Roundup: Senate approves redistricting maps in party-line vote; bill would make 10 p.m. last call on Baltimore’s Block

Roundup: Senate approves redistricting maps in party-line vote; bill would make 10 p.m. last call on Baltimore’s Block

Closing time on Baltimore's notorious Block would no longer be 2 a.m. but 10 p.m. in attempt to reduce a spike in violence there. Photo by Colin Ford with Flickr Creative Commons License

MD SENATE APPROVES REDISTRICTING: Maryland’s Senate approved on a party-line vote Thursday a plan that makes changes in their own districts, but not before a heated debate about voting rights unfolded. Callan Tansill-Suddath/WYPR

  • The reconfigured boundaries, which delegates are expected to pass next week, are slated to go into effect before June’s primary electionsBryn Stole/The Baltimore Sun

COVID-19 RESPONSE INCLUDES ANTIBODY TESTING PROGRAM AT NURSING HOMES, POSSIBLE END TO STATE OF EMERGENCY: Gov. Larry Hogan announced Wednesday that Maryland would be partnering with the University of Maryland Medical Center and Johns Hopkins University to implement an antibody testing program in nursing homes to determine if residents should receive a fourth dose of the coronavirus vaccine. Zeke Hartner/WTOP

  • Gov. Larry Hogan said he is hopeful that Maryland’s COVID-19 state of emergency will no longer be needed after its 15 remaining days, with metrics trending downward. His wife, First Lady Yumi Hogan, tested positive earlier in the day and has mild symptoms. WBAL-TV
  • Hogan added that Maryland is still “not out of the woods” and that the next two weeks will be “critical.” Sarah Kim/WYPR

COMMENTARY: STATE NEEDS TO ADDRESS UNFUNDED LIABILITIES While there isn’t nearly enough money to fully fund an OPEB trust to pay for retiree health care benefits, it would be heartening to see some commitment by the state to move in that direction. Ken Decker/Maryland Reporter

DRILING DOWN ON THE NUMBERS IN GUBERNATORIAL FUNDRAISING: The Democratic and Republican primaries for governor have become contests of the haves and the have-nots — and the candidates who are bolstering their financial standing with their own money. What’s striking is that two of the have-nots are among the best-known and most time-tested Democrats in Maryland, former AG Doug Gansler and former PG executive Rushern Baker. Josh Kurtz/Maryland Matters

  • Most Democratic Candidates for Governor have high percentage of donors and funds raised from out of state, while Republicans are relying on donations from home. Brian Griffiths/The Duckpin

Hear from guest speakers about the climate and energy priorities for policy and regulation under consideration by the Maryland General Assembly during the Maryland Clean Energy Center’s Legislative Reception on Feb 17, 2022. Featured panels will discuss Energy & the Built Environment: Strategies Aimed at Addressing Climate Change and Innovation & Regulation: Shooting Toward Energy Targets in Maryland. Early Bird discounted tickets are on sale to attend this hybrid format event in-person or online. Prices increase to the standard registration rate on Friday, Jan 21.

LAST CALL FOR BALTIMORE’S BLOCK: Last call could come a lot earlier for dancers and patrons at strip clubs on The Block in Baltimore, as police and politicians are trying to force a 10 p.m. closing time in the adult entertainment district in an effort to curb crime. Police had 831 calls for service to The Block in 2021, including eight shootings with 11 victims. Senate President Bill Ferguson, whose district includes downtown Baltimore, introduced the bill. Pamela Wood and Bryn Stole/The Sun

ATTORNEYS UNDER MOSBY HAD FURLOUGHS, SHE KEPT MAKING SALARY WHILE CLAIMING COVID HARDSHIP:  While Baltimore City State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby claimed a financial hardship related to the COVID-19 pandemic, her salary increased and members of her staff within the state’s attorney’s office had to take furlough days. Mikenzie Frost/WBFF

  • Ivan Bates, one of two Democrats challenging Baltimore State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby has out-fundraised her in the year leading up to the election by more than $43,000, campaign finance reports show. Emily Opilo and Alex Mann/The Baltimore Sun
  • Mosby dipped into her campaign coffers last year to pay nearly $50,000 to lawyers defending her in a federal criminal probe, despite Maryland law prohibiting such expenditures. Mark Reutter/Baltimore Brew
  • Here’s what the law states about using campaign dollars for legal expenditures. Emily Opilo and Alex Mann/The Baltimore Sun

HOGAN HOPES FOR BIPARTISAN PURPLE BUDGET COOPERATION: When he proposed his final budget of office, Gov. Larry Hogan chose to have its cover printed purple, for red and blue coming together. Weighing in at a total of $58.2 billion, it will need cooperation from Democrats to pass some of its key proposals, including a $4.6 billion tax cut. Hogan faces an uphill battle as the General Assembly Democrats, who have a super majority of the lawmakers, have ideas of their own on how to spend an historic budget surplus that exceeds $5 billion over two years. Bryan Sears/The Daily Record

CONCERNS OVER VA STAFFING ON THE EASTERN SHORE: Staffing at the Cambridge VA clinic has been reduced recently as part of a statewide response by the Veterans Administration to an increase in COVID-19 cases, and local officials are worried about veterans being required to get virtual medical care in an area with spotty internet coverage. Mike Detmer/Dorchester Star

BALTIMORE CO PERMIT LEADER WAIVED FEES: Baltimore County improperly waived what is estimated to total millions of dollars in fees over roughly a decade for a developer to build the multimillion dollar, mixed-use Metro Centre at Owings Mills, a new Inspector General report finds. The report names former director of the Department of Permits, Approvals and Inspections Arnold Jablon as the one who waived the fees, despite having no legal authority to do so. Taylor Deville/The Baltimore Sun

Happy Birthday, Del. Tony Bridges 

About The Author

Meg Tully

Contributing Editor Meg Tully has been covering Maryland politics for more than five years. She has worked for The Frederick News-Post, where she reported during the General Assembly session in Annapolis. She has also worked for The (Hanover) Evening Sun and interned at Baltimore Magazine. Meg has won awards from the Maryland-Delaware-D.C. Press Association for her state and county writing, and a Keystone Press Award for feature writing from the Pennsylvania Newspaper Association. She is a graduate of Franklin & Marshall College in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. If you have additional questions or comments contact Meg at:

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