ELRICH WOULD BACK NATIONWIDE VAXX MANDATE: Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich Wednesday said a universal COVID-19 vaccine mandate imposed by the federal government would be a very useful tool in the fight against the pandemic. “I would do for everyone else what they have done for federal employees,” Elrich said in response to a question from Bryan Renbaum of MarylandReporter.com at a virtual news conference. “I would not make a distinction.”
ADVICE ON BOOSTER SHOTS VARIES: Advice on who is to get the Covid-19 booster shots varies, writes Meredith Cohn for the Sun. Federal regulators say older adults and those with underlying health conditions or at risk from their hospital or similar job should get a booster if they initially got the two-dose Pfizer vaccine more than six months ago. Maryland’s health officials add anyone who got the two-dose Moderna vaccine, though federal regulators won’t decide on that until next week. Then there is Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan …
MARYLAND SCHOOLS EAGER FOR YOUTH VACCINES: Brittany Gaddy of Capital News Service writes that Maryland schools are gearing up for potential Food and Drug Administration emergency use authorization of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for 5- to 11-year-olds. Mohammed Choudhury, Maryland state superintendent of schools, told Capital News Service in an email that the vaccine is the best defense against the COVID-19 pandemic. The article appears in Maryland Reporter.
- A Montgomery County health official said Wednesday that the authorization of pediatric Pfizer COVID-19 vaccines in the county could start in early November, Dan Schere reports for Bethesda Beat.
PRIVATE, RURAL SCHOOLS HAVE LARGEST COVID OUTBREAKS: One-hundred and seventy-three school-based outbreaks of COVID-19 were reported Wednesday by the Maryland Department of Health, with the two largest outbreaks of COVID-19 at public schools in St. Mary’s County. All of the schools reporting the 10 largest outbreaks are private schools or located in rural parts of Maryland, Amy Simpson of WBFF-TV reports.
HOGAN REDISTRICTING PANEL STILL SPLIT OVER SINGLE DISTRICT ISSUE: Members of the Maryland Citizens Redistricting Commission remained split over the issue of single- vs. multi-member districts as their final round of public hearings kicked off Wednesday evening, Bennett Leckrone of Maryland Matters reports.
HOGAN ANNOUNCES BOOST TO APPRENTICESHIP PROGRAM: Maryland will invest $3.2 million in a new program to incentivize businesses and nonprofits to take on apprentices, Gov. Larry Hogan announced Wednesday. Marcus Dieterle of Baltimore Fishbowl reports that the new Employer Incentive Plan is meant to encourage nonprofits and businesses to register new apprentices and grow the state’s Registered Apprenticeship program.
3 CASINOS GET INITIAL OK FOR SPORTS BETTING: The Maryland Lottery and Gaming Control Commission has approved MGM National Harbor, Live! Casino & Hotel and Baltimore’s Horseshoe Casino for sports wagering, saying all three have met the qualification requirements, Jeff Clabaugh reports for WTOP-FM.
- The applications will next be considered by the Sports Wagering Application Review Commission, which is responsible for awarding licenses. The three casinos were among 17 entities identified in state law to operate an on-site sportsbook, pending a review of their qualifications, reports Bruce DePuyt for Maryland Matters.
- Though the three casinos still remain multiple steps away from offering bets on games, Wednesday’s initial approval puts them closer, writes Pamela Wood of the Sun. Officials previously predicted that the first locations could be up and running in “late fall, early winter.”
BPW PAYS MORE TO BLOODSWORTH FOR WRONGFUL CONVICTION: Kirk Bloodsworth, who was imprisoned for more than eight years for a high-profile crime that he did not commit, was awarded additional compensation from the state of Maryland on Wednesday. The Maryland Board of Public Works signed off on awarding Bloodsworth $421,237.40, on top of the $300,000 he was awarded following his pardon and release in 1993.
- Bloodsworth, 60, who was convicted of rape and murder in 1985 and exonerated through DNA evidence nine years later, is the first to receive payment from the state under a new law, enacted in July, that allows an administrative law judge to decide whether an exoneree is eligible to receive compensation, Ovetta Wiggins reports for the Post.
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EXELON WOOS LAWMAKERS WITH CALVERT CLIFFS INVITE: Last month, members and staffers of the Maryland House Economic Matters, along with state Sen. Kathy Klausmeier (D-Baltimore County), toured Maryland’s lone nuclear plant, Calvert Cliffs, overlooking the Chesapeake Bay in Lusby. Exelon Corp., the energy giant that owns and operates Calvert Cliffs, extended the invitation to the lawmakers. Josh Kurtz of Maryland Matters writes that Exelon is looking for something — recognition, at a minimum, of the plant’s importance to the state, especially as state policymakers scramble to meet ambitious clean energy goals.
MEDICAL EQUIPMENT PROGRAM AVAILABLE TO ALL: Bethany Probst of Capital News Service, writing in Maryland Reporter, reports that Maryland Durable Medical Equipment Re-Use Program provides Maryland residents with donated equipment — such as wheelchairs, walkers, hospital beds, scooters and even pediatric equipment that have been sanitized and repaired — at no cost. Applicants do not have to meet any income, disability or age requirements to receive equipment.
ARUNDEL HOPES TO LURE, RETAIN SCHOOL BUS DRIVERS WITH INCENTIVES: Anne Arundel County schools are offering new incentives for school bus drivers, who earlier Wednesday returned to work after a two-day strike amid an ongoing dispute with the bus company. The superintendent is asking the school board to approve $7.4 million for next year’s budget to boost bus drivers’ wages by $5 per hour and $2,000 signing bonuses to hire new drivers plus $2,000 retention bonuses for existing ones. Alicia Abelson and Abigail Constantino report the story for WTOP-FM.
MO CO SCHOOLS DELAY EMPLOYEE VAXX PROOF: Montgomery County Public Schools employees will have extra time to provide proof of COVID-19 vaccination because many have had trouble uploading their records, according to school board members, Caitlynn Peetz reports for Bethesda Beat.
B’MORE IG BOARD MEETING DELAYED AFTER TOO SHORT NOTICE: Baltimore Mayor Brandon Scott announced that a meeting of the Inspector General Advisory Board, scheduled for Wednesday, will be postponed until Oct. 28 “as a gesture of good faith towards the Inspector General Isabel Cumming.” The postponement comes after Baltimore Brew reported that the one-day public notice given for the meeting – issued by Scott’s office and by City Solicitor James L. Shea – violated the seven-day advance public notice provisions of the City Code, Mark Reutter of the Brew reports.