CITING FAMILY CONCERNS, STEELE NIXES RUN FOR GOVERNOR: Former Lt. Gov. Michael Steele said Monday that he won’t run for Maryland governor, but will remain part of the national political conversation and wants to see the GOP better define what it stands for. Jeff Barker/The Baltimore Sun.
- Steele said Monday that he decided against a bid after having a heart-to-heart conversation with his family over the past several weeks. “… it was not something that my family was willing to commit to,” Steele said, adding that he knew he couldn’t “do a good job” without his wife’s support. Ovetta Wiggins/The Washington Post.
- Steele’s status as a possible candidate hung over the Republican field for months, and he even formed an exploratory committee in July and spent weeks discussing the pros and cons of a campaign with family. Now, he will remain at MSNBC, where he appears regularly as a political analyst. He also has a consulting business and travels the country giving speeches. Bruce DePuyt/Maryland Matters.
- Here’s the Sun’s updated roundup of who is in and who is out in that race.
STUDY: STATE’s EARLY COVID MEASURES IMPACTED ECONOMY: COVID-19 mitigation measures taken in the first 13 months of the pandemic weighed heavily on Maryland’s economy and workforce, a new report by the independent, nonpartisan think tank Georgia Center for Opportunity. It ranked Maryland No. 11 in its analysis, “Assessing Each State’s Response to the Pandemic: Understanding the Impact on Employment and Work.” David Fidlin/The Center Square for Maryland Reporter.
STATE REINSTITUTES MASK MANDATE, PUSHES BOOSTER SHOTS: Masks are once again required inside all Maryland state offices and other buildings as the latest surge of COVID-19 cases sweeps the state, Gov. Larry Hogan announced Monday. Bryn Stole/The Baltimore Sun.
- Hogan also announced that the state will provide two hours of paid leave to incentivize government employees to get their COVID-19 booster shots. This policy will be applied retroactively to employees who have proof they’ve been boosted. Hannah Gaskill/Maryland Matters.
BA CO, HARFORD TAKE MORE STEPS TO FIGHT COVID: Baltimore County’s mask mandate is now in effect through the end of January. The County Council during its Monday meeting approved a resolution by a 6-1 margin that County Executive Johnny Olszewski Jr. announced last week reinstating a state of emergency during the coronavirus pandemic, giving the administration authority to require face coverings indoors and allowing them to quickly procure supplies. Taylor DeVille/The Baltimore Sun.
- Baltimore County’s COVID positivity rate is at 31.5%, which is higher than the state’s rate of 26.87%. Baltimore County Health Officer Dr. Gregory Branch told the council that St. Joseph Medical Center in Towson declared a crisis of care Monday. He added that there are 12 ICU beds available countywide and there aren’t enough ambulances to meet demand. John Lee/WYPR-FM.
- Harford County will require visitors to county government buildings to wear masks starting Tuesday at 9 a.m., according to a statement issued by Harford County Executive Barry Glassman. The mandate will also apply to county government employees who interact with the public and will remain in place until further notice. Jason Fontelieu/The Aegis.
MARYLAND HITS NEW HIGH WITH COVID HOSPITALIZATIONS: At the start of 2022, 22 months into the pandemic, more Marylanders are hospitalized for COVID-19 than ever before. State health officials logged 2,746 COVID-19 hospitalizations Monday, an increase of nearly 200 people from the day before, according to the latest figures. Hallie Miller and Meredith Cohn/The Baltimore Sun.
HOSPITALS TURN TO LEGISLATURE FOR WORKFORCE HELP: Maryland’s hospitals and health care providers, overburdened by the impact of the pandemic, are looking to legislators for solutions and support in the 2022 General Assembly session, especially hoping to find answers to an ongoing workforce shortage, which is affecting a broad range of industries nationwide but has especially affected health care providers as it coincides with the other pressures of the pandemic. Johanna Alonso/The Daily Record.
AFSCME, STATE REACH NEW COVID CONTRACT: AFSCME, Maryland’s largest state employee union, reached a contract agreement with the Hogan administration late last week that will bring a 12% wage increase, additional COVID-19 response pay and stronger health and safety measures to thousands of public-sector employees. Elizabeth Shwe/Maryland Matters.
CARROLL GOP SEES ‘STRONG TEAM’ IN NEXT SESSION: Carroll County Republican leaders are looking forward to working with “a strong team” during the 2022 legislative session, with the reelection of Del. Jason Buckel of Allegany County as minority leader and the election of Del. Haven Shoemaker of Carroll County as minority whip, said Del. Susan Krebs, R-District 5. Madison Bateman/The Carroll County Times.
FOUR SUE SUSPENDED PG OFFICER, COUNTY: The Baltimore law firm of Murphy, Falcon & Murphy have filed a lawsuit on behalf of four plaintiffs against suspended Cpl. Michael A. Owen Jr. and Prince George’s County, seeking more than $75,000 each in compensation for “physical, emotional, mental, and financial injuries” as well as punitive damages. In addition to the incidents involving them, the suit catalogues other incidents in which Owen has been accused of excessive force during his decade on the force. Steve Thompson/The Washington Post.