By Catherine Pugh,
Special to the AFRO
Governor Wes Moore wasted little time getting to work in his new role. The first Black man to lead the state of Maryland filled his first full day in office as Maryland’s 63rd governor with meetings– both public and private–press conferences and announcements.
Moore signed the state’s Standards of Conduct and Ethics Guidelines, an executive order detailing expected behavior for state officials.
Flanked by Lt. Gov. Aruna Miller and Secretary of State Susan Lee, Moore announced the release of $69 million authorized by the General Assembly but withheld by then-Gov. Larry Hogan. Matters covered by the unreleased funds included abortion care access, paid family leave, state climate change control initiatives and marijuana policy reform reform.
“We view the General Assembly as partners not adversaries,” Moore said.
The majority of the funds being released, $46.5 million is earmarked to support participation and growth of small, minority and women-owned businesses in state-sanctioned marijuana businesses.
Of that total, $10 million dollars will go to the Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulations to set up a paid family leave program. “Eighty-eight percent of Marylanders support a paid family leave program including 94 percent of Democrats and 77 percent of Republicans,” he said.
The restored funds include $9 million for climate change solutions and $3.5 million is designated toward medical training for women’s pro-choice rights.
Another executive order from Moore created the new Office of Service and Civic Innovation. The governor tweeted that he will be nominating a Secretary for the new agency in the coming days.
Moore held a closed-door meeting with state Attorney General Anthony Brown and Erek Barron, U.S. attorney for Maryland on public safety. The meeting included addressing the policy for prosecuting repeat offenders in the criminal justice system.
Earlier on his first full day in office, Gov. Moore had breakfast with both Presiding Officers, Speaker of the House Adrienne Jones, and President of the Senate Bill Ferguson. Governor Moore held an afternoon cabinet meeting and toured the courts. Later that day he announced the State’s Data Officer for twenty years would remain with the Administration.
On Jan. 20, Moore, Lt. Gov. Aruna Miller and Budget Secretary Helene Grady unveiled the proposed $63.1 billion budget outlining education, transportation and public safety as the administration’s priorities. Included in the budget proposal is a measure to create a public service initiative for high school students and funds to push the state towards a $15 an hour minimum wage. The governor described his budget as being “bold without being reckless.”
Help us Continue to tell OUR Story and join the AFRO family as a member –subscribers are now members! Join here!