SPEAKER JONES: ‘BLACK AGENDA’ WOULD ATTACK SYSTEMIC RACISM: House Speaker Adrienne Jones (D-Baltimore County) says it’s time to dismantle the racist policies that by design have created a country where the net worth of a typical White family is 10 times higher than that of a Black family. And she plans to unveil what she is calling a “Black agenda,” one designed to attack systemic racial inequalities in housing, health, banking, government and private corporations, Ovetta Wiggins of the Post reports.
VACCINE DISTRIBUTION IN FITS & STARTS: Gov. Larry Hogan received a first dose of Moderna’s coronavirus vaccine Monday, declaring: “I really didn’t feel that at all,” reports Pamela Wood for the Sun. The state’s phased vaccination plan allows for vaccinations to ensure “government continuity” in Phase 1B, which the state entered Monday.
- The shots for Hogan, Lt. Gov. Boyd Rutherford, the wives of the two executives and acting Deputy Health Secretary Jinlene Chan come on the same day as the state enters phase 1B of its COVID-19 vaccination plan. It also comes as the governor has expressed concerns about some public reluctance to receive the doses that could tamp down rising infections and deaths in the state and across the country, Bryan Sears of the Daily Record reports.
- Maryland expanded vaccine eligibility Monday to Phase 1B, which includes people age 75 and older, K-12 teachers, child-care workers, those in assisted-living facilities and incarcerated people at high risk of developing complications from covid-19. But some residents said that appointments were hard to secure and were unavailable in some places, Katherine Shaver, Erin Cox and Jenna Portnoy of the Post report.
- Mary Carole McCauley of the Sun reports that Baltimore City Public Schools will begin immediately vaccinating 500 teachers and other staff a week in partnership with Johns Hopkins Medicine.
- Carroll County’s COVID-19 vaccine rollout plan is ever-evolving. The county health department has vaccinated approximately 3,000 people since Dec. 30 and most of those people have been from Phase 1A, which includes first responders, health care providers and correctional facilities staff, Pat Stoetzer reports in the Carroll County Times. A small number of high-priority teachers as designated by Carroll County Public Schools were also vaccinated last week from Phase 1B when a 1A clinic did not fill up as quickly as expected.
- Gail Fineberg has been faithfully logging onto the Frederick County Health Department’s website for almost a week now trying to set up an appointment to receive her first shot of the two-dose coronavirus vaccine, writes Greg Swatek for the Frederick News-Post. But the message she has been getting has been consistent: “All clinics currently full, check back on Tues. Jan. 19,” the announcement reads on the website.
- Washington County’s COVID-19 positivity rate has continued to come down since the start of the new year, as the state moves into the next phase of its vaccination plan, Julie Green reports for the Hagerstown Herald-Mail.
- Montgomery County has had a COVID-19 test positivity rate of more than 7% for most of January, according to data from the county’s health department, Bethesda Beat reports. As of Friday, the county had a 14-day average positivity rate of 7.3%, up from 6.2% one month earlier.
CLIMATE ACTION STRATEGIES & ENVIRONMENTAL PRIORITIES: Past policy choices have affected Maryland’s environment and may have long-term climate impacts. Join the Maryland Clean Energy Center (MCEC) on January 25, from 1:00 – 2:00 PM, to hear from local legislators regarding potential policy solutions to meet clean energy and carbon reduction goals, during the first session of MCEC’s 2021 Policy Watch Series. Advance registration is required.
PUBLIC, PRIVATE SERVICES FOR MIKE MILLER: Maryland Senate President Emeritus Mike Miller, who died Friday, will lie in state in the rotunda of the State House on Thursday and Friday, Pamela Wood of the Sun reports.
- Only invited guests who have made appointments will be permitted to pay respects in the rotunda, where social distancing and masks will be required. But the Friday visitation will be streamed online, from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m., with a link made public later this week, the Post’s Donna St. George reports.
500,000 HOMES LACK BROADBAND: As lawmakers tackle the digital divide during the 2021 legislative session, a new study shows that more than 500,000 Maryland households don’t currently subscribe to wireline broadband services, writes Bennett Leckrone for Maryland Matters.
BILL AIMS TO BAN STUDENT SEX OFFENDERS FROM PUBLIC SCHOOLS: State lawmakers could soon take an unprecedented step to make Maryland schools safer. The move comes after a FOX45 News investigation found a sex offender was taking classes at a Baltimore area high school. Members of the Baltimore County delegation say a bill in this year’s legislative session would make Maryland the first state in the country to ensure it cannot happen again, Chris Pabst reports for WBFF-TV.
2 MORE SUBPEONAS IN SEVERANCE PACKAGE PROBE: Senior members of the Maryland General Assembly have approved two new subpoenas in the probe into a lucrative severance package that Gov. Larry Hogan’s former chief of staff received in 2020, Bruce DePuyt reports in Maryland Matters.
10 LOBBYISTS BILL TOTAL OF $15M: Ten lobbyists reported billings of more than $15 million, a slight increase over 2019 according to reports filed with the Maryland State Ethics Commission released in December, Bryan Sears reports in the Daily Record. The combined reports for those top billing lobbyists represent nearly $3 in every $10 spent on lobbyists who reported billings of $50,000 or more and more than 27% of all billings reported by 563 people who reported any lobbying-related fees at all.
FELDMAN PONDERS COMPTROLLER RUN WITH LARGE WAR CHEST: Sen. Brian J. Feldman (D-Montgomery) hasn’t decided whether to run for comptroller in 2022, but if he does, he might begin the race as the candidate with the biggest war chest, writes Bruce DePuyt for Maryland Matters. In an annual fundraising report filed on Sunday, the five-term lawmaker listed $132,251 in contributions for the previous year, bringing his campaign balance to $346,319.
HOGAN GETS SECURITY BRIEFING FROM GUARD IN D.C.: Gov. Larry Hogan traveled to Washington, D.C., Monday and received a security briefing from soldiers of the Maryland National Guard deployed to defend the U.S. Capitol, Tim Prudente of the Sun reports.
FEMA DENIES MARYLAND EMERGENCY FUNDING: The Federal Emergency Management Agency has denied requests from Maryland and Virginia for an emergency declaration to cover expenses associated with responding to the Capitol riot and increasing security around President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration, writes Fred Kunkle in the Post.
PUGH SEEKS CLEMENCY FROM TRUMP: Convicted former Baltimore Mayor Catherine E. Pugh is among those seeking clemency from President Donald Trump as he reportedly prepares to issue 100 pardons and sentence commutations on his final full day in office Tuesday, Justin Fenton of the Sun reports.
JIM LIGHTHIZER GIVEN NATIONAL HUMANITIES AWARD: At one end of Pennsylvania last week, members of the House of Representatives voted to impeach President Donald Trump for a second time, a historic first. At the other, former Anne Arundel County Executive Jim Lighthizer was accepting a prestigious medal from the president for his two decades of work to preserve and protect American battlefields, reports Lilly Price for the Capital Gazette.
MO CO ISSUES 115 COVID WARNINGS AT CONSTRUCTION SITES: Montgomery County officials have investigated 124 construction sites for possible COVID-19 violations, but have issued no citations or stop work orders since the pandemic began in March. Out of the 124 inspections, the Montgomery County Department of Permitting Services gave 115 verbal warnings and “educational outreach,” Caitlynn Peetz of Bethesda Beat reports.
JOHN ROEMER, FORMER ACLU HEAD, DIES AT 82: John C. Roemer III, a retired teacher and former head of the American Civil Liberties Union of Maryland, died Thursday of dementia at Woodholme Gardens in Pikesville. He was 82 and lived in Parkton, Jacques Kelly of the Sun reports.