State Roundup: Legislators OK mask mandate for public school students, staff; Talbot Boys statue to be moved to Virginia

State Roundup: Legislators OK mask mandate for public school students, staff; Talbot Boys statue to be moved to Virginia

Governor's Office photo by Patrick Siebert

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MASKS MANDATED FOR PUBLIC SCHOOL STUDENTS, STAFF: Masks will be required for all students and staff at all of Maryland’s public schools following a Tuesday afternoon on an emergency regulation by a panel of state lawmakers, reports Bryan Renbaum for Maryland Reporter.

  • The approval came following a lengthy public video hearing that veered between accusations that a mask mandate represents government overreach to pleas from parents that their students be protected against the coronavirus, Pamela Wood of the Sun reports.
  • The 10-7 vote by the General Assembly’s Joint Committee on Administrative, Executive and Legislative Review puts the emergency regulation into effect for up to 180 days. The Maryland State Board of Education approved the regulation last month on an 11-1 vote, Brian Witte reports for the AP.
  • Sen. Sarah Elfreth, D-Anne Arundel and co-chair of the committee, said the panel had an obligation to act for the common good of children, especially those who cannot be vaccinated, Bryan Sears of the Daily Record reports.

TALBOT BOYS STATUE TO MOVE TO VIRGINIA PARK: The Talbot County Council adopted an immediate resolution Tuesday night to move the Confederate Talbot Boys statue from outside the courthouse to a private park in Virginia, McKenna Oxenden of the Sun reports. It is believed to be the only Confederate statue remaining on public grounds in Maryland.

  • The pressures of a lawsuit that contends the statue’s placement on the courthouse lawn violates the U.S. Constitution and is racist, calls from statewide elected officials for the statue to be removed and protests all preceded a resolution to move the monument, reports Bennett Leckrone for Maryland Matters.

WHAT LEAD UP TO JUDGE’s DEATH: Before their son went on his first hunting trip with Caroline County Judge Jonathan Newell, his parents sat him down and came up with a safe word. Justin Fenton of the Sun reports on how Newell befriended the family and what lead up to him being placed on leave, then taking his own life as the FBI attempted to arrest him on Friday.

OPINION: ‘RADICAL EXPERIMENT’ IN EDUCATION ACCOUNTABILITY: In a commentary for the Sun, former Kirwan Commission member Kalman Hettleman opines, “A bombshell, with uncertain force, is about to land on school reform in Maryland. It’s the startup in the next several weeks of the Accountability and Implementation Board created under the Blueprint for Maryland’s Future. More than any other part of the blueprint, the AIB is a radical experiment in school governance — untested anywhere in the U.S. — with virtually limitless authority to make or break school reform for generations to come.”

OPINION: BLAME FROSH FOR LAW FIRM BILL: In a column for Maryland Matters, David Plymyer opines that criticizing Gov. Larry “Hogan for trying to put an early end to federally funded expanded unemployment benefits is fair. Blaming him for the boatload of taxpayer money spent on a private law firm’s unsuccessful attempt to defend his decision in court is not. The responsibility for that expenditure lies solely with Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh.”

PG DEM PANEL TAPS CHAIR FOR DELEGATE SEAT: The Prince George’s County Democratic Central Committee chose Central Committee chair Cheryl Summers Landis to represent District 23B for the next 16 months. She takes over the seat of former Del. Ronald L. Watson, who was appointed to the state Senate seat of Douglas J.J. Peters, who was appointed to the University System of Maryland Board of Regents.

STEELE MUST DISCLOSE DATA ON EXPLORATORY CAMPAIGN: Michael Steele, the former Maryland lieutenant governor who is contemplating a run for governor, must disclose information about his exploratory campaign to show he isn’t running afoul of campaign finance laws, Pamela Wood reports in the Sun.

Climate-Centric Solutions, Strategies & Policies: This session offers insights on potential pathways and possible impacts associated with climate-centric policies. Strategically targeted investments needed to maximize desirable outcomes, and achieve impactful results faster, will also be discussed during this FREE Webinar on September 21st.

PG COLLEGE CLEARS $2.87M IN STUDENT DEBT: Prince George’s Community College has wiped away any outstanding balances for current students who were also enrolled between March 13, 2020 and August 20, 2021, says Vice President of Student Affairs Dr. Tyson Beale. Justin Hinton of WJLA News7 reports. Beale says in total, more than $2.87 million of debt was paid off through the CARES Act Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund benefiting about 4,000 students.

B’MORE TO END FISCAL YEAR WITH $8.9M SURPLUS: After a year issuing dire warnings about the state of Baltimore’s budget amid the coronavirus pandemic, city officials said Tuesday Baltimore will end the 2021 fiscal year with an $8.9 million surplus due in large part to an infusion of federal funding, writes Emily Opilo for the Sun.

MO CO SCHOOLS CHANGE COURSE ON QUARANTINE: Less than two weeks after announcing stricter quarantine guidelines for unvaccinated students possibly exposed to COVID-19, Montgomery County Public Schools officials on Tuesday backtracked, announcing they will no longer require “close contacts” to quarantine while awaiting test results, Caitlynn Peetz reports for Bethesda Beat.

MO CO COUNCIL MEMBERS WANT VAXX MANDATE FOR COUNTY WORKERS: Two Montgomery County Council members are calling for a vaccination mandate for all county employees, Steve Bohnel reports for Bethesda Beat.

FREDERICK COUNCIL REVISITS EQUITY BILL: The Frederick County Council on Tuesday conducted another assessment of legislation to identify and address inequities in county government. Supporters of the bill said it’s a vital step toward ensuring that the government’s push for equity persists regardless of the administration heading the county, Jack Hogan reports for the Frederick News-Post.

CATHOLIC PROTEST GROUP SUES B’MORE, SOLICITOR SHEA: A group denied use of the MECU Pavilion for a protest during the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops meeting this fall has sued Baltimore City and Solicitor Jim Shea arguing its rights to freedom of speech and religion among others have been violated, Emily Opilo reports for the Sun.

  • St. Michael’s Media Inc. claims Shea told the city’s events agent to cancel a contract that would have permitted the group to hold its protest at the MECU Pavilion, directly across from the bishop’s Fall General Assembly at the Waterfront Marriott Hotel scheduled for Nov. 15 to 18, Steve Lash reports for the Daily Record.

FORMER DBED SECRETARY JAMES T. BRADY DIES AT 81: James T. Brady, former chairman of the University System of Maryland’s board of regents who resigned in 2018 in the wake of the controversy surrounding the death of University of Maryland football player Jordan McNair and earlier had served as secretary of the state’s Department of Business and Economic Development, died Friday at the Adler Center in Aldie, Va., of complications from a stroke. The Frederick resident who earlier had lived on Charlcote Place in Baltimore and in Timonium, was 81. Fred Rasmussen writes the obituary for the Sun.

About The Author

Cynthia Prairie

Contributing Editor Cynthia Prairie has been a newspaper editor since 1979, when she began working at The Raleigh Times. Since then, she has worked for The Baltimore News American, The Chicago Sun-Times, The Prince George’s Journal and Baltimore County newspapers in the Patuxent Publishing chain, including overseeing The Jeffersonian when it was a two-day a week business publication. Cynthia has won numerous state awards, including the Maryland State Bar Association’s Gavel Award. Besides compiling and editing the daily State Roundup, she runs her own online newspaper, The Chester Telegraph. If you have additional questions or comments contact Cynthia at:

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