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Politics

Bill Would Allow Maryland Students To Enroll In Tuition-Free, Public Virtual School

As some Maryland students begin to head back to the classroom nearly a year after the COVID-19 pandemic began, some state lawmakers have introduced legislation that would give students the option to take part in a full-time online public school program. The legislation would allow the state, a county or public higher education institution to create a tuition-free virtual public school program. Under the bill, students would be able to attend any public virtual school in the state regardless of where they live.

Read More: WJZ
Gov. Larry Hogan Defends Controversial Response Over Baltimore City COVID-19 Vaccines
Gov. Larry defended his controversial response to WJZ Investigator Mike Hellgren’s question last week about Baltimore Mayor Brandon Scott’s demand that Hogan reserve some doses at state-run mass vaccination sites for city residents. Gov. Hogan said at the time that Baltimore was getting more vaccines than the city was “entitled to.”
Read More: WJZ
How references to structural racism got cut from a Md. bill on health disparities

At first, the bill addressing the role of racism in health disparities in Maryland laid out the context plainly: “Racism is rooted in the foundation of America, from the time chattel slavery began in the 1600s, to the Jim Crow era, to the declaration of the war on drugs that eventually led to the mass incarceration of Black people, and it has remained a presence in American society while subjecting Black, Indigenous, and People of Color to hardships and disadvantages in every aspect of life.”

Baltimore Mayor Brandon Scott names deputy mayor for community and economic development

Baltimore Mayor Brandon Scott has named a deputy mayor for community and economic development. Ted Carter, who is the chief economic development and business officer for Cuyahoga County, Ohio, which includes Cleveland, has been tapped by Scott to lead Baltimore’s community and economic development arm. Carter previously worked for the U.S. Treasury Department in Democratic President Bill Clinton’s administration.

Read More: Baltimore Sun
This illustration, created at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), reveals ultrastructural morphology exhibited by coronaviruses. Note the spikes that adorn the outer surface of the virus, which impart the look of a corona surrounding the virion, when viewed electron microscopically. A novel coronavirus, named Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), was identified as the cause of an outbreak of respiratory illness first detected in Wuhan, China in 2019. The illness caused by this virus has been named coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).
Baltimore Convention Center mass COVID vaccine site to prioritize vulnerable city residents amid criticism of inequity

Amid criticism of inequitable access to Maryland’s limited supply of COVID-19 vaccines, the state’s mass vaccination clinic at the Baltimore Convention Center will prioritize people from underserved areas of the city, officials announced Monday. Officials announced they will “seek to fill as many appointments as possible” with people from some of Baltimore’s most disadvantaged neighborhoods to improve a striking racial disparity in vaccinations and the city’s ranking as third from last in the state in the number of residents vaccinated.

Read More: Baltimore Sun
Democratic Field to Challenge Rep. Harris Gets Another Contender

R. David Harden spent years building economies overseas during his time with the foreign service. Now, the foreign policy strategist wants to do so in Maryland’s 1st Congressional District. Harden told Maryland Matters that he’ll seek the Democratic nomination for a chance to unseat U.S. Rep Andrew P. Harris in 2022, adding to an already crowded Democratic field. His planned congressional bid was first reported by A Miner Detail. Harden is the founder and managing director of the Georgetown Strategy Group, a consulting outfit that represents technology and financial firms from the Middle East to “promote trade and investment, advance security and stability, develop economic opportunity, and facilitate the delivery of humanitarian assistance in the Middle East and Africa,” according to the group’s website.

Baltimore County Council strikes bill to let voters decide term limits

A bill that would have allowed Baltimore County voters to decide whether to impose three-term limits on County Council members failed to get the five votes needed for passage. The bill introduced by Democrat Tom Quirk and Republican Todd Crandell was approved by a 4-3 margin Monday night, but because the bill could have changed the county charter, five votes were needed to advance it. Democrats Cathy Bevins, Julian Jones and Izzy Patoka voted against the bill.

Read More: Baltimore Sun
Van Hollen asks Biden to put mass vaccine focus on first doses

U.S. Sen. Chris Van Hollen, D-Md., is asking the Biden administration to shift the COVID-19 mass vaccination push to first doses. Van Hollen and U.S. Sen. Martin Heinrich, D-N.M., have written the White House asking for a federal focus on first doses. “As a threat rises from new disease variants, we write to request your consideration of a new strategy to maximize the population receiving the COVID-19 vaccine in the near term,” Van Hollen and Heinrich say in a March 1 letter. “We encourage you to explore deploying existing second doses as first doses and rely on growing real-time inventory to cover future follow-on booster shots.”

Read More: Star Democrat
Franchot announces temporary waiver of estimated tax interest for farmers and fishermen

Comptroller Peter Franchot today announced that his agency is granting a limited, temporary waiver of estimated tax interest for farmers and fishermen who are impacted by provisions of the Recovery for the Economy, Livelihoods, Industries, Entrepreneurs, and Families (RELIEF) Act. Estimated income tax filings that typically would have been due on March 1, 2021, will not have to be submitted until the Comptroller’s Office publishes revised tax forms. The RELIEF Act, which was signed into law on Feb. 15, created a new income tax addition modification and two new income tax subtraction modifications.

Read More: Star Democrat
Biden tries to reset relationship with Mexican president

As President Joe Biden looks to dismantle the last administration’s hardline immigration agenda, he worked Monday to build a partnership with someone who found an unexpected understanding with Donald Trump: Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador. Biden and López Obrador met for a virtual bilateral meeting, with immigration, the coronavirus pandemic and climate issues on the agenda. Looming large was how the two leaders would get along in what has become an increasingly complicated relationship.

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