STATE SPEEDS UP VACCINE TIMELINE BUT 2nd DOSES ELUSIVE: Maryland is speeding up its vaccination timeline, following the lead of other states and recommendations from federal officials as the surge of deaths and hospitalizations in the U.S. associated with COVID-19 continues. As of Monday, hospitalized people with certain medical conditions placing them at greater risk of a severe COVID-19 case are eligible for vaccination, McKenna Oxenden and Hallie Miller report in the Sun.
- Hospitals across the state are reporting difficulties in getting enough vaccines to provide second doses to health care workers in the highest priority categories, according to state officials. The news comes as federal officials in the Department of Health and Human Services and the White House COVID-19 Response Team advised states Monday to not withhold doses as part of an effort to have enough for a second dose, reports Bryan Sears for the Daily Record.
- Despite Acting Secretary of Health Dennis Schrader’s claim that the federal government is responsible for the second dose shortage, Health and Human Services spokesman Bill Hall said the state is still getting its share of the vaccine. He said the department is working with state officials to clear up any confusion, reports Bennett Leckrone for Maryland Matter.
- Prince George’s County, Maryland’s second-largest school system, began its six-to-eight-week vaccine rollout plan Saturday to administer shots to its 22,000 employees, William Ford reports in the Washington Informer. School system support staff can receive the vaccine this week at the Kaiser Permanente Lanham Rehabilitation Center.
CHISHOLM BLAMES VACCINE ROLLOUT GLITCHES ON HOGAN ADMIN: Bryan Renbaum of Maryland Reporter reports that Del. Brian Chisholm said on Monday that Maryland’s coronavirus vaccine distribution rollout has been less successful than many other states because the Hogan administration failed to implement a clear strategy and demonstrate concerted leadership.
ROLLOUT REGIONWIDE HITS MAJOR BUMPS: Canceled appointments. Insufficient doses. Contradictory eligibility rules. Infuriating websites. Multiple mishaps have mangled the region’s rollout of vaccine doses that an exhausted citizenry expects will end the pandemic. The eligibility rules were especially chaotic in suburban Maryland. In Montgomery County, writes Robert McCartney in this Perspective piece for the Post.
HOGAN TO DELIVER VIRTUAL STATE OF STATE: Gov. Larry Hogan plans to deliver his State of the State speech by video on Wednesday night because of precautions being taken to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, writes Pamela Wood of the Sun.
RACIAL IMPACT STATEMENTS: House Speaker Adrienne A. Jones (D-Baltimore County) and Senate President Bill Ferguson (D-Baltimore County) announced Monday that they plan to initiate a pilot program to include racial impact statements in the legislative analysis of criminal justice bills, Hannah Gaskill writes for Maryland Matters.
ANALYSIS: ACCOUNTABILITY IN KIRWAN LACKING: Maryland Reporter contributor Charlie Hayward, a life-long government auditor, takes a deep-dive into the accountability features in the Kirwan Education Reform legislation that was vetoed by Gov. Larry Hogan last year, which is expected to be overturned by the legislature. He finds numerous problems.
OPINION: DON’T COMMERCIALIZE DEER HUNTING: Bill Miles opines in a commentary for Maryland Reporter that there is a dangerous proposal being floated this year, one that is coming from multiple suburban counties across the state – the idea of legalizing the commercial exploitation of a publicly-owned resource, our wild deer population. The Hunters of Maryland oppose this effort for the same reasons Maryland’s hunting community opposed a nearly identical effort in 2015.
RESPONSE STRATEGIES FOR THE MINIMUM OFFER PRICE RULE (MOPR): The current FERC order directs the PJM Interconnection to expand its Minimum Offer Price Rule to most of the state-subsidized capacity resources. The order will significantly impact the capacity market which serves Maryland ratepayers. How will regulators and utilities find common ground in responding to the order? What is FRR and how will it affect the FERC order? Join the discussion on February 8, from 1:00 – 2:00 PM, during the Maryland Clean Energy Center’s 2021 Policy Watch Series. Advance registration is required.
‘CYCLE TRACKING’ PROPOSED FOR HEALTH CLASSES: A non-binding resolution from State Sen. Ed Reilly calling for “female monthly cycle tracking for adolescent girls” to be added to school health curriculum has drawn criticism from reproductive health professionals and women who say the proposal is invasive and inappropriate. The article, by Olivia Sanchez of the Capital Gazette, presents a more complicated issue than at first supposed.
SPEAKER JONES PART OF BLACK HISTORY SERIES: In honoring Black History Month, Baltimore County will hold a virtual series featuring four local leaders, including Maryland House Speaker Adrienne A. Jones, to discuss their “successes, the barriers they have faced, and the path forward” to racial equity, Taylor DeVille of the Towson Times reports.
CAN ANDY HARRIS BE DEFEATED?: Adam Pagnucco of the Seventh State blog answers this question with a detailed analysis of the numbers and finds it highly unlikely. “Getting rid of Harris will require a historically great opponent, an investment of huge financial resources and redistricting changes that will generate resistance with no guarantee of success.”
HAVE A POINT OF VIEW?: We’re happy to run opinion pieces of 500-700 words on issues about state government and politics (but not candidates) in our commentary section. If you have something on your mind, send your commentary to Len@MarylandReporter.com.
PITTMAN GETS TOP CONSERVATION MARKS: A chapter of a Maryland conservation group has given top marks to Anne Arundel County Executive Steuart Pittman and two Democratic County Council members for their environmental agenda since being elected. Their Republican counterparts received poor or failing grades, Brooks Dubose of the Capital Gazette reports.
TRONE SAYS GOP HURTING RECOVERY ATTEMPTS: Bruce DePuyt and Bennett Leckrone of Maryland Matters write that U.S. Rep. David Trone (D-Md.) accused Republicans in Washington, D.C., and Annapolis of failing to step up to help those being hurt most severely by the COVID-19 pandemic. Speaking to reporters on Monday, the newly appointed member of the House Appropriations Committee said the $619 billion relief package offered by a group of U.S. Senate Republicans wasn’t large enough to meet the needs of struggling families and schools — nor does it contain funding to bolster the finances of state and local governments.