State Roundup: Van Hollen touts bill to ease path to health care coverage; B’more preps for Biden town hall event

State Roundup: Van Hollen touts bill to ease path to health care coverage; B’more preps for Biden town hall event

The State House in fall. 2020 photo from Comptroller Peter Franchot's Facebook page.

VAN HOLLEN PUSHES BILL TO EASE PATH TO HEALTH CARE: U.S. Chris Van Hollen, D-Md., Tuesday emphasized his support for legislation that aims to address disparities in health care coverage by making it easier for the uninsured to enroll in a qualified plan, reports Bryan Renbaum for Maryland Reporter. The Easy Enrollment in Health Care Act is based on a Maryland law that was enacted last year.

  • If enacted, Van Hollen’s Easy Enrollment in Health Care Act would authorize the IRS to share an individual’s personal information with their state’s health exchange marketplace. The health exchange would then send an enrollment letter to the person, enabling them to choose an insurance plan, Hannah Gaskill of Maryland Matters reports.

MORE ON BIDEN B’MORE TOWN HALL: President Joe Biden will participate in a televised town hall in Baltimore on Thursday night. It will be his first visit to the city as chief executive. While details are still being finalized, Jeff Barker of the Sun writes about what is currently known about the event.

  • CNN said Tuesday it was “still working” on finalizing which Baltimore venue will host its town hall broadcast Thursday with President Joe Biden. The network is contacting local organizations to solicit questions for Biden during the 90-minute broadcast hosted by anchor Anderson Cooper, who will also ask questions of his own.

OTC MEDS NOW AVAILABLE IN VENDING MACHINES: Vending machines in Maryland can now stock everything from allergy relief to some contraceptives along with candy or chips under a new state law, Capital News Service’s Rachel Logan reports in Maryland Reporter. Over-the-counter medications, which can be bought off of store shelves without prescriptions, were banned from vending machine sales before 1957, according to fiscal analyst Amber Gundlach. Until this month, Maryland was one of only four states to ban vending machine sales of most OTC medicines.

REP. HARRIS PRESCRIBED IVERMECTIN FOR COVID: Rep. Andy Harris (R-Md.), a practicing anesthesiologist, said he has prescribed ivermectin, a medication typically used to treat parasites in livestock and humans, as a covid-19 treatment, and he lashed out at pharmacies for not making the drug readily available, according to a recent radio interview, Ovetta Wiggins and Meagan Flynn report for the Post.

MARYLAND CHAMBER TAPS MARY KANE AS NEW PREZ: The Maryland Chamber of Commerce has tapped Mary Kane, the former Maryland secretary of state, as its new president and chief executive. Kane, 59, began work at the business advocacy and lobbying group in Annapolis last week. She previously worked as executive director of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in Washington, D.C., from 2008 to 2011, Bryn Stole of the Sun reports.

FEWER ARRESTS IN B’MORE AFTER POLICY CHANGE, STUDY FINDS: Fewer arrests took place and there were almost no re-arrests for more serious crimes after the Baltimore City State’s Attorney’s Office implemented a no-prosecution policy for low-level drug and prostitution charges, a new study from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health has found, Madeleine O’Neill of the Daily Record reports.

STATEWIDE SCHOOL VAXX CLINICS BEING PREPARED: In anticipation of federal regulators soon authorizing vaccines for children ages 5 to 11, state and local health officials in Maryland are preparing to launch school-based vaccination clinics and specialty sites for this age group in addition to offering shots at existing clinics, reports Hallie Miller and Meredith Cohn for the Sun.

ARUNDEL POISED TO VACCINATE CHILDREN, END MASK MANDATE: Masking requirements could be lifted in Anne Arundel County if current trends in COVID-19 infections continue to decline, Bryan Sears reports for the Daily Record. County officials also are preparing to vaccinate more than 50,000 children who could soon become eligible for a coronavirus inoculation. Officials noted that there have been declines in deaths and infections, but they remain concerned that cold weather could spark another wave.

  • Dr. Nylesh Kalyanaraman, the Arundel County health officer, said in a news conference Tuesday that the FDA is meeting next week to decide whether to approve the Pfizer-BioNtech vaccine for 5- to 11-year-olds and the CDC is to meet Nov. 2 and 3 to make its recommendations, Joel McCord reports for WYPR-FM.

PG COUNCIL OKs NEW MAP, SOME COMMUNITIES UNHAPPY: Prince George’s County Council approved a resolution Tuesday to formally introduce a new redistricting plan among the nine council districts, William Ford reports for the Washington Informer. Council member Todd Turner of Bowie, who voted in favor of the plan, said, “We are comfortable where we are, but this entire process of redistricting is to be reflective of the changes going on demographically and otherwise within Prince George’s County.”

  • But Tuesday’s vote did little to quell the uproar among some civic activists in Prince George’s. Many are unhappy that communities that have worked together in the past would end up in different districts if that map is approved next month. In addition, several community activists who had begun council campaigns in advance of the June 2022 primary would find themselves in new districts, Bruce DePuyt of Maryland Matters reports.

MO CO FIRST RESPONDERS OPPOSE MANDATED VAXX: Montgomery County first responders, medical professionals and other residents on Tuesday strongly opposed legislation requiring county employees to get COVID-19 vaccinations, aside from medical exemptions, Steve Bohnel of Bethesda Beat reports.

ANNAPOLIS ALDERMAN CANDIDATE DEFENDS JAN. 6 ATTENDANCE: After a Democratic alderman and several Democratic groups condemned her attendance of a rally in Washington, D.C., on Jan. 6, Annapolis Ward 5 candidate Monica Manthey is defending her right to peacefully demonstrate and has denied taking part in a riot that later erupted at the U.S. Capitol, Brooks DuBose of the Capital Gazette reports.

OPINION: ARNETT COULD BE A CHECK ON MAYOR BUCKLEY: In a column for the Capital Gazette, Michael Collins, a longtime Republican figure in Anne Arundel County politics, opines that despite “Mayor Gavin Buckley’s endorsement of a challenger, incumbent Alderman Ross Arnett won the Democratic nomination. Now, we get to watch Buckley go through the motions of endorsing Arnett after trying to defeat him. Trying to knock off Arnett fits Buckley’s modus operandi.”

OC COUNCIL CENSURES MEMBER OVER FB COMMENT: The Ocean City Town Council censured Councilman Mark Paddack during Monday’s council meeting over a racist Facebook comment he allegedly made. In September, a screenshot of a racist private reply from Paddack’s Facebook account began to circulate in social media. Paddack denied making the comment and blamed a potential Facebook hack, Maddie Aiken reports for the Salisbury Daily Times.

WRITE-IN CAMPAIGN FOR BLAINE YOUNG FOR FREDERICK MAYOR: A familiar name is considering a return to Frederick politics … sort of. Supporters of Blaine Young, a former county commissioner and city alderman, are organizing a write-in campaign in the city’s November mayoral election, Ryan Marshall of the Frederick News-Post reports.

About The Author

Cynthia Prairie

Contributing Editor Cynthia Prairie has been a newspaper editor since 1979, when she began working at The Raleigh Times. Since then, she has worked for The Baltimore News American, The Chicago Sun-Times, The Prince George’s Journal and Baltimore County newspapers in the Patuxent Publishing chain, including overseeing The Jeffersonian when it was a two-day a week business publication. Cynthia has won numerous state awards, including the Maryland State Bar Association’s Gavel Award. Besides compiling and editing the daily State Roundup, she runs her own online newspaper, The Chester Telegraph. If you have additional questions or comments contact Cynthia at:

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