State Providing $7.5 Million in Policing Accountability Grants

The Governor’s Office of Crime Prevention, Youth, and Victim Services is providing $7.5 million to law enforcement agencies in Police Accountability, Community, and Transparency (PACT) grants. The PACT program is intended to help state and local law enforcement agencies comply with the Maryland Police Accountability Act of 2021. Grants may be used toward more body cameras, de-escalation training, and other critical tools to enhance community relationship building. Governor Larry Hogan discussed the grant program's intent…

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Fourth COVID Vaccine Might Soon Enter Market

On Tuesday, June 7th, a U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) advisory committee voted to grant Novavax, a Gaithersburg, Maryland-based biotechnology firm, emergency use authorization (EUA) for its COVID-19 vaccine.   Although the panel's vote has traditionally received great deference, the vaccine must still receive final approval from the FDA. Emergency use authorization would allow adults 18 years old or older to receive the vaccine. In a clinical trial involving 30,000 participants, the Novavax COVID-19 vaccine…

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Maryland Unveils “Inter-Agency Opioid Coordination Plan,” Accepting Public Feedback

Maryland's Opioid Operational Command Center (OOCC) has released and is requesting public feedback on its draft Inter-Agency Opioid Coordination Plan for 2022–2024. Upon its finalization, the Plan will guide the state’s opioid crisis response efforts. Lt. Governor Boyd K. Rutherford described and praised the Inter-Agency Opioid Coordination Plan in a press release: 'Maryland’s robust opioid crisis response framework continues to be a model for the nation,' said Lt. Governor Rutherford, chair of Maryland's Inter-Agency Heroin and…

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Tick-Borne and Bred: Government Responses to Killer Diseases

As tick-borne illnesses like Lyme Disease flourish, governments across the country and at every level are developing a response to protect the public. A recent Route Fifty article details various federal, state, and local efforts to contain several tick-related threats to public health. On the federal level, Congress enacted the Kay Hagan Tick Act, requiring the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to develop a national strategy to address vector-borne diseases, including tick-borne illnesses.…

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Monkeypox – A Maryland Primer

On May 19th, the Maryland Department of Health (MDH) provided clinicians with guidance on Monkeypox, a disease slowly progressing throughout the United States. MDH, in its guidance document, describes Monkeypox transmission as through "large respiratory droplets, but also through direct contact with body fluids or skin lesions, including scabs." Indirect transmission is also possible through contact with contaminated materials and surfaces. The agency describes the symptoms of Monkeypox as follows: fever, headache, muscle aches, lymphadenopathy, and…

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Fed Lab Predicts Local Changes in Illicit Drug Supply

A lab operated by the National Institute of Standards and Technolog (NIST), an agency under the United States Department of Commerce, has collected and processed swabs from individuals with substance use disorders (SUDs) from across Maryland to help detect changes in the illicit drug supply. The Baltimore Sun reports the lab has identified xylazine, an animal tranquilizer, as an added element to the ongoing opioid epidemic. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, the…

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Feds Launch “Our Way Home” to Bolster Local Affordable Housing
Seal of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development
Feds Launch “Our Way Home” to Bolster Local Affordable Housing

On Wednesday, June 1st, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) launched the Our Way Home initiative, a new effort to boost the nation’s affordable housing supply that considers equity, inclusivity, and sustainability. Our Way Home focuses on the unique housing supply successes in local communities. It will connect cities, counties, Tribal communities, states, and U.S. Territories to the tools and resources needed to help preserve and produce affordable housing in their area. The…

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Howard to Host Elder Abuse Awareness Resource Fair

On Saturday, June 11th, Howard County’s Department of Community Resources and Services will host an Elder Abuse Awareness Resource Fair. The outdoor event will occur between 10:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m. at 9830 Patuxent Woods Drive, Columbia, MD 21046. Additionally, the Fair will feature representatives from AARP Maryland, Howard County Police Department, Howard County Sheriff’s Office, CCCSMD, Age-Friendly Howard County, the Howard County Department of Social Services, and other community partners, as well as giveaways and refreshments…

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Anne Arundel Commits $1.5 Million to Summer SNAP

On May 31st, Anne Arundel County committed $1.5 million to provide all eligible school-aged children with Summer Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits for June, July, August, and December. In addition to the county's commitment, the Maryland Department of Human Services’ Family Investment Administration will contribute $280,320. Anne Arundel County Executive Steuart Pittman explained how the funding would benefit the county's families in a press release: 'Providing this benefit gives critical support to families at a…

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Baltimore City Sues Ghost Gun Maker As Statewide Registry Law Goes Into Effect
An untraceable "ghost gun," courtesy of Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf
Baltimore City Sues Ghost Gun Maker As Statewide Registry Law Goes Into Effect

Baltimore City has filed a lawsuit against the nation’s largest ghost gun manufacturer, Polymer80, Inc., just as the state's ghost gun registry law goes into effect. The Brady Campaign defines "ghost guns" as "unserialized and untraceable firearms that can be bought online and assembled at home." According to the Baltimore City Police Department (BPD), the City had never recovered a ghost gun before 2018. However, in 2021, BPD recovered 324, or 14% of all firearms…

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