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Politics

Pharmacist preps Covid-19 vaccine
Hogan vows to increase Black vaccination rate, while D.C. leaves questions open about who gets priority

D.C. officials offered little information Thursday about who will get vaccinated first under the city’s new centralized preregistration system, while Maryland leaders discussed strengthening efforts to make sure Black residents have access to vaccines. Beginning next week, D.C. residents and workers seeking a vaccine will face a different process: They will fill out a form that asks about their age, health condition, address and other information, then wait. When it’s their turn to schedule an appointment, the city will contact them.

Maryland State Board of Education votes to delay standardized tests until fall

Students across Maryland will not be taking standardized tests this spring after the state school board voted Thursday afternoon to delay the tests until fall. The vote came just 10 days after Maryland’s state superintendent told the board she supported giving the tests this spring to every student — learning in-person or from home — in grades three through eight in math and English, as well as in some high school grades.

Read More: Baltimore Sun
Baltimore City Council committee advances nomination of Jim Shea for solicitor

Jim Shea, Baltimore Mayor Brandon Scott’s nominee to be the city’s next solicitor, is one step closer to being confirmed for the job following a unanimous vote by Baltimore City Council’s Rules and Government Oversight Committee on Thursday. Shea, the former chairman emeritus of the Venable law firm and a 2018 gubernatorial candidate, has been working for the city in an acting capacity since January. He will next face two votes from City Council’s full 15-member body.

Read More: Baltimore Sun
Bills on Digital Tax, Guns at Polling Places Move to Final Senate Votes

A proposal that would clarify exemptions to Maryland’s new tax on digital advertising moved forward in the Senate on Thursday. This emergency bill from Senate President Bill Ferguson (D-Baltimore City) would prohibit big tech companies from passing their digital ad taxes on to Maryland small businesses, a major criticism of the first-in-the-nation digital ad tax that the General Assembly passed last month. It also clarifies that broadcasters and news media would be exempt from paying the tax.

Sports betting debate heats up in Annapolis

Maryland legislators have begun to discuss regulation of the state’s newly approved legalized sports betting market, which includes mobile wagering. Early debates in both chambers have focused on establishing a license distribution plan that is both equitable and profitable. HB0940, introduced by Speaker Adrienne Jones, D-Baltimore County, establishes a regulatory framework that would set aside roughly $18 million annually to help fund the state’s new multi-billion dollar education plan, according to the bill’s fiscal analysis. The bill establishes the legal age of sports betting at 18 years.

Senate education committee hears Harford bill to give school board appointment authority to county exec

The state Senate’s Education, Health, and Environmental Affairs committee heard testimony Wednesday on a local bill that would change the appointing authority for the Harford County school board from the governor to the county executive, with input from the county council. “This change is intended to bring appointment decisions closer to the local level, and require collaboration between the executive and legislative branches of county government,” said Sen. Jason Gallion, who presented the legislation on behalf of the Harford County Senators.

Read More: Baltimore Sun
Maryland General Assembly targets suicide prevention

A rise in suicides and concerns about police interactions with those threatening to self-harm have prompted legislation in Maryland that would ease costs for certain treatment and require more training for law enforcement. Other legislation would require the state to study and track an increase in the number of Marylanders taking their own lives.

Johnny O discusses local UMMS help and getting vaccines in arms this spring

Donna Jacobs of University of Maryland Medical System joins the Baltimore County Executive to discuss how the three vaccines are making their way to Timonium and other mass vaccination centers in Maryland.

 

Md. lawmakers want cannabis legalization to include expungement of old charges, but it may be too costly

Legislative efforts to fully legalize cannabis possession and use in Maryland include calls to expunge, or erase, certain marijuana charges from residents’ criminal records. However, according to the Maryland Judiciary, the automatic removal of such charges is not only not possible, it could cost more than $37.7 million. House Bill 32 (HB32) and Senate Bill 708 (SB708), the pair of bills that seek to legalize recreational, or “adult use,” cannabis in Maryland this year, include a list of criminal and social justice reforms aimed at correcting some of the harms done by marijuana criminalization.

The price of fame: Records show Kim Klacik paid a whopping $4M to consultants in U.S. House bid in Baltimore

Former congressional candidate Kimberly Klacik went from running a small, Baltimore-area nonprofit to becoming a conservative star tapped to speak at the Republican National Convention. Now, recently amended campaign finance reports show the price of her rocket to fame and fundraising success last summer. The Federal Election Commission reports show Klacik — who lost in November to Democratic U.S. Rep. Kweisi Mfume by 43 percentage points — paid more than $4 million to Republican-oriented digital advertising and media companies to elevate her profile.

Read More: Baltimore Sun

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