VOTER SUPPRESSION, MARYLAND-STYLE: The headlines are full of worries about mounting voter suppression in many states, such as Texas, Georgia, and Wisconsin. But Maryland has long had its own form of voter suppression that goes largely unnoticed, writes Len Lazarick for Maryland Reporter. Legislative leaders are proud of how easy it is to register to vote in Maryland. However, “Left out of chest-puffing pride is how badly Maryland treats voters who do not choose to participate in the duopoly by refusing to register as a Democrat or Republican.”
ARUNDEL JUDGE DISMISSES MAILED BALLOT SUIT: An Anne Arundel County judge has dismissed a lawsuit brought by two Republican political candidates that sought to block Annapolis from mailing ballots to all registered voters in its upcoming primary and general elections, Brooks DuBose of the Capital Gazette reports.
EX-MDOT WORKER SAYS HE WAS FIRED FOR REFUSING TO REMOVE MASK: A Centreville man is saying he was fired from the state job he has held for more than two decades because he refused to take off his mask for a routine alcohol and drug screening test at an indoor out-of-state facility as the Delta variant is spreading rapidly both nationally and in certain parts of Maryland, writes Bryan Renbaum of Maryland Reporter.
NEW COVID CASES UP 55%: New coronavirus cases leaped in Maryland in the week ending Sunday, rising 54.9% as 4,874 cases were reported. The previous week had 3,146 new cases of the virus that causes COVID-19, Mike Stucka of the USA Today Network reports.
NURSING HOME VAXX PUSH MORE URGENT WITH DELTA VARIANT: Seniors and those who care for them have been a prime target for vaccination since the pandemic’s early days when the bulk of deaths from COVID-19 were reported in nursing and assisted living facilities. The push has taken on new urgency since the delta variant of the virus began fueling an uptick in cases that includes seniors, with some facilities requiring shots for caregivers who now make up the majority of their cases, Meredith Cohn and Hallie Miller report for the Sun.
MO CO SCHOOLS MULL VAXX POLICY: Following an announcement last week that Montgomery County employees must be vaccinated against COVID-19 or get tested regularly, Montgomery County Public Schools leaders say they are discussing the county’s approach and considering their own potential vaccination mandate, Caitlynn Peetz reports for Bethesda Beat.
B’MORE HOUSING AUTHORITY MANDATES VAXX: Baltimore’s public housing agency has announced a mandatory vaccine policy for employees – the first government agency in the city do so, reports Fern Shen for Baltimore Brew.
FRANCHOT WEIGHS POLICY, POLITICS ON HIGHWAY VOTES: Political observers — including people who have spoken privately with Comptroller Peter Franchot in recent days — agree on one thing: tomorrow’s Board of Public Works votes on the governor‘s I-495/I-270 roads projects will require him to wade through a complex set of issues. Those who know Franchot, a wily political survivor who has served since the mid-1980s, say he is giving serious weight to the issues, Bruce DePuyt reports for Maryland Matters.
OPINION: OFF-SHORE WIND AND FRANCHOT: In a column for Maryland Matters, Josh Kurtz looks at wind energy and Comptroller Peter Franchot’s stand on it. Franchot, who is seeking to become governor in 2022, is going big on renewable energy. Earlier this year, he issued 14 campaign pledges. One included making Maryland the first net-zero carbon state in the U.S. and a net supplier of renewable energy, moving fully to renewables, by 2030 — a very ambitious timetable. But nowhere does the platform specifically address offshore wind, which he has called “a boondoggle” for Ocean City.
FRANCHOT VOWS TO NAME BLACK WOMAN AS RUNNING MATE: Comptroller Peter Franchot outlined a plan Monday to increase equity and inclusion for Black Maryland residents as part of his campaign for governor, including a pledge to name a Black woman as his running mate, the AP is reporting.
NO RETURN TO NORMALCY AT MACo: The return of county and state officials to the annual Maryland Association of Counties convention in Ocean City later this month was seen as sign that government operations were returning to normal. But instead of showcasing a return to normalcy, the 2021 event is taking place against the backdrop of a pandemic that, far from over, is now showing a steady uptick in COVID-19 cases, writes Bryan Sears for the Daily Record.
B’MORE SEEKS MORE FED CRIME-FIGHTING AID: Baltimore’s congressional delegation has asked U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland for more federal crime-fighting resources for the city. In a letter sent Monday, the elected officials say that while Baltimore suffers from high crime rates, federal law enforcement staffing levels are “significantly smaller than those located in neighboring jurisdictions,” Justin Fenton reports for the Sun.
POST REGIONAL CORRESPONDENT ROBERT MCCARTNEY SAYS FAREWELL: In his farewell column for the Post, Robert McCartney, who has been writing about the Washington region, looks back on the illustrious career of a journalist who has — luckily – done it all – from “witnessing the fall of the Berlin Wall to wading the Rio Grande to show how easy it is to enter the United States illegally.” He begins, “As I end a 39-year career at The Washington Post, I find myself reflecting on highlights enjoyed and insights gained,” ending with some difficult truths about the D.C. region that he has been delving into in. We wish Robert the very best.