SPORTS BETTING LOGISTICS PROVE CHALLENGING FOR LAWMAKERS: Halfway through session, members of the General Assembly are still trying to hash out the details of setting up a new sports gambling industry that was overwhelmingly approved by voters during a referendum in last fall’s election, Pamela Wood reports for the Sun.
- Minority-owned businesses interested in sports betting licenses in Maryland say a House proposal doesn’t go far enough to ensure equal participation and wealth-building opportunities, though House leaders have expressed a desire to make sure minorities are included in opportunities for licenses and generational wealth, Bryan Sears reports for The Daily Record.
HISTORIC POLICE REFORMS REACH SENATE, CAUSE RIFT IN HOUSE: A comprehensive list of police reforms, including years of jail time for officers found in wrong-doing, will reach the floor of the Senate Friday, Bryn Stole reports for the Sun. The chairman of the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee called it the “most comprehensive” slate of reforms attempted in decades.
- Maryland’s historic push to reform police has created a rift in the General Assembly’s Democratic caucus, with some members of the party’s left concerned the bills don’t go far enough or provide enough community oversight, Ovetta Wiggins reports for the Post.
WELCOMING BACK STUDENTS: Many of Maryland’s most populous districts are set to welcome some students back for in-person instruction Monday, marking the start of varying local plans in response to Gov. Larry Hogan’s push to reopen schools by March 1, Patrick Hauf reports for the Capital News Service in Maryland Reporter.
THIRD SPAN OF BAY BRIDGE HAS ‘ADVANTAGES:’ A draft environmental impact statement of a proposed span crossing of the Chesapeake Bay concluded a third span along the existing Bay Bridge has “substantial advantages” over other alternatives, Kelsey Kushner reports for WJZ.
HOGAN OPTIMISTIC AT M&T STADIUM VACCINE DISTRIBUTION SITE OPENING: Gov. Larry Hogan toured M&T Bank Stadium shortly after it opened Thursday morning as Maryland’s newest COVID-19 mass vaccination site, with hundreds getting doses for the “soft opening,” Kate Amara reports for WBAL-TV. It’s the second mass vaccination site to open in Baltimore City.
- Emergency use authorization of Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine would provide a huge boost to Maryland’s efforts to fill the gulf of supply in the state’s vaccine allotment, Darryl Kinsey Jr. reports for the Capital News Service in Maryland Reporter. Hogan’s comments followed his tour of M&T Bank Stadium.
COMMENTARY: VACCINATIONS HARD TO FIND IN BMORE: Why are African Americans behind in vaccination numbers? The Rev. Dorothy Boulware, AFRO managing editor, asks if they’re refusing in mass numbers or if they’re unable to access the vaccine, and writes the latter is much more feasible.
DEMAND OUTPACES AVAILABLE VACCINES IN MOCO: During a virtual town hall, Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich said he hopes the number of doses will improve by mid-March, Mike Murillo reports for WTOP.
TAX CREDIT FOR LOW INCOME IMMIGRANTS MOVING IN HOUSE OF DELEGATES: A bill expanding a low-income tax credit to immigrants cleared an initial vote in the Maryland House of Delegates Thursday, despite Republicans’ objections to extending the benefit to immigrants without legal status in the United States, Rachel Baye reports for WYPR.
FOSSIL FUEL TAX COULD RAISE $350 MILLION FOR SCHOOLS: A bill before the General Assembly would charge fees on fossil fuels and high-emission vehicles, sending the first $350 million annually to fund education, Madison Hunt of Capital New Service reports for Baltimore Fishbowl. A lobbyist for Washington Gas utility testified that the fees would be passed along to customers in rate increases.
- Beginning July 31, 2022, all fossil fuels brought into Maryland for burning and all new high-emission vehicles sold or registered within the state would incur a fee, the AP reports.
TUCKER CARLSON FIRES SHOT AT HOCO TEACHERS UNION: Fox News Commentator Tucker Carlson called out the Howard County teachers union for “actively hurting” students in an attack on the union’s work-to-rule resolution and on teachers unions nationally, Jacob Calvin Meyer reports for Baltimore Sun Media.
MOCO TEACHER DIDN’T VIOLATE MD LAW DURING INAPPROPRIATE ZOOM CALL: “A paraeducator at Shady Grove Middle School who was seen masturbating on camera during a virtual link with students won’t be charged criminally,” Dan Schere reports for Bethesda Beat. The teacher has been placed on administrative leave and said he thought the zoom video call had been disabled, and police said it had not risen to the level of a criminal offense under Maryland law.
GOOD SAMARITAN LAW PROTECTS DRUG OVERDOSE VICTIMS GETTING HELP: Maryland’s second highest court has ruled that Maryland’s Good Samaritan Law protects both people seeking help for others and those for whom health is sought from drug possession charges, Steve Lash reports for The Daily Record.
THRASHER ANNOUNCES IN DELEGATE RACE: A community advocate and podcast host is running as a Democrat for delegate in Frederick, Steve Bohnel reports for The Frederick News-Post. Tarolyn Thrasher said she believes she can best represent the growing, diverse district with a fresh voice.
BILL ALLOWS VIRTUAL DAYS IN SCHOOL INSTEAD OF SNOW DAYS: The Garrett County schools superintendent and Del. Wendell Beitzel, R-Garrett, are working together for legislation that would allow schools to declare virtual learning days instead of snow days, the staff of the Garrett County Republican reports. This would prevent inclement weather days from adding on to the end of the school year.