Wes Moore offers more support to trans Marylanders

Maryland Gov. Wes Moore signed an executive order this week clarifying the ways that state agencies will protect gender-affirming health care.

The order — which he signed during a Pride Month reception at the governor’s mansion with LGBTQIA leaders — requires state agencies to protect people and organizations in Maryland involved with such care.

It says state agencies shall not provide information “in furtherance of any investigation or proceeding that seeks to impose a civil or criminal liability or professional sanctions” on providers or recipients.

In short: Unless a court orders it, state employees can’t provide information to authorities in other states who might be prosecuting patients or medical professionals involved in gender-affirming care that’s legal here.

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Maryland has more than 94,000 transgender and nonbinary residents, the executive order notes, and the state should “safeguard their rights.”

“While other states have deprived residents of access to gender-affirming treatment, and in some cases, criminalized this care, such treatment will be protected in Maryland,” the order reads.

Earlier this year, state lawmakers passed a bill expanding the types of gender-affirming care covered by Medicaid, the federal-state insurance program for low-income and disabled people. Moore, a Democrat, signed the bill into law. He also celebrated International Transgender Day of Visibility at the State House, a first for Maryland government.


Baltimore Dems deadlock on picking a new delegate

Baltimore City Democrats are sending two names to Gov. Wes Moore to consider for a vacant House of Delegates seat after failing to reach consensus on a recommendation.

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They are Angela Gibson, who previously served as a state delegate, and attorney Malcolm Ruff. Moore must fill a vacant position representing the 41st district, which includes neighborhoods in north, west and southwest Baltimore.

Tony Bridges, who represented the district, resigned this spring to take a job as assistant secretary of the Maryland Department of Transportation. The Baltimore City Democratic State Central Committee was then charged with picking a new delegate.

The eight central committee members who represent the 41st district deadlocked between Ruff and Gibson during two rounds of voting Thursday night.

The vote was 4-4 with Gibson, a member of the committee, voting for herself. The committee’s rules state that after three tie votes, both names shall go to the governor. But members agreed after two votes that they didn’t need to hold another one.

Ruff, an attorney with the Murphy, Falcon & Murphy law firm, told members during a public interview that he’s a “loyal son of the city” who would represent the district’s interests well in Annapolis. He touted his work testifying on bills to protect home care workers and to prohibit police stops of vehicles based on the odor of marijuana alone. He has the backing of Bridges.

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Gibson is a central committee member and former longtime city employee who said she would be a “servant leader” for the community. From 2017 to 2019, she was an appointed member of the House of Delegates representing the 41st district, but she was unsuccessful in a bid to win a full term as delegate.


Is Tom Perez heading to the White House?

Former Maryland gubernatorial candidate Tom Perez is headed to a gig with the White House, The Washington Post reported this week.

Tom Perez campaigns on the corner of Wise Avenue and Merritt Boulevard in Dundalk while running in the Democratic primary for governor last summer. He finished second. (Ulysses Muñoz/The Baltimore Banner)

Citing two unidentified sources familiar with the move, The Post reported that Perez will become a senior adviser and director of the Office of Intergovernmental Affairs.

Perez, 61, has a long history in politics, both in Maryland and Washington. Last year, he finished second in the Democratic primary for governor behind eventual winner Wes Moore.

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The Buffalo, New York, native previously served as U.S. labor secretary and assistant attorney general for civil rights during the Obama administration; as chair of the Democratic National Committee during the Trump years; and as state labor secretary and Montgomery County Council member during the 2000s.


Council members file amendments to mayor’s budget, but public won’t see them until next week

Baltimore City Hall’s budget hearing season wrapped up Tuesday night, after the Police Department became the final city agency to answer the council’s questions about its 2024 proposed budget.

Council members had until noon Wednesday to submit amendments to Mayor Brandon Scott’s $4.4 billion budget plan.

For the first time in more than a century, council members have the ability to move money around in the draft budget — not just slash line items.

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Though lawmakers have submitted a few amendments, the Ways and Means Committee will not publicly release them until next week.

The committee, chaired by Councilman Eric Costello, will vote to reject or accept the proposed changes before the budget heads to the entire council for a full vote. By law, the council must pass a balanced budget before the 2023 fiscal year ends on June 30.