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Maryland Citizens Redistricting Commission Delegate Map Available For Public Comment

The Maryland Citizens Redistricting Commission released a draft delegate district map with both single- and multi-member districts last week, but panelists want more public input before deciding what configuration to use in their legislative map proposals. Commission members have been debating for weeks whether to draw multi-member districts, but agreed at a work session last Thursday to make a delegate map available for public comment that uses multi-member districts in certain areas based on population density.

‘Unnecessary risk?’ Debate over Montgomery Co. vaccine mandate continues

Several police officers and local union officials in Montgomery County, Maryland, testified before the County Council Tuesday in stark opposition to a proposed COVID-19 vaccine mandate for county employees, arguing the proposal violates their personal rights and could lead to staffing shortages. No decisions were made at the public hearing. The next step is a committee work session scheduled for Nov. 22. The proposed vaccine mandate — which would no longer allow county employees to provide weekly negative COVID-19 test results instead of getting vaccinated — has also divided county leaders.

Read More: WTOP
Shore Residents Say Legislative Redistricting Panel Should Boost Representation of People of Color

Eastern Shore residents urged members of the Legislative Redistricting Advisory Commission to boost representation for people of color in their legislative maps at a Monday evening public hearing. Sonya Whited, a Wicomico County resident, said during a public hearing at the Todd Performing Arts Center in Wye Mills that the commission should look at drawing an additional single-member delegate district with a majority of people of color on the Eastern Shore in their proposed legislative maps in addition to District 37A, which is represented by House of Delegates Speaker Pro Tem Sheree Sample-Hughes (D).

Person coloring art with crayons
Montgomery Co. to consider grants for businesses that subsidize child care

The Montgomery County Council will consider legislation that would establish a matching grant program for small businesses that subsidize child care costs for their employees in the Maryland county. Montgomery County Council Vice President Gabe Albornoz said he and his co-sponsor, County Council member Nancy Navarro, hope the program will serve as a recruitment tool for employers while helping families.

Read More: WTOP
Biden to participate in CNN town hall in Baltimore on Thursday

President Joe Biden will participate in a televised town hall in Baltimore on Thursday night, according to the White House. It will be the Democrat’s first visit to Baltimore as chief executive, and comes during a pivotal period in his presidency. Biden is expected to field questions during the live CNN broadcast, which comes as he seeks to reach agreement with lawmakers on legislative packages on social spending and climate change mitigation, and on infrastructure.

Read More: Baltimore Sun
Maryland state treasurer Nancy Kopp to retire at the end of the year

Maryland state treasurer Nancy Kopp, who has served nearly 20 years in the office, announced Monday that she plans to retire at the end of the year. Kopp, a former member of the House of Delegates, has spent nearly five decades in public service and is one of the longest-serving treasurers in state history. She is the second woman to hold the post.

New Md. commission will work toward ‘health equity framework’ 

The Maryland Commission on Health Equity held its first meeting Monday, laying out the panel’s mission to provide advice on issues related to health disparities and help the state set health equity goals. The commission was created through SB 52, named The Shirley Nathan-Pulliam Health Equity Act of 2021 after the titular senator, a pioneering voice for health equity in Maryland, during the 2021 General Assembly session. It went into effect on Oct. 1.

Prince George’s County Council divided on new redistricting map

The Prince George’s County Council is sharply divided over a redistricting plan that would move some towns into new districts, a proposal that has raised criticism from some community members who say it didn’t include community input. The new district map was presented by council member Derrick Leon Davis (D-District 6) in a meeting Thursday afternoon, as a proposal to replace a different map that had been developed by the county’s redistricting commission.

Maryland’s Leaders & Residents React To Colin Powell’s Death
Tributes from throughout Maryland poured in Monday for the late Gen. Colin Powell. Powell, the first Black U.S. Secretary of State, died Monday morning of complications resulting from COVID-19, his family announced on Facebook. He was 84. The news came as a shock to everyone, from Baltimore residents to elected officials. “(I’m) totally surprised,” city resident Rod Robinson said. “Totally surprised. Just got the news.” The retired four-star general was fully vaccinated against COVID-19, but his immune system was compromised by a form of blood cancer.
Read More: WJZ
Maryland panel recommends less borrowing despite revenue windfall 

A state advisory panel recommends that Maryland issue about $200 million less in bonds for the coming budget year than in the current budget year. The 4-1 vote brought an end Monday to a debate over borrowing by the Capital Debt Advisory Committee. Treasurer Nancy Kopp and others favored increased borrowing citing billions in surpluses.  State Budget Secretary David Brinkley proposed a cut of about 20% to the expected borrowing for the coming year.

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