MIXED REACTIONS TO HOGAN’s SURPRISE REOPENING PLAN: Maryland’s swift and far-reaching plan to reopen businesses and public venues took many key stakeholders by surprise, interviews with officials, business and health leaders show, and went further than some industry representatives had requested, Rebecca Tan, Ovetta Wiggins, Rachel Chason and Erin Cox of the Post report.
- Comptroller Peter Franchot slammed Gov. Larry Hogan’s decision to lift capacity restrictions on restaurants, bars, and retail establishments, saying the decision was based on politics rather than science, Bryan Renbaum of Maryland Reporter reports.
- Some Maryland’s county executives and mayors are still considering how they will respond to Gov. Hogan’s decision to reopen restaurants, bars and retail establishments, writes Tim Prudente for the Sun. Others have said they will comply with the decision.
- Counties have so far had some ability to set stricter limits on gatherings, capacity at restaurants and bars and in retail establishments, a practice Hogan told reporters Tuesday they’d still have, even with the state rolling back many restrictions, Bryan Sears reports for the Daily Record. But that authority appears to be ending without warning at 5 p.m. March 12.
- Howard County will align with Gov. Larry Hogan’s COVID-19 restrictions, according to County Executive Calvin Ball, Chris Berinato of WBFF-TV reports.
- Montgomery County officials spent Wednesday trying to determine what local authority they have after Gov. Larry Hogan announced Tuesday that the state will loosen restrictions on restaurants and other businesses, starting Friday, Briana Adhikusuma of Bethesda Beat reports.
STATE LAWMAKERS SLOW BUDGET WORK AS FED MONEY ASSESSED: As the U.S. House passed a $1.9 trillion federal stimulus plan on Wednesday, the Maryland House temporarily slowed work on the state budget to give appropriators time to understand the flood of federal money headed to the state, and to wrest some control over stimulus spending from the governor, Danielle Gaines and Laura Olson report for Maryland Matters.
WHAT’s IN FED STIMULUS PACKAGE FOR MARYLAND? Maryland will receive billions of dollars in federal aid in the latest stimulus package, which is expected to become law this week with President Joe Biden’s signature, Madeleine O’Neill of the USA Today Network reports. The $1.9 trillion bill includes $1,400 stimulus checks, massive expansions to federal tax credits, nearly $6.4 billion in direct funding for Maryland’s state and local governments and millions of dollars to prop up ailing transit systems and airports.
OPINION: SOME DRUNK DRIVERS DON’T GET SLAP ON THE WRIST: In an opinion piece for Maryland Reporter, Chris Swonger of the Distilled Spirits Council and Responsibility.org and Rich Leotta opine that in 2016, Maryland passed Noah’s Law, named after Rich Leotta’s late son, to mandate the use of ignition interlocks—better known as breathalyzers for motor vehicles—to be installed in vehicles owned or operated by any convicted DUI offender. Noah’s Law however contains a dangerous loophole in its ignition interlock mandate. Many first-time DUI offenders in Maryland are not sentenced to install an ignition interlock because they are granted probation before judgment.
BPW OKs SETTLEMENT ON CHILDREN SENTENCED TO LIFE: The Maryland Board of Public Works approved a settlement Wednesday that will require the state to adopt new policies regarding the parole process for people sentenced as children to life imprisonment. The settlement will require the Maryland Parole Commission, the Division of Correction and governor to adopt new regulations for the parole process, the AP is reporting.
BILL WOULD LET ATTY GEN SUE FOR CLIMATE FRAUD: One Maryland lawmaker is seeking to enable the attorney general to prosecute fossil fuel companies that have contributed to the climate crisis through fraud or deception, Elizabeth Shwe of Maryland Matters reports.
MARYLAND U.S. SENATORS SEEK TUBMAN STATUE FOR CAPITOL: Maryland’s U.S. senators are reintroducing their legislation to erect a statue in the U.S. Capitol to Harriet Tubman, the Eastern Shore woman who led slaves to freedom along the Underground Railroad, Tim Prudente of the Sun reports.
BA CO COUNCIL UNHAPPY WITH SUPER’s ANSWERS ON RANSOMWARE ATTACK: The Baltimore County Council grilled School Superintendent Darryl Williams Tuesday over details about November’s ransomware attack. Council members were not happy with Williams’ answers, John Lee reports for WYPR-FM.
OLSZEWSKI, STATE DISAGREE WIDELY OVER TEACHER VAXX NUMBERS: The Maryland State Department of Education says that only 27% of Baltimore County teachers are vaccinated for COVID-19. But Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewski said Wednesday that 63% of educators have been vaccinated, Phil Yacuboski of WBAL-AM reports.
PRINCE GEORGE’S TARGETS RESIDENTS WITH VAXX: William Ford of the Washington Informer reports that the Maryland Vaccine Equity Task Force will lead an effort to make sure residents of underserved communities are treated with the Covid-19 vaccines especially in Prince George’s County and Baltimore City, where officials stressed not enough vaccines have been distributed.
MO CO DELEGATION OPPOSES ELRICH’s PURPLE LINE PLAN: A majority of MoCo’s state legislators have written to the Maryland Transit Administration opposing County Executive Marc Elrich’s proposal to single track the Purple Line through a tunnel in downtown Bethesda, Adam Pagnucco of Seventh State reports.
ROBERT EHRLICH SR., 90, DIES: Robert L. Ehrlich Sr., a retired Ford salesman and the father of a former Maryland governor who enthusiastically campaigned for his son as a young athlete and later as a political candidate, died Tuesday at his son’s Annapolis home. He was 90, Jacques Kelly reports for the Sun.