Advocates: Homeowners Still in Danger of Foreclosure Despite State, Federal Orders

Despite an executive order allowing Maryland homeowners to request forbearance on their mortgage payments due to the financial stress brought on by the pandemic, advocates say some homes are still being sold at foreclosure. Gov. Lawrence J. Hogan Jr. (R) put a temporary halt to new foreclosures for Marylanders who’ve taken a financial hit from the COVID-19 pandemic in an executive order earlier this year. (Md Matters)

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Maryland’s Purchase Of 500K COVID-19 Tests From South Korea Being Audited, Acting Health Secretary Says

Maryland’s acting health secretary said the state’s purchase of 500,000 COVID-19 tests from a South Korean lab earlier this year is being audited following a report the tests were flawed. Last month, The Washington Post reported the first batch of tests, for which the state paid nearly $9.5 million, were never used and instead replaced at an additional cost of $2.5 million. (WJZ)

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CDC Outlines Vaccine Priorities; Md.’s Initial Allocation is a ‘Tiny Fraction’ of What’s Needed

Health care workers and residents of nursing homes and other long-term care facilities would be the first people in the U.S. to receive COVID-19 vaccines under recommendations approved Tuesday by a federal advisory committee. It will be up to each state to determine how exactly to distribute doses of the vaccines, which could receive expedited federal approval as soon as mid-December. But Tuesday’s recommendation from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices is expected to significantly shape how states allocate their doses. (Daily Record)

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Van Hollen, lawmakers unveil anti-slavery constitutional amendment

National lawmakers introduced a joint resolution Wednesday aimed at striking language from the U.S. Constitution that enshrines a form of slavery in America’s foundational documents. The resolution, spearheaded and supported by Democratic members of the House and Senate, would amend the 13th Amendment’s ban on chattel enslavement to expressly prohibit involuntary servitude as a punishment for crime. As ratified, the original amendment has permitted exploitation of labor by convicted felons for over 155 years since the abolition of slavery. (Daily Record)

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Baltimore County expands open data portal to include county spending data ‘down to the individual check’

Baltimore County has added a new “Open Checkbook” tool to its online open budget platform, allowing users to parse through county spending down to the individual check level for the last fiscal year. The open budget portal has also been updated to show the most recent expenditures from fiscal 2020 compared to the adopted budget amounts that year. (Balt Sun)

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‘A slow takeoff’: 1st batch of coronavirus vaccines for Maryland only enough for half of front-line health care workers

Gov. Larry Hogan said Tuesday that Maryland’s initial batch of coronavirus vaccines will only be enough for half of the state’s front-line health care workers, but he is hoping production will ramp up after “a little bit of a slow takeoff.” The state’s first supply of 155,000 vaccines from drug companies Moderna and Pfizer “doesn’t get to anywhere near what we need in Phase One,” the Republican governor said at a State House news conference. (Balt Sun)

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Hogan Names Acting Health Secretary as Concern About COVID Hospitalizations Mounts

Maryland’s hospital beds are filling up, as the state reported 2,765 new COVID-19 cases on Tuesday morning. Twenty-one hospitals are at more than 90% capacity and 130 patients are receiving treatment in so-called “surge beds” across three temporary hospital facilities meant to avoid overcrowding. “It’s a scary situation for everybody involved. …We think it’s going to continue to get worse over the next at least several weeks,” Gov. Lawrence J. Hogan Jr. (R) said at a Tuesday press conference. (Md Matters)

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Hogan Praises Bipartisan Push for Pandemic Relief as Md. Senators Seek Additional Funding to Aid Jobless

More than a dozen U.S. House and Senate members are pushing for a bipartisan coronavirus relief package to aid struggling states and local governments and fund programs such as unemployment and rental assistance that are set to expire later this month. In a Tuesday news conference, lawmakers unveiled a four-month, $908 billion proposal that would fund transportation, the paycheck protection program to help businesses pay their employees, food assistance and coronavirus testing centers. (Md Matters)

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