STUDY: MARYLAND ECONOMY WEATHERS PANDEMIC BETTER THAN MOST: Maryland’s economy has weathered the storm of the coronavirus pandemic better than that of the economies of the overwhelming majority of states in the nation, according to a WalletHub study released on Monday. Bryan Renbaum of Maryland Reporter reports that the study found that Maryland’s economy is the ninth least hit by the pandemic. Louisiana’s economy is the hardest hit by the pandemic and Washington’s economy is the least hit.
STATE SPEEDS VAXX PLAN FOR THOSE 16+: All Marylanders age 16 and older will be eligible for a coronavirus vaccine at any of the state’s mass vaccination sites starting Tuesday, Bryan Renbaum reports in Maryland Reporter.
- People 16 and older can get shots this week, starting Tuesday, at the state’s five mass vaccination sites. The state will require the hundreds of other vaccine providers in Maryland to offer shots to adults and older teenagers, a total of almost 4.9 million people, as of April 12. Meredith Cohn and Pamela Wood of the Sun report.
- Anyone 16 and older is now eligible for an appointment at any state mass vaccination site beginning Tuesday. Those who are 16 and 17 will be restricted, however, to locations offering the Pfizer vaccine, which is approved for those age groups, Bryan Sears reports for the Daily Record.
- The mass vaccination sites at the Hagerstown Premium Outlets and the Wicomico Youth and Civic Center in Salisbury will be open for people to walk up without an appointment Tuesday, Greg Swatek of the Frederick News-Post reports.
- Michael Powell, a legislative analyst who tracks the pandemic, told the state Senate’s Vaccine Work Group on Monday that the rise in new cases is centered in Baltimore County, Baltimore City and Harford County, Bruce DePuyt and Danielle Gaines of Maryland Matters write. “The data tells us that we’ve got to get young people vaccinated faster, so that we can break the back of this pandemic,” Health Secretary Dennis Schrader told the panel.
- Starting on Tuesday, no-appointment, walk-up lines will be added at Hagerstown Premium Outlets. Next week, a line will open at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore. Hogan said more no-appointment lines will be added to each mass vaccination sites in the future, Briana Adhikusuma of Bethesda Beat reports.
REPORT: MARYLAND UNDER ‘EXTREME’ RISK OF GERRYMANDERING: Maryland is under “extreme” risk for gerrymandering when lawmakers draw up new election districts, according to a new report from an anti-corruption watchdog group, Bennett Leckrone of Maryland Matters reports. The Gerrymandering Threat Index from the nonprofit group RepresentUs lists Maryland, alongside 26 other states, in the highest risk category for gerrymandering, meaning they give “politicians complete control over an often-secretive, poorly-protected redistricting process.”
GA LEADERS CONFIDENT POLICE REFORM WILL PASS: Top leaders of the Maryland General Assembly sounded notes of confidence Monday that a deal on major policing legislation is well within reach during the legislative session’s final week, despite some of their key members trading barbs over the state of negotiations, Bryn Stole and Pamela Wood report in the Sun.
BILLS TO ALTER PAROLE MOVE FORWARD: Maryland is on the verge of enacting two laws that would dramatically change sentencing for convicted felons, measures that advocates have pushed for years to address inequity in the criminal justice system, Ovetta Wiggins of the Post is reporting.
BILL TRACKER: Here’s a roundup of where some of the most significant bills in the General Assembly now stand, from sports betting to the repeal of the Law Enforcement Officers Bill of Rights, compiled by Bryn Stole and Pamela Wood for the Sun.
HOUSE NARROWS ESSENTIAL WORKER PROTECTIONS: An emergency bill to protect essential workers during public health emergencies is moving through the Maryland General Assembly. However, with less than a week remaining in the legislative session, it faces a tough timeline for final passage, Elizabeth Shwe of Maryland Matters writes. The amended measure curtails who counts as an essential worker, does not guarantee paid sick leave and no longer includes hazard pay.
HEALTH CARE ADVOCATES PUSH FOR SCHOOL REOPENING: Advocates are once again renewing their efforts to get Maryland public schools to open back up for in-person classes, with over 500 health care professionals signing a letter encouraging Gov. Larry Hogan and Jinlene Chan, Maryland’s acting health deputy for public health services, to expedite reopenings, Johanna Alonso of the Daily Record reports.
JOHNSON & JOHNSON TO TAKE OVER B’MORE VAXX PLANT: A senior Biden administration official says health officials had negotiated for more than a week for an arrangement, announced late Saturday, under which Johnson & Johnson would take over responsibility for manufacturing at a troubled Baltimore Covid-19 vaccine plant. Johnson & Johnson developed one of the two coronavirus vaccines being made at the Baltimore facility where the cross-contamination occurred, ruining millions of doses, Amy Goldstein, Jon Swaine and Christopher Rowland report in the Post.
- The extraordinary move by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services will leave the Emergent BioSolutions facility solely devoted to making the Johnson & Johnson single-dose vaccine and is meant to avoid future mix-ups, according to two senior federal health officials, Sheryl Gay Stolberg reports in the New York Times.
HO CO COUNCIL OKs GENDER-INCLUSIVE, SINGLE-USER BATHROOMS: At its monthly legislative session Monday night, the Howard County Council unanimously approved legislation requiring gender-inclusive single-user restrooms, legislation requiring developers to provide a certain amount of moderate-income housing in Transit Oriented Development and legislation requiring financial disclosures related to zoning matters, Ana Faguy of the Howard County Times reports.