PROVIDERS GET OK TO VAXX KIDS: The state has given the green light for health care providers to begin vaccinating young children against the novel coronavirus, Gov. Larry Hogan confirmed Wednesday, Bryan Renbaum reports for MarylandReporter. The CDC gave emergency use approval for the Pfizer BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine in children ages 5-11 on Tuesday evening. The FDA gave emergency use approval for the pediatric vaccine last week.
- Here’s a video from the Sun of Gov. Hogan explaining the rollout.
- According to officials, 181,000 doses will be distributed in the coming weeks, enough to vaccinate more than one-third of Maryland’s 515,000 children but perhaps not sufficient to meet the immediate demand, Phil Davis of the Sun reports on where to get the vaccines.
- All 24 public school systems in Maryland have agreed to host vaccination clinics, Hogan said, and the state will also launch mobile vaccination clinics to help reach families in the state. Hogan said the state authorized health care providers to immediately begin scheduling appointments and to administer shots as soon as doses arrive, Meredith Cohn and Hallie Miller of the Sun report.
- Dr. Monique Soileau-Burke said the wait for a vaccine has resulted in some children becoming severely ill with COVID-19. Some of those continue to have longer lasting side effects. Others who have not been sick have missed out on sleepovers, family gatherings and other common childhood experiences, Brian Sears of the Daily Record reports.
- The Carroll County Health Department has opened COVID-19 vaccination clinic registration for kids aged 5 to 11 as the county school system reports another increase in positive cases, Kristen Griffith of the Carroll County Times reports.
- Anne Arundel County is planning a clinic Friday to vaccinate people aged 5-11 against COVID-19 as it prepares to launch into a new phase of vaccination, Rachael Pacella of the Capital Gazette reports.
- In an article by Elizabeth Shwe for Maryland Matters, Dr. Jinlene Chan, deputy secretary of Public Health Services, said, “We expect to have ample vaccine supply in the state to meet the demand in the days and weeks to come.”
HOGAN ISSUES HARSH REBUKE AFTER SPORTS WAGER PANEL DELAYS VOTE: The state’s Sports Wagering Applicant Review Commission delayed a vote to award sports betting licenses to five Maryland casinos on Wednesday, despite the governor urging the commission to proceed more quickly, Trisha Ahmed of Capital News Service reports in Maryland Reporter.
- The application commission met for two and a half-hours on Wednesday — most of it in a closed meeting with lawyers — to consider the five casino applications. Ultimately, they voted in an open session to request more information from the casinos, Pamela Wood of the Sun reports.
- Bruce DePuyt of Maryland Matters writes that, speaking to reporters after the vote, Hogan issued a blunt warning about the decision not to act. “It’s a problem, and I’m sure they’re all going to be sued by all the people whose licenses have already been approved” by the lottery and gaming commission.
HOGAN REDISTRICTING PANEL FINALIZES ITS MAPS: Bennett Leckrone of Maryland Matters writes that the Maryland Citizens Redistricting Commission, created by Gov.Larry Hogan, finalized its redistricting proposals at a Wednesday evening meeting. Commission members voted 8-1 to approve of congressional maps and unanimously to approve legislative maps. Those maps, which are available online, are vastly different from the state’s current configuration because commissioners started from scratch and didn’t use existing districts to begin with.
JUDGE DISMISSES JOBLESS WORKERS’ SUIT AGAINST STATE: A Baltimore judge dismissed a lawsuit against the state and Maryland Labor Secretary Tiffany Robinson that had been filed on behalf of unemployed workers whose claims are sitting in “purgatory,” finding that they can’t use courts to circumvent the claims and appeal process, Justin Fenton of the Sun reports.
- Judge John Nugent concluded that state law established specific procedures for people to challenge decisions on their unemployment claims, including an appeal at the agency level, then to the Board of Appeals, and, if necessary, to seek judicial review, Danielle Gaines writes in Maryland Matters.
CELEBRATING 12 YEARS OF JOURNALISM: Twelve years ago this week, we launched MarylandReporter.com as the state’s first nonprofit news website covering state government and politics. Since the very first day, we have produced a daily State Roundup and a newsletter that has now gone out 3,000 times linking to coverage from around the state. We’ve also run another 4,500 original stories by our own staff and our news partners. We are asking you to help us celebrate our 12th birthday by donating during our major fundraising drive of the year – the NewsMatch program when every contribution up to $1,000 is matched by national foundations.
BPW OKs $45M MORE FOR CONSULTANT ON TOLL ROADS PLAN: The Maryland Board of Public Works approved an additional $45 million Wednesday for the engineering consultant assisting the state with its plan to add express toll lanes to part of the Capital Beltway and Interstate 270, Katherine Shaver reports for the Post.
COURT TO ALLOW ‘CHURCH MILITANT’ RALLY IN B’MORE: The U.S. 4th Circuit Court of Appeals has upheld a decision by a federal judge to allow a prayer rally headlined by Milo Yiannopoulos and Steve Bannon to proceed at Baltimore’s Inner Harbor this month over the objections of Baltimore officials, Emily Opilo of the Sun reports.
- The group organizing the rally, which is scheduled to occur during the upcoming U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops meeting, goes by St. Michael’s Media in court filings and is also known as Church Militant, Madeleine O’Neill reports in the Daily Record.
GOV HOPEFUL ROSENBAUM AIRS CAMPAIGN ADS: Maryland gubernatorial hopeful Mike Rosenbaum is the first in the crowded field to air campaign ads, which will be seen on streaming TV services such as Hulu and YouTube, Pamela Wood of the Sun reports. The Democrat launched the ad campaign on Wednesday across social media and “connected TV” services that will run for two months at a cost in the “low six figures.”
BIDEN TAPS JUDGE RUBIN FOR FEDERALBENCH: President Joe Biden on Wednesday nominated Baltimore Circuit Court Judge Julie R. Rubin to fill a pending federal judicial vacancy — the third appointment the Democrat has made to Maryland’s 10-member U.S. district court, Jeff Barker of the Sun reports.
GREENBELT VOTES FOR REPARATIONS STUDY: Residents of Greenbelt voted overwhelmingly Tuesday to form a commission that will study whether Black and Native American residents should receive reparations — launching the city into its next phase of considering how to repay those populations for generations of historical wrongs, Rachel Chason of the Post reports.
BUCKLEY OPPONENT FOR ANNAPOLIS MAYOR CONCEDES: Steven Strawn, the Republican candidate for mayor, has conceded the race to incumbent Democratic Mayor Gavin Buckley, Brooks DuBose and Donovan Conoway report for the Capital Gazette.
CARROLL TRANSIT HALTS SERVICE AFTER COVID EXPOSURE: Carroll Transit System will temporarily halt all services Thursday, including dispatch, due to a COVID-19 exposure within the company. The stoppage will continue through Monday with services anticipated to resume Tuesday, Madison Bateman of the Carroll County Times reports.