STATE URGES RESERVE FOR 2nd VACCINE DOSES: Maryland’s acting health secretary, Dennis Schrader, on Tuesday said health care providers should hold in reserve enough COVID-19 vaccine to administer second doses to people who have already received one shot — rather than using their supply to give more people their first inoculation against the infectious disease, as some have recommended, Hallie Miller and Meredith Cohn of the Sun report.
- Some Maryland hospitals have told officials they aren’t getting enough second doses of the new COVID-19 vaccine. State lawmakers raised concerns about these reports at a meeting Monday afternoon. WYPR-FM’s Rachel Baye and Nathan Sterner discuss the problem.
B’MORE ASKS STATE FOR EXPAND VAXX ACCESS: Baltimore Mayor Brandon Scott called on the state Tuesday to expand access to coronavirus vaccinations for people who live and work in the city as Maryland prepares to open its first mass vaccination site in the city, Emily Opilo of the Sun reports.
- People with appointments for coronavirus vaccinations were turned away Tuesday when they arrived at Baltimore’s vaccination center, a situation city health officials attributed to overbooking by the state’s vaccination scheduling system, Emily Opilo of the Sun.
HO CO GETS 66% FEWER VAXX DOSES OVER PRIOR WEEK: The Howard County Health Department was set to receive 2,000 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine this week from the state, a 66% reduction from the previous week, according to Maura Rossman, Howard County’s health officer, Ana Faguy of the Howard County Times reports. This reduction is caused by the state Department of Health broadening distribution of the vaccine to additional providers, including hospitals, retail pharmacies and large group practices.
OPINION: VACCINE ROLLOUT IS ‘HUNGER GAMES’ FOR HEALTH CARE: The editorial board of the Sun opines that “If we needed any more indication that the Maryland vaccination rollout has been an utterly, confusing mess, we got news Monday that there may not be enough doses for people to get their second shots. … Marylanders have lost all confidence in the rollout, with many comparing it to a version of “The Hunger Games’ — a survival of the fittest competition.’
LOCAL LEADERS ASK HOUSE TO OVERRIDE HOGAN DRUG BOARD VETO: Maryland’s county and city leaders teamed up on Tuesday to urge the General Assembly to override Gov. Larry Hogan’s veto of legislation that would establish a permanent funding source for the Prescription Drug Affordability Board. The Senate voted to override the veto in January, Bryan Renbaum of Maryland Reporter writes.
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.
MAKING SCHOOLS POLICE-FREE: Dels. Jheanelle K. Wilkins (D-Montgomery) and Gabriel Acevero (D-Montgomery) are seeking to restructure disciplinary measures in public schools across the state and will introduce the Police Free Schools Act, designed to prohibit school districts from contracting with local law enforcement agencies to station police officers, also known as school resource officers, in public schools, Hannah Gaskill of Maryland Matters reports.
MORE ON RACIAL EQUITY IMPACT: When Maryland lawmakers weigh bills on changing policing practices and reforming criminal justice, they’ll have extra information to consider on racial equity. The General Assembly is starting a pilot program that will give lawmakers expert analysis on whether bills would result in disparate harm — or help — to different segments of the population, Pamela Wood of the Sun reports.
ANTI-BIAS PROGRAM COULD BE PART OF HATE CRIME LAW: Kimberly Seif of Capital News Service, in a story that appears in Maryland Reporter, writes that judges will be allowed to require people charged with hate crimes to complete anti-bias education programs if a bill to expand the current Maryland hate crime law is passed.
MORE FUNDS SOUGHT FOR MTA: State lawmakers are pushing a transportation bill that would increase funding to the Maryland Transit Administration to make the state’s bus system, MARC train, Metro and Light Rail more safe and reliable, Audrey Decker of CNS reports in Maryland Reporter.
STUDY FINDS DEVELOPMENT AROUND RAIL STATIONS LACKING: Increasing development around rail stations in Prince George’s and Anne Arundel counties could add thousands of transit-friendly jobs and homes while generating tens of millions of dollars in new tax revenue, according to a study released Wednesday by the Greater Washington Partnership, Katherine Shaver of the Post is reporting. The report cited seven Metro and MARC commuter rail stations with untapped potential for high-density “transit-oriented development.”
BARGAINING RIGHTS FOR COMMUNITY COLLEGE EMPLOYEES: The Maryland Community College Employees Freedom to Collectively Bargain Act of 2021, sponsored by Del. Keith E. Haynes (D-Baltimore City), would expand bargaining rights to employees at all of Maryland’s 16 community colleges, Elizabeth Shwe of Maryland Matters reports.
BILL SEEKS EQUAL ACCESS TO BALLOT: A Maryland lawmaker wants all of the state’s voters to mark their ballots with devices rather than by hand, arguing that the move would make voting more equitable for people with disabilities, Bennett Leckrone of Maryland Matters reports.
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.
AS DEATHS HIT 7,000, NEW COVID CASES DROP BELOW 1,000: Maryland surpassed 7,000 coronavirus deaths Tuesday, reporting 34 fatalities and 905 new cases, state health department data shows. It’s the first time since Nov. 3 the state has reported fewer than 1,000 new cases in one day, bringing the state’s case count and death toll to 356,541 and 7,012, respectively, writes Alex Mann for the Sun.
- The number of cases of COVID-19 in Carroll County and throughout Maryland are down this week, possibly because of the snowstorm that has forced the cancellation of testing at some sites, including on Tuesday at the Carroll County Agriculture Center in Westminster, Bob Blubaugh of the Carroll County Times reports.
ARUNDEL COUNCIL OFFERED VAXX, SAY NO: The Anne Arundel County Council has been offered coronavirus vaccines under the “continuity of government” provision of the rollout, but not all councilmembers intend to be inoculated now, reports Olivia Sanchez for the Capital Gazette. The council hasn’t met in chambers since March, and some members say because they are not currently public-facing, they should allow seniors and residents with high-risk health conditions go first.
MORE WA CO STUDENTS TO RETURN TO SCHOOLS: Washington County Public Schools is still planning to return many students to in-person learning starting Feb. 16, Julie Greene reports for the Hagerstown Herald-Mail. The school system affirmed Tuesday night its plan to resume in-person learning at Stage 4, which would allow more students to return to classrooms than the Stage 3 the school system was operating under until mid-November, when everyone reverted to virtual learning.
OPINION: KOREAWAY SIGNS DON’T REFLECT COMMUNITY’s DIVERSITY: Angie Boyter in a column for Maryland Reporter opines that there “is a disturbing state initiative to put two Korean-style structures 12-feet tall and 8-feet wide bearing a Koreatown sign in the right-of-way on Route 40 in Ellicott City. … However … My nearby community of Dunloggin welcomes neighbors from Nigeria, India, Pakistan, Ukraine, Turkey and South America, among others (even from Anne Arundel County) … International Town might be a good designation …”
EX-COMMERCE OFFICIAL CHARGED IN CHILD PORN: A former senior official in the Maryland Department of Commerce, who resigned in August 2020, has been charged with distribution of child pornography. Mathew Palmer was charged in U.S. District Court last week, Bryan Sears reports for the Daily Record. Federal prosecutors say Palmer used his iPhone in August to distribute a 51-second video that included the graphic rape of a young girl.
FORMER BROADCAST INSTITUTE OWNER JOHN JEPPI DIES AT 83: John C. Jeppi Sr., the former owner of the Broadcasting Institute of Maryland who covered sports for radio years ago, died of COVID-19 pneumonia Jan. 17 at his Mays Chapel home, The former Ruxton resident was 83, Jacques Kelly of the Sun reports.