Maryland Matters

Democratic policymakers alarmed by Texas abortion law, ponder legislative protections in Maryland

Maryland policymakers are weighing legal and legislative action to protect abortion access in light of the enactment of a Texas state law that prohibits abortions as early as six weeks — often before people know they’re pregnant.

Maryland Matters

‘Deep Loss’: Maryland surpasses 10,000 COVID-19 deaths

Senate President Bill Ferguson (D-Baltimore City) called Maryland’s death toll a “deep loss.” Senate President Bill Ferguson. Photo by Danielle Gaines. I, along with the entire Senate of Maryland send our most heartfelt sympathies to every friend and family member who has had to endure without their loved one by their side, due to this pandemic,” he said in a statement.

WMAR

Masks required effective immediately inside all Maryland public schools

This measure, which the Senate called for weeks ago, comes at a time when school has already begun across the state and the protection of our children needs to remain our top priority. We know mask wearing helps slow the spread of COVID-19 and my goal has been to keep as many kids learning in school as possible.

WTOP

Md. senators call on state education board to issue universal masking mandate

State senators sent a letter to the Maryland State Board of Education Wednesday ahead of its hastily-scheduled meeting Thursday, imploring board members to issue an emergency regulation requiring a universal masking mandate for students and teachers across the state.

Maryland Matters

New Commission Will Study Md. State Parks As Visits Soared During Pandemic

Senate President Bill Ferguson (D-Baltimore City) and House Speaker Adrienne A. Jones (D-Baltimore County) announced the creation of the State Park Investment Commission on Friday, which will make recommendations on the need for new parks in “recreational deserts” and whether existing parks are accessible to certain populations such as those who do not have a car or are low-income. 

Maryland Matters

General Assembly 2021: Winners and Losers

[Senate President Bill Ferguson is] proving to be a high-energy and collaborative presiding officer who is slowly steering his chamber to the left and relying on a talented array of lieutenants to move it there, sharing the credit for the Senate’s accomplishments with as many members as he can. He may not have as much control of the Senate chamber as the speaker does of hers — but then, he doesn’t have to.”

The Baltimore Sun

General Assembly 2021: A surprisingly big year in Maryland | COMMENTARY

From overturning Governor Hogan’s blueprint veto and putting the state on a path to higher performing public schools, to dispensing billions of dollars in federal pandemic relief and moving forward with police reform at a particularly opportune moment in this nation’s history, the General Assembly outperformed expectations for even a non-pandemic year. 

Maryland Matters

As policing bills hit the floor, senators reflect on a difficult legislative process

After months of work, a series of bills seeking to provide sweeping change to policing in Maryland was presented on the Senate floor Friday afternoon.

Maryland Matters

Senate President seeks to enhance State Ed. Board to prepare for Blueprint reforms

Senate President Bill Ferguson (D-Baltimore City) presented an emergency bill Thursday that would tighten the qualifications for state school board members so that as a whole, the board must have expertise in: antiracism and equity frameworks to make systemic change possible; students with disabilities; multilingual instruction; programs that enhance socioeconomic and demographic diversity in public schools; and implementing innovative education reform.

Maryland Matters

Jones and Ferguson to require racial impact statements in bill analyses

Undoing issues of systemic inequity requires us to develop intentional strategies for measuring and combating disparate impacts. This is an important step forward, and it will provide a more holistic picture of the effect of legislation proposed and debated by the General Assembly.

CBS Baltimore

Maryland Senate President Bill Ferguson forms oversight panel on vaccine rollout

Senate President Bill Ferguson, a Baltimore Democrat, said the Senate would consider not confirming Gov. Larry Hogan’s nominee to lead the state health department, based on the current performance of the state’s vaccine rollout. Hogan nominated Dennis Schrader to the position last week. Ferguson said Maryland has global leaders in public health and should be doing better in making the vaccine available.

Maryland Matters

Jones and Ferguson say police reform, COVID’s wrath top legislative agenda

Both presiding officers said mitigating the public health and economic devastation brought on by COVID-19 would be their top priority. Ferguson said the pandemic has been especially damaging to poor families ― specifically the 30% of the population at the bottom of the economic pyramid. Ninety percent of workers at the most risk of contracting the coronavirus earn $17 an hour or less.

The Baltimore Sun

4 things to know about Bill Ferguson, the next Maryland Senate president

Bill Ferguson was unanimously selected by Maryland’s Democratic senators as their nominee for the next Senate president. He is expected to succeed longtime Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller Jr., who is battling cancer and stepping down as president, when the General Assembly convenes its next session in January. Here are four things to know about Ferguson.

The Washington Post

Teach for America to senate president: Ferguson step into biggest role yet

It’s difficult to pinpoint when Sen. Bill Ferguson’s frustration with inequality in schools became the driving force of his professional life. But a good place to start would be 2005, inside his Teach for America classroom in Baltimore, the room with a broken doorknob.

Maryland Matters

Man in the news: Bill Ferguson

Baltimore City’s Bill Ferguson entered the Senate as a 27-year-old giant killer in 2011 – and his trajectory to the top job in the chamber has been every bit as extraordinary.

Maryland Matters

A changing of the guard – and the senate culture

In selecting Bill Ferguson of Baltimore City to replace Thomas V. Mike Miller Jr. of Calvert County as president of the state Senate on Thursday, the chamber’s Democrats are turning to a man universally described as a “thoughtful,” policy-focused lawmaker, one who will take seriously his responsibility to lead, listen to and represent a diverse group of legislators.