900,000 MARYLANDERS REMAIN UNVAXXED: While Maryland’s COVID-19 vaccination metrics are better than that of most states with about 84% of residents partially vaccinated and about 60% fully vaccinated-significant outreach and education must be a continued priority as about 900,000 Marylanders still are unvaccinated, Deputy Health Secretary Dr. Jinlene Chan told Bryan Renbaum of MarylandReporter.com on Wednesday.
PANDEMIC AID BOOSTS STATE SURPLUS TO $2.5B: Maryland’s state government ended the last budget year with $2.5 billion in cash left over, Pamela Wood of the Sun reports. The extra money on hand is due largely to the deluge of federal pandemic aid that has flowed into Maryland and other states in multiple waves.
- News of the surplus comes one day before the state Board of Revenue Estimates meets. The panel will issue a revised revenue forecast for the current and coming fiscal years, Bryan Sears reports for the Daily Record. Comptroller Peter Franchot renewed his call for state aid to struggling Marylanders affected by the pandemic.
- The state’s personal income tax collections grew by 7.3% during the 2020 tax year, according to a press release, and wage growth led to more sales tax revenues than expected during the last six months of the 2021 fiscal year. The state’s corporate income tax was also higher than expected, Bennett Leckrone of Maryland Matters writes.
NEW LAWS ADDRESS POLICE REFORMS, LGBTQ+ PROTECTIONS, CYBER-SECURITY: New laws going into effect in Maryland on Friday will put into action police and criminal justice reforms, address early voting, and increase protections for LGBTQ+ people, the Capital News Service reports in MarylandReporter. Police reforms include greater transparency for police conduct records and independent investigations of deaths in police custody. New criminal justice laws will prohibit life sentences without parole for minors tried as adults and decrease sentences if incarcerated people continue their education.
- A new law that strives to enhance cybersecurity in Maryland for local governments and small organizations will go into effect Friday, A.R. Cabral of CNS reports in MarylandReporter. The law aims to promote cybersecurity oversight and advisement between the secretary of information technology, the attorney general, and the legislative and judicial branches of government for offices and agencies of state government, according to the bill, SB049.
COVID OUTBREAKS IN SCHOOLS CONTINUE TO RISE: The number of COVID-19 outbreaks in Baltimore-area schools is continuing to rise, according to figures posted by the Maryland Department of Health on Wednesday, Christine Condon of the Sun reports. The school with the largest outbreak in the state is Margaret Brent Middle School in St. Mary’s County, which had 61 cases — far more than any other school on the list.
CARROLL ED BOARD MAY ALTER STUDENT PROTOCOLS: The Carroll County Board of Education discussed modifying COVID-19 quarantine protocols for students at a special meeting Wednesday after expressing concern about the growing number of healthy students missing in-person instruction, Madison Bateman reports for the Carroll County Times.
MO CO SCHOOL EMPLOYEE SUES OVER VAXX MANDATE: A Montgomery County Public Schools employee on Tuesday filed a federal lawsuit against the school district, alleging its COVID-19 vaccination mandate violates his religious freedoms, Caitlynn Peetz reports for Bethesda Beat.
PARTISAN DIVIDE OVER W. MD DISTRICTS: At a Wednesday Legislative Redistricting Advisory Commission meeting, local leaders and community members discussed the future of the 6th Congressional District, which was the subject of a lawsuit that made it all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, Bennett Leckrone reports for Maryland Matters.
GOV PANEL ISSUES DRAFT WITH SINGLE-MEMBER DISTRICTS: The Governor’s Redistricting Advisory Commission released their long-awaited draft map for House of Delegates Legislative districts today, which includes single-member districts, writes Brian Griffiths for the Duckpin. The governor’s non-partisan commission instead creates 141 single-member districts ensuring that each Marylander has one senator and one delegate representing them in Annapolis.
Building & Bankrolling Energy Projects The project development pathway can be complicated and treacherous! This FREE Webinar on October 5th provides navigation assistance for project developers and identifies programmatic solutions that Maryland may consider. Green bonds, green banks, and catalytic capital funds, and model programs other states have successfully deployed, will be featured.
LAWYER SAYS STEELE COMMITTEE FOLLOWING STATE LAW: A lawyer representing former Republican National Committee chair Michael Steele has filed a formal response to a complaint regarding his gubernatorial exploratory committee, rejecting an allegation that the committee is operating in violation of Maryland campaign finance law and asserting that it is following Maryland election law, Bruce DePuyt reports for Maryland Matters.
COX TAPS RUNNING MATE FOR GOP GOV RACE: Del. Dan Cox officially filed for governor, selecting Gordana Schifanelli as his running mate, writes Brian Griffiths for the Duckpin blog. She is a 50-year-old attorney who lives in Stevensville in Queen Anne’s County. The Cox-Schifanelli ticket is the second to officially file in the Republican Primary, joining the ticket of Joe Werner and Minh Thanh Luong.
- Schifanelli founded the Kent Island Patriots group, which has been used as a platform to criticize a former Queen Anne’s County schools superintendent who had called for better dialogue on racism and publicly supported the Black Lives Matter movement, Pamela Wood of the Sun reports.
OLSZEWSKI SAYS COUNTY SHORT-CHANGED ON STATE TRANSIT PROJECTS: Baltimore County Executive John Olszewski accused the state’s top transportation officials on Wednesday of short-changing his jurisdiction by funneling more money to the Washington, D.C., suburbs than to his county, Bruce DePuyt of Maryland Matters reports. In remarks at Towson University, he called for “more sustained support and partnership” from state budgeteers.
WA CO JOBLESS RATE, THOSE WITH JOBS BOTH FALL: The unemployment rate, the number of people without jobs and the number of those with work all fell during August in Washington County, Mike Lewis reports for the Hagerstown Herald-Mail. The county’s unemployment rate fell from 5.6 in July to 5.4% in August. It was 7.9% in August 2020. The number of employed people dropped from 67,987 in July to 66,782 in August. That figure was 66,688 in August 2020.
FREDERICK PUSHES U.S. RT. 15 EXPANSION AS ROADS PRIORITY: In a meeting Wednesday with state Department of Transportation officials, leaders from Frederick County, the city and the county’s delegation to Annapolis once again conveyed the expansion of U.S. Route 15 as their top transportation priority, Jack Hogan reports for the Frederick News-Post.
MO CO COUNCIL GETS PUSHBACK FROM ELRICH ON VAXX MANDATE: The Montgomery County Council on Tuesday introduced legislation that would mandate coronavirus vaccinations for county employees with few exemptions, eliciting sharp pushback from employee unions and County Executive Marc Elrich, Rebecca Tan reports for the Post.
FREDERICK MAYOR HOPEFUL HAS CRIMINAL CASE PENDING: A Frederick mayoral candidate is facing questions about his past and a pending criminal case ahead of the city’s November election. Republican nominee for mayor Steven L. Hammrick — whose legal name is Steven Hamrick Jr. (with one “m”) — faces a second-degree assault charge from an incident in July in which police claim he pointed a gun at a group of people during a confrontation on July 31, Ryan Marshall reports for the Frederick News-Post.