryland households, especially vulnerable households, have been losing money by being duped into switching from their regulated utility to a third-party energy supplier.

McKinney and Orr: Immigration Status Should Not Be a Barrier to Working Family Tax Credits

Most Marylanders would agree economic supports should be available to all who need them. Seeing so many of our neighbors in need of additional financial assistance to continue to weather the COVID-19 pandemic, state leaders smartly looked to maximize one of our most powerful anti-poverty tools, the Earned Income Tax Credit.

Zurawik: An otherwise productive hearing on Capitol attack ruined by presence of Cruz and Hawley

As a media critic, I have developed a pretty high tolerance for hypocrisy. But not when seeing Republican Sens. Ted Cruz, of Texas, and Josh Hawley, of Missouri, Tuesday questioning law enforcement authorities about Capitol security and choices they made before and during an insurrection — an attack that was fueled by a lie that the two senators helped spread. That was too much for me.

Read More: Baltimore Sun

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