MO CO PLANS MASS VAXX OF YOUNG KIDS: Preparations are being made for the mass vaccination of young children in Montgomery County against the novel coronavirus, County Executive Marc Elrich said Wednesday. Bryan Renbaum of Maryland Reporter writes that his announcement comes just hours after the Biden administration unveiled its plan for the distribution of Pfizer BioNTech doses to vaccinate up to 28 million children between the ages of 5 to 11.
PAST DEADLINE, ABOUT 56% OF B’MORE WORKERS ARE VAXXED: About 56% of Baltimore’s employees have complied with its requirement to get vaccinated against the coronavirus, city leaders reported Wednesday — three days after the requirement went into effect, Emily Opilo of the Sun reports.
FRANCHOT BLASTS HOGAN OVER ‘RE-FUND POLICE’ RHETORIC: Comptroller Peter Franchot, a Democrat who is among about a dozen gubernatorial candidates in 2022, said Gov. Larry Hogan has been “pouring gasoline on an already raging fire on our national political discourse” about policing, reports Pamela Wood of the Sun.
- Bryan Sears of the Daily Record reports that Franchot said, “All it does is continue the epidemic of misinformation and worsen our already toxic system.” Franchot also described Hogan’s approach as “a whole lot of finger-pointing and name-calling at press conferences and emails.”
- Hogan, seated just inches away at the bimonthly meeting of the Board of Public Works, bluntly rejected the charges. The back-and-forth came out of nowhere, as police funding was not on the board’s agenda, Bruce DePuyt of Maryland Matters reports.
FROSH WON’T SEEK THIRD TERM: Maryland Attorney General Brian E. Frosh will not seek a third term, multiple sources tell Bryan Sears of The Daily Record. The attorney general made a number of calls to key officials and supporters Wednesday to inform them he will not run in 2022, the sources said.
STATE WORKERS ASK HOGAN TO SPEND SURPLUS ON STAFFING: Unionized state employees gathered in Baltimore Wednesday evening to demand that Gov. Larry Hogan Jr. (R) invest part of Maryland’s $2.5 billion 2021 budget surplus in underfunded and under-staffed state agencies, Hannah Gaskill of Maryland Matters reports.
PREZ BIDEN GETS CENTER STAGE: Center Stage, an intimate venue in Baltimore’s Mount Vernon, will host CNN’s Thursday night town hall with President Joe Biden, the network told The Baltimore Sun on Wednesday. It will be his first visit to the city as chief executive, Jeff Barker reports in the Sun.
TOLL LANE FOES ASK FHA TO DITCH ANALYSIS: Opponents of Maryland’s plan to add toll lanes to the Capital Beltway and Interstate 270 in Montgomery County urged the Federal Highway Administration on Wednesday to retract an analysis of the proposal that the state and the federal agency released earlier this month, Bruce DePuyt of Maryland Matters reports.
SYKESVILLE GUARD CENTER NAMED FOR MAJOR GENERAL SINGH: Maryland National Guard’s Freedom Readiness Center in Sykesville will be named the Major General Linda L. Singh Readiness Center after a Wednesday vote of the Board of Public Works, according to the Carroll County Times. The board voted unanimously to name the facility after the first Black person and first woman to lead the Maryland National Guard.
3 JUDGES, 4 ATTORNEYS TO VIE FOR TOP COURT SEAT: Three judges and four attorneys are vying for a seat on Maryland’s top court that will become vacant when Judge Robert N. McDonald reaches the state’s mandatory judicial retirement age of 70 on Feb. 23, Steve Lash reports for the Daily Record.
B’MORE MOVES $80M IN ARPA FUNDS TO FIGHT COVID: Baltimore officials announced they will direct $80 million in American Rescue Plan funding to the city’s health department for the fight against the coronavirus — the city’s first allocation from the more than $640 million it received from the federal recovery package, Emily Opilo of the Sun reports.
- Mayor Brandon Scott already has set aside around $110 million to balance future budgets, should city revenues such as parking fees continue to be reduced by the pandemic. The health department funding represents 12% of the total stimulus, Emily Sullivan of WYPR-FM reports.
IG WAIVES PRIVACY RIGHT FOR REVIEW: Baltimore Inspector General Isabel Mercedes Cumming is waiving her rights to privacy and confidentiality during her review process, according to a letter Cumming sent an oversight board as they plan to meet behind closed doors next week, Emily Opilo of the Sun reports.
MO CO COMMISSION PICKS PREFERRED DISTRICTS: A volunteer commission has chosen its preferred map for new Montgomery County Council districts, which now heads to the council for final consideration and a vote. The commission selected a map presented by one of its members — David Stein, a math teacher at Montgomery Blair High School in Silver Spring, Steve Bohnel of Bethesda Beat.
ANNAPOLIS MAYOR CANDIDATES DEBATE: The candidates for Annapolis mayor met for a debate Tuesday night at Kneseth Israel Congregation, sparring over taxes, the city’s response to the pandemic, public safety and climate change, Brooks DuBose of the Capital Gazette reports.