STATE COULD GET $6B IN FED FUNDS, IF TRUMP SIGNS BILL: The long-awaited federal coronavirus relief bill — paired with an expansive government spending package — contains millions of dollars specifically for initiatives in Maryland, but President Donald Trump threw its fate into question Tuesday night when he blasted the bipartisan package and suggested he may not sign it, Christine Condon reports in the Sun.
- The economic rescue package contains a number of provisions to aid small businesses in Maryland, including an expansion of the Paycheck Protection Program. Also included are a number of tax breaks and other funding sources, some of which are targeted to particularly hard-hit sectors of the economy, the Daily Record reports.
- Even if the funding legislation goes through, it isn’t immediately clear how much money the state will receive under each line item, but Sen. Ben Cardin (D-Md.) said Tuesday afternoon the state should receive about $6 billion in new federal aid and direct payments to individuals, Bruce DePuyt of Maryland Matters reports.
BALL REALLOCATES $6.5M FOR COVID AID: Howard County Executive Calvin Ball said Tuesday that he has submitted emergency legislation to reallocate $6.5 million in county funds to aid businesses and residents that are struggling due to the coronavirus pandemic, reports Bryan Renbaum of Maryland Reporter.
DEL. JALISI’s SALARY MAY BE GARNISHED TO PAY AIDE: Del. Hasan “Jay” Jalisi, D-Baltimore County, could have his state salary garnished to pay the back wages of a legislative aide he was barred from hiring because he had not completed required anger management classes, writes Bryan Sears for the Daily Record. The order is the latest is a series of troubles for Jalisi that date back to when he first entered the legislature in 2015.
STATE’s SEAFOOD INDUSTRY HIT HARD BY COVID: CNS’s Hannah Smith, in an article in Maryland Reporter, writes that the coronavirus pandemic has created a windfall for Maryland farmers as families, stuck at home, load up on local produce, and cook their own meals. But for the state’s seafood purveyors, these are tough times. The “aquaculture industry has been hit really hard this year,” said Colby Ferguson, director of government and public relations for the Maryland Farm Bureau.
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COVID EXACERBATES GRIEF AS LOVED ONES DIE ALONE: Across the Baltimore region and the D.C. suburbs, in Western Maryland and on the Eastern Shore, families endured the torture of grief, crying and helpless, on phone calls and video chats, unable to visit bedsides and hug dying partners, parents, siblings, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins and friends. Colin Campbell and Alex Mann of the Sun write about some of the more than 5,000 Marylanders who have died of Covid-19 and their grieving families.
OPINION: RELEASE MORE ELDERLY PRISONERS: The editorial board of the Sun opines on housing elderly prisoners, writing that the “pandemic has once again shined light on the debate of whether housing prisoners into their advanced years is the best use of resources. In normal times, elderly inmates pose a strain on the state’s prison system. They tend to be more costly to care for because of age-related medical conditions, and research has found that many older incarcerated people could be released with little threat to public safety.”
CARROLL TIGHTENS WHO CAN GET COVID TEST: The Carroll County Health Department is changing its process for COVID-19 test registrations because of the increase in demand, with a stated goal of focusing on those who’ve been exposed to the coronavirus or are showing symptoms. Those seeking tests for other reasons would be asked to look into other options, Bob Blubaugh of the Carroll County Times reports.
MORE THAN HALF OF FREDERICK WILLING TO GET VACCINE: More than half of Frederick County residents are willing to get the coronavirus vaccine, according to a survey conducted by the county health department. Greg Swatek of the Frederick News-Post reports that the survey was conducted online from Dec. 4-11 and generated more than 20,000 responses.
ALSOBROOKS GETS VACCINE: Prince George’s County Executive Angela Alsobrooks promised that once a coronavirus vaccine became available, she would get it to help fight against the pandemic. Her turn came Tuesday as she calmly sat in a chair at the Cheverly Health Center, writes William Ford for the Washington Informer.
MO CO OFFICIALS TO GET 100 DOSES OF VACCINE: As COVID-19 vaccine doses continue to arrive at local hospitals, Montgomery County officials say they expect to get their own supply of 100 doses as early as Wednesday, Briana Adhikusuma of Bethesda Beat reports.
HIGH COVID POSITIVITY RATE IN CARROLL: While vaccinations for COVID-19 have started in the country, Washington County continues to feel the attack of the disease with positivity rate hovering around 14%, according to county officials. Dave McMillion of the Hagerstown Herald -Mail writes that on Monday, the positivity rate stood at 14.44%, the highest it has been in the pandemic. On Tuesday, the center reported the rate had decreased slightly to 14.1%.
COURT TO HEAR AERIAL SURVEILLANCE SUIT: The full 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals will consider whether the Baltimore Police Department’s use of aerial surveillance to fight crime in the city violated Baltimoreans’ constitutional protection against unreasonable searches and their right to peacefully associate, Steve Lash of the Daily Record reports.
MAYOR SCOTT TAPS JIM SHEA AS SOLICITOR: Baltimore Mayor Brandon Scott named his picks for city solicitor and a newly created chief equity officer position Tuesday, adding to the new mayor’s growing cabinet, Emily Opilo of the Sun reports. As solicitor, Scott announced he would nominate Jim Shea, chairman emeritus of the Venable law firm and a 2018 gubernatorial candidate with whom Scott ran for lieutenant governor.
STUDENT MEMBER OF HO CO ED BOARD GETS SUPPORT STATEWIDE: Howard County schools Superintendent Michael Martirano spoke out against online “bullying” of the Board of Education’s student member during the board’s meeting Tuesday, Jacob Calvin Meyer of the Howard County Times reports. Last week, two Howard County parents with children in the school system filed a lawsuit to strip the student school board member’s right to vote.
- Student representatives from boards of education across the state signed their names at the end of a letter of support for the student voice — as well as for a Howard County student, whose recent vote against schools reopening triggered a lawsuit, Kristen Griffith of the Carroll County Times reports.
DNC CHAIR PEREZ HOPEFUL: Democrats lost ground in the U.S. House of Representatives and fell short in down-ballot races across the country during the 2020 election — but Democratic National Committee Chairman Tom Perez of Takoma Park sees many silver linings. He talks with Maryland Matters on its podcast.