This Session, Blueprint Commitment Is “Point of No Compromise”

And other legislative updates in this week’s Up the Street

During MSEA’s Legislative Open House on Wednesday, Gov. Moore reiterated his administration’s commitment to support and listen to educators. (Photo: Governor’s Office)


Session Opens with Commitments to Blueprint: “Point of No Compromise” for Governor

The 446th General Assembly session opened on Wednesday and presents an opportunity to build on the historic commitment to public schools from Gov. Moore and the legislature. Record investments in public education have benefitted Maryland students as the recovery from the pandemic continues and historic educator shortages remain. On opening day, both chambers’ leadership and Moore acknowledged difficult financial decisions to be made in the face of a $761 million budget deficit for fiscal year 2025. Moore said his FY25 budget, which is due by January 17, will address those realities, but he said the Blueprint for Maryland’s Future is a “point of no compromise.” In the House, Speaker Adrienne Jones (D-Baltimore County) said as session opened, “We will keep our commitment to the Blueprint.”

“If we do not have an educational system that is preparing our students for the 21st century and to be leaders in the 21st century, we’ll repeatedly find ourselves putting money in to try and fix brokenness,” Moore told reporters. “That is not just inefficient—it is lunacy.” Visiting MSEA headquarters on Wednesday evening for our annual legislative reception, Moore reiterated his commitment to students, educators, and the Blueprint, as well as pledging that educator voices and priorities would continue to be heard in his administration.

True to the Blueprint, MSEA’s priorities this session include enhancing respect and support for public school educators; improving recruitment, retention, and diversification of the workforce to meet students’ needs; and protecting all students, no matter their background, race, gender, immigration status, or zip code. In an opinion piece published by Maryland Matters on Tuesday, MSEA President Cheryl Bost provided details of MSEA’s priorities, including Grow-Your-Own, anti-privatization measures, preventing politicized book bans, and more. Up the Street will highlight these and other priority issues in the weeks to come, as well as chronicle legislative activity associated with them over the course of the legislative session.

Comptroller Reports on State’s Economy; Sees Growth Potential for Incomes, GDP

In the first of what she said will be a series of reports on Maryland’s economy, Comptroller Brooke Lierman recently described the state’s economic position as strong, with room to improve and grow personal income, private sector employment, and gross domestic product (GDP). Maryland ranks first nationally for median income ($108,200) and has the lowest unemployment rate (1.8%). The report includes data about childcare and household responsibilities that contribute disproportionately to women’s absence from the workforce. The report also noted that Maryland’s GDP from 2016-2023 was 5 to 12 percentage points lower than in Pennsylvania, Virginia, and the US. In terms of real wage growth, which factors in inflation, Maryland lagged 1 to 3 percentage points behind those three regions.

Chambers Approve Leaders: House Speaker Jones, Senate President Ferguson Re-elected

The legislative chambers’ order of business the first day included unanimously re-electing their leadership, House Speaker Jones and Senate President Bill Feguson (D-Baltimore City). The House approved Jones’s new leadership appointments, including Delegate Dana Stein (D-Baltimore County) as speaker pro tempore and Delegate Melissa Wells (D-Baltimore City) as assistant majority leader.


Biden Administration Reduces Student Debt Relief Further

Last month, the Biden-Harris Administration announced approval of an additional $4.8 billion in student loan debt relief for 80,300 borrowers. This relief comes through the U.S. Department of Education’s income-driven repayment (IDR) forgiveness and Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF), affecting many educators. Of the $4.8 billion, $2.6 billion is forgiveness for 34,400 borrowers under PSLF. In Maryland, the PSLF programs have helped 22,580 borrowers. Since October 2021, this brings the total relief through PSLF to $53.5 billion for almost 750,000 borrowers.

Prince George’s Senator Nick Charles, Delegate Denise Roberts Take Oath of Office

Denise Roberts has been sworn in to represent Prince George’s County’s District 25 in the House of Delegates to fill the seat of former Delegate Nick Charles (D-Prince George’s), who has been sworn in to fill the district’s Senate seat.

Casino, Sports Wagering Revenues Add $102 Million to Education Funds

Casino revenues combined for November and December contributed $98.4 million to the Education Trust Fund (ETF), according to Maryland Lottery and Gaming. In those two months, Maryland’s six casinos combined to generate $321.3 million in revenue from slot machines and table games. From those revenues, contributions to the ETF in November ($47.7 million) were down 3.1% compared to November 2022, and contributions in December ($50.7 million) were up .004% compared to December 2022.

Maryland’s sports betting in November generated a record $551 million in revenue and contributed $3.2 million to the Blueprint for Maryland’s Future Fund, which supports public education programs. Each sportsbook pays 15% of its taxable win to the fund.


Trone Gains More Endorsements from Unions, Local Officials, Congressional Leadership

Senate candidate David Trone (D-6th) picked up several union endorsements, including the Baltimore Fire Officers IAFF Local 964; Montgomery County Career Firefighters IAFF Local 1664; the Association of Frederick County, MD, IAFF Local 3666; Montgomery County Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 35; the Prince George’s International Association of Ironworkers (Ironworkers) Local 5, and Allegany County Ironworkers Local 568; the Baltimore and Washington, D.C., Heat and Frost Insulators and Allied Workers Local 24; and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Washington, D.C., Local 26, and Montgomery County IBEW Local 1200. Trone was also recently endorsed by former state Delegate Shane Pendergrass (D-13); a group of local mayors; and, in the U.S. House of Representatives, Democratic Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-New York), Democratic Whip Katherine Clark (D-Massachusetts), Democratic Caucus Chairman Pete Aguilar (D-California), and Rep. Jonathan Jackson (D-Illinois), son of the Rev. Jesse Jackson. A complete list of Trone’s endorsements is here.

Endorsements, Candidates Announced U.S. House 3rd District Race

State Senator Sarah Elfreth (D-Anne Arundel) has been endorsed by former Maryland Rep. Tom McMillen (D) in the race to fill the 3rd U.S. House District seat from which John Sarbanes (D) is retiring. Other 3rd District Democratic candidates who have recently announced include Delegate Mark Chang (D-Anne Arundel); police Sgt. Harry Dunn, a Capitol police officer who was on duty during the riot on January 6, 2021; Don Quinn, an attorney; and businessman Juan Dominguez, who dropped out of the Senate race this week to run in the 3rd District.

U.S. House 6th District: Delaney Raises Half-Million Dollars; Latino Victory Fund Endorses Vogel

On January 31, all Congressional candidates will officially report their campaign finances, but in the meantime, in the Democratic primary race for the open 6th District seat, candidate April McLean Delaney announced raising $530,000 since October. That is double the amount reported in November by the race’s lead fundraiser at the time, Delegate Joe Vogel (D-Montgomery). This week Vogel received the Latino Victory Fund endorsement.