STUDY: MORE TRAFFIC, LESS CONGESTION WITH TOLL LANES: A new study projects heavier traffic in 2045 — but less congestion — under Gov. Larry Hogan’s proposal to add toll lanes to portions of interstates 495 and 270 in Montgomery County, Dan Schere reports for Bethesda Beat. Data supporting those conclusions are included in the 288-page report, which was released on Friday.
- Toll lanes on Beltway, I-270 in Maryland wouldn’t lessen worst evening traffic without other improvements, study says. Katherine Shaver reports in the Washington Post.
COST OF NEW POLICE ACCOUNTABILITY LAW WORRIES SOME: Among the new laws taking effect in Maryland Oct. 1 is one which eliminates the Law Enforcement Officer’s Bill of Rights and replaces it with The Police Reform and Accountability Act of 2021. The change comes with two review boards, requirements for regular psychological exams and extra costs for these agencies, Jane Bellmyer reports for the Cecil Whig. “It’s going to be very challenging,” said James Just, chief of police for North East. “Everyone is scrambling to get the manpower together and get the funding.”
98% OF UMMS MEDICAL WORKERS VAXXED: The University of Maryland Medical System, the state’s largest hospital network, announced Friday that 98% of its doctors and other clinical workers had abided by system and state mandates to get vaccinated against COVID-19 or receive an exemption, Meredith Cohn and Hallie Miller of the Sun report.
ABORTION RIGHTS SUPPORTERS RALLY IN ANNAPOLIS: Hundreds of abortion rights supporters gathered in Annapolis Saturday to demand that Maryland’s well-established right to abortion stands and is expanded, citing other states curtailing women’s right to choose, which was established by a landmark Supreme Court decision that now hangs in the balance, Alex Mann reports for the Capital Gazette.
- More than 250 people gathered under bright sunshine at Lawyers’ Mall in Annapolis to show their support for keeping abortion safe and legal and offer their full-throated declaration that women should control their own bodies, writes Josh Kurtz in Maryland Matters Several advocates made the case for strengthening abortion protections in Maryland, and a dozen elected officials spoke and declared their solidarity.
BAY PROGRAM TO PURSUE MORE AGRESSIVE TACT TO CLIMATE CRISIS: For decades, the Chesapeake Bay Program has worked to restore the nation’s largest estuary by cleaning the water and protecting wildlife. Those efforts are no longer enough with the threat of climate change accelerating, the program’s leaders said Friday, and they want to be more aggressive on actions that target climate change, Katherine Hafner of the Sun reports.
- During the meeting, at the Chesapeake Bay Foundation’s Brock Environmental Center, Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan, Virginia Gov. Ralph S. Northam and other leaders signed a “Collective Action for Climate Change” directive that commits the states and federal government to utilize scientific, modeling, monitoring and planning capabilities to prioritize the communities, working lands and habitats that are most vulnerable to the risks that climate change is bringing to the region, Josh Kurtz of Maryland Matters reports..
SPORTS BETTING LIMIT UNDER SCRUTINY: To problem gambling experts, Maryland’s proposal to allow a single sports wager of up to $5 million is off — by $4.9 million. To the two companies that dominate the online betting market, there should be no limit at all, Jeff Barker of the Sun reports.
ARUNDEL GOP SEEKS DEL. MALONE REPLACEMENT: Anne Arundel County Republicans are looking for people interested in filling a vacant seat in the Maryland House of Delegates. Michael Malone is resigning from the House of Delegates, effective at 4 p.m. Friday, as he prepared to be sworn in as an Anne Arundel County Circuit Court judge, Pamela Wood of the Sun reports. Gov. Larry Hogan announced in August that he was appointing the Republican lawmaker and lawyer to the bench.
DEL. BARRON CONFIRMED U.S. ATTORNEY FOR MARYLAND: The Senate, without dissent, has confirmed Prince George’s County Del. Erek Barron as Maryland’s next U.S. Attorney. His nomination was approved on a voice vote late Thursday night, Jeff Barker reports for the Sun.
- Donovan Thomas of the Post reports that U.S. Sens. Ben Cardin and Chris Van Hollen said in a statement,“We are confident that Erek will use his background as both a prosecutor and state legislator to improve public safety in our state and help ensure all Marylanders are treated fairly in the criminal justice system.” Barron currently works for Whiteford Taylor & Preston focusing on “business litigation and crisis management,” according to the firm’s website.
Workforce Readiness for Advanced Energy With a renewed focus on the advanced energy economy and addressing the impacts of climate change, workforce readiness, diversity, and availability are challenges to be addressed. This FREE Webinar on October 12th focuses on approaches, programs, incentives, and the people providing solutions and assistance to support evolving local businesses.
COUNCILMAN QUESTIONS EXEC’s USE OF EMERGENCY POWERS: The Baltimore County Council Monday night is expected to extend by another 30 days the county’s state of emergency. One councilman is questioning whether County Executive Johnny Olszewski is overstepping his emergency powers in dealing with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, John Lee of WYPR-FM reports.
ANNAPOLIS COUNCIL CANDIDATE REQUESTS RECOUNT: Toni Strong Pratt, a Ward 4 alderwoman candidate for the Annapolis City Council, on Friday morning requested a recanvassing of ballots after losing to incumbent Sheila Finlayson by five votes in the Sept. 21 primary. According to the tally from Tuesday’s canvassing, Finlayson came back to beat Strong Pratt, 228 votes to 223 votes. Strong Pratt was leading the race going into Tuesday’s count, Donovan Conaway reports for the Capital Gazette.
STUDENT SEEKS TO INFLUENCE LEGISLATION ON YOUTH PANEL: Westminster High junior Sumiya Rahaman hopes to address issues of equity, empower student school board representatives and shape legislation as one of 23 young adults selected to serve on the 2021-2022 Maryland Youth Advisory Council. The council addresses issues impacting youth by working to provide legislative recommendations, spreading public awareness of youth policy issues and being a liaison between young people and policy makers, Kristen Griffith of the Carroll County Times reports.