THOSE ON CAPITOL HILL REFLECT ON JAN. 6, 2021: One year after the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol, state Sen. Michael Hough said he’s afraid it could happen again. It’s not so much at his day-to-day work on Capitol Hill as chief of staff for U.S. Rep. Alex Mooney (R-West Virginia) that concerns Hough. Instead, it’s how similar events could further hinder the sanctity of the country’s elections. Hough is among the elected officials representing Frederick County who were on Capitol Hill that day. He, like his federal counterparts, fears for the future of American democracy. Jack Hogan and Ryan Marshall/The Frederick News-Post.
LAWMAKERS SLAM HEALTH DEPT OVER DELAY IN NOTIFYING ON SPOILED VACCINES: Maryland lawmakers and the head of a prison advocacy group are decrying the state health department’s months-long delay in notifying hundreds of people who may have received spoiled COVID-19 vaccines from a contractor. At least 28% of TrueCare24’s doses were administered in state correctional facilities, which have been a hotbed for coronavirus spread. Taylor DeVille/The Baltimore Sun.
- Democratic Sen. Clarence Lam, the state Senate’s only physician, asked Maryland Department of Health Secretary Dennis R. Schrader about the department’s failure to quickly notify hundreds of Marylanders who may have received vaccines that were mishandled — potentially rendering them ineffective. Taylor DeVille/The Baltimore Sun.
- According to Schrader, the Department of Health gave the company notice to address its problems, but no action was taken. The agency became aware of the inappropriate storage of vaccines and opened an investigation on Sept. 2, stopped assigning vaccine clinics to TrueCare24 on Sept. 8 and referred the matter to the agency’s audit team on Sept. 24. Hannah Gaskill/Maryland Matters.
3 JURISDICTIONS INCREASE COVID TESTING: Three of the state’s largest jurisdictions are increasing COVID-19 testing as area hospitals and emergency services strain under the weight of a winter surge. Leaders of Baltimore County, Baltimore and Montgomery County said they are increasing testing within their jurisdictions. Additionally, they’ve ordered hundreds of thousands of rapid test kits to be distributed to the public. Bryan Sears/The Daily Record.
LAWMAKERS OK ‘OFF RAMPS’ FOR SCHOOL MASK REQUIREMENT: State lawmakers gave final approval on Wednesday to an emergency regulation passed by the state Board of Education that allows Maryland public schools to loosen mask-wearing requirements. Under the new policy, schools can lift the mask mandate under any of three conditions: if 80% of staff and students are fully vaccinated, if 80% of the full county population is fully vaccinated or if a county’s COVID-19 transmission rates are low or moderate for 14 consecutive days, as reported by the CDC. Elizabeth Shwe/Maryland Matters.
NOMINEE COULD BECOME FIRST ASIAN AMERICAN ON COURT: Gov. Larry Hogan has appointed Montgomery County attorney Rosalyn Tang to the Court of Special Appeals, making her the first Asian American – and the youngest woman – to serve on the state’s second-highest court. Justin Fenton/The Baltimore Sun.
- Tang still must be confirmed by the state Senate. She would fill the vacancy created in September when Hogan elevated Judge Steven B. Gould to the Court of Appeals. Steve Lash/The Daily Record.
OPINION: TIME FOR TAX REFORM IN MARYLAND: The Tax Foundation just released its 2022 State Business Tax Climate Index—and, unfortunately, Maryland continues its downward slide. It now ranks 46th overall among the states and the District of Columbia due to bottom-half ratings in each of the measured subcategories. This is Maryland’s lowest ranking since at least 2014 and possibly marks its all-time low. It should be a clarion call of the need for tax reform in the state. Andrew Magloughlin/Free State Foundation.
KAREN TOLES NOMINATED TO REPLACE DERECK DAVIS: The Prince George’s County Democratic Central Committee on Tuesday nominated Karen Toles as a state delegate to represent the 25th Legislative District, a seat held by Dereck Davis, who who became Maryland’s state treasurer last month after serving in the legislature since 1995. William Ford/The Washington Informer.
DEL. CHANG TO SEEK THIRD TERM: Mark Chang, the Democratic District 32 representative in the Maryland House of Delegates, is running for a third term. Dana Munro/The Capital Gazette.
FREDERICK RIOTER’s TRIAL SET FOR JUNE: A Frederick man photographed with rioters storming the U.S. Capitol Jan. 6, 2021, is awaiting a resolution in a federal case that includes charges of committing an act of physical violence inside the Capitol grounds. He has status conference set for Jan. 21, a pretrial conference May 13 and a bench trial set for June 3. Mary Grace Keller/The Frederick News-Post.
BREAD AND ROSES: A couple stranded in the snowbound 24-hour, 50-mile backup on I-95 in between Washington, D.C. and Richmond, Va., came up with an idea to feed those around them with the help of Charm City’s own H&S bakery, whose truck they were stuck behind. With the OK from the company president, they and the driver distributed 500 loaves of bread to hungry and cold drivers and their passengers. Lauren Cohen/Baltimore Magazine.
BAINUM’s BANNER TAKES THREE SUN REPORTERS: The Venetoulis Institute for Local Journalism announces the first wave of hirings for the new Baltimore Banner, including Andrea K. McDaniels, who will serve as managing editor, Lawrence Burney, who will be the arts and culture editor and veteran Baltimore Sun reporters Justin Fenton, Liz Bowie and Tim Prudente. The Venetoulis Institute for Local Journalism.
- The hiring of three reporters whose work is featured on the front pages of the Sun on a daily basis signals an intention to use Bainum’s millions to get off to a fast start, observers said. “They’re telling the public: ‘We are not going to be second-rate. We have big ambitions. And we are beginning to put together a team with reporters who know how to cover this region,’” said Sandy Banisky, a journalism professor at the University of Maryland and a former Sun deputy managing editor. Bruce DePuyt/Maryland Matters.