FRANCHOT ADVOCATES FOR MANDATED VAXX FOR STATE WORKERS: Comptroller and Democratic gubernatorial candidate Peter Franchot said state employees should be required to get vaccinated against the novel coronavirus just as most federal employees will soon be required to do under new rules recently announced by the Biden administration, Bryan Renbaum reports for Maryland Reporter.
FREE STATE PODCAST: The latest episode of Maryland Reporter’s Free State Podcast hosted by John Rydell features interviews with St. Mary’s College political science professor Todd Eberly and New York Times congressional reporter and Pulitzer Prize winner Luke Broadwater. Eberly shared his thoughts on the candidates in Maryland’s 2022 gubernatorial race. Broadwater reflected on the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol by supporters of former President Donald Trump and offered insight into the ongoing congressional investigation into that attack.
FIRES, FLOODS SPUR LAWMAKERS TO CONSIDER CLIMATE BILL: Amid a summer with more frequent fires and floods, Maryland state lawmakers and environmental advocates are beginning to think about what another climate bill could look like during the next legislative session, Elizabeth Shwe of Maryland Matters reports.
EVICTIONS ISSUES NOW FRONT AND CENTER: A federal freeze on most evictions enacted last year expired Saturday, after President Biden’s administration extended the original date by a month. Landlords complained that they were footing the bill and tenants expressed concern that they were in untenable situations during the pandemic. Brian Witte of the AP explains the situation in Maryland.
- Carol Ott, the tenant advocacy director at the Fair Housing Action Center of Maryland, said courts are speeding through eviction hearings and noted that federal protections for tenants expired and state ones expire Aug. 15. Ott said the lengthy rental applications are cumbersome for tenants, many of whom apply as a last resort to avert an eviction, Bennett Leckrone of Maryland Matters reports.
STATE LAWMAKERS HEAD TO DC TO PUSH FOR SARBANES’ VOTING ACT: More than 100 state legislators from 20 states across the country will converge in Washington on Monday to join their Texas counterparts in pushing the Senate and President Biden to take action on voting reform legislation known as the For the People Act, which was introduced in 2019 U.S. Rep. John Sarbanes of Maryland, although the article doesn’t say that. The story is by Vanessa Williams of the Post.
COVID CASES CONTINUE TO RISE, AGAIN: Covid cases, positivity rates and hospitalizations are rising again across Maryland and elsewhere, particularly in places with low vaccination rates such as Cecil County in northeast Maryland and St. Mary’s County in the south, Hallie Miller of the Sun reports.
- On Sunday, Maryland reported 547 new cases. It’s the fourth day in a row the state reported over 500 new cases. Hospitalizations also went up by 25, bringing the total number of current hospitalizations to 256, with 184 in acute care and 72 in the ICU. Maryland’s positivity rate has now reached 3.03%, an increase of 0.16% in the last 24 hours, WJZ-TV reports.
- COVID-19 cases continued to tick up in Montgomery County on Saturday, as the county reported 98 new cases— the highest total in over three months, reports Bethesda Beat.
MANY SCHOOLS TO REQUIRE MASKING: Tim Tooten of WBAL-TV updates the masking requirements in public schools as jurisdictions decide how to approach the rise in Covid-19 cases. Included in his report are Howard, Baltimore and Prince George’s counties.
HEALTH SECTY A NO-SHOW; LAWMAKERS ANGERED: A joint briefing of two legislative committees went far shorter than was anticipated Friday afternoon, after Maryland’s Health secretary didn’t appear. “This is unacceptable. We’re going to reschedule this briefing,” House Health and Government Operations chairwoman Shane E. Pendergrass (D-Howard) said during the joint meeting that also included members of the Senate Finance Committee and House Appropriations Committee, reports Danielle Gaines of Maryland Matters.
CECIL FAIR REPORTS COVID CASES: Just as the 9-day run of the Cecil County Fair drew to a close on Saturday evening, a notice went out that someone at the fair had tested positive for COVID-19, Jane Bellmyer of the Cecil Whig reports. “Thus far there are two linked confirmed positives. There is an additional case that reported attendance at the fair but it’s not clear if that is where the initial exposure happened,” said Daniel Coulter, spokesman for the health department, which has turned over the investigation to the Maryland Health Department.
ELRICH SAY HE’LL VETO SILVER SPRING BIZ BILL: Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich (D) on Thursday said he planned to veto a bill the council passed this week creating a business improvement district in downtown Silver Spring, saying the measure did not give small, minority-owned businesses enough of a say, Stephanie Lai of the Post reports.
LACKS FAMILY CONSIDERS SUING BIG PHARMA: The family of Henrietta Lacks has hired a prominent civil rights attorney who says he plans to seek compensation for them from big pharmaceutical companies across the country that made fortunes off medical research with her famous cancer cells, Tim Prudente of the Sun reports.
SINGLE-USE PLASTIC STYMIES RECYCLING ACTIVISTS: Activists who have been pushing Baltimore to move faster toward a Zero Waste goal – with paper and glass more widely recycled, food waste composted and the BRESCO trash incinerator mothballed – are speaking out about a part of the waste stream that doesn’t fit the concept: Single-use plastic. A new report finds that only 2.2% of plastics are recycled in Baltimore, the lowest rate of five cities studied (Detroit, Long Beach, Minneapolis, Newark and Baltimore), Timothy Dashiell and Fern Shen report for Baltimore Brew.