BUDGET APPROVED BY SENATE: The Maryland Senate unanimously approved a plan Thursday to balance the state budget during the next fiscal year, with enormous help from the federal government in COVID-19 response funds, Brian Witte reports for the AP in the Frederick News-Post. Lawmakers in both parties used words like “stunning” and “unique” to describe how federal aid reshaped an ominous budget quandary last year into the ability to address projected deficits through fiscal year 2024. The state’s revenues also held up better than initially expected shortly after the pandemic began.
PROTECTING TEENAGERS: Del. Luke Clippinger (D-Baltimore County) is emphasizing his support for legislation that would order teenagers who have shared sexually explicit images with each other to participate in age-appropriate educational programs on the risks of sexting instead of landing in jail, Bryan Renbaum reports for Maryland Reporter.
MD RECOMMENDS STUDENTS CAN BE 3 FT APART: Maryland is adopting new guidelines from the CDC for students to be spaced at least three feet apart in classrooms with masks on, rather than six, Elizabeth Shwe writes for Maryland Matters. The decision should make it easier for school systems to resume in-person learning.
SUMMER SCHOOL EXPANSIONS PLANNED: U.S. Rep. David Trone met with local school officials in Washington County on Thursday to discuss how to help students succeed despite the COVID-19 pandemic, promoting a plan to significantly expand summer school, Dave McMillion reports for the Hagerstown Herald-Mail.
- Summer school is also a topic of discussion in Baltimore County, where the county council wants school officials to hold in-person summer classes and provide answers and data about a ransomware attack and virtual learning, Taylor Deville and Lillian Reed report for the Sun.
SPORTS BETTING DETAILS BEING WORKED OUT: Firms advocated for more mobile, or app-based licenses as legislators hold hearings on how to implement sports betting in Maryland, Bruce DePuyt reports for Maryland Matters.
- The state would receive 15% of the gambling proceeds in the form of a tax, Pamela Wood.
MORE VACCINATION SITES COMING: Maryland is opening up COVID-19 vaccinations to millions more residents, Ethan McLeod writes for the Baltimore Business Journal.
- A new vaccination site has opened in Hagerstown, the sixth site, and with six more on the way Disco Harrison reports for WMAR that Gov. Larry Hogan is optimistic about getting more Marylanders vaccinated for a normal Memorial Day.
- The Western Maryland mass vaccination site has been a “hope superspreader,” Colleen McGrath reports for the Hagerstown Herald-Mail. The Maryland National Guard guard troops helped the site do 750 vaccines on the first day of the site, with the goal of administering 11,000 this week.
ADVOCATES PUSH FOR EVICTION PREVENTION BILL: Maryland housing advocates and renters are mounting pressure on the General Assembly to pass legislation that would protect renters from evictions, helping vulnerable renters stay in their homes, Sarah Kim reports for WYPR.
UNEMPLOYED MDERS GET BILLS FOR OVERPAYMENT: Thousands of jobless Marylanders have been relying on unemployment benefits but now are finding out that the state wants money back, Alison Knezevich reports for the Sun. More than 44,000 have been notified that they received overpayment totaling over $145 million in six months.
POLICE OFFICER TRANSPARENCY BILL PASSES HOUSE: A bill that would improve transparency for incidents where law enforcement agencies reach a settlement or judgment against a police officer has passed the Maryland House of Delegates, Jacob Steinberg reports for the Capital News Service in Baltimore Fishbowl.
ENVIRONMENTAL GROUPS CONCERNED ABOUT CONOWINGO DAM: Environmental groups called a new 50-year license agreement a missed opportunity to compel the owner of the Conowingo Dam to stop pollutants flowing down the Susquehanna River and into the Chesapeake Bay, Christine Condon writes for the Sun.
ARCHEOLOGISTS DISCOVER ORIGINS OF STATE: After nearly a century of searching, archaeologists found the beginnings of Maryland, the oldest known colonial settlement in Maryland, in St. Mary’s County on Maryland Day, Amy Lu reports for WBALTV. They’re calling it the find of a lifetime.