HELP FOR YOUTH RECOVERING FROM PANDEMIC EFFECTS: The state is entering into a multi-million dollar partnership with several private sector companies to launch a series of initiatives aimed at helping younger people and their families recover from mental health impact of the pandemic, Bryan Renbaum reports for Maryland Reporter. School closures and the cancellation of both sporting and social events have had a detrimental impact, and this has been especially true for youth that live in the state’s most underserved communities.
- “Project Bounce Back” will include partnerships with state agencies and Boys and Girls Clubs of America, Microsoft, LinkedIn Learning, KPMG, Discourse Analytics and eCare vault, Rachel Baye reports for WYPR.
COVID HOSPITALIZED CASES DROP: “The number of Marylanders currently hospitalized due to COVID-19 has decreased for nine consecutive days and has been trending downward since mid-April,” Marcus Dieterle reports for Baltimore Fishbowl. “The state’s coronavirus-related hospitalizations have decreased every day since the metric reached 1,130 on April 27.”
EASE OF VACCINATIONS TOUTED, YOUTH COME NEXT: Gov. Larry Hogan toured Howard County’s mass vaccination site at the Columbia Mall outside the vacant Lord & Taylor location, and said there’s “no excuse” not to get vaccinated, Ana Faguy reports for Baltimore Sun Media.
- After the tour, officials told WBAL-TV that the state is planning for a shift in messaging to encourage youth to get the shot, Kate Amara reports for WBAL-TV. The shift comes as vaccines for children aged 12-17 are expected to be approved.
JOHNNY O TO STAY PUT: Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewski announced Thursday morning he will run for a second four-year term next year instead of entering a competitive race for governor, John Lee reports for WYPR. And his decision to stay out means he has a key endorsement to give someone in that race because Baltimore County is such an important battleground county, Lee also reports.
- The Dundalk Democrat is the only candidate who has announced for county executive so far, seeking his second four-year term, Taylor Deville writes for Baltimore Sun Media.
MOSBY’S OFFICE FILES FEDERAL COMPLAINT AGAINST LOCAL TV NEWS: Baltimore City State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby’s office has filed a complaint with the Federal Communications Commission against WBFF FOX45 for its coverage, saying it is “slanted” and distorted,” the staff of WBFF reports. “FOX45 News is committed to investigating corruption in public officials, asking tough questions and holding leaders accountable,” the station reported, saying it stands by its reporting.
- The letter of complaint written by Zy Richardson, communications director, alleges a pattern of coverage of the state’s attorney’s office that is “blatantly slanted, dishonest, misleading, racist, and extremely dangerous,” media critic David Zurawik writes for the Sun. “The agency has the power to investigate, levy fines and even strip a station of its broadcast license based on its findings in the kind of investigation the state’s attorney’s office is requesting,” according to Zurawik.
THIN BLUE LINE BANNED FOR COURT EMPLOYEES: The chief judge of Maryland District Courts, citing an “issue of perceived bias,” has banned all court employees, bailiffs, commissioners, constables, clerks, staff and judges from wearing face masks with the law enforcement symbol of the “thin blue line,” Tim Prudente reports for the Sun. The order does not apply to visitors. The thin blue line is a reference to the blue of police uniforms.
- Morrissey’s order followed a letter that Maryland’s chief public defender wrote to the Judiciary on Tuesday, Steve Lash reports for The Daily Record. The letter expressed concern that circuit or district court employees in 10 counties had recently been seen by his staff lawyers wearing masks and other apparel with the blue line imagery while on duty or on court property. [The Record site appears to be down at the moment.]
WESTERN MD TOWN DISCUSS IMPACT OF POLICE REFORM BILLS: Town officials in Oakland are already expecting officers to retire or move on to another occupation as the result of police reform bills passed by The General Assembly, Joseph Hauger reports for the Garrett County Republican. Of particular concern is the change to remove qualified immunity from officers working within their duties as a police officer.
COUNTY LEADERS ASK FOR EVICTIONS PREVENTION HELP FROM STATE: Multiple county leaders joined together to urge Gov. Larry Hogan to take action with his emergency powers and stave off evictions in the months ahead, Michael Sanderson writes on Conduit Street, the blog for the Maryland Association of Counties.
HOGAN TO SIGN STATE SONG REPEAL: Gov. Larry Hogan plans to sign off on a bill that will eliminate Maryland’s pro-Confederacy state song, a spokeswoman said in an article by Pamela Wood in the Sun. The song had survived decades of attempts to get rid of it.
MOCO PULLS ALTERNATIVE LUNCH IDEA FROM AGENDA: The board of Montgomery County Public Schools was scheduled to consider a new policy requiring that some students with unpaid lunch bills would get “alternative meals,” but it was pulled from the agenda on Thursday afternoon after education advocates raised concerns it would promote shaming and inequity.
MOCO COVID CASES IN SCHOOLS UP AS MORE STUDENTS RETURN: The number of COVID-19 cases reported among Montgomery County Public Schools staff members and students nearly doubled in the past three weeks, but an increase in cases was expected as more students and employees return to buildings, Caitlynn Peetz reports for Bethesda Beat.
BANNING TESTING ON ANIMALS FOR COSMETICS: Maryland will become one of the first states in the country to ban cosmetic testing on animals, emerging as a leader on this issue, Linh Bui reports for WJZ.
COMPLAINTS ABOUT LEGISLATIVE SESSION IN CARROLL MEETING: Nearly everyone expressed disappointment with the results of the latest legislative session in Annapolis when the Carroll County Board of County Commissions met in a virtual joint session with Carroll County’s delegation of state lawmakers, Bob Blubaugh reports for the Carroll County Times. Del. Haven Shoemaker, R-Carroll, called it an “unmitigated train wreck,” and others called it “terrible” and an expansion of Maryland’s liberal agenda.
BALTIMORE CO. SENIOR CENTERS TO REOPEN: The Baltimore County Department of Aging has announced an eight-phase reopening plan for its senior centers, which have been closed for 14 months, Cameron Goodnight reports for Baltimore Sun Media. The county is starting with the largest facilities.
COMMENTARY: IMMIGRANTS WINNERS THIS SESSION: Hundreds of immigrants showed up in Annapolis this session and their efforts paid off with victory in legislation like ending state involvement in private ICE detention centers, stopping law enforcement from asking about immigration status, and more, Cathyrn Paul, an analyst at immigrant rights organization CASA writes for Maryland Matters.
TRONE TOURS HIGHWAY PROJECT: U.S. Rep. David Trone toured 12 miles of I-81, where word is expected to arrive this summer on a federal grant to widen the highway near Hagerstown, Mike Lewis reports for The Hagerstown Herald-Mail. Secretary Greg Slater of the Maryland Department of Transportation toured with him; the department is seeking federal funds to help pay the $92 million estimated bill for Phase 2 of the project.