LOCKLAIR: EMPHASIS NEEDED ON WOMEN’s WORKPLACE SAFETY: Maryland Retailers Association President Cailey Locklair said Wednesday that while employers have a responsibility to make sure that all of their employees feel safe in the workplace, a special emphasis should be placed on the protection and vocational advancement of women. Bryan Renbaum of Maryland Reporter sat down for a Q&A with her during International Women’s Month.
LAWMAKERS OK $577M HBCU SETTLEMENT: Maryland lawmakers gave final passage Wednesday to a measure to pay $577 million over 10 years to settle a federal lawsuit alleging discrimination and underfunding at the state’s four historically Black colleges and universities, reports Brian Witte of the AP. Gov. Larry Hogan vetoed a similar bill last year after citing economic difficulties created by the COVID-19 pandemic.
SENATE GIVES INITIAL OK TO BANNING LIFE IN PRISON FOR JUVIES: The Maryland Senate gave preliminary approval Wednesday to legislation that would prohibit murderers and rapists from being sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole if they were juveniles when they killed or raped, Steve Lash reports for the Daily Record.
ENVIRONMENTAL BILL ON ‘BLACK LIQUOR’ MOVES FORWARD: Maryland lawmakers are looking to change the clean-energy classification of a controversial renewable energy source – black liquor – but Republicans worry that doing so could drive up energy costs in the state, report Bennett Leckrone and Danielle E. Gaines for Maryland Matters.
BILL WOULD END AT-LARGE COMMISSIONERS: Bruce DePuyt of Maryland Matters writes that House Bill 655, sponsored by Del. Brian M. Crosby (D-St. Mary’s), would require that county commissioners who represent districts be elected solely by the voters of that district, not the entire county. It would impact five counties — Calvert, Charles, Garrett, Queen Anne’s and St. Mary’s. Critics contend that at-large voting systems make it very difficult for racial minorities to win.
HOUSE SET TO VOTE ON $50B BUDGET PLAN: The House of Delegates will vote this morning on amendments to the chamber’s proposed $50 billion budget for fiscal year 2022, Danielle Gaines reports in Maryland Matters. In recent weeks, the proposed budget has undergone a dramatic transformation, as tax revenues came in higher than expected, Congress passed a massive stimulus package that will send direct aid to the state’s coffers and Gov. Larry Hogan submitted a series of supplemental budget bills to distribute federal funding and recognize state employees who have worked through the pandemic.
ASIAN-AMERICAN MARYLANDERS LIVE IN FEAR: Gov. Larry Hogan, whose wife, Yumi, was born in South Korea, said Wednesday he’s “horrified” by the Atlanta-area killings of eight people, many of them Asian women, Pamela Wood of the Sun reports.
- Asian-American Marylanders are saying that racism, threats and fears of violence are a part of daily life, the Sun reports.
OP-ED: RACIAL, ECONOMIC JUSTICE GO HAND-IN-HAND: In an op-ed for Maryland Matters, Baltimore County Executive John Olszewski, Baltimore City Mayor Brandon Scott and Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich opine, “ we strongly support passage of the Secure Maryland Wage Act to reduce racial inequities. The bill would improve wages for an overwhelmingly Black workforce, many of whom live in Baltimore communities that most urgently need this financial boost.”
PANDEMIC HIGHLIGHTS UNDERINVESTMENT IN PUBLIC HEALTH: What experts say is underinvestment in public health now shows in the lagging percentage of residents vaccinated across the state, especially among the most vulnerable populations. Higher proportions of white people have been given a shot compared with Black and Latino people. And Baltimore City officials have clashed with Gov. Larry Hogan over how Baltimore is handling its share of still-scarce vaccine, according to the Sun.
HARRIS VOTES NO TO MEDAL FOR CAPITOL COPS WHO FOUGHT INSURRECTION: A dozen House Republicans – including Maryland Rep. Andy Harris – voted against a resolution to award three Congressional Gold Medals to the Capitol Police, the D.C. police and the Smithsonian Institution in recognition of those who protected the U.S. Capitol when it was attacked by a pro-Trump mob on Jan. 6. The GOP lawmakers said they objected to the use of the term “insurrectionists” in the resolution, Colby Itkowitz and Meagan Flynn of the Post report.
PROTESTERS PICKET REP. BROWN OVER IRAN DEAL: A small group of protesters picketed the Annapolis office of Rep. Anthony Brown Tuesday over a bipartisan letter he helped organize calling on President Joe Biden to take a comprehensive diplomatic approach to a resumption of diplomacy over Iran’s nuclear program, the Capital Gazette reports.
MO CO MOVES AHEAD WITH MASS VAXX SITE: Montgomery County officials said Wednesday that preparations for a mass coronavirus vaccination site in Maryland’s most populous jurisdiction are continuing, despite some uncertainty over whether it will receive the doses it would need from the state to operate the site, Rebecca Tan and Antonio Olivo of the Post report.
MORE VACCINES COMING TO PRINCE GEORGE’S: Thanks to an agreement between the state of Maryland and Prince George’s County, at least 2,100 more COVID-19 vaccines will be allocated to the majority-Black jurisdiction. But state Sen. Jim Rosapepe, who lives in Prince George’s and represents a portion of Anne Arundel County, said it will be harder for Blacks, Latinos and others in underserved communities to receive vaccines, William Ford reports for the Washington Informer.
3 IN GOP MULL RACE AGAINST PITTMAN: The 2022 race for Anne Arundel County executive is shaping up, with three Republicans, Councilwoman Jessica Haire, Del. Sid Saab and former Del. Herb McMillan, all mulling bids, Olivia Sanchez and Brooks Dubose of the Capital Gazette reports.
NEW INSIGHTS INTO HEALTHY HOLLY CASE: Prosecutors in the Healthy Holly case against former city Mayor Catherine Pugh are offering new insight into the genesis of their case, following its conclusion with the sentencing last month of the final co-defendant. They also discussed why others, such as executives and board members at the University of Maryland Medical System, did not face charges in their investigation. Justin Fenton has the story is in the Sun.
OPINION: ENERGY DEREGULATION A MISTAKE IN MARYLAND: In an op-ed for the Sun, former Maryland Gov. Parris Glendening writes about the energy disaster in Texas and what the real cause of it was, saying that while Gov. Abbott and Sen. Cruz placed blame on wind power, wind only represents 24% of energy production in Texas. Instead, he opines, it was deregulation of the electric utility market. “Take it from me: I was in charge when Maryland deregulated our energy market over two decades ago. It was a mistake.”