CARDIN: WE MUST DO BETTER ON SMALL BIZ INVESTMENT: U.S. Sen. Ben Cardin, D-Md., Wednesday emphasized the need to ensure that money from a federal program that provides financing to promising small businesses is more equitably distributed to entrepreneurs in underserved communities throughout the nation, Bryan Renbaum reports for Maryland Reporter.
SHORE RESIDENTS URGE STATE TO ADOPT SINGLE-MEMBER DISTRICTS: Eastern Shore residents urged the Maryland Citizens Redistricting Commission to adopt single-member legislative districts at a virtual hearing Wednesday evening, with some charging that the state’s current hybrid model is unfair for voters, Bennett Leckrone reports for Maryland Matters.
LEGISLATIVE PANEL CONTINUES PROBE INTO MES: The legislative panel probing controversial financial practices at the Maryland Environmental Service will hold its first public hearing in six months on Thursday afternoon, Bruce DePuyt reports for Maryland Matters. Lawmakers are hopeful that Michael C. Harris, the quasi-governmental agency’s former finance chief, will be able to shed light on several matters — including the large severance payment that Roy McGrath received when he left MES to become Gov. Larry Hogan’s chief of staff last summer.
LAWMAKERS VOICE CONCERNS OVER JOBLESS BENEFITS WEBSITE GLITCHES: The state labor secretary got an earful Tuesday from state lawmakers who are voicing the frustrations of their unemployed constituents with the Beacon 2.0 website, Mark Roper of WMAR-TV reports. It’s been an ongoing problem for the unemployed throughout the pandemic but many are still having problems filing their weekly claims. Many are not happy with what the state labor secretary believes is the solution to the problem.
MICROPLASTICS HARM IN BAY CLARIFIED: Whitney Pipken of the Bay Journal reports that scientists have long suspected that the tiny plastic particles floating in the Chesapeake Bay and its rivers — consumed by a growing number of aquatic species — are anything but harmless. Now, studies by a regional workgroup are beginning to clarify the connections between the presence of microplastics and the harm they could be causing in the Bay region.
STUDY: VEHICLE EMISSIONS CAUSE PREMATURE DEATHS: An academic study released Tuesday finds that ozone and fine particulate matter from vehicle emissions in 2016 led to an estimated 7,100 premature deaths in the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast — including 664 in Maryland, Josh Kurtz reports for Maryland Matters.
HOSPITALS TO REQUIRE VAXX FOR ALL EMPLOYEES: Maryland hospitals announced Wednesday they will require the COVID-19 vaccine for their employees, Sarah Kim reports for WYPR-FM. The Maryland Hospital Association wrote in a statement that health systems and hospitals have agreed to set dates after which COVID-19 vaccines will become mandatory for employees.
- Johanna Alonso of the Daily Record reports that each hospital or health system will set a date by which their employees have to receive the inoculation to remain employed. They will grant medical and religious exemptions as required by law.
LANDFILLS ADD MORE THAN ESTIMATED TO GREENHOUSE GAS PROBLEM: Maryland’s municipal landfills have produced about four times more carbon dioxide and methane over the past 15 years than the state Department of the Environment previously estimated, according to a study released Wednesday by the Environmental Integrity Project and confirmed by the state.
OPINION: A BETTER WAY TO VOTE: In an op-ed for the Capital Gazette, J.H. Snider opines that there “are better ways to combine the benefits of both partisan and nonpartisan elections while creating a more competitive electoral system. Consider the type of voting system Alaska voters approved by state ballot initiative in 2020. … instead of separate primaries for Democrats and Republicans, Alaska will hold one open primary from which the top four candidates, regardless of party affiliation, proceed to the general election. Then, in the general election, voters use ranked-choice voting to select a winner among the four nominees.” The column appears on the Open Primaries site.
MUNOZ, REILLY FILE FOR DISTRICT 33 RACES: Severna Park resident Rachel Muñoz and Sen. Ed Reilly, both Republicans, are the first to officially file for the 2022 election in District 33. Muñoz is seeking a delegate seat and Reilly, R-Crofton is running for re-election to his state Senate seat. Reilly and Muñoz said they are not working as a team, but they do support each other. Ada Romano writes for the Capital Gazette.
HERB McMILLAN LAUNCHES RACE FOR ARUNDEL EXEC: Former Annapolis alderman and former Del. Herb McMillan launched his campaign for Anne Arundel County executive on a muggy Wednesday night at a fundraiser, where he lambasted current County Executive Steuart Pittman for higher taxes and his handling of the pandemic, Ada Romano reports for the Capital Gazette.
NEW PRINCE GEORGE’S HOSPITAL OPENS: A long-awaited regional hospital opened this week in Prince George’s County — a development that officials consider a vital step toward improving the health-care landscape in Maryland’s second-largest jurisdiction, Rachel Chason of the Post reports.
PG STUDENTS TO RETURN TO SCHOOL IN FALL: Students in Maryland’s Prince George’s County Public Schools will be back in classrooms in the fall after a year of virtual and hybrid learning, thanks to the coronavirus pandemic, Colleen Kelleher of WTOP-FM reports. “Hybrid instruction will be discontinued in line with guidance from the Maryland State Department of Education and state school board of education,” said Monica Goldson, chief executive officer of the school system, in a YouTube video to the school community.
B’MORE OKs NEW TRAVEL SPENDING RULES: Baltimore’s spending board approved a new expense policy for elected officials Wednesday, adopting rules recommended by a city work group after an investigation into State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby’s travel costs, Phil Davis reports in the Sun.
NEW B’MORE WATER METERS PROVE PROBLEMATIC: Baltimore’s new high-tech water meters that were supposed to solve a problem are frequently broken, delivering no readings. When that happens, customers can go months without bills for water usage — resulting in the loss of millions of dollars of needed revenue, Emily Opilo of the Sun reports. A joint report from the Baltimore City and Baltimore County inspectors general in December found 8,650 open repair requests for water meter problems in the county alone — 95% of them unresolved for more than a year.
PITTMAN ENDS ARUNDEL STATE OF EMERGENCY: Anne Arundel County Executive Steuart Pittman has ended the county’s state of emergency prompted by the COVID-19 pandemic and also signed into law a measure extending outdoor dining privileges for restaurants through Nov. 1, the Daily Record reports.
COURT LIMITS COMPENSATION IN PET’s KILLING: Ann Marimow of the Post writes that Maryland’s high court turned down an effort this week to treat pets as more than property in the case of a brown Chesapeake Bay retriever named Vern who was shot and killed by a police officer in his family’s driveway. In a lengthy dissent, one judge said the court had missed an opportunity to interpret the law more in line with modern sensibilities about pets. Marimow tells more of Vern’s story in this article.