MYRIAD FACTORS SPUR FRUSTRATION OVER VACCINE DISTRIBUTION: Demand for COVID-19 vaccines in Maryland is quickly outpacing the state’s supply of vaccines, causing confusion for residents and prompting tough questions from lawmakers at the first meeting of the Senate Vaccine Oversight Workgroup on Monday. Bennett Leckrone of Maryland Matters writes that the state is only getting about 72,000 doses a week on average from the federal government, Acting Secretary of Health Dennis R. Schrader told lawmakers on Monday.
- Maryland is shifting small amounts of coronavirus vaccine doses to private pharmacies as state health officials prepare for what they hope will be increased shipments later in the spring. Schrader said the decision was an effort to create a hybrid delivery system of private and government vaccination clinics. But the move raised the ire of some lawmakers who say the decision is making it harder for people who have higher risks to get a shot, Bryan Sears of the Daily Record reports.
- Senate President Bill Ferguson Monday reiterated his criticism at the pace of the Hogan administration’s coronavirus vaccine rollout plan. “We are 40 out of 50 states in our distribution of the vaccine. If I look at the number of doses that we have received versus those that have been administered, we are 49 out of 50 states,” Ferguson said at a virtual panel discussion. Bryan Renbaum of Maryland Reporter writes that Ferguson called Maryland’s distribution ranking a “major problem,” and said it “cannot continue.”
AFTER GLITCH, MORE PRINCE GEORGE’S RESIDENTS TO GET VACCINES: After last week’s revelation that residents from other jurisdictions drove to Prince George’s County to receive coronavirus vaccinations, the county will cancel those appointments and designate most of those spots for senior citizens and workers within the county, William Ford of the Washington Informer writes.
REGISTRATION STYMIES SOME IN B’MORE SEEKING SHOT: Some residents in Baltimore City could be finding it difficult to register for an appointment for the COVID-19 vaccine, Keith Daniels reports for WBFF-TV. Callers got a continued busy signal or were placed on hold for extended periods of time.
SMALLEST DAILY CASE NUMBERS IN MONTHS: Maryland health officials reported 1,686 new cases of the coronavirus Monday, along with 28 new deaths. It’s the smallest number of new daily cases since Nov. 28, when 1,590 were reported, Christine Condon reports in the Sun.
STATE SAMPLING WASTEWATER FOR COVID: The Maryland Department of the Environment is pulling together a new statewide initiative to prevent COVID-19 outbreaks in public housing facilities: sampling and testing wastewater for the virus, Sarah Kim of WYPR-FM reports.
STATE COULD FACE $50M LOSS IF TOLL LANES STALL: Maryland would have to pay up to $50 million to companies pursuing a decades-long contract to add toll lanes to the Capital Beltway and Interstate 270 if the controversial project doesn’t move forward, according to recently released bid documents, Katherine Shaver reports in the Post.
E-CIG FLAVORS TARGETS IN LEGISLATION: With neon-colored packaging, street-art stylings, and names like “Cloud Nurdz” and “PB+Jam,” they may look like ham-fisted ways of luring children to use tobacco. To public health advocates, however, the threats posed by electronic cigarette flavorings are all too real. And they want the products banned from Maryland stores and shelves. Two lawmakers are sponsoring legislation that would ban liquid additives for use in e-cigarettes as well as a longtime industry staple, menthol cigarettes, Bruce DePuyt of Maryland Matters reports.
FERGUSON LEADS SENATE MONEY RACE: Nearly half of Maryland’s 47 state senators entered their third year in office with at least $100,000 in their campaign accounts, a Maryland Matters analysis of the latest campaign finance figures shows. Unsurprisingly, Senate President Bill Ferguson (D-Baltimore City) had the biggest campaign war chest among senators on Jan. 13 — $1.071 million, more than double the bank account of the runner-up, Budget and Taxation Chairman Guy J. Guzzone (D-Howard), who reported $423,927, Josh Kurtz writes.
LEVERAGING INVESTMENT & ADVANCING CLEAN ENERGY INNOVATION: This virtual panel discussion will examine creative approaches to financing energy solutions, innovation in the advanced energy space, and access to capital to expand economic development in Maryland. Join the Maryland Clean Energy Center for this Policy Watch Session on February 1, from 1:00 – 2:00 PM, with a special focus on opportunities for Green Banks, and Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) Legislation. Advance registration is required.
COLUMN: HOGAN WOULD PURGE GOP OF ‘RADICAL EXTREMISTS:’ In a column for the Post, Robert McCartney writes that “A day after rioters stormed the U.S. Capitol, Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan (R) called for Donald Trump to resign from the presidency or be ousted. Hogan favors a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants and thinks Republicans should focus less on opposing abortion. He wants to ‘purge’ the party of ‘radical extremists.’ That doesn’t sound like someone with much future in the national GOP…” McCartney recently spoke with Hogan in a wide ranging interview.
BIDEN REVIVES EFFORT TO PUT TUBMAN ON $20: President Biden’s administration is taking steps to revive an effort to put famed abolitionist Harriet Tubman on the $20 bill, Christine Condon of the Sun reports. The plan, which was laid out by President Barack Obama’s administration in 2016, was tabled by the Trump administration.
HOGAN CRITICIZES ARUNDEL HEALTH CHIEF: Gov. Larry Hogan told a constituent on social media Thursday that Anne Arundel Health Officer Nilesh Kalyanaraman “doesn’t really know what he is talking about” as he provides guidance on reopening county schools. Kalyanaraman has been a key factor in public health decisions in Anne Arundel County, many of which have been stricter than Hogan’s statewide allowances, reports Rachael Pacella for the Capital Gazette..
HARFORD ELEMENTARIES TO REOPEN MARCH 1: Elementary students in Harford County Public Schools will return to school once a week beginning March 1, with middle and high school students to follow March 15, Wayne Carter and David Anderson of the Aegis report.
WA CO COMMISH SEEKS REVIEW OF RELIEF FUNDING, INCLUDING HIS: Washington County Commissioner Cort Meinelschmidt says he has asked for a review of the actions he took that helped direct restaurant relief money to about two dozen businesses, including his own, Mike Lewis of the Hagerstown Herald Mail reports. “I’ve already asked the ethics commission to review it,” Meinelschmidt said Monday morning. “I don’t think I did anything wrong.”
FBI ARRESTS HOWARD MAN IN CONNECTION WITH INSURRECTION: The FBI took a 22-year-old Howard County man into custody Monday morning after he was identified in images as one of the people using a fire extinguisher on police officers trying to keep people from entering the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, federal authorities said. Matthew Ryan Miller, of Cooksville, was one of the few people, out of of dozens arrested during the insurrection, to be ordered detained pending trial, Justin Fenton of the Sun reports.