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Maryland Department of Health increases COVID-19 vaccine allocations to local health departments

As COVID-19 vaccine supply ramps up and eligibility requirements expand to include more people, Maryland health officials have increased the share of doses allocated to local health departments through at least mid-April. Maryland’s local health agencies have seen their immunization allotment grow 54% overall since the week of Feb. 8, according to the state, with some departments expecting tens of thousands of shots to arrive over the next four weeks. Others have had their shares plateau in the low hundreds.

Read More: Baltimore Sun
Maryland lawmaker introduces bill preventing employers from firing workers who refuse COVID vaccine

A Maryland lawmaker has introduced a bill in the state that would ban employers from mandating the coronavirus vaccine for their employees. “Prohibiting an employer from terminating an employee solely on the basis of the employee’s refusal to receive a vaccination against COVID-19,” reads the summary of the bill, which was introduced by Democratic Delegate Nick Charles.

Business associate of Baltimore Council President Nick Mosby says he has been subpoenaed by a federal grand jury

A business associate of Baltimore City Council President Nick Mosby confirmed Monday that he has received a federal grand jury subpoena for Mosby’s business records. Also Monday, Republican Gov. Larry Hogan and the office of Democratic Mayor Brandon Scott weighed in on the criminal investigation of Mosby and his wife, State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby, while a contingent of the Democratic couple’s supporters gathered outside City Hall.

Read More: Baltimore Sun
Maryland House passes bill ending county jail contracts to house ICE detainees

Maryland lawmakers took a step toward banning local jails from being paid by the federal government to house people detained on immigration matters. The program, in which U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement pays jails to house the detainees, has come under fire in the handful of Maryland counties that participate in it.

Read More: Baltimore Sun
In Wake of Atlanta Killings, Md. Leaders Implore Asian Communities to Speak Out

When Maryland Del. Lily Qi (D-Montgomery) first heard about the shootings of six Asian women at spas in the Atlanta area this week, she immediately reached out to Montgomery County’s Chief of Police Marcus Jones. Jones called back the next morning, reassuring Qi that police were monitoring things locally. Qi suggested adding bilingual liaisons within the police department for the Asian-American community. “The anxiety and fear level is high,” Qi, who grew up in China, said in a phone interview. “We want to be preemptive.”

Maryland Rep. Jamie Raskin Decries Anti-Asian Discrimination, Violence During House Judiciary Committee Hearing

Following the deadly shootings at three Georgia spas, Maryland Rep. Jamie Raskin decried the recent wave of anti-Asian violence and discrimination that has even affected members of Gov. Larry Hogan’s family. “Governor Hogan told me that close family friends have been assaulted in a convenience store, screamed at by racists telling them to go back to China and told that they did not want to sit next to them on an airplane because they were Asian and had COVID,” Raskin recounted during a House Judiciary Committee hearing on Thursday.

Read More: WJZ
General Assembly votes to scrap ‘Maryland, My Maryland,’ state’s pro-Confederate official state song

It’ll soon be so long to the state song after the Maryland Senate unanimously voted to scrap “Maryland, My Maryland!” as the Old Line State’s official anthem. The pro-Confederate Civil War-era tune features lyrics that denigrate Abraham Lincoln as a “tyrant” and call on Maryland to join the South in fighting “the Northern scum.” Penned in 1861 and set to the melody of “O Tannenbaum,” it has been blasted by critics as racist and an embarrassment to the state.

Read More: Baltimore Sun
Federal grand jury investigating Baltimore officials Nick and Marilyn Mosby

Federal prosecutors have opened a criminal investigation into Baltimore City Council President Nick Mosby and State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby, subpoenaing her campaign and the couple’s business records, according to a grand jury subpoena obtained by the Baltimore Sun. The U.S. attorney’s office and the FBI requested a range of financial records related to the power couple: tax returns, bank statements, credit card statements, loan documents and canceled checks. They subpoenaed Mosby’s campaign treasurer and requested records tracing back to 2014, some related to the Mosbys’ private travel and consulting businesses.

Maryland delegates to consider new limits on police access to military equipment

Law enforcement agencies in Maryland could be limited from obtaining certain military equipment through a federal surplus program under a bill headed for hearing in the House of Delegates this week.Senate Bill 599, sponsored by Sen. William C. Smith Jr., D-Montgomery, and Sen. Chris West, R-Baltimore, is one legislative piece of the Maryland Police Accountability Act of 2021, which has been a key focus throughout the Maryland General Assembly this session.

Maryland’s Highest Court Upholds Baltimore Billboard Tax

Maryland’s highest court has upheld a tax imposed by the city of Baltimore on selling billboard advertising. The Court of Appeals last week rejected arguments by Clear Channel that the tax violates constitutional provisions that protect freedom of speech. The appeals court ruled 6-to-1 that the tax ordinance was not subject to heightened scrutiny under the First Amendment because it did not single out the press, target a small group of speakers or discriminate on the basis of the content of speech.

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