April 29 NF Legislative Roundup: Maryland Focus

Happy Friday! This week, we’re looking at some recent news and legislation from around Maryland in several areas of reform!

Maryland

  • Baltimore County Tree-Planting
    • Why we’re watching: Today is Arbor Day, so it’s only right that we discuss tree inequity! Communities of color, through chronic divestment and redlining, don’t boast the same number of trees as other neighborhoods. This leads to higher average temperatures and negative health outcomes. Now, Baltimore County is expanding an initiative to plant 450 trees in highly populated, low-income areas.
  • HBCU Investment
    • Why we’re watching: Earlier this week, Maryland’s gubernatorial candidates praised their state’s four HBCUs, calling them a means to advance equity throughout the state. They called for expanded funding – a contentious issue in a state that’s seen several HBCU-led equity lawsuits.
  • Incentives for Homebuying
    • Why we’re watching: In the past, Baltimore offered $5,000 to first-time homebuyers to spur community growth and support low-income populations. Now, Mayor Brandon Scott is doubling the incentive to $10,000 to make buying a home more affordable. On top of that, the city is offering $20,000 for those who buy homes in “Impact Investment Areas.”
  • Police Accountability Boards
    • Why we’re watching: Baltimore County police officers are no strangers to calls for reform and for good reason. In response, the county is creating a resident-led accountability board to oversee police-related issues. Activists are busy making sure the body has real power and won’t be just a figurehead. A vote is scheduled for May 2.
  • Sports Wagering Equity
    • Why we’re watching: As states rapidly approved mobile sports betting, brick-and-mortar stores, many of them owned by minorities, were left behind. Now, Maryland legislators are hosting informational sessions with the goal of supporting these small businesses through grants. Observers have likened the sports betting industry to the legalized cannabis industry, which also has its fair share of entry barriers for minority entrepreneurs.

What do you think of the news in this week’s legislative roundup? Did we miss anything? Drop us a line on any of our social channels or hit us up through our contact us form. Let us know what’s happening in YOUR neighborhood!

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