HOGAN LAUNCHES NO ARM LEFT BEHIND VAXX INITIATIVE: Gov. Larry Hogan said Wednesday that the state is launching a new set of initiatives aimed at increasing access to coronavirus vaccines to seniors, college students and companies across Maryland, writes Bryan Renbaum of Maryland Reporter. “Today we are launching a series of No Arm Left Behind initiatives which will involve every state agency, private industries in every demographic, and an all-hands-on-deck effort to make sure that every Marylander who wants a vaccine can get access to one as quickly as possible,” Hogan said.
- Hogan said Wednesday that Maryland was nearing the tipping point in its COVID-19 vaccination campaign when the number of available vaccines will soon surpass the number of unvaccinated people who are willing to get them, Greg Swatek of the Frederick News-Post.
- The expansion of available doses in pharmacies and private doctors’ offices is already having an effect. The state is seeing a roughly 20% drop in patients who made appointments at mass vaccination sites and then cancel because they were able to obtain a vaccination at a pharmacy or from a doctor, reports Bryan Sears for the Daily Record.
- Maryland Health Secretary Dennis Schrader visited Hancock on Wednesday to see a Meritus Health mobile COVID-19 vaccine clinic in operation and hear ideas from local officials about how to reach the next 20% of the population. Colleen McGrath of the Hagerstown Herald -Mail reports.
BPW AWARDS MAN $1.6M FOR WRONGFUL CONVICTION: A man who has served 19 years in prison after being wrongfully convicted of attempted murder was awarded more than $1.6 million in compensation from the state of Maryland, Capital News Service’s Catherine Scott of reports for Maryland Reporter. The Board of Public Works voted unanimously Wednesday to approve funding for Melvin Thomas, now 40, who was exonerated in December for an attempted murder charge dating to 2001.
- Others freed from Maryland prisons will have an easier path to claim compensation beginning July 1, when the Walter Lomax Act — passed unanimously by the General Assembly and signed by Republican Gov. Larry Hogan earlier this month — goes into effect, Bryn Stole reports for the Sun.
FRANCHOT, HOGAN CLASH OVER CONTRACTS: At the Board of Public Works Wednesday, Comptroller Peter Franchot again criticized the Hogan administration’s use of multi-million-dollar emergency contracts to respond to the pandemic. Gov. Hogan, who chairs the board, pushed back vehemently, saying the state was still in crisis. Danielle Gaines reports in Maryland Matters.
ENVIRO GROUPS APPEAL CONOWINGO LICENSE: Environmental groups have appealed a ruling by a federal commission that last month granted Maryland’s Conowingo Dam a new 50-year license. The groups are concerned that the license missed an opportunity to address several environmental problems caused by the hydroelectric dam, but they also contend that the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission ran afoul of certain legal duties in issuing it, Christine Condon of the Sun reports.
ESSENTIAL WORKS STILL BENEFIT FROM AMENDED BILL: Despite strong pushback from the business community and moving late in the legislative session, the Maryland Essential Workers’ Protection Act made it through both chambers by Sine Die. The emergency measure was substantially amended, but advocates say essential workers can still meaningfully benefit from the provisions that survived, Elizabeth Shwe of Maryland Matters reports.
OFFSHORE WIND INDUSTRY POISED TO GROW: Two wind turbines, each as tall as the Washington Monument, stand sentinel 27 miles off the coast of Virginia, the nation’s first offshore wind installation in federal waters, Allison Winter of Maryland Matters reports. The pilot project began producing power last October but is just the beginning for an industry poised for massive growth over the next decade — including in Maryland. Longtime conflicts with the fishing industry remain, as well as some landowners, but with the help of a major push from the Biden administration, offshore wind may finally advance in the Atlantic.
MUSIC VENUES STRUGGLE TO SURVIVE: Independent music venues continue to struggle financially to survive while in the midst of Maryland’s lifted pandemic restrictions and vaccine accessibility, CNS’s Madison Hunt reports in Maryland Reporter.
SPEAKER JONES ‘MIRACLE SESSION’: Josh Kurtz of Maryand Matters has an exclusive interview with House Speaker Adrienne Jones in which she says,”I guess you could call it a miracle session.”
INTERVIEW WITH DEL. JASON BUCKEL: Brian Griffiths of the Duckpin talks with House Minority Leader Jason Buckel in this 45 minute video interview.
FDA ISSUES SCATHING REPORT ON EMERGENT PROBLEMS: The Food and Drug Administration on Wednesday released a scathing inspection report that notes unsanitary conditions and other serious failures at the Emergent BioSolutions manufacturing plant in Baltimore that ruined 15 million doses worth of raw Johnson & Johnson coronavirus vaccine, Christopher Roland reports for the Post.
- The new documents shed light on Emergent BioSolutions’ continued lack of federal authorization to distribute the vaccine it has produced. Inspectors found cleaning and sterilization failures; lack of adherence to protocols; and potential cross-contamination in multiple areas, Hallie Miller and Meredith Cohn of the Sun report.
ARUNDEL GROWTH PLAN INCLUDES SLAVERY REFERENCE: Hoping to acknowledge a history of racism in land-use decisions, Anne Arundel County’s long-term development plan will now include a specific reference to slavery and its legacy, Chase Cook of the Capital Gazette reports. The County Council voted 6-1 for including the language in an updated equity statement for the new General Development Plan, one of more than 40 amendments approved Monday, and one more step toward final approval of the plan.
PROBE OF MO CO ECON BOARD: After investigating an allegation that the Montgomery County Economic Development Corporation violated a sponsorship policy, the county’s inspector general found that the $20,000 sponsorship was allowable, Briana Adhikusuma of Bethesda Beat reports.
BILL WOULD EXPAND ROLE OF HOSPITALS IN PREVENTING VIOLENCE: A Maryland congressman and a Republican colleague are proposing legislation that would expand the role hospitals play in preventing violent crimes, CNS’s Luke Gentile reports in Maryland Reporter. “One of the leading factors for violent injury is prior injury,” said one of the bill’s sponsors, Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger, D- Timonium. “If we can help victims of violent injury before they become repeat victims or ever perpetrators themselves, we end the cycle and net cost savings to the American taxpayer.”
WHATEVER HAPPENED TO DAN BONGINO? Subscribers on the right are certainly aware of the media career of Dan Bongino, who was the subject of multiple stories in MarylandReporter.com in his runs for U.S. Senate and House when he lived in Maryland. The Washington Post has a two-page feature in Style by Manuel Roig-Franzia on the media empire he is building out of his Florida home.