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Consumer Groups Say Medical Debt Bill Is a First Step, But More Is Needed

The Maryland Senate gave its unanimous support on Thursday to a bill that would help rein in hospital debt collection efforts that critics have said ensnare former patients — many of them still battling illness — in a cycle of poverty. The 47-0 vote on SB 514, sponsored by Finance Committee Vice Chairman Brian J. Feldman (D-Montgomery) came after the chamber’s former Republican leaders — Sens. J.B. Jennings (Harford) and Stephen S. Hershey Jr. (Upper Shore) — signed on as co-sponsors. Thursday’s action followed House passage of an identical bill, HB 565, on Monday, 134-0.

Guns are on Supreme Court’s agenda days after mass shootings

A possible expansion of gun rights is on the Supreme Court’s agenda, days after mass shootings in Colorado and Georgia. The justices are meeting in private Friday to discuss adding new cases to their docket for the fall. Among the prospects is an appeal from gun rights advocates that asks the court to declare a constitutional right to carry a handgun outside the home for self-protection. It’s the first major gun case to come before the court since Amy Coney Barrett became a justice in late October and expanded the conservative majority to 6-3.

Maryland Gov. Hogan signs bill sending $577 million to state’s historically Black universities

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan — who previously said $200 million was sufficient to settle a lawsuit involving the state’s historically Black universities — put his signature Wednesday on a law that will spend nearly triple that amount on the schools. With the presidents of the state’s four historically Black colleges peering over his shoulder during a ceremony at Bowie State University, Hogan’s action marked the opening of a final chapter in a 15-year-legal journey.

Read More: Baltimore Sun
Baltimore children’s nonprofit subpoenaed in federal grand jury probe of Marilyn and Nick Mosby

A Baltimore children’s nonprofit has been subpoenaed in the federal grand jury investigation of City Council President Nick Nick Mosby and State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby, the program director confirmed Wednesday. Sharayna Christmas, executive director of Muse 360, said she received a subpoena March 11 requesting records related to any charitable donations made by the Mosbys to her organization. She said the Mosbys sent their children to her dance studio, and she was not aware of any significant donations made by the couple.

Read More: Baltimore Sun
Senate Passes Bill to Decriminalize Hypodermic Needles, Other Drug Paraphernalia

The Senate passed a bill Wednesday that would decriminalize the possession and distribution of drug paraphernalia — including hypodermic needles and syringes. “All this bill does is try to keep criminalization away from the people that are using these, [and] to encourage people to use these clean products and to use these programs,” Sen. Jill P. Carter (D-Baltimore City), the bill sponsor, said on the floor. Senate Bill 420 passed out of the chamber on a vote of 31-16, but not without a fight from Senate Republicans.

Franchot, Kopp Hit Hogan Administration Over Emergency Contracts

The Board of Public Works rejected a Hogan administration request to approve three existing Health Department contracts on Wednesday, after two members of the panel said the agency failed to provide enough information about the procurements. The contracts, totaling nearly $13 million, were among 12 emergency procurements for which the state was seeking retroactive approval. The other nine were approved, including a $25 million deal with Digital Management, LLC to create a COVID-19 vaccination call center, and lab testing contracts with Mako Medical Laboratories and CIAN Diagnostics worth $41 million between them.

Amid growing challenges, Biden to hold first news conference

President Joe Biden held off on holding his first news conference so he could use it to celebrate passage of a defining legislative achievement, his giant COVID-19 relief package. But he’s sure to be pressed at Thursday’s question-and-answer session about all sorts of other challenges that have cropped up along the way. A pair of mass shootings, rising international tensions, early signs of intraparty divisions and increasing numbers of migrants crossing the southern border are all confronting a West Wing known for its message discipline.

Read More: Times-News
At Indian Cave State Park in Nebraska, there is a small village that has been restored, one building is an old-time schoolhouse – not much to look at from the outside but well-maintained inside.
Senate Committee Advances ‘Kirwan 2.0’ With Amendments

A Senate committee on Tuesday advanced a complementary bill to the Blueprint for Maryland’s Future, the multi-billion-dollar education reform measure that was enacted into law this year. “Kirwan 2.0,” or Senate Bill 965/House Bill 1372, is sponsored by the presiding officers of the General Assembly and would adjust the timeline of the Blueprint for Maryland’s Future, as well as address the learning loss that occurred during the coronavirus pandemic. The House approved the proposal in a 93-36 vote on Monday, and the Senate Education, Health and Environmental Affairs committee adopted House amendments and tacked on its own on Tuesday.

Businessman David Blair to challenge Montgomery executive Marc Elrich in 2022

Potomac businessman David Blair is announcing his bid for Montgomery County executive on Wednesday, becoming the first known challenger to incumbent Marc Elrich (D), who plans to seek reelection in 2022. Blair, a Montgomery native who built his wealth by running a prescription drug benefits company, poured a record $5.4 million into his campaign in 2018 and lost to Elrich by 77 votes in the crowded Democratic primary. In an interview Tuesday, he said he has spent the past three years leading a nonprofit advocacy group and, more recently, working with his wife to support vulnerable families affected by the pandemic.

Baltimore City Council President Nick Mosby avoids talk of federal investigation during town hall

Baltimore City Council President Nick Mosby painted a picture of a newly revitalized and professionalized legislative arm of city government during a town hall meeting Tuesday evening, the first time he has publicly answered questions since a federal investigation into him and his wife, State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby, was revealed last week. Nick Mosby, who announced the town hall before the revelation, avoided questions about the probe, instead focusing on the board’s accomplishments in its first 100 days in office and his efforts to restructure it.

Read More: Baltimore Sun

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