STATE TO ROLL OUT MASS VACCINE SITES: To speed up and increase the efficiency of the state’s rollout of its supply of coronavirus vaccines, “mass vaccination sites” will be set up throughout Maryland, Gov. Larry Hogan said Tuesday. Bryan Renbaum of Maryland Reporter is reporting that Hogan said that the “hundreds” of the state’s guard members who had been deployed to Washington, D.C., to assist with security for last week’s inauguration ceremony for President Joe Biden will be “immediately” redeployed back to Maryland to help “plan, build, and launch” the vaccination sites.
- Hogan (R), acknowledging that residents have struggled to find open appointment slots to get vaccinated, said the state will open its first mass vaccination sites next week and will distribute vaccine doses to more pharmacies, including some Safeway and Rite Aid stores, report Erin Cox, Julie Zauzmer and Meagan Flynn of the Post.
- Additional chain stores will start offering injections, Hogan also announced, and the home of the Baltimore Ravens, M&T Bank Stadium, will be tapped as another mass vaccination site once the state starts receiving enough doses to put it to use, Alex Mann and Bryn Stole of the Sun report.
- Bryan Sears of the Daily Record reports that the plan is to create another four regional sites including one in western Maryland, the Eastern Shore and southern Maryland. The state also plans to create mobile clinics to help target some communities.
- The federal government allocates Maryland roughly 10,000 doses per day for about 2 million people eligible to receive it under the first phase of a vaccination plan, Teresa McMinn of the Cumberland Times-News reports.T0 complete that phase, Maryland needs 4 million doses.
FRANCHOT URGES COUNTIES TO OFFER TAX DEFERMENTS: Comptroller Peter Franchot Tuesday sent a letter to county officials throughout Maryland asking them to explore the possibility of providing temporary tax deferments similar to what the comptroller’s office has initiated at the state level, reports Bryan Renbaum of Maryland Reporter.
HOGAN PANDEMIC RELIEF PLAN GETS QUICK ONCE-OVER: Maryland lawmakers on Tuesday began scrutinizing Gov. Larry Hogan’s pandemic relief plan, which includes stimulus payments to low-income residents and a series of tax breaks, Pamela Wood of the Sun reports. “He wanted to provide relief to Maryland families and businesses that was both immediate and easy to receive,” said Ali Keane, a lobbyist for Hogan who presented the RELIEF Act to senators during a hearing.
- Hogan has urged Maryland lawmakers to move swiftly on his billion-dollar relief package – and on Tuesday, the state stimulus proposal got its first hearing in the Senate Budget and Taxation Committee, Bennett Leckrone of Maryland Matters reports.
VACCINATING TEACHERS FAILS TO MOVE NEEDLE ON SCHOOL REOPENING: Vaccinating teachers has been widely hailed as a vital step toward reopening the nation’s still-closed schools and, in many places, educators have been moved toward the front of the line for shots. But it has not gone hand-in-hand with efforts to return students to classrooms. And adding to the confusion, some officials are explicitly refusing to link vaccination and reopening, the Post’s Hannah Natanson, Donna St. George and Perry Stein are reporting.
BILLS TARGET MINORITY HEALTH DISPARITIES: Following Maryland’s recent reckoning with socio-economic and criminal justice inequities in its communities of color, House Health and Government Operations Committee Vice Chair Joseline Peña-Melnyk (D-Prince George’s) has presented three bills that seek to identify and eliminate health disparities, too, writes Hannah Gaskill for Maryland Matters. “It’s really clear: the data consistently shows ongoing and, in some cases, growing health disparities in Maryland, including the impact of COVID-19,” she told members of that committee at a hearing Tuesday.
RELEASE OF STUDY ON 3rd SPAN OF BAY BRIDGE DELAYED: Maryland officials have delayed the release of a draft study exploring where to build a third span for the Chesapeake Bay Bridge, saying they had to postpone federally required public hearings due to the worsening pandemic, Katherine Shaver of the Post reports.
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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.
SMALLEST RISE IN COVID CASES SINCE MID-NOV: Maryland health officials on Tuesday reported the smallest number of new coronavirus cases since Nov. 12 — 1,482, Christine Condon of the Sun reports. But Maryland reported 62 deaths from the coronavirus Tuesday, the most of any day in the last two weeks.
COVID NUMBERS DOWN IN CARROLL: Two more fatalities attributed to COVID-19 were reported Tuesday by the Carroll County Health Department even as the number of new cases continues to trend downward, Bob Blubaugh of the Carroll County Times reports.
HO CO SCHOOLS SET MARCH, APRIL FOR STUDENT RETURN: Howard County students who want to return to school buildings will be able to starting in March or April, Calvin Jacob Meyer of the Howard County Times reports. The Howard County Board of Education unanimously approved a hybrid learning model Tuesday night that will begin rolling out March 1, with all students who want to be in school buildings returning by April 12.
EX-MEMBERS URGE LESS PARTISANSHIP ON HILL: 128 former members of Congress, including six from Maryland, have written to congressional leaders urging them “to abandon the politics of tribalism.” The letter goes on: “We appreciate like no other group the pressures exerted on Members of Congress and Congressional Leadership by outside forces … you have the ability to lead our country toward a brighter future by abandoning this winning-at-all-costs mentality, which clearly is causing us all to lose.” The signers from Maryland are: former Reps. Mike Barnes, D: Bob Bauman, R; Bev Byron, D; Tom McMillen, D; Connie Morella, R; and Al Wynn, D.
ANNAPOLIS COUNCIL CONDEMNS TRUMP FOR CAPITOL SIEGE: The Annapolis City Council unanimously approved a resolution condemning former President Donald Trump for the violent siege of the U.S. Capitol, despite reservations from a Republican member who later voted with the majority, the AP is reporting.
INVESTORS BACK OFF FROM SPYPLANES OVER B’MORE: The investors who financed the surveillance plane that monitored Baltimore from the sky for two controversial trial runs are walking away from funding the technology, Emily Opilo of the Sun reports. In a statement released Tuesday, Arnold Ventures, a Texas philanthropy backed by billionaires Laura and John Arnold, said it would not be funding a proposed aerial surveillance program in St. Louis.