BALTIMORE — Newly sworn-in Maryland Gov. Wes Moore’s first act as governor was to free up $69 million in previously withheld funding to invest in key administrative priorities like climate solutions, cannabis reform, paid leave and reproductive rights.
The investments were announced in Moore and Lt. Gov. Aruna Miller’s first press conference since their inauguration the day before. The investments address what Moore calls critical programs and services that will impact every community in Maryland.
The actions mark a “fundamental shift,” Moore said, in how the governor’s office is going to approach the budget and the office’s relationship with the General Assembly.
“We view the General Assembly as partners, not adversaries in our collective work in our collective effort to produce a budget that thoughtfully and uses data to invest taxpayer dollars in programs, services and initiatives that will address the most pressing concerns of communities all over the state of Maryland,” he said.
The biggest investment by far is $46.5 million to Cannabis Reform Act funds, which would create regulatory and taxation frameworks “with equity, transparency, accountability, fairness and speed” for recreational cannabis, which Marylanders voted to legalize last year.
Moore also announced $9 million in funding for the Climate Solutions Now Act, which requires the state to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions.
The governor committed an additional $9 million to the Time to Care Act fund, which would establish a family and medical leave insurance program that would make paid leave available to workers in the state.
Finally, Moore is committing $3.5 million for abortion care access funds to help make Maryland a state that is a “safe haven for abortion rights.”
“We view these investments that we’re releasing today as critical to protecting the fundamental rights of all Marylanders proactively combating devastating impacts of climate change, while supporting our state’s burgeoning clean economy and also supporting Maryland’s families and promoting economic justice and economic parity,” he said.
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