SCHOOLS TO GET $10M IN COVID FUNDS TO AID AT-RISK STUDENTS: Bryan Renbaum of MarylandReporter writes that Gov. Larry Hogan and State Superintendent of Schools Karen Salmon said Wednesday that Maryland’s public and private schools will receive $10 million in COVID-19 relief grants that are geared toward addressing the needs of the state’s most at-risk students.
LANDMARK POLICE REFORM PACKAGE HEADS TO HOGAN’s DESK: Maryland lawmakers passed a landmark police reform package aimed at delivering greater transparency and accountability Wednesday, sending the wide-ranging legislation to Gov. Larry Hogan after months of intense debate, Bryn Stole and Pamela Wood.
- If enacted, the legislation would transform Maryland from a state that broadly shields police from outside discipline to one that gives civilians a greater say in identifying and getting rid of bad officers, Ovetta Wiggins of the Post reports.
- The police reform proposals target curtailing deadly and excessive force, limiting no-knock warrants and making the police disciplinary process uniform across the state and with greater civilian oversight, reports Steve Lash in the Daily Record.
- The House voted 97-39 to pass an omnibus bill that deals with police discipline. The vote was largely along party lines but included a small number of Republicans, including minority leader Nicholaus Kipke (R-Anne Arundel County), voting for the measure, Madeleine O’Neill reports for the USA Today Network.
- Brian Witte of the AP reports that police would be required to use body cameras statewide by 2026. One measure would create a unit in the attorney general’s office to investigate police-involved deaths and prohibit law enforcement from buying surplus military equipment.
- Rachel Baye of WYPR-FM reports that the police body cam bill was particularly controversial in the Senate Wednesday — debate lasted three hours and included a filibuster attempt by Republicans — because of new rules about when police can use lethal force.
B’MORE VOTERS TO DECIDE ON POLICE DEPT. CONTROL: Baltimore voters will get to decide whether the city should take back full control of the Baltimore Police Department from the state for the first time since 1860, Bryn Stole reports for the Sun. The question will appear on city ballots in either 2022 or 2024 after legislation setting up the referendum on the status of the Baltimore Police Department sailed through the Maryland General Assembly.
STATE PUSHES MORE VOTER ACCESS TO POLLS: After a polarizing 2020 presidential election and a worldwide pandemic, Maryland lawmakers are rethinking how to conduct voting. The General Assembly is considering multiple pieces of legislation that would ensure Marylanders can vote by mail and vote early, just the opposite of how Republican-controlled states across the country are reacting, which are trying to limit access to voting, Audrey Decker of Capital News Service reports in an article in Maryland Reporter.
STATE TO GET FEWER J&J VAXX DOSES: Rachel Chason and Rebecca Tan report that Gov. Larry Hogan announced on Wednesday that Maryland will receive fewer doses of Johnson & Johnson coronavirus vaccine than expected this week — but the drop won’t affect scheduled appointments.
FEMA-RUN GREENBELT METRO VAXX CLINIC OPENS: The Greenbelt Metro Station vaccination clinic operated by the Federal Emergency Management Agency opened Wednesday to administer up to 2,000 shots. Starting Thursday, the site will have the capacity to provide up to 3,000 doses, William Ford of the Washington Informer reports. The FEMA-run site in Prince George’s County is the first federally operated one in Maryland.
HOGAN VISITS NEW MO CO VAXX SITE: Gov. Larry Hogan visited Montgomery County’s COVID-19 mass vaccination site at Montgomery College in Germantown on Wednesday, a day before it will officially open for mass vaccination on Thursday, Briana Adhikusuma of Bethesda Beat reports.
BUSINESS BILL CUTTING JOBLESS INSURANCE AWAITS GOV’s SIGNATURE: Emergency measures to help struggling businesses pay less in unemployment insurance taxes while simultaneously granting more funding to the unemployed were voted out of the Maryland legislature last week and await signature from Gov. Larry Hogan, Capital News Service’s Jack Hogan reports in a story in Maryland Reporter.
STATE GETS $2.88M FOR JOB TRAINING: State Department of Labor Secretary Tiffany P. Robinson Wednesday announced that Maryland has been awarded $2.88 million from the U.S. Department of Labor’s COVID-19 National Dislocated Worker Grant program to help workers whose jobs were impacted by the pandemic to access employment and training services, the Daily Record.
SENATE MOVES SPORTING BETTING BILL FORWARD: Pamela Wood of the Sun reports that the Maryland Senate is advancing a broad plan to allow legalized gambling on sports at a variety of in-person locations and on mobile apps. The Senate’s Budget and Taxation Committee voted unanimously Wednesday to advance the plan to the Senate for discussion beginning Thursday.
BILL WOULD REPEAL BANS ON SOME SERVING ON JURIES: A Maryland bill would repeal certain disqualifications for serving on a jury, and proponents argue that it is centered on reenfranchisement. HB260, which is cross-filed in the Senate under SB625, “alters the circumstances under which an individual may be disqualified from jury service,” according to the bill’s fiscal analysis, CNS’s Catherine Scott reports.
HOW STUDENTS SERVE AS PAGES REMOTELY: Elizabeth Shwe of Maryland Matters writes about the General Assembly’s page program that gives 100 high school seniors a chance to learn about the legislature through working in the chambers. Like most students, the pages have had to learn remotely. Still, students said that the page experience was exceptional.
B’MORE BUDGET BRACES FOR ‘HISTORICE LOWS:’ Emily Opilo of the Sun reports that Baltimore’s finances will continue to suffer as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, city officials said Wednesday as they rolled out a preliminary budget for the fiscal year that starts July 1. The $3.6 billion spending plan accounts for “historic lows” in revenue from parking, hotel taxes and the Baltimore Convention Center, sectors that have been decimated by the pandemic.
NAACP SEEKS CITY MEETING OVER MOSBY PROBE: Tim Prudente of the Sun reports that the Baltimore chapter of the NAACP is calling on city leaders to convene a meeting of the board that oversees the inspector general’s office after its recent investigation of State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby.
HERB McMILLAN ENTERS ARUNDEL EXEC RACE: Former Del. Herb McMillan has joined the Anne Arundel County executive race in 2022, the second person to officially challenge County Executive Steuart Pittman, Brooks DuBose of the Capital Gazette reports.
- Josh Kurtz of Maryland Matters writes that McMillan joins business consultant Chris Jahn in the GOP scrum to take on first-term County Exec Pittman (D), but the list of candidates is almost certain to grow: County Councilmember Jessica Haire created an exploratory committee last month ahead of a likely run, and state Del. Sid A. Saab told Maryland Matters Wednesday that he is actively considering the race.