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Senate President Seeks to Enhance State Ed. Board to Prepare for Blueprint Reforms

Maryland lawmakers are trying to strengthen the State Board of Education in preparation for the sweeping education reform plan that is poised to become law next month. Senate President Bill Ferguson (D-Baltimore City) presented an emergency bill Thursday that would tighten the qualifications for state school board members so that as a whole, the board must have expertise in: antiracism and equity frameworks to make systemic change possible; students with disabilities; multilingual instruction; programs that enhance socioeconomic and demographic diversity in public schools; and implementing innovative education reform.

Baltimore NAACP seeks meeting with city inspector general’s office, questions how it carries out investigations

The Baltimore chapter of the NAACP is publicly questioning the objectivity and competency of the city inspector general’s office after its report this month on the travels and private companies of State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby. In an email made public Thursday, chapter leaders asked for a meeting with the inspector general and her staff. “We have significant concerns about how your office conducts investigations and applies its authority,” wrote the Rev. Kobi Little, the chapter president. “We are concerned about the targeting of African American elected leaders, as well as African American vendors who contract with Baltimore City.”

Read More: Baltimore Sun
Bay Bridge crossing study on three corridors through Anne Arundel open for comment after COVID delay

After months of delay, the Maryland Transportation Authority released a report on the four options for the proposed third Chesapeake Bay Bridge crossing span that the public can now comment on through May 10. The report outlines the three possible crossing locations — one through Pasadena, one through Edgewater, and one through Annapolis next to the existing bridge — as well as a no-build option.

Md. bill seeks to protect children against abusive parents in family court proceedings

Sen. Susan C. Lee (D-Montgomery) presented a bill before the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee on Wednesday seeking to train judges who preside over family law and domestic violence cases to protect minors against violence perpetrated by their parents. Paraphrasing author Malcolm Gladwell’s book “Talking to Strangers,” Lee said that “we are more likely to believe the less horrendous story, all things being equal.”

Read More: WTOP
In environmental justice push, Md. lawmakers look to decrease harmful toxins

In taking a broader look at social justice and equity issues, Maryland lawmakers are considering a series of bills to mitigate harmful environmental toxins and policies. After a series of brutal police encounters and calls for racial justice this summer, Senate President Bill Ferguson (D-Baltimore City) created the Senate Advisory Workgroup on Equity and Inclusion to evaluate environmental justice, health disparities and economic opportunity in the state.

Read More: WTOP
The Anne Arundel County Council will begin hearings on the General Development Plan Monday. Here’s what you need to know.

Anne Arundel County’s future is on the agenda at Monday’s County Council meeting in the form of bill 11-21, the General Development Plan. It is better known as the GDP or Plan 2040, a product of dozens of listening sessions, town halls, and meetings since 2017, with hundreds of residents weighing in along the way. It will act as a guide for comprehensive rezoning, water and sewer management, and capital improvements across the county, among others. It gives land use designation change ideas and suggests policy change.

Read More: Baltimore Sun
Wes Moore Actively Exploring 2022 Bid for Governor

Wes Moore, the Baltimore born and bred author, anti-poverty advocate and social entrepreneur, is actively contemplating seeking the Democratic nomination for governor in 2022. Moore earlier this month announced his intention to leave his job as CEO of the Robin Hood Foundation, a New York-based nonprofit with a broad portfolio, sometime this spring ― but did not say what he planned to do next. In a statement provided to Maryland Matters Tuesday evening, Moore said he was “seriously considering” a gubernatorial run.

Bills aim to limit implicit bias in Maryland judicial system

Maryland legislators introduced a pair of bills that could mandate police, judges, state’s attorneys and public defenders undergo implicit bias training in order to recognize and counteract any potential biases they may carry against specific groups. Implicit bias is the attitudes, or stereotypes that may unconsciously affect someone’s actions and decisions toward a person or group of people.

Read More: Baltimore Sun
Delegates Push to Repeal State Song, With its References to ‘Northern Scum’

Maryland Speaker Pro Tem Sheree Sample-Hughes grew up singing in the American Legion junior girls auxiliary. She used to sing the state’s song, “Maryland, My Maryland,” at events throughout the state. “Now I have a greater appreciation for what the lyrics truly mean,” Sample-Hughes (D-Lower Shore), told her colleagues Wednesday as she pressed for the song’s repeal as a state symbol. The song, which was composed during the Civil War by a Confederate sympathizer, James Ryder Randall, has enjoyed its status as a state symbol since 1939.

Maryland Bill Would Ban Chemical Conversion Of Plastic Into Fuel

Plastic pollution is an ever-growing problem for the entire planet. “If we don’t do anything by 2050, we will have the weight of three million blue whales worth of plastic in our ocean,” Maryland State Delegate Sara Love said. Much of it isn’t getting recycled. According to the EPA, only about 9% of plastic waste was recycled in 2018, and the demand to reuse that recycled material isn’t high. “Recycling only works if there are people who want to buy it to turn it into something new,” Kate Breimann, Director of Environment Maryland, said.

Read More: WJZ

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