PANDEMIC HAS OVERBURDENED TEACHERS, UNION CHIEF SAYS: Bryan Renbaum of Maryland Reporter writes that the head of the state’s main teachers’ union says that while attracting and retaining good teachers has always been difficult, the coronavirus pandemic has made the situation even more difficult as already overburdened educators are forced to take on even more responsibilities with fewer resources.
GOV’s REMAPPING PANEL DEBATES SUBMITTING SINGLE-MEMBER DISTRICTS: Members of Gov. Hogan’s Maryland Citizens Redistricting Commission debated whether to include single- or multi-member delegate districts in their legislative maps at a Monday evening meeting, but weren’t able to reach a consensus ahead of the start of their final round of public hearings., Bennett Leckrone of Maryland Matters reports.
MARYLANDERS URGED TO REVIEW TOLL CHARGES AS HEARING SET: In the wake of an independent review that found irregularities in Maryland’s toll-collection system, some legislators are urging their constituents to review their E-ZPass and credit card accounts to make sure they haven’t been over-billed, Maryland Matters’ Bruce DePuyt reports.
SEN. HOUGH STEPS DOWN AS MINORITY WHIP: Frederick County Sen. Michael R. Hough announced Monday that he has stepped down as minority whip after one year in the leadership post. Hough cited his intent to leave the General Assembly to run for Frederick County executive as the reason, Danielle Gaines reports for Maryland Matters. Carroll County Sen. Justin Ready was elected as whip. Anne Arundel County Sen. Bryan Simonaire was re-elected as minority leader for a second year.
LATINO LEADERS SAY ALSOBROOKS FAILS TO DIVERSIFY: Prince George’s County, a jurisdiction known nationally as a magnet for Black professionals, has a diversity problem in local government, Latino leaders charged on Monday. Bruce DePuyt of Maryland Matters reports that nearly a dozen current and former officials accused County Executive Angela D. Alsobrooks (D) of failing to hire a single person of Hispanic descent to an agency-level position since her election nearly three years ago.
LACKS FAMILY SUES BIOTECH FIRM OVER CELL USE: Family members of Henrietta Lacks filed a lawsuit Monday against the U.S. biotech giant Thermo Fisher Scientific accusing the company of “unjust enrichment” for making and selling products that relied on cells taken from her decades earlier without her consent, Meredith Cohn and Hallie Miller report in the Sun.
ARUNDEL SCHOOL BUS DRIVERS STRIKE AGAINST COMPANY: Acacia James and Colleen Kelleher of WTOP-FM report that bus drivers who transport Anne Arundel County Public Schools students are continuing their strike in the Maryland county Tuesday. The drivers who work for Annapolis Bus Co., a contractor for the school system, are not showing up for work amid an ongoing dispute with the company.
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B’MORE MAYOR TESTS POSITIVE FOR COVID-19: Baltimore Mayor Brandon Scott has tested positive for the coronavirus, his staff said Monday. The mayor, who was vaccinated against COVID-19 in March, tested positive for the virus during a routine test Monday morning, city officials said. The mayor was tested a second time and received a repeat positive test, Emily Opilo of the Sun reports.
- “The mayor is asymptomatic and currently feels fine. He will work remotely until he is officially cleared to return to City Hall,” spokesman Calvin Harris said. Scott’s positive test is a breakthrough infection — the mayor received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine in mid-March, Emily Sullivan reports for WYPR-FM.
- Mark Reutter of Baltimore Brew reports that on a festival-packed weekend in Baltimore, a maskless Brandon Scott, who has tested positive for Covid, came into contact with scores of residents and quite a few fellow officeholders.
HOWARD COUNCIL OKs FUNDS FOR POLICE BODY-CAMS: The Howard County Council approved releasing $476,969 in contingency funding to the county police department, sheriff’s office and the Howard County State’s Attorney’s Office for the new body-worn camera program during its legislative meeting on Monday night, Katie Jones reports for the Howard County Times.
BA CO COUNCIL EXTENDS EMERGENCY ORDER: By a 4-3 vote along party lines, the Baltimore County Council voted to extend the county’s state of emergency by 30 days, Taylor DeVille of the Sun reports. The council and residents spent much of the meeting debating the merits of such an order, which officials say allows the county to procure needed resources more quickly.
- John Lee of WYPR-FM reports that Democratic Councilwoman Cathy Bevins lamented that COVID has become political on the county council. But the Republican council members took issue with Bevins’ take on the vote. “I can assure you my decision is not political,” Republican Wade Kach told Bevins after the vote.
MO CO POSITIVITY RATE DIPS BELOW 2%: Montgomery County officials say the county’s COVID-19 test-positivity rate has dropped below 2%. During a weekly briefing, officials also said the county has the lowest number of new daily cases across state health metrics, Glynis Kazanjian reports for WTOP-FM.
NIH DIRECTOR TO RETURN TO GENOME LAB AFTER 12-YEAR RUN: The director of the Bethesda-based National Institutes of Health, Dr. Francis S. Collins, says he is stepping down by the end of the year, having led the research center for 12 years and become a prominent source of public information during the coronavirus pandemic, the AP is reporting.
- After more than 12 years directing the nation’s premier biomedical research center, Collins, a 71-year-old physician-geneticist, will return to his lab at the National Human Genome Research Institute, part of NIH, Lenny Bernstein and Carolyn Johnson report for the Post.