EMERGENCY LEGISLATION TO HELP WITH NURSING STAFFING: Gov. Larry Hogan said Thursday that he will introduce emergency legislation to address staffing shortages at the state’s hospitals in order to ensure that they “have the tools they need to respond to future crises,” Bryan Renbaum reports for MarylandReporter.com.
NAACP, ACLU BRING EQUITY CONCERNS IN BALTIMORE CO REDISTRICTING: There are concerns a redistricting plan doesn’t go far enough to ensure minority candidates get elected to the Baltimore city council, John Lee reports for WYPR. Baltimore County’s Redistricting Commission approved Thursday a proposed map that would create one majority-minority council district as well as keep in place another district that is predominantly Black.
- The unanimous vote came amid opposition by the county’s two NAACP branches and the ACLU of Maryland, Taylor Deville reports for the Sun. Black, Indigenous and other people of color comprise about 45% of the electorate in the seven council districts.
FEDERAL COURT HEARS ST. MICHAEL’S MEDIA CASE OVER RALLY BAN: A federal judge heard testimony Thursday in a case where Baltimore City stopped a conservative group from using Baltimore’s MECU Pavilion amid concerns of “significant disruption” due to the “characteristics of the location and the likely reaction to the planned program,” Emily Opilo reports for the Sun.
- The judge heard from survivors of clergy abuse who want to speak at the “prayer rally” that St. Michael’s Media planned to hold on Nov. 16 at the city-owned waterfront pavilion, Michael Kunzelman reports for the AP in The Washington Times.
- Their conference would be happening the same day the Catholic bishops’ conference is going on across the way at the Marriott Baltimore Waterfront Hotel, Shelley Orman reports for WBFF. Steve Bannon and Milo Yiannopoulos are among the speakers planned.
MD SURPLUS COULD LEAD TO EXPANSIONS IN SOCIAL SERVICES HELP: Maryland has ended its 2021 fiscal year with $2.5 billion in unassigned funds that Comptroller Peter Franchot hopes to reinvest in those still struggling from the effects of the coronavirus pandemic, Rachel Logan reports for the Capital News Service in MarylandReporter.com.
- Maryland’s financial standing at the end of the fiscal year is better than predicted, thanks to a windfall in tax revenue that state officials attribute to federal stimulus funding, Rebecca Tan reports for the Post. The state has a $2.5 billion balance and could result in an expanded investment in social services.
STATE OFFICIALS EXPANDING VACCINE PROOF PROGRAM: Stopping short of calling it a vaccine passport, state health officials said they will expand a vaccination tracking program that will allow people to prove their COVID-19 inoculation status, Bryan Sears reports for The Daily Record.
Equity in the Energy Marketplace: Consumers are finding they have to become experts about how to best manage their energy purchase and consumption. Publicly funded initiatives and regulations are needed to ensure that underserved customers benefit from advancements in the energy economy. This FREE Webinar on September 30th covers consumer choice from residential energy supply, generation and storage to smart homes, appliances, and adoption of electric vehicles.
RURAL HOSPITALS STRUGGLE WITH COVID BURDEN: A doctor and executive director for the Maryland Institute for Emergency Medical Services Systems has said rural hospitals are “disproportionately affected by coronavirus,” as Allegany and Garrett counties face low vaccination rates and high case rates, Teresa McMinn reports for the Cumberland Times-News.
SCHOOLS TACKLE VACCINE REQUIREMENTS, QUARANTINE DECISIONS: Montgomery County Public Schools, the state’s largest school system, will allow religious exemptions for staff vaccine mandates, Nicole Asbury reports for the Post. An employee filed a lawsuit two days ago over the lack of religious exemption.
- Trying to keep more healthy kids in school, Carroll County Public Schools leaders are looking to change quarantine requirements for students and staff members, Tim Tooten reports for WBAL.
CARROLL HEALTH OFFICER STEPS DOWN: The face of Carroll County’s fight against COVID-19, Carroll County’s health officer Ed Singer is moving to a completely different position in county government, and says he has nothing good to say about why he’s leaving, Kristen Griffith reports for the Carroll County Times.
SHOULD MD SET AN UPPER LIMIT ON SPORTS BETS? State regulators are considering if Maryland should set a limit on a single sports bet wager — with proposals setting it as high as $5 million or no limit at all, Jeff Barker reports for the Sun.
TRANSPORTATION OFFICIALS DON’T BUDGE ON PROPOSED TOLL RATES: The Maryland Transportation Authority staff is sticking to a proposed toll rate plan for I-495/I-270 express toll lanes for the second round of public comment, despite overwhelming complaints during the first public comment process, Bruce DePuyt reports for Maryland Matters.
POLICE REFORM BECOMING LAW FRIDAY: Rachel Baye with WYPR breaks down the police reform bills that take effect Friday as state law. They include requiring the state Attorney General’s Office to investigate police-involved deaths.
BALTIMORE CO ASKS FOR MORE STATE HELP ON TRANSIT: Baltimore County wants to create several transit routes throughout the county, and is asking the state to put forward more funds, Taylor Deville reports for the Sun. Officials say state support for such projects lags far behind investment in surrounding counties.
FREDERICK OFFERS VAX CASH: Full-time Frederick County employees will receive $1,000 for being fully vaccinated, Jack Hogan reports for The Frederick News-Post. County Executive Jan Gardner announced the bonus plan Thursday, which gives $500 for part-time employees and allows those employees until Nov. 30 to get vaccinated.