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Gov. Moore defends use of executive order power to get his 'service-year option' program rolling

Matt Bush
Maryland Governor Wes Moore listens to General Stanley McChrystal testify Wednesday before the Senate Education, Energy, and the Environment committee. Also seated at the table (far left) is Americorps CEO Michael Smith.

Maryland Gov. Wes Moore went before lawmakers Wednesday in Annapolis to push one of his biggest campaign promises — creating a ‘service-year option’ for recent high school graduates or GED earners.

The call to get more young people into public service wasn’t just something Moore talked about on the campaign trail.

On his first day in office, he used an executive order to create a cabinet level post — the Office of Service and Civic Innovation — whose secretary would carry out the program. Participants would have to work at least 30 hours a week where they would be paid $15 per hour. At the end of the program, they would receive a $3,000 stipend.

“Participants will be paid. They will partner with a mentor, they will participate in opportunities of personal growth beyond their work,” Moore told the Senate Education, Energy, and the Environment Committee Wednesday. “And that includes areas like financial literacy.”

But it was the use of his executive order, not the program itself, that Moore was defending Wednesday. Republican Sen. Jason Gallion of Harford and Cecil counties asked Moore why he didn’t create the office through emergency legislation, thus allowing the General Assembly to have a say.

“It probably could have been put into effect just as quickly if it were an emergency bill. Was that given consideration?,” Gallion asked.

More responded, “It was given consideration, I just decided to use the other option.”

The General Assembly does have to approve the bill creating and funding the program itself, and with 21 co-sponsors in the Senate [45% of Senate members] and 71 in the House [50% of House members], that seems very likely.

Matt Bush spent 14 years in public radio prior to coming to WYPR as news director in October 2022. From 2008 to 2016, he worked at Washington D.C.’s NPR affiliate, WAMU, where he was the station’s Maryland reporter. He covered the Maryland General Assembly for six years (alongside several WYPR reporters in the statehouse radio bullpen) as well as both Montgomery and Prince George’s Counties. @MattBushMD
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