Tuesday, November 30, 2021 |
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House Gives Preliminary Approval to $50 Billion Proposed Budget

After debating social issues including vouchers for private schools and access to abortion, the House of Delegates gave initial approval to a $50.45 billion budget plan Thursday. The chamber debated aspects of the spending plan for more than two hours Thursday night, ultimately approving a budget that was significantly bolstered by a dramatic influx in federal stimulus funding and state revenues that were recently projected at about $900 million more than previous estimates.

Maryland Rep. Andy Harris One Of 12 To Vote Against Awarding Medal To Police Officers For Efforts During Capitol Riots

Maryland Rep. Andy Harris was one of 12 members of Congress to vote against a bill awarding Congressional Gold Medals to police officers who protected the U.S. Capitol during the deadly riots two months ago. House Bill 1085, which passed the House 413-12 on Wednesday, would give medals to the U.S. Capitol Police and the Metropolitan Police Department. Another would go to the Smithsonian to be displayed with a plaque listing all the agencies involved. The bill decried the rioters as “a mob of insurrectionists” that “forced its way into the U.S. Capitol building and congressional office buildings and engaged in acts of vandalism, looting, and violently attacked Capitol Police officers.”

Read More: WJZ
Baltimore Mayor Brandon Scott names new DPW director

Baltimore Mayor Brandon Scott has named a new head of the city’s Department of Public Works. Jason Mitchell, the assistant city administrator for Oakland, California, has been tapped to head Baltimore’s public works operation, one of the city’s largest departments. Mitchell, who was previously director of Oakland’s public works department, is due to begin work in May in Baltimore. “Identifying committed, transformational leadership for the Department of Public Works has been a top priority since taking office,” the Democratic mayor said Thursday in a news release. Scott called Mitchell a “veteran public servant who cares deeply about building local governments.”

Read More: Baltimore Sun
Maryland’s pro-Confederate state song is close to being ditched, after repeated tries

For 82 years, Marylanders have listened to a state song that is a bloody call to arms in support of the Confederacy. Now, the tune is likely to lose its honored status. Maryland lawmakers are poised to vote to abolish “Maryland, My Maryland” from the laws of the state, taking the position that having no state song is better than having one that’s offensive and advocated for spurning “the Northern scum” and joining the proslavery Confederacy.

Read More: Baltimore Sun
At-Large Districts Are Relics That Produce ‘Absurd’ Results, Voting Expert Says

When the House of Delegates voted earlier this month to advance House Bill 655, Speaker Adrienne A. Jones (D-Baltimore County) celebrated the moment, writing on social media that “for too long across this country, undemocratic local laws have denied voters of color their full enfranchisement.” The measure would require that county commissioners who represent districts be elected solely by the voters of that district, not the entire county.

‘We don’t have the infrastructure’: COVID pandemic highlights nation’s neglected public health systems, including Baltimore’s

As the coronavirus began spreading into America last winter, Baltimore Health Commissioner Letitia Dzirasa was busy working on a new strategic plan for her department. Planning for an emergency quickly gave way to actually fighting one. The city needed to ramp up testing, contact tracing and other measures, she said, but it soon became clear that the health department didn’t have all the resources it needed, starting with staff that numbered about 900.

Read More: Baltimore Sun
covid-19 vaccine stock photo ig: @hakannural
Maryland To Move To Phase 2A Of COVID-19 Vaccination Plan On Tuesday, Gov. Larry Hogan Says
Maryland will enter Phase 2A of the state’s COVID-19 vaccination plan beginning Tuesday, Gov. Larry Hogan announced Thursday. Under Phase 2A, Marylanders ages 60 and older will be eligible to get a COVID-19 vaccine, Hogan said during a news conference. On March 30, the state will move to Phase 2B, which includes all Marylanders ages 16 or older with medical conditions that make them more susceptible to the virus.


Read More: WJZ
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Maryland lawmakers approve $577M to settle HBCU lawsuit

Maryland lawmakers gave final passage Wednesday to a measure to pay $577 million over 10 years to settle a federal lawsuit alleging discrimination and underfunding at the state’s four historically Black colleges and universities. The House voted 120-14 to send the measure to Gov. Larry Hogan, who vetoed a similar bill last year after citing economic difficulties created by the COVID-19 pandemic. The Senate approved the bill 47-0 earlier in the day in response to the 15-year-old lawsuit. The governor’s office did not immediately return an email seeking comment.

Read More: WBAL
Environmental Bills — on ‘Black Liquor,’ Pollution Tracking and Composting — Move Forward in House

Maryland lawmakers are looking to change the clean-energy classification of a controversial renewable energy source – but Republicans worry that doing so could drive up energy costs in the state. “Black liquor,” a byproduct of paper production, is currently listed alongside wind and solar as a “Tier 1” clean energy source by the state – but House Economic Matters Committee Chairman Dereck E. Davis (D-Prince George’s) warned Wednesday that turning the residue into energy results in high pollution. “Renewable energy and clean energy are not one in the same,” Davis said.

A new bill proposes to make Maryland school zones safer for pedestrians, cyclists

Most people look forward to a new school in their neighborhood, but aren’t as excited about the potential for more car traffic and unsafe conditions for walking and biking. A new bill making its way through the General Assembly in Maryland seeks to fix that. The School Pedestrian Safety Act (HB 487), proposed by Montgomery County’s Delegate Jared Solomon (D-18), will require school districts to collaborate with the community as well as local and state transportation agencies to incorporate pedestrian safety plans very early in the planning process of any construction or renovations made to school buildings throughout the state.

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