MFUME SWORN IN AS U.S. REP: Kweisi Mfume took the oath of office of the House of Representatives on Tuesday and accepted congratulations from his mask-wearing Maryland
colleagues. “Then the state’s newest member of Congress said it was time to retreat, close the door and ‘have a conversation with Elijah,’ ” Jeff Barker and Emily Opilo report in the Sun. The video of the swearing-in that tops the story features three native Marylanders: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, U.S. Rep. Steny Hoyer and Mfume. And Hoyer gives a nice tribute to the late Rep. Elijah Cummings, whose seat Mfume is taking.
- On his first day in his old job, Rep. Kweisi Mfume (D-Md.) pledged to use his regained power to help his constituents fight two crises that have hit his Baltimore-based district hard — the COVID-19 pandemic and near-collapse of the economy, Bruce DePuyt of Maryland Matters reports.
PUBLIC INFORMATION FALLS VICTIM OF COVID-19: Gov. Larry Hogan has suspended legal deadlines for state and local governments to respond to public records requests, which means that many questions may remain unanswered long after the public health emergency is over, Hannah Gaskill of Maryland Matters reports. Some agencies have used the edict to shut down timely access to public information altogether, for the duration of the emergency. Others are struggling to meet public records requests in a timely fashion.
HOGAN VS. HARRIS OVER REOPENING: Gov. Larry Hogan (R) has resisted pressure to lift his stay-at-home order and said it’s too soon to safely reopen the state. However, Rep. Andy Harris, the only Republican in the Maryland congressional delegation and an anesthesiologist, says low-risk businesses and churches should reopen immediately, provided they require customers and worshipers to socially distance and wear masks, Jenna Portnoy writes for the Washington Post.
MIXED MESSAGES IN DC REGION: Mixed messages on the wisdom of continued closures emerged as the MD-DC-VA region’s death toll from the pandemic reached 2,367, with more than 52,000 known infections, Peter Jamison and Dana Hedgpeth report in the Post. A day after Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam (D) said he expects to ease some restrictions on nonessential businesses by mid-May, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser (D) warned that it was too soon for District residents to begin letting down their guard. Meanwhile, officials in Ocean City announced they would reopen their beach and boardwalk to the public on Saturday, a week earlier than expected.
- Kelly Powers of the Salisbury Daily Times writes that the Mother’s Day weekend reopening of Ocean City poses no direct challenge to Gov. Larry Hogan’s stay-at-home order, which limits movement to essential travel and imposes 14-day quarantines for out-of-state travelers, or the town’s other emergency declarations. So what can people expect if they make the trip anyway?
- Though the town draws hundreds of thousands of visitors from across the Mid-Atlantic region each summer, people who live outside Ocean City are being encouraged to abide by the state’s travel restrictions, Bruce DePuyt of Maryland Matters reports.
MOSBY WANTS MORE COVID-19 PATIENT DATA: Del. Nick Mosby of Baltimore is calling on the state to release additional data regarding patients diagnosed with COVID-19. He said the additional data could potentially allow public health officials to better understand and address the disease in minority communities. The state currently provides infection data by ZIP code.
MD BIOTECH FIRM INKS DEAL ON 3 VACCINES: As the world anxiously awaits a coronavirus vaccine, a Maryland biotechnology company already has signed deals to do initial production of three candidates. If one of them works, the firm has a factory in place to manufacture hundreds of millions of doses a year, Robert McCartney of the Post reports.
UM STARTS VACCINE TRIALS: Medical staff at the University of Maryland School of Medicine have begun injecting the first few people with a potential vaccine for the coronavirus as part of an accelerated international effort to have a vaccine ready to begin use in some people as early as this fall, Meredith Cohn of the Sun is reporting.
GARRETT REPORTS FIRST CASE IN MONTH: Health officials in Garrett County on Tuesday reported the county’s first COVID-19 case in nearly a month while, in Allegany County, there were no new cases of the disease, the Cumberland Times-News is reporting.
STATE LAUNCHES PPE PORTAL: Maryland has launched a new online portal designed to connect the state’s manufacturers of personal protective equipment and other essential items with buyers, Jessica Iannetta of the Baltimore Business Journal reports.
BPW TO SETTLE NEWSPAPER LAWSUIT: The Maryland state government is poised to pay $400,000 to several newspapers to settle a lawsuit challenging a law that would have required the papers to collect and share information about political advertisers, Pamela Wood of the Sun reports. The settlement will be before the state’s Board of Public Works for its meeting Wednesday.
B’MORE MAYOR CANDIDATE BLASTS CITY RESPONSE: Baltimore mayoral candidate Mary Miller said the administration of the city’s current mayor, Jack Young, has been slow to respond to the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic. “I don’t think the city had a well-prepared plan to react to something of this nature or magnitude,” she told Bryan Renbaum of MarylandReporter in an interview.
STATE EVENTS POSTPONED, CANCELED: Major festivals and events throughout Maryland initially slated for later in the year have already been postponed or canceled due to the COVID-19 outbreak, while the fates of several more prominent gatherings remain in limbo, Adam Bednar of the Daily Record reports.
FORT DETRICK TARGET OF VIRUS SPECULATION: Chinese officials suggested months ago that the coronavirus was created at Fort Detrick, Heather Mongilio writes in the Frederick News-Post. China and the U.S. continue to trade barbs over where the virus originated.
CARROLL STATE’S ATTORNEY READYING TO REOPEN: With 100 masks in hand, staff of the Carroll County Office of the State’s Attorney are readying for courts to reopen as early as June. Chief Judge of the Court of Appeals of Maryland Mary Ellen Barbera in March ordered courts to close to the public through May 1, with some exceptions, such as domestic violence cases, bail reviews, and extreme risk protective orders, Mary Grace Keller of the Carroll County Times reports.
HONORING THE NURSES: National Nurses Week, which begins today and runs through May 12, Florence Nightingale’s birthday, is going to be a special celebration this year, even as the pandemic alters the way nurses are honored, Jon Kelvey of the Carroll County Times reports.
- Mike Klingaman of the Sun profiles two nurses at Mercy Medical Center and what they experience under COVID-19.
BA CO UTILIZES SCHOOL NURSES: Officials of Baltimore County, which has been hard hit by COVID-19, are employing school nurses among others to do contact tracing and want to hire about 60 more people by July, Alison Knezevich reports in the Sun.
- Baltimore County Councilman Julian Jones wants the council to consider delaying new impact fees on homebuilders and other developers two months before the county was to begin charging the fees, Wilborn Nobles writes in the Sun reports.
RBG BEING TREATED AT HOPKINS: Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg underwent treatment for a gallbladder problem at Johns Hopkins Hospital on Tuesday, McKenna Oxenden of the Sun reports.
PRIMARY BALLOTS HAVE INCORRECT DATE: Voters receiving their ballots for Maryland’s 2020 Presidential Primary, rescheduled for June 2 due to the coronavirus outbreak, have discovered a glaring error right at the top of them: The ballots say April 28. The incorrect date is acknowledged in the instructions included with the ballots now being mailed to registered voters, Fern Shen reports for Baltimore Brew.
STATE OLDEST CATHOLIC GIRLS PREP TO CLOSE: Maryland’s oldest Catholic college preparatory school for girls, an institution that resolutely continued educating young women in the same East Baltimore building for more 170 years, announced Tuesday that it is closing its doors. Graduates of the Institute of Notre Dame have included House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and former U.S. Sen. Barbara Mikulski, the Sun’s Liz Bowie, Pamela Wood and Daniel Oyefusi report.
- As reported by the Catholic Review, the 173-year-old Catholic high school will close due to declining enrollment, economic factors and an aged school building, Ethan McLeod writes for the Baltimore Business Journal.