State Roundup: Mail-in ballot reform bill moves ahead; Baltimore County says redistricting map doesn’t dilute Black voting power

State Roundup: Mail-in ballot reform bill moves ahead;  Baltimore County says redistricting map doesn’t dilute Black voting power

What do you need to know now about masking in Maryland public schools? Lillian Reed of the Sun has the story.CLICK HERE. Photo by Alexandra Koch for Pixabay

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SB 163, sponsored by Sen. Cheryl Kagan of Montgomery County, includes reforms for mail-in ballots, which are more widely used thanks to the pandemic.
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MAIL-IN BALLOT REFORM BILL MOVES FORWARD: A bill to ensure Marylanders get a second chance to sign a mail-in ballot oath, required for their vote to be counted, moved forward in the state Senate on Wednesday after an unsuccessful attempt by Republican lawmakers to amend it. Bennett Leckrone/Maryland Matters.

PG SCHOOL BOARD MEMBER TO SEEK STATE SENATE SEAT: One of the elected members of Prince George’s County Board of Education says she’s resigning to run for state Senate. Raaheela Ahmed, 28, served on the district’s school board for the past five years. She’s stepping down, effective Feb. 19, to run for the seat held by Ron Watson, who was appointed to the District 23 seat by Gov. Larry Hogan in August. Two candidates have officially filed to run: Watson and Sylvia Johnson. Both are Democrats as is Ahmed. Kate Ryan/WTOP-FM.

  • Ahmed is seeking the Senate’s 23rd District seat and running on an education platform aimed at furthering financial literacy, supporting early-childhood education opportunities and dismantling the school-to-prison pipeline, according to her campaign website. Nicole Asbury/The Washington Post.

DEL. KAISER TO RUN AFTER ALL: Del. Anne R. Kaiser (D-Montgomery) has decided that she will run again, joining with Sen. Craig J. Zucker, House Majority Leader Eric G. Luedtke and Del. Pamela Queen to form an incumbent slate. Last fall, Kaiser had made the surprising announcement that she was stepping down as chair of the powerful House Ways and Means Committee. Josh Kurtz and Danielle Gaines/Maryland Matters.

BA CO DEFENDS REMAP, SAYS BLACK VOTE NOT DILUTED: Baltimore County officials want a lawsuit against the jurisdiction’s new council districts thrown out, arguing in legal filings that the map doesn’t dilute the power of Black voters despite keeping just one majority Black district. Bennett Leckrone/Maryland Matters.

OPINION: PART2: THE FIGHT FOR GOOD GOVERNMENT: “Maryland’s public integrity crisis already has generated some responses.  For example, Del. Vaughn M. Stewart, D-Montgomery, has introduced a bill, HB 152,  to create a ‘public advocate’ elected office that will ‘supercharge our state government’s agility, competence, transparency and fairness.’ Wow. Which of the Marvel Avengers does Del. Stewart see running for that office if created? Ken Decker/Maryland Reporter.

GRASSO TO RUN FOR COUNTY EXEC: Property manager John Grasso is not new to local government. The Margate Republican spent two back-to-back terms on the Anne Arundel County Council from 2010 to 2018, then filed to run for county executive before quitting the race to run for state Senate. He lost to Democrat Pam Beidle. Now Grasso is again filing to run for the Republican nomination for county executive. Dana Munro/The Capital Gazette.

OPINION: NO TO PHYSICIAN ASSISTED SUICIDE: “Several times because of my significant disability, doctors with little to no regard for me as a human were perfectly satisfied with my life ending at an early age. I grant you, that with or without a disability, as with people in general, my will to live is high. …. If Physicians Assisted Suicide becomes an acceptable norm in Maryland, hundreds of individuals with disabilities, a high percentage of them who cannot communicate with words, will be euthanized by decisions of others, not their own.” Edward Willard, advocate for people with disabilities/Maryland Reporter.

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT MASKS IN SCHOOLS: As other states walk back school mask mandates, Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan said Tuesday he lacked the authority to challenge the state Board of Education’s policy requiring face coverings in schools. What do you need to know about masking requirements in Maryland public schools? Lillian Reed/The Baltimore Sun.

HO CO MAN, 23, PLEADS GUILTY IN CAPITOL INSURRECTION: A 23-year-old Howard County man pleaded guilty to charges related to spraying a fire extinguisher toward police at an entrance to the U.S. Capitol during the Jan. 6 riot, prosecutors said. The U.S. Attorney’s Office in Washington, D.C., said in a Wednesday news release that Matthew Ryan Miller of Cooksville pleaded guilty to obstruction of an official proceeding and assaulting, resisting or impeding officers. He is set to be sentenced May 23 and could face up to 28 years in prison for the charges as well as face monetary fines. McKenna Oxenden/The Baltimore Sun.

CLEAN ENERGY RECEPTION: Guest speakers and legislators will discuss 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 focus on Energy & the Built Environment: Strategies Aimed at Addressing Climate Change and Innovation & Regulation: Shooting Toward Energy Targets in Maryland. Advance registration is required for this hybrid format event, and ticket sales to attend onsite close this week.

LEE BOYD MALVO’s SENTENCES ARGUED: Maryland’s highest court heard arguments Tuesday on whether Washington, D.C., sniper Lee Boyd Malvo’s six life sentences without possibility of parole should be reconsidered because of a 2012 U.S. Supreme Court decision barring mandatory life sentences for juveniles. Brian Witte/The Associated Press.

MARYLANDERS FOR AFFORDABLE RX: Marylanders for Affordable Rx is educating policymakers and the public on the real reasons behind high prescription drug costs and exposing special interests that are out to pad their bottom line at the expense of Maryland’s hardworking people. Across the country and in our state, we see special interests, like Big Pharma and the independent pharmacy lobby, push agendas that would make it harder for patient advocates like pharmacy benefit managers to negotiate for lower prescription drug costs. Learn more and help us stop special interests from increasing our Rx costs.

MO CO TO GET $20M LESS FROM STATE IN RENTAL AID: Montgomery County expects the state to provide about $20 million less in rental assistance funds than in a previous round, meaning fewer families will be able to get help paying their rent in the coming months.  Steve Bohnel/Bethesda Beat.

BETHESDA PEDESTRIAN TUNNEL FACES MORE UNCERTAINTY: The fate of a long-planned trail tunnel to carry cyclists and runners beneath downtown Bethesda faces another round of uncertainty as Montgomery County officials debate their construction funding priorities. Katherine Shaver/The Washington Post.

BA CO SCHOOLS WANT MORE SHOTS IN ARMS: Not enough Baltimore County Public School students are getting vaccinated against COVID-19, according to the school system’s head nurse. School officials are gearing up to try to get more shots into the arms of county children. John Lee/WYPR-FM.

CARROLL SCHOOLS SEE CONTINUED DROP IN COVID CASES: Carroll County Public Schools reported Wednesday 339 positive cases among students and staff as COVID-19 numbers continue to decline significantly across the school system. This is the fourth consecutive week that overall case numbers have declined, after peaking at 1,313 cases reported for the week ending Jan. 12. Cameron Goodnight/Carroll County Times.

HAPPY BIRTHDAYS TO: Del. Anne Kaiser and Sen. Jason Gallion

About The Author

Cynthia Prairie

Contributing Editor Cynthia Prairie has been a newspaper editor since 1979, when she began working at The Raleigh Times. Since then, she has worked for The Baltimore News American, The Chicago Sun-Times, The Prince George’s Journal and Baltimore County newspapers in the Patuxent Publishing chain, including overseeing The Jeffersonian when it was a two-day a week business publication. Cynthia has won numerous state awards, including the Maryland State Bar Association’s Gavel Award. Besides compiling and editing the daily State Roundup, she runs her own online newspaper, The Chester Telegraph. If you have additional questions or comments contact Cynthia at:

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