OVERRIDE OF VETOES BEGINS: The Maryland General Assembly is poised this week to override the vetoes of several landmark bills that Gov. Larry Hogan (R) issued last year, including a multibillion-dollar overhaul of the state’s public education system and two taxes that would help pay for the restructuring: a tax on digital streaming and a first-in-the-nation tax on digital ads, Ovetta Wiggins and Erin Cox report in the Post.
- The Maryland House of Delegates voted Monday to override Gov. Larry Hogan’s veto of a comprehensive K-12 education measure that would boost school funding by billions of dollars over a decade’s time, Brian Witte of the AP reports.
- The vote, 95-37, surpassed the three-fifths majority required and was mainly along party lines. The bill is a 10-year plan that would expand pre-kindergarten programs and increase funding for schools with high concentrations of poverty, increase pay and career opportunities for teachers, create new career pathways for high schoolers who don’t plan to attend college, and establish an accountability board, Danielle Gaines and Elizabeth Shwe of Maryland Matters writes.
BROWN CRITICIZES HOGAN VAXX SYSTEM: U.S. Rep. Anthony Brown (D-Md.) Monday slammed Gov. Larry Hogan’s administration’s stewardship of coronavirus vaccine distribution, saying the state has a “broken system.” “I don’t think that the state is well-coordinated. I don’t think that there has been statewide planning …,” Brown told Bryan Renbaum of MarylandReporter.com.
LOCAL-STATE TENSIONS CONTINUE OVER VACCINE ROLLOUT: If a third COVID-19 vaccine is approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration later this month, as expected, Maryland will soon be in a position to vaccinate tens of thousands of people each day, Gov. Larry Hogan said on Monday. It is also likely that tensions — particularly between state and local officials, and between the governor and Maryland’s congressional delegation — will remain high as well. Monday brought an escalation of those tensions, Bruce DePuyt of Maryland Matters writes.
SCHRADER: REGISTER MULTIPLE TIMES FOR VAXX: Maryland residents who qualify for COVID-19 immunizations should register multiple times, and with multiple providers, for vaccination appointments while supply remains limited, the state’s acting health secretary said Monday. Hallie Miller reports for the Sun.
- Amid Maryland’s coronavirus vaccine rollout, state senators are holding weekly meetings with Dennis Schrader, the acting health secretary, to assess the speed, equity and efficiency of getting shots into arms. Hallie Miller of the Sun offers three takeaways from the meeting, including register many times with many providers until something sticks.
- Schrader’s comments irritated some state senators who said their constituents, particularly the elderly and minorities who are not savvy with technology or lack access, are having trouble finding a vaccination, Bryan Sears of the Daily Record reports. “We don’t really want a game of ‘The Hunger Games’ to try and get an appointment,” said Sen. Clarence Lam, D-Howard and Baltimore counties.
BALTIMORE AREA EMPLOYERS RELUCTANT TO REQUIRE VAXX: Employers generally have a right to require vaccinations — but so far, many Baltimore-area workplaces are choosing not to do so with these vaccines, currently approved only for emergency use amid the coronavirus pandemic, Lorraine Mirabella and Alison Knezevich of the Sun report.
STATE MAY DITCH POLICE MISCONDUCT PROTECTIONS: Months after George Floyd’s death sparked a national demand to overhaul policing, Maryland lawmakers are launching a historic effort to get rid of police protections such as the bill of rights, a decades-old statute that was the first in the country to codify workplace protections for officers accused of misconduct, Ovetta Wiggins of the Post reports.
OPINION: DIGITAL TAX BILL A RED HERRING: An opinion piece from Brian Griffiths in his Duckpin blog contends that a bill proposed by Senate President Bill Ferguson to prevent digital companies from passing along a tax to consumers is just a red herring.
OPINION: STIFF PENALTIES A GOOD DETERRENT: Former Deputy Baltimore Police Commissioner Jason Johnson in a commentary for Maryland Reporter opines that in the last six months, three Baltimore MTA employees have been violently attacked, two fatally. Sens. Cory McCray and Jeffrey Waldstreicher want to increase the penalty for those who attack and injure public transit employees to a felony. The question the bill raises, however, is: If progressive legislators truly believe that increased criminal penalties do work as a deterrent, why are they so resistant to increasing penalties for more serious and widespread violent crime?
BACK TO SCHOOL PLANS AROUND THE STATE: McKenna Oxenden of the Sun pulls together school plans to return students and teachers to classrooms from around the state. For example, Anne Arundel County Public Schools told teachers and school staff Feb. 2 that they must return to school buildings Feb. 17, and work from there four days a week, with Wednesday at home and online so schools can be cleaned.
6 DIE IN CARROLL AS COVID CASES DECLINE: Six fatalities attributed to COVID-19 were announced Monday by the Carroll County Health Department, which also reported the fewest weekly cases in the county since the first week of November, Bob Blubaugh of the Carroll County Times reports.
MO CO COVID POSITIVE RATE DOWN: Montgomery County’s COVID-19 test positivity rate has fallen 3 percentage points in the past month, Bethesda Beat reports.
FREDERICK SHERIFF CRITICIZES BIDEN OVER ICE ACTION: Frederick County Sheriff Chuck Jenkins argues that President Biden has ‘dismantled ICE’ by ‘basically telling the agents to stand down.’ Fox & Friends’ Steve Doocy loudly interviews Jenkins, who claims that Americans should be outraged.