State Roundup: County leaders frustrated with vaccine rollout; police reform package goes before committee

State Roundup: County leaders frustrated with vaccine rollout; police reform package goes before committee

The Maryland Senate from You Tube February 9.

SENATE OVERRIDES 4 HOGAN VETOES: The Maryland Senate overrode four vetoes from Gov. Larry Hogan on Tuesday, including one that would require a licensed firearms dealer to facilitate most transactions involving rifles and shotguns. The four bills that the Senate overrode were part of a slew of legislation from the previous session that Hogan vetoed in May 2020, at least in part to limit new state expenditures at the start of the pandemic, Jack Hogan of Capital News Service reports in Maryland Reporter.

  • The vote was part of an effort by the Senate to override vetoes on three criminal justice bills as well as another that provides funding over the next five years for the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, Bryan Sears reports for the Daily Record.

BILL WOULD ALLOW CIVIL SUITS ON UNWARRANTED POLICE CALLS: If you call the police on someone without just cause you may find yourself the subject of a civil suit under legislation being considered by the Maryland General Assembly, Bryan Renbaum of Maryland Reporter reports. Under the legislation – SB0363 – plaintiffs could be awarded statutory damages of $10,000 from each defendant found guilty of violating its provisions. The legislation is sponsored by Sen. Cory McCray (D-Baltimore City) and was previously introduced during the 2020 legislative session.

POLICE REFORM PACKAGE BEFORE COMMITTEE: A package of policing overhauls backed by Maryland House Speaker Adrienne A. Jones would repeal the state’s Law Enforcement Officers’ Bill of Rights, ban the use of no-knock search warrants, create an independent agency to investigate police shootings, and outline a statewide use-of-force policy, Bryn Stole of the Sun reports.

  • Washington Football Team star Chase Young testified in support of a landmark police-accountability bill on Tuesday before the Maryland House Judiciary Committee, telling the panel that his parents — like many Black parents — fear for his life because of police brutality, Ovetta Wiggins of the Post reports.
  • Toni Holness CORRECTION, a lawyer and police reform advocate, tweeted criticism about the athletes’ testimony, calling it an attempt to “out-hype” Jones’ constituents, Hannah Gaskill of Maryland Matters writes.

COUNTY LEADERS EXPRESS FRUSTRATION WITH STATE VAXX ROLL-OUT: Nearly three dozen county leaders from across Maryland have sent a letter to Gov. Larry Hogan, expressing their frustration and concern about the COVID-19 vaccine rollout and offering five solutions to help improve the process, Greg Swatek of the Frederick News-Post reports. The letter, dated Feb. 8, was signed by 33 county leaders from 22 of Maryland’s 24 jurisdictions. The only counties not represented were Allegany and Calvert.

  • County leaders and Baltimore Mayor Brandon M. Scott (D) urged Hogan (R) to order the state Department of Health to release more data relating to the state’s vaccination program. They also urged the state to release federal funds intended for local health departments and — echoing a plea made by some state lawmakers on Monday — they requested that Maryland create a “one-stop” pre-registration system or allow local health departments to do so, Bruce DePuyt of Maryland Matters reports.
  • The state’s jurisdictions are facing a common complication: those trying to cut in line, reports Nathan Ruiz of the Sun. Local health departments have found that, even though eligibility to receive one of the scarce vaccine doses is limited to certain ages and occupations, people from outside those categories are scheduling appointments in the state’s PrepMod system.
  • Thousands of COVID-19 vaccine doses designated for the Baltimore City Health Department have been reallocated to partner organizations tasked with getting shots into arms, city data shows. Of the nearly 25,700 total doses the city health department has received, more than 4,000 have gone to alternate providers, Hallie Miller reports in the Sun.
  • Montgomery County lawmakers asked state leaders why Maryland had allocated 1,000 fewer doses of Covid-19 vaccine to the county health department this week compared with last week. Council President Tom Hucker said it was “unconscionable” for the state to provide more doses of vaccine per capita to small, rural counties than to large, metropolitan jurisdictions.

MO CO SCHOOLS PLAN TO REOPEN IN MARCH: Pressured by parents with opposing views on when Maryland’s largest school system should reopen classrooms amid the pandemic, Montgomery County officials stayed the course with a plan to return starting next month, Donna St. George of the Post reports. The plan, unanimously approved by the school board Tuesday, takes effect in March as the suburban school system of more than 160,000 students marks a full year of virtual learning.

RASKIN’s EMOTIONAL IMPEACHMENT SPEECH DRAWS ATTENTION: Meagan Flynn of the Post reports on U.S. Rep. Jamie Raskin’s speech on Tuesday as the lead House impeachment manager emotionally relating the frightening events of Jan. 6 when supporters of President Donald Trump stormed the Capitol building as legislators, staff and family members – including his own — hid inside.

  • McKenna Oxenden of the Sun quotes Raskin as saying: “This cannot be the future of America. We cannot have presidents inciting and mobilizing mob violence against our government and our institutions because they refuse to accept the will of the people under the Constitution of the United States.”
  • The speech, delivered before a rapt Senate chamber on Tuesday, will be remembered at the Capitol, probably for a long time, for its appeal to the still-raw emotions after the mob attack on the jurors’ workplace and courtroom, Mark Leibovich and Nicholas Fandos of the New York Times report.

PLASTIC BAG BILL: A Maryland House committee on Friday voted to approve a bill prohibiting all retail establishments from distributing a plastic carryout bag at the point of sale, CNS’s Madison Hunt reports in Maryland Reporter. HB314, the Plastic Bag Reduction Act, cross-filled with SB223 in the state Senate, would tackle the plastic pollution problem in the state, advocates said.

THERAPY DOGS COULD BE MANDATED IN SCHOOLS: CNS’s Tom Hindle reports that a bill in the state legislature would require public schools to allow the use of therapy dogs across the state. There’s currently no Maryland-wide policy for these dogs. Under the bill — filed in the House as HB713, and in the Senate as SB419 — certified canines would be permitted entry to offer emotional and scholastic support for students. How exactly that should happen would be left up to each county board of education. The article appears in Maryland Reporter.

REILLY SEEKS TO WITHDRAW MENSTRUAL TRACKING RESOLUTION: Sen. Ed Reilly has moved to withdraw a resolution calling on the Maryland State Board of Education to teach menstrual tracking during health education after activists launched a Facebook group entitled “I Bled for Ed,” and decried the proposal as invasive and inappropriate, Olivia Sanchez of the Capital Gazette reports.

ALCOHOL-TO-GO COULD CONTINUE POST-PANDEMIC: Throughout a COVID-19 pandemic that has forced closures of dozens of area restaurants, carryout has proved a dependable, if not large, source of revenue. And so have sales of alcohol to-go that restaurants with liquor licenses have been permitted to offer during Maryland’s state of emergency. Restaurateurs say their ability to offer to-go alcoholic drinks with meals should continue in a post-COVID-19 world. A proposal by some state lawmakers would allow that to happen, Lorraine Mirabella and Bryn Stole of the Sun report.

PROGRESSIVE RETURNS TO CHALLENGE HOYER AGAIN: Mckayla Wilkes, the progressive political newcomer who attempted to unseat U.S. House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer in the Democratic primary last June, is planning to run a second time for the powerful Democrat’s seat. Wilkes, 30, received 26% of the vote in the primary compared to Hoyer’s 64%, Samantha Hawkins of Maryland Matters reports.

About The Author

Cynthia Prairie

cynthiaprairie@gmail.com
https://www.chestertelegraph.org/

Contributing Editor Cynthia Prairie has been a newspaper editor since 1979, when she began working at The Raleigh Times. Since then, she has worked for The Baltimore News American, The Chicago Sun-Times, The Prince George’s Journal and Baltimore County newspapers in the Patuxent Publishing chain, including overseeing The Jeffersonian when it was a two-day a week business publication. Cynthia has won numerous state awards, including the Maryland State Bar Association’s Gavel Award. Besides compiling and editing the daily State Roundup, she runs her own online news outlet, The Chester Telegraph. If you have additional questions or comments contact Cynthia at: cynthiaprairie@gmail.com

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