HOGAN INFRASTRUCTURE TESTIMONY ON HILL GETS PUSH BACK: Gov. Larry Hogan emphasized Maryland’s commitment to transportation infrastructure improvements in his virtual testimony to lawmakers on Capitol Hill on Wednesday morning Bryan Renbaum reports for Maryland Reporter. During his time as chair of the National Governors Association from July 2019 to August 2020, he spearheaded a nationwide initiative aimed at improving the country’s roads and highways and transportation projects.
- Hogan ran into surprising criticism during the hearing by the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee about his decision in 2015 to cancel the Red Line light rail project, Daniel C. Vock, Danielle E. Gaines and Bruce DePuyt report for Maryland Matters.
- A light rail project akin to the Washington area’s Purple Line could one day be developed in Baltimore if it was made “attractive” to the private sector, Hogan told the U.S. Senate committee, Jeff Barker reports in the Sun. He also appeared to criticize the Red Line plan.
BILL WOULD CODIFY TRANSIT PROMISES: Backers of a measure that would hold Maryland transportation officials to the promises they have made on a controversial highway project sought to generate momentum for the legislation on Wednesday, Bruce DePuyt of Maryland Matters reports. House Bill 67 and Senate Bill 843 seeks to codify the public statements that agency officials have offered in support of Gov. Larry Hogan’s plan to widen portions of Interstates 495 and 270 and modernize the American Legion Bridge.
FOLLOWUP TESTS FIND NO COVID FOR SEVERAL IN SENATE: Follow-up testing for “several” Maryland state senators or staffers who received positive results from rapid coronavirus tests indicated that none are actually infected with the virus, Ovetta Wiggins reports for the Post.
BILL AIMS TO PROTECT CHILDREN FROM VIOLENCE: Sen. Susan C. Lee (D-Montgomery) presented a bill before the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee on Wednesday seeking to train judges who preside over family law and domestic violence cases to protect minors against violence perpetrated by their parents, Hannah Gaskill of Maryland Matters reports.
RENT HELP OK’d FOR AIRPORT VENDORS: The Maryland Board of Public Works unanimously approved a package of rent relief and lease extensions for tenants at BWI Marshall Airport through June. It expands on assistance the airport and concessions developer Fraport Maryland offered from April 2020 through December, Lorraine Mirabella of the Sun reports.
STATE: NO CHARGE FOR COVID VAXX: Rachel Aragon of WBFF-TV reports that the Maryland Insurance Administration is looking to get ahead of any potential scams where you’re asked to foot the bill for the COVID-19 vaccine. In a tweet, the agency stressed providers can seek reimbursement from insurance companies, but there are no co-pays or cost-sharing.
SENATE PANEL OKs SWEEPING CLIMATE BILL: The Senate Education, Health and Environmental Affairs Committee has advanced an omnibus climate action bill that would put Maryland on track toward achieving statewide net-zero emissions by 2045, Elizabeth Shwe of Maryland Matters reports.
SENATORS SEEK SPORTS BETTING LICENSE FOR WA CO: Last November, Maryland voters approved legalized sports betting, but lawmakers are still working on the most basic details of what that means for the state. State Sen. Paul Corderman, R-Washington, said he is trying to get Washington County “a seat at the table” during those Maryland General Assembly discussions, Alexis Fitzpatrick reports for the Hagerstown Herald-Mail.
SCHOOL PLANS BY JURISDICTION: McKenna Oxenden of the Sun updates on how jurisdictions throughout Maryland are managing a return to school during the Covid-19 pandemic.
CARROLL SCHOOL PLAN DOUBLES IN-PERSON LEARNING: The Carroll County Board of Education voted Wednesday night to send an updated return-to-school plan that would double the amount of in-person learning for most students to the state’s education department for approval, with the student board member abstaining, Kristen Griffith of the Carroll County Times reports.
HUNDREDS PROTEST MO CO SCHOOL REOPENING PLAN: Hundreds of people in their cars protested Montgomery County Public Schools’ reopening plan Tuesday near the school system’s Rockville headquarters, in a demonstration sponsored by the county’s teachers union, Dan Schere of Bethesda Beat reports. MCPS is scheduled to send about 700 students back to in-person learning on Monday. More students will return to classes on March 15.
DITCHING THE STATE SONG: The House Health and Government Operations Committee heard testimony Wednesday on three bills that would do away with the current state song. At the hearing, it was clear all of the lawmakers would support any of the measures passing, Danielle Gaines reports for Maryland Matters.
ADULT ENTERTAINERS WANT RESTRICTIONS LOOSENED IN CITY: Adult club entertainers in Baltimore City – some who have taken jobs in Baltimore County where such clubs can operate at 50% capacity – protested at City Hall on Wednesday asking Mayor Brandon Scott to loosen Covid-19 restrictions in their city venues, Christina Tkacik reports in the Sun.
- Eight African-American city leaders, who had summoned the media to the front of City Hall to express concerns about Baltimore’s top corruption investigator, called off a news conference after being drowned out by the strippers, report Mark Reutter and Louis Krauss for Baltimore Brew.
AUTHOR, ACTIVIST WES MOORE WEIGHS RUN FOR GOV: Author and activist Wes Moore said in a statement that he is “seriously considering” running for governor of Maryland in 2022, with a wide-open race expected to attract a crowded Democratic field, Erin Cox reports for the Post.
- Moore joins a number of high-profile Democrats and Republicans considering campaigns to succeed two-term Republican Gov. Larry Hogan, who cannot seek reelection in 2022 because of term limits, Jeff Barker of the Sun reports.
BIAS TRAINING MANDATE FOR PUBLIC OFFICIALS: Maryland legislators introduced a pair of bills that could mandate police, judges, state’s attorneys and public defenders undergo implicit bias training in order to recognize and counteract any potential biases they may carry against specific groups, Jacob Steinberg of the AP reports.
NAME CHANGE FOR STATE HIGH COURTS? “Justice” might finally come to Maryland, writes Steve Lash for the Daily Record. A proposed state constitutional amendment now before the General Assembly would change the name of Maryland’s top judicial tribunal from the Court of Appeals to the Supreme Court of Maryland and the title of its jurists from judge to justice, with the chief judge becoming the chief justice.
NEW INFO IN LAWSUIT BY BLACK PG POLICE: An ongoing lawsuit against the Prince George’s County Police Department illustrates additional incidents of racially-motivated and retaliatory conduct against Black and Latino officers and citizens, based on new unredacted information released Monday, William Ford reports for the Washington Informer.
FROSH LEADS COALITION FOR ELECTION REFORM: Maryland Attorney General Brian E. Frosh (D) led a coalition of 21 attorneys general in support of a federal election reform Tuesday. Bennett Leckrone of Maryland Matters reports that in a letter to congressional leadership, Frosh and his fellow attorneys generals urged the passage of the “For the People Act” spearheaded by Rep. John D. Sarbanes (D-Md.) and Sen. Jeffrey A. Merkley (D-Or.). That proposal aims to make voting more accessible and crack down on gerrymandering.