SENATE VOTES TO END LIFE WITHOUT PAROLE FOR JUVIES: An end to life without parole sentences for crimes committed by juveniles is among the provisions in a bipartisan bill that easily passed the state Senate late Thursday after an emotional debate, Bryn Stole reports in the Sun.
SENATE UNANIMOUS IN SCRAPPING STATE SONG: It’ll soon be so long to the state song after the Maryland Senate unanimously voted to scrap “Maryland, My Maryland!” as the Old Line State’s official anthem, Bryn Stole of the Sun reports.
A 15-YEAR JOURNEY FOR HBCU EQUITY: When David Burton decided to take on the state government over inequitable treatment of Maryland’s historically Black universities, he knew it wasn’t going to be easy or quick. But he certainly didn’t anticipate it would take 15 years. Pamela Wood of the Sun reports on Burton’s journey.
BILL COULD LIMIT LOCAL POLICE FROM USING MILITARY EQUIPMENT: A bill headed for hearing in the House of Delegates this week could limit law enforcement agencies in Maryland from obtaining certain military equipment through a federal surplus program, Jacob Steinberg of the Capital News Service reports.
FEDERAL PROBE INTO MOSBYS: Federal prosecutors have opened a criminal investigation into Baltimore City Council President Nick Mosby and State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby, subpoenaing her campaign and the couple’s business records, according to a grand jury subpoena obtained by The Baltimore Sun, Tim Prudente and Justin Fenton report.
- Baltimore Brew’s Fern Shen and Mark Reutter report that Baltimore State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby purchased a condominium near Sarasota, Fla., last month, paying $476,000 for the two-bedroom property described in real estate listings as “The Tree House.”
- Property records in Florida show that Baltimore City State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby purchased $1.02 million worth of homes in Florida since September of 2020, Chris Berinato of Fox45 reports. Besides “The Tree House,” the other home was purchased in September of 2020. It sold for $545,000 and is located in Kissimmee, Fla.
BILL WOULD AID TENANTS FACING EVICTION: Maryland’s House of Delegates passed a bill Thursday aimed at helping the thousands of state residents who face eviction proceedings in rent court every year without a lawyer, Joel McCord reports for WYPR-FM. The bill would guarantee access to lawyers for Maryland tenants facing eviction who earn less than half the state’s median income, or less than $48,000
ARUNDEL DELEGATES OK TRANSFER TAX HIKE: Anne Arundel County delegates passed a bill that would allow the County Council to up the real estate transfer tax on properties over $1 million, though a last minute amendment exempts affordable housing properties from any increased tax, Olivia Sanchez of the Capital Gazette reports.
400,000 MARYLANDERS GOT COVID IN PAST YEAR: More than 400,000 Marylanders have contracted the coronavirus over the past year, and health officials reported more than 1,000 newly confirmed cases for the fourth consecutive day Sunday. Phil Davis gives the latest rundown on Covid-19 for the Sun.
MORE OUT-OF-STATERS GET VAXX IN CHARLES (CORRECTION): More people who live outside Maryland have been getting inoculated against COVID-19 at the mass vaccination site in Charles County than residents of that jurisdiction, state data shows. As of Monday, Charles County residents made up about 6.2% of the first-dose appointments at Waldorf’s Regency Furniture Stadium. Out-of-state residents, meanwhile, had been getting 8.6% of the shots administered there, Hallie Miller of the Sun reports.
COVID POSITIVITY RATE RISING IN FREDERICK: The local seven-day positivity rate is on the upswing as nearly one-fourth of Frederick County residents can say they’ve received their first doses of the COVID-19 vaccine, Mary Grace Keller of the Frederick News-Post reports. The seven-day positivity rate increased in one week from 4.1% to 5.5% locally, while Maryland’s positivity rate stood at 4.4%, an increase from 3.73% in a week, Maryland Department of Health data shows.
MO CO 7-DAY COVID AVERAGE UP SLIGHTLY: Bethesda Beat reports that the Montgomery County Department of Health and Human Services says that the county’s seven-day average of COVID-19 cases residents has risen slightly from where it was earlier this month.
HOUSE, SENATE OK EXPANDING BALLOT ACCESS: After a heated partisan debate, the House gave final approval Saturday to a measure that would permanently expand access to ballot drop-off boxes around the state and establish a more robust ballot tracking system, Bennett Leckrone and Hannah Gaskill of Maryland Matters report.
- A proposal that would let voters opt-in to automatically receive mail-in ballots in statewide elections passed out of the Maryland Senate Friday. The bill was one of dozens that won final passage in a flurry of Senate activity Friday, as lawmakers march toward “crossover day” Monday — the deadline for bills to win passage in one chamber of the legislature in order to automatically be considered in the other, Bennett Leckrone and Hannah Gaskill of Maryland Matters report.
SOME LAWMAKERS LINK HEALTH CARE TO RACISM, OTHERS BALK: “Racism is rooted in the foundation of America.” Those eight words included in the preamble of a bill addressing racial health disparities caused a schism in the Maryland legislature. Ovetta Wiggins of the Post writes that state Senate committee voted to strike the preamble so the legislation could keep moving forward. The House of Delegates kept the language and approved the bill along party lines. Now the two chambers must reconcile those differences if the measure, which creates a task force to study health inequities, is to survive.
LEADERS URGE ASIAN-AMERICANS TO SPEAK UP ABOUT RACISM: In the aftermath of Tuesday’s shootings at three Atlanta-area spas — in which eight people, including six Asian women, were killed — some Maryland state and local leaders spoke up and urged the Asian American and Pacific Islander community to report hate crimes and push back against bigotry, Elizabeth Shwe of Maryland Matters reports.
PAUSED FOR PANDEMIC, MILLIONS OF TOLL BILLS HIT THE MAIL: Drivers who used Maryland toll roads in the past year but haven’t received an invoice for the trip shouldn’t expect to avoid paying the toll, Luz Lazo reports for the Post. The Maryland Transportation Authority is billing motorists for millions of toll trips made after invoices were paused during the coronavirus pandemic. The backlog has ballooned to more than 23 million transactions.
PORTS: BAY BRIDGE TRAFFIC UNACCEPTABLE AND GETTING WORSE: In a commentary for Maryland Matters, Jim Ports, the head of the Maryland Transportation Authority, addresses the latest Bay Bridge study writing that “like many other parts of the state that see high volumes of traffic … there is simply too much traffic traveling over the Bay Bridge. Our analysis shows that without an additional crossing, by 2040 we will see seven hours of unacceptable level of service per day on non-summer weekdays and 22 hours of unacceptable level of service per day on summer weekends.”
EATERIES’ POST-PANDEMIC BOOZE DELIVERY OPTION DEBATED: A proposal to extend an executive order that has helped some restaurants in Maryland remain in business has sparked a public policy debate over whether alcoholic beverages should continue to be available for delivery when the pandemic ends, Bryan Sears of the Daily Record reports.
EX-DELEGATE CHALLENGES HOGAN’s ISRAEL-BOYCOTT BAN: Saqib Ali, a software engineer and former Maryland legislator has urged a federal appeals court to revive his free-speech challenge to Gov. Larry Hogan’s executive order requiring those bidding on state contracts to pledge they are not boycotting Israel and will not while under contract, Steve Lash reports for the Daily Record.
FORMER STATE SENATOR TO RUN FOR PG COUNCIL: Former state Sen. Victor R. Ramirez (D-Prince George’s) is planning to try for a political comeback in 2022. The 46-year-old former lawmaker announced last week that he’ll run for a seat on the Prince George’s County Council — in a district where he currently does not live, Josh Kurtz reports for Maryland Matters.
OPINION: JIM CROW PAST IS PRESENT: New York Times columnist Jamelle Bouie writes about Sen. Raphael Warnock’s recent speech in which he touted U.S. Rep. John Sarbanes’ ‘For the People’ Act and highlighted the current Jim Crow climate when it comes to voting rights.
OPINION: HARRIS MISUNDERSTANDS: The Sun editorial board says Rep. Andy Harris’s recent choice to join 11 fellow Republicans in voting against a resolution awarding Congressional Gold Medals to the Capitol Police, the D.C. police and the Smithsonian Institution for protecting the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 can be interpreted to mean only one thing: Mr. Harris misunderstands his constituents.
REPUBLICAN FILES TO UNSEAT SARBANES: A 25-year-old Annapolis conservative has announced he’ll run for Congress in 2022, hoping to unseat veteran Rep. John Sarbanes in the 3rd District. The 2022 race is shaping up with a filing from Republican Antonio Pitocco and a Democratic newcomer Malcolm Thomas Colombo, Olivia Sanchez of the Capital Gazette reports..
JACK YOUNG BREAKS SILENCE: Jack Young remains bitter. It’s been three months since the former mayor of Baltimore departed City Hall after finishing a disappointing fifth in the Democratic primary last June. Now in an exclusive interview with Maryland Matters, Young is reflecting on his brief time as mayor and the many challenges he faced running a city that recorded more than 300 homicides a year over the past six years, John Rydell reports.
HIGH COURT UPHOLDS B’MORE BILLBOARD TAX: Maryland’s highest court has upheld a tax imposed by the city of Baltimore on selling billboard advertising, the AP is reporting. The Court of Appeals last week rejected arguments by Clear Channel that the tax violates constitutional provisions that protect freedom of speech.