HOGAN TO MOVE 3,300 STATE WORKERS TO B’MORE DISTRICT: In an attempt to help revitalize Baltimore’s downtown central business district the state plans to relocate more than 3,000 of its employees to offices in that area of the city, Gov. Larry Hogan said Monday. In all the proposal will affect 3,300 state employees from a dozen agencies and will be funded with $50 million in federal funds, Bryan Renbaum reports in Maryland Reporter.
- The state on Monday issued a request for proposals for 105,000 square feet of office space within the central business district. The plan calls for the relocation of about 700 employees of the Department of Human Services from space on West Saratoga near Lexington Market, Bryan Sears reports for the Daily Record.
- Holden Wilen of the Baltimore Business Journal writes that Hogan said that relocating the agencies will provide state employees with higher-quality offices while also providing downtown Baltimore with a much-needed boost.
STALLED COUNTY ELECTION REFORM BILL TO RETURN: Maryland lawmakers considered but failed to embrace legislation that would have prohibited a local election practice that critics say has been used to systematically disenfranchise racial and other minorities, Bruce DePuyt of Maryland Matters reports.
BOARD RECOMMENDS STEADY STATE PROPERTY TAX RATE: An advisory board recommended Monday that the state keep its property tax rate steady for the 15th straight year, but some members held out hope that a small decrease could be in store, Danielle Gaines reports for Maryland Matters.
JEWISH LAWMAKERS PROTEST DEL. COX’s COMMENTS: A Maryland lawmaker whose floor speech on a mental health bill included controversial references to the Holocaust may be ignoring a letter of protest sent by his Jewish colleagues in the General Assembly. The April 9 letter demanded an apology from Del. Daniel L. Cox (R-Frederick), Bruce DePuyt reports for Maryland Matters.
EX-OBAMA ED SECRETARY RUNS FOR GOV: Former U.S. Education Secretary John King Jr., a Democrat running as a progressive candidate, is launching a campaign for governor of Maryland, joining a nascent but growing field vying to replace term-limited Republican Gov. Larry Hogan in the 2022 election, Bryn Stole reports for the Sun.
- King, 46, has spent his career in top education and government roles but has never sought public office before. In launching his first campaign, he said he would focus on inequity, emphasizing that he would be the first Black governor of Maryland, where his great-grandfather was enslaved, Erin Cox of the Post reports.
- King, of Silver Spring, has recently weighed in on a slew of state-level policy issues by forming the progressive advocacy group Strong Future Maryland last year. That group pushed for a variety of reforms during the Maryland General Assembly’s 2021 legislative session, including criminal justice reform and environmental justice efforts.
DIP IN NEW COVID CASES: Maryland reported 631 new coronavirus cases Monday, the lowest daily total so far this month, Christine Condon of the Sun reports. Historically, though, fewer new cases are reported Mondays because fewer COVID-19 tests are conducted over weekends.
- New cases of COVID-19 in Carroll County dropped by 18% last week, according to health department data, the second consecutive weekly dip, Bob Blubaugh of the Carroll County Times reports. On Monday afternoon, the Carroll County Health Department reported 70 new cases for the previous 72 hours and announced that the county finished the week of April 11 with 186 new cases.
EMERGENT STOPS J&J VAXX PRODUCTION: Emergent BioSolutions confirmed Monday that it has temporarily stopped production of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine at its East Baltimore plant at the request of government regulators looking into a mistake at the facility that led to the disposal of millions of doses, Meredith Cohn of the Sun reports.
BA CO UPDATES RETIREMENT SYSTEM: The Baltimore County Council voted unanimously Monday to loosen a provision allowing retirees to be rehired for government service after a report found the county improperly paid at least 20 employees salaries and pensions, Taylor DeVille reports for the Sun.
PG SHIFTS POLICE FUNDS FOR MENTAL HEALTH CENTER: Prince George’s County officials celebrated the groundbreaking Monday for a behavioral health center that is being constructed with funds diverted from a police training facility, part of the county’s response to nationwide calls for racial and social justice, Rachel Chason of the Post reports.
- Brad Bell of WBFF-TV reports that in Prince George’s County, a third of the people locked up by police have mental illnesses but instead of getting treated, they sit in jail because there is no other option.
CARROLL SHERIFF’S BODY CAMS MAY HAVE TO WAIT: Carroll County commissioners may delay implementation of body-worn cameras for Sheriff’s Office personnel as they finalize the county’s fiscal year 2022 budget, Bob Blubaugh reports for the Carroll County Times. Funding for the devices had been included in the coming year’s budget, but many changes have been made during work sessions as the Board of Commissioners sought to reduce expenditures.
STATE SUES COLUMBIA FIRM OVER DISCHARGE: Maryland sued a Columbia-based waste management and recycling company for an estimated $2.1 million Monday, claiming the company operated without permits for most of last year and violated a stormwater discharge agreement at a site in Pasadena, Brooks DuBose reports for the Capital Gazette.
BLINKEN ADDRESSES CLIMATE CHANGE, FOREIGN POLICY: Standing with the Chesapeake Bay as a backdrop, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken laid out how the Biden administration will adjust foreign policy to incorporate goals of dealing with climate change, Rick Hutzell reports for the Capital Gazette. Blinken, speaking Monday at a closed event at the Chesapeake Bay Foundation building in Annapolis, said that without action climate change would continue to melt glaciers and raise sea level so that the area where he stood would be underwater in 60 years.
PAGNUCCO JOINS BLAIR CAMPAIGN FOR MO CO EXEC: Adam Pagnucco, who has been writing for Seventh State political blog for quite awhile, has announced that he is leaving the post “for the foreseeable future” to join David Blair’s campaign for Montgomery County executive. “I can’t work for a campaign and simultaneously write about it, or issues connected to it, for the public. So it’s time for me to go, at least for now.”