Political Notes Banner: Support for Trans Healthcare, Democratic Stalemate on New Delegate, and more

Wes Moore offers more support to trans Marylanders

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

The order she signed during a Pride Month reception at the governor’s mansion with LGBTQIA leaders calls for state agencies to protect the individuals and organizations in Maryland involved in such assistance.

It says state agencies must not provide information to support investigations or proceedings seeking to impose civil or criminal liability or professional penalties on suppliers or recipients.

In short: Unless a court orders it, state employees cannot provide information to law enforcement agencies in other states that may prosecute patients or medical professionals involved in treatments that claim the kind that are legal here.

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 care and, in some cases, have criminalized such care, that treatment will be protected in Maryland, the order said.

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


Baltimore Dems Stalemate on Picking a New Delegate

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

They are Angela Gibson, former state delegate, and attorney Malcolm Ruff. Moore is to 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 tasked with selecting a new delegate.

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The eight Central Committee members representing the 41st District found themselves in a deadlock between Ruff and Gibson during two rounds of voting Thursday night.

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

Ruff, an attorney with the law firm Murphy, Falcon & Murphy, told members during a public interview that he is a loyal son of the city who would represent district interests well in Annapolis. He publicized his work by testifying on bills to protect home care workers and to ban police stops of vehicles based solely on the smell of marijuana. He has the backing of Bridges.

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


Is Tom Perez headed to the White House?

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

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 in Washington. Last year, he finished second in the Democratic primary for governor behind eventual winner Wes Moore.

The Buffalo, New York native was previously the US Secretary of Labor and Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights during the Obama administration; as chairman of the Democratic National Committee during the Trump years; and as state secretary of labor and a Montgomery County board member in the 2000s.


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

Baltimore City Hall’s budget hearing season concluded Tuesday night after the Police Department became the latest city agency to answer questions from the council about the proposed 2024 budget.

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

For the first time in more than a century, board members have the ability to move money into the draft budget, not just cut line items.

Though lawmakers have tabled some amendments, the Ways and Means Committee won’t 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 goes to the full board for a full vote. By law, the board must approve a balanced budget before the 2023 fiscal year ends June 30.


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