NO PRESCRIPTION NALOXONE: Maryland pharmacists will no longer require that people have a prescription to obtain a drug that can reverse the effects of opioid overdoses, Josh Hicks of the Post writes. The Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene issued an order Monday authorizing pharmacists to dispense naloxone to thousands of individuals who have been trained and certified through the state’s Overdose Response Program.
- Public health officials said expanding access to naloxone is a critical part of the state’s strategy to reduce heroin overdose deaths, which increased 60% in Maryland between 2010 and 2014. As of November, Anne Arundel County police responded to 313 heroin overdoses this year, almost equal to the number of overdoses in 2014, Elisha Sauers reports for the Annapolis Capital.
BAKER ASKS GUN SALE BAN: Prince George’s County Executive Rushern Baker on Monday urged Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan to ban the sale of guns to individuals on the federal no-fly list, Ryan McDermott of the Washington Times writes. Baker joined Rep. Chris Van Hollen, Maryland Democrat, in calling on Hogan to toughen gun laws in the wake of the Dec. 2 shooting spree by a Muslim couple who killed 14 and wounded 21 in San Bernardino, Calif.
FANTASY SPORTS: The legality of fantasy sports websites operating in state is now under review by the Maryland attorney general, reports Bryan Sears for the Daily Record. Word of the informal review, requested by Senate President Mike Miller, comes as the Joint Committee on Gaming Oversight canceled a hearing Monday that was to include discussion of a possible regulatory framework for the one-day sites such as FanDuel and DraftKings.
FOR AIR CONDITIONING: What began at least four years ago as a personal crusade by Comptroller Peter Franchot to get air conditioning for hot Baltimore County classrooms has now turned into a cause celebre involving the governor, his cabinet secretaries and the presiding officers of the Maryland General Assembly. But Tim Maloney, a former delegate who represents the Senate on the Interagency Committee on School Construction, proposed deferring action on a plan to allow $15 million to be used to put room air conditioners in 1,561 classrooms, most in Baltimore County and Baltimore City, writes Len Lazarick for MarylandReporter.com.
STATE OKS NEW FIRE SAFETY REGS: Effective Jan. 1, Maryland and Rising Sun will be on the same page for fire safety enforcement, Jane Bellmyer of the Cecil Whig reports. The Office of the Maryland State Fire Marshal recently announced it has adopted the 2015 editions of the National Fire Protection Association Fire Code and Life Safety Code. Likewise, Rising Sun also adopted the latest version of the codes, which set standards for the fire safety of any structure in town limits.
AGRICULTURE & BAY POLLUTION: A report by the Abell Foundation concludes that efforts in Maryland to restore the pollution-damaged watershed are being threatened by misguided state clean-up priorities, and by inadequate monitoring of the biggest source of Bay pollution: agriculture. WYPR’s Rob Sivak invited two authors of the report and executive director of the 400-member Maryland Grain Producers Association, to discuss whether the state’s farmers are doing everything they can to help clean up the Bay.
IT’S MORE THAN JUST BYRD: Lexie Schapitl of the Diamondback writes that although Byrd Stadium is no long Byrd Stadium, there are other buildings on the University of Maryland campus with ties to slavery. She outlines them from a report on the Byrd name change.
EMILY’S LIST FILES COMPLAINT AGAINST VAN HOLLEN: Emily’s List, the powerful women’s group supporting Rep. Donna Edwards’ bid for Senate, is accusing rival Rep. Chris Van Hollen of tapping into its campaign finance reports to identify donors in a complaint filed Monday with the Federal Election Commission. This came after it sent an email misidentifying Van Hollen as a Republican, John Fritze of the Sun reports.
- Supporters in at least 11 states got a letter and solicitation from the Van Hollen campaign. The campaign letter, by former NARAL Pro-Choice America board chairman Rosalyn Levy Jonas, refers to an email in which Emily’s List identified Van Hollen incorrectly as a Republican. Emily’s List says that the email was an honest mistake sent only to a test audience of 5,000 people and that it immediately offered to send a correction, Rachel Weiner of the Post reports.
CARDIN ON ISIS THREAT: In a speech at the Maryland Association of Counties winter conference on Friday, U.S. Sen. Ben Cardin said he’s been spending a lot of time dealing with national security issues in his capacity as a ranking democrat on the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, writes Josh Bollinger for the Easton Star Democrat. “My highest priority right now is to try to keep you all safe,” said Cardin, calling the Islamic State group, also known as ISIL or ISIS, a barbaric group. “Our strategy is simple and that is to take them out, to destroy them. It’s not to contain, it’s destroy.”
CITY, STATE PREP FOR VERDICT: Baltimore City Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake activated the city’s Emergency Operations Center Monday morning “out of an abundance of caution” as jury deliberations begin in the case against Baltimore Police Officer William Porter in the death of Freddie Gray, Yvonne Wenger of the Sun reports.
- Maryland law enforcement officials have been in direct communication with Baltimore police as the city braces for a verdict in the trial against Officer William G. Porter, the first officer being tried in the death of Freddie Gray, Ovetta Wiggins of the Post reports.
- While the entire city may be bracing for the verdict, so too the community of Sandtown-Winchester, where Gray grew up and was fatally injured. Fern Shen of Baltimore Brew writes about the community and interviews a number of residents.
HOMELESS SCHOOL CHILDREN: Dana Pentoney doesn’t want schoolchildren in Washington County to wake up without an adequate home, sleeping in a hotel, at a relative’s house, outside or in a different basement every day of the week. But by the end of the 2014-15 school year, that was the reality for 740 homeless students in Washington County Public Schools. Currently, it’s the reality for nearly 470, and the number is expected to rise as the school year continues, Carlee Lammers reports for the Hagerstown Herald Mail.