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Anne Arundel conservation group lauds county executive, Democratic council members’ environmental agenda; Republicans earn poor grades

A chapter of a Maryland conservation group has given top marks to Anne Arundel County Executive Steuart Pittman and two Democratic County Council members for their environmental agenda since being elected. Their Republican counterparts received poor or failing grades. Pittman, a Democrat who made environmental protection a pillar of his candidacy in 2018, received an A grade in the 2020 midterm report card published Monday by the Maryland League of Conservation Voters, a statewide non-partisan environmental advocacy organization.

Read More: Baltimore Sun
State lawmakers look to plug-in disconnected Marylanders

Maryland state lawmakers aim to amend inequities in broadband internet access that the coronavirus pandemic has accentuated. “There’s a great deal of urgency now,” said Sen. Sarah Elfreth, D–Anne Arundel, the Senate sponsor for one of two related bills presented Tuesday to a House of Delegates committee. Broadband provides the high-speed internet access needed for online school, teleworking, telehealth appointments, access to court proceedings and, increasingly, social interaction.

Read More: WTOP
Sarbanes Shepherding Election Reform as Priority for Dems in Congress

Democrats who control Congress by narrow margins and the White House are making a fresh attempt to move forward a massive package that tackles dark money in campaigns, voter suppression and election security. The architect of the bill, Rep. John Sarbanes, said in an interview that the tumultuous 2020 election was a perfect example of why the U.S. needs reform. “A lot of people out there feel like their voice isn’t respected,” the Maryland Democrat said. “If we can get these changes in place it’ll create a lot more accountability in our democracy.”

Two big names – Michael Steele and Tom Perez – say they will consider running for Maryland governor next year

A pair of high-profile political figures of opposite parties — Republican Michael Steele and Democrat Tom Perez — say they are considering running for Maryland governor in 2022. Steele, the former lieutenant governor who is now an MSNBC commentator, said Friday he will seriously consider a campaign to succeed two-term Republican Gov. Larry Hogan, who cannot run again because of term limits.

Read More: Baltimore Sun
Hogan: Case of South African COVID-19 variant confirmed in Maryland

Gov. Larry Hogan announced Saturday that a case of the South African variant of the coronavirus ( B.1.351 variant of the SARS-CoV-2 virus) has been confirmed in Maryland. The patient is an adult living in the Baltimore metro region. “The individual has not traveled internationally, making community transmission likely. Comprehensive contact tracing efforts are underway to ensure that potential contacts are quickly identified, quarantined, and tested,” Hogan said in a news release.

Read More: WBAL
Maryland delegate aims to protect Anne Arundel, Prince George’s tenants with rental license bill

A Maryland delegate aims to protect tenants in Anne Arundel and Prince George’s counties by ensuring landlords have a rental license before they try to evict them. House Bill 524, sponsored by Del. Mary Lehman, a Democrat who represents parts of both counties, would require a landlord who files a failure to pay rent judgment — the first step in an eviction process — to first prove their property is licensed and inspected, firmly placing the burden of proof with the landlord to show that the property is in compliance with the law throughout the eviction process.

Read More: Baltimore Sun
A Strange Occurrence: Little Opposition To A Climate Bill

In the world of climate related bills, it’s not often you hear of a legislative hearing that draws minimal opposition, or where labor and environmental groups agree to work toward the same goal. Somehow, that happened in Annapolis Thursday. Robin Clark from the Chesapeake Bay Foundation was the first to testify before the Senate’s Environmental Affairs Committee in favor of the Climate Solutions Now Act.  It’s a wide-ranging bill that aims to eliminate greenhouse gases in Maryland by 2045.

Read More: WYPR
Alcohol and tobacco regulation in Maryland changes hands ― with many political overtones

A bitter, years-long political dispute ended quietly over Zoom Friday, in a short meeting full of procedural jargon and bureaucratic niceties. With that, the regulation of alcohol and tobacco in the state of Maryland officially changed hands. It was the first meeting of a new entity called the Maryland Alcohol and Tobacco Commission ― and the end-product of a political fight between the Maryland General Assembly and Comptroller Peter V.R. Franchot (D).

Read More: WTOP
Maryland launches grassroots vaccine confidence campaign

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan on Friday launched a campaign aimed to boost confidence in the coronavirus vaccine. The GoVAX campaign will use traditional media, digital media and grassroots outreach to combat the initial vaccine hesitancy among minority populations and underserved communities that also find themselves disproportionately affected by the virus. “The campaign is encouraging everyone to take the vaccine,” Hogan said.

Read More: WBAL
Maryland bill would give students mental health days off

A bill in the Maryland state Legislature would grant school students excused absences for mental health reasons. Under the proposed law, students would be allowed to skip school once every quarter — without needing a doctor’s note. Sponsored by Del. Alonzo Washington D-Prince George’s, the legislation aims to alleviate mental health problems exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Read More: WBAL

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