State Roundup: Gov calls for end to school mask mandate; Cox seeks to impeach Hogan

State Roundup: Gov calls for end to school mask mandate; Cox seeks to impeach Hogan

Even while the governor and Republican legislators were asking for an end to mask mandates in schools, members of the Maryland National Guard were delivering K95 masks and COVID-19 test kits to Morgan State University. Lt. Gov. Boyd Rutherford participated. Governor's Office photo by Joe Andrucyk

HOGAN CALLS FOR SCHOOLS TO END MASK MANDATE: Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan urged the State Board of Education to rescind its school masking policy in light of recent improving health metrics following a COVID-19 surge tied to the omicron variant. Lillian Reed/The Baltimore Sun

  • In response to the governor, the State School Board says they will continue to follow the conditions laid out when it originally approved the school mask requirement. WBAL NewsRadio
  • The positivity rate has dropped more than 80% since last month to just over 5%. Sarah Kim/WYPR
  • But even if the state Board of Education rescinds its statewide mask mandate for schools this month, it’s unclear if Montgomery County Public Schools would lift it for its students, a district official said. Steve Bohnel/Bethesda Beat
  • Dozens of people, including angry parents, rallied outside of the Howard County Public Schools headquarters Thursday night, demanding an end to the mask mandates. Khiree Stewart/WBALTV

COX FILES IMPEACHMENT RESOLUTION: Del. Dan Cox, a Republican Maryland lawmaker who is running for governor, introduced a resolution Thursday in an attempt to impeach Gov. Larry Hogan, a fellow Republican. Pamela Wood/The Baltimore Sun

  • Cox accused the governor of betraying his oath of office and thrusting attention on the party’s internal rift. Actions including the governor’s pandemic restrictions, purchase of defective coronavirus tests from South Korea, and the use of a message-destroying app defy the governor’s constitutional oath to act in the best interests of Maryland residents, the resolution alleges. Erin Cox/Washington Post
  • Since first elected, the GOP governor has soared in popularity, including a Gonzales Poll showing Hogan was pulling 74% approval; pollster Patrick Gonzales said that level of approval made Hogan the most popular governor in Maryland in the past 60 years. Mikenzie Frost/WBFF

COMMENTARY: COX IS A CLOWN: Even for a clown like Cox, this is clownish behavior. What’s up with the timing of it? Brian Griffiths/The Duckpin

 REDISTRICTING MAP IN COURT: Maryland’s new map of districts for state senators and delegates is headed to court, as a group aligned with Gov. Larry Hogan has charged the map violates the state constitution’s requirement that districts must be compact and respect natural boundaries. Pamela Wood and Bryn Stole/The Baltimore Sun

  • Five Republican lawmakers and the wife of another challenged the state redistricting plan passed earlier this year. Bryan Sears/The Daily Record

LAWMAKERS INTRODUCE CHILD CARE INDUSTRY HELP: Maryland lawmakers outlined a package of measures Thursday to support child care providers, who have struggled during the COVID-19 pandemic. In the past two years, more than 750 providers in Maryland have been forced to close, lawmakers said in a joint videoconference with delegates and senators. The package includes grants to attract and retain providers, as well as loans for capital expansions for facilities. Brian Witte/AP

  • As child care providers recover from the pandemic and struggle to find qualified staff, state lawmakers are introducing a raft of bills, with the support of both presiding officers, that aim to bolster child care capacity in Maryland. Elizabeth Shwe/Maryland Matters

FEDERAL DISASTER HELP FOR MD AUTOPSY BACKUP: The Federal Emergency Management Agency confirmed Thursday that a Disaster Mortuary Operation Response Teams expert will be deployed to help ease Maryland’s growing autopsy backlog, which is expected to grow up to 300 by next week. The backlog dates back to Dec. 2021, driven by staffing shortages and made worse by an increase in overdoses and homicides. Hannah Gaskill/Maryland Matters

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.

 ADMINISTRATION SQUARES OFF ON JUDICIDAL TRANSPARENCY: Gov. Larry Hogan’s administration squared off Thursday against the Maryland Judiciary and a law school dean over the governor’s call for judicial transparency legislation requiring a state commission to compile by name the sentences each Maryland circuit court judge renders for violent criminals. Steve Lash/The Daily Record

PUSH FOR ENVIRONMENTAL BILLS RESUMES: After sputtering late in last year’s General Assembly session, efforts to pass wide-ranging environmental legislation in Maryland have resumed — and lawmakers say they’re optimistic they can find common ground. Environmental bills include statewide targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions, in addition to provisions that would require newly constructed buildings to avoid using fossil fuels for heating, and require the state to swap some of its vehicles for electric cars. Christine Condon/The Baltimore Sun

D.C. JOINS CITY EFFORTS TO STOP VIOLENCE: The District of Columbia has joined Baltimore and 12 other cities across the U.S. in a groundbreaking White House initiative to demonstrate the need for community-based violence intervention strategies to break the cycle of violent crime that has spiked during the COVID-19 Pandemic. Deborah Bailey/AFRO

GUBERNATORIAL CANDIDATE KING RELEASES PLAN FOR ECONOMIC OPPORTUNITY: In his bid to become Maryland’s next governor, former U.S. Education Secretary John B. King Jr. (D) and his running mate Michelle Siri are releasing a plan on how their administration would attempt to build economic opportunities for women — by prioritizing paid family leave, affordable child care and a higher minimum wage. Elizabeth Shwe/Maryland Matters 

SEGAL NAMES RUNNING MATE: Philosopher, progressive activist and Maryland gubernatorial candidate Jerome Segal has named Eastern Shore town council member Justin Dispenza as his running mate in the crowded race for the Democratic nomination. Karina Elwood/Washington Post

WHEN IS SPORTS BETTING COMING ONLINE? For the first time, betters can cash in on the Super Bowl after the state approved sports betting in Maryland. Now many want to know when betting will go online. Kelsey Kushner/WJZ

RESTAURANTS STILL SUFFERING: The ongoing challenges, and scarcity of government relief, have some industry watchers worried about what 2022 might bring for restaurants. Amanda Yeager/Baltimore Business Journal

HOWARD COUNTY CONSIDERS TRANSPORTATION PRIORITIES: A proposed north/south connector from the U.S. Route 29/Broken Land Parkway interchange to Little Patuxent Parkway, referred to as the “jug handle,” received several comments of support during a Howard County Department of Transportation meeting late last month. Katie Jones/Baltimore Sun Media

MOCO COUNCIL CRITICIZES ‘ZOOMBOMBING:’ Montgomery County officials are outraged after Montgomery County Council Member Will Jawando was the target of a “Zoombombing” that included racist, abusive language and messages. Kate Ryan/WTOP

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. (Paid Advertising)

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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