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Maryland lawmaker seeks investigation of state’s purchase of COVID tests from South Korean company

A Maryland lawmaker is asking for an investigation of a flawed, multimillion-dollar state purchase of coronavirus test kits from a South Korean company, saying there is a “strong indication our state’s procurement laws and regulations were violated.” Gov. Larry Hogan’s splashy $9 million purchase of 500,000 tests from LabGenomics in April 2020 came early in the pandemic, when tests were hard to come by, and he touted the deal as an example of creative thinking and hard work during an emergency.

Read More: Baltimore Sun
Larry Hogan accuses GOP of ‘doubling down on failure’ by ousting Cheney

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan criticized House Republicans on Sunday for booting Wyoming Rep. Liz Cheney from her leadership role, saying they are “doubling down on failure.” Hogan, a centrist Republican, sided with Cheney, who was ousted from her position as the chairwoman of the House Republican Conference on Wednesday after she voted to impeach former President Donald Trump and accused him of perpetuating “the Big Lie” that the 2020 presidential election was not secure.

Montgomery Co. makes plans to reopen as vaccinations trend up

Montgomery County, Maryland, is now making plans to reopen after hitting a new milestone when it comes to vaccinations. Montgomery County Council President Tom Hucker noted that 54% of residents are now fully vaccinated. “It’s really a credit to our residents that they’ve gone along with and adapted, they’ve put public health first,” said Hucker. He said they expect to reach 60% of vaccinated residents this week, putting the county on the path to reopen by May 28 — which is when recently vaccinated residents will reach full immunity.

Read More: WTOP
Former Maryland town manager convicted of $100K in thefts

The former manager of Princess Anne, a town on Maryland’s Eastern Shore, has been found guilty of stealing from the community. The Daily Times of Salisbury reports that after a two-day trial this week, jurors found Deborah Hrusko guilty of theft of more than $100,000. The state’s attorney’s office said Hrusko faces a maximum potential penalty of 20 years in prison when sentenced later.

Read More: WTOP
Four capital budget projects that could change the Annapolis landscape

Last month, the City of Annapolis received some news it had been waiting on for years. The U.S. government finally awarded the city a $3 million grant to help pay for a proposed stormwater pump on Compromise Street to address flooding and other climate-related impacts. Dave Mandell, deputy director of the Office of Emergency Management, has sought money for the project from the U.S. Federal Emergency Management Administration since 2015.

Read More: Baltimore Sun
They had sparred over crime. But Baltimore Mayor Brandon Scott, Gov. Larry Hogan call talks ‘very productive.’

Baltimore Mayor Brandon Scott says he asked the governor for better coordination with state agencies, particularly the Maryland State Police and the Division of Probation and Parole, to combat crime and tamp down violence. The Democratic mayor and Baltimore Police Commissioner Michael Harrison met with Hogan after the Republican governor repeatedly lobbed criticism toward Scott and other Baltimore leaders over the handling of crime in the city. The jabs prompted retorts last week from Scott in a tense exchange on social media.

Read More: Baltimore Sun
Md. Democratic Party chair slams Hogan’s decision to reinstate work search requirements for unemployment recipients

Maryland Democratic Party Chair Yvette Lewis Thursday slammed Gov. Larry Hogan’s recent to decision to reinstate the pre-pandemic requirement that Marylanders who receive unemployment insurance benefits be actively searching for work. Hogan announced the decision at a news conference on Wednesday. The governor said that he directed the state’s Department of Labor to begin working with the federal government to reinstate work search requirements, which are scheduled to be put back into place in late June.

The Bench Has Grown, So Why Aren’t More Women Running for High Office in Md.?

At first glance, the picture for women seeking high office in Maryland looks grim: There are no Democratic women running for governor in 2022. The state’s congressional delegation, once dominated by trailblazing Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski (D), has been all-male since Mikulski and former Rep. Donna Edwards (D) left office at the end of 2016. And women traditionally have been even more under-represented in Maryland’s top executive posts than in Congress.

Redistricting Commission Selects U. of Md. Official to Help with Hispanic Outreach

The Maryland Citizens Redistricting Commission, which is drawing up proposed congressional and legislative maps for the state’s next round of redistricting, appointed an adviser at their Wednesday night meeting to help with outreach to Maryland’s Hispanic community. Gloria Aparicio Blackwell, the director of the University of Maryland’s Office of Community Engagement, will serve as the panel’s adviser on how redistricting relates to Maryland’s Hispanic and Latino community, and will help with outreach. The role is unpaid and is a non-voting position, commission members said.

Montgomery County Sen. Kramer Gets Democratic Primary Challenge

A public health professional and scientist who until recently worked on Capitol Hill is taking aim at state Sen. Benjamin F. Kramer (D-Montgomery). Zachary Kiser, a 31-year-old resident of the Aspen Hill neighborhood in Rockville, will announce Thursday that he’s challenging Kramer in the 2022 Democratic primary. In an interview, Kiser said he plans to make the case that Kramer, whose father is a former Montgomery County executive and whose sister served in the legislature and is secretary at the Department of Aging in the Hogan administration, is out of touch with the district and has an insufficiently progressive voting record in Annapolis.

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