Marylander Benefits Could be Gone in a SNAP

In the 2022 General Assembly Session, expect renewed attention on mushrooming public assistance enrollment numbers, especially regarding the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). The federally-funded program, formerly referred to as "food stamps," provides payments to low income individuals and families to purchase food. In an issue paper, the Maryland Department of Legislative Services (DLS) highlighted the upward shift in SNAP enrollment: The number of SNAP recipients increased at unprecedented rates during the COVID-19 pandemic... [E]nrollment…

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Public Health and Cannabis Legalization

In 2022, the Maryland General Assembly (MGA) is very likely taking up the issue of cannabis legalization again, which will require a greater look into its potential public health impacts. The Department of Legislative Services (DLS) provided an in-depth analysis of the public health ramifications of cannabis legalization in an issue paper, examining cannabis use disorder, youth usage, and driving under the influence, among other public health considerations. Cannabis use disorder (CUD) "is a medical diagnosis…

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Ghost Guns: A Growing Threat to Public Safety
An untraceable "ghost gun," courtesy of Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf
Ghost Guns: A Growing Threat to Public Safety

For the Maryland General Assembly's (MGA) 2022 Session, expect continued focus on privately made, do-it-yourself firearms, also known as "ghost guns." Generally speaking, ghost guns are constructed in one of two ways: 1. through the receiving of parts through the mail; or 2. the printing of parts using a 3D printer. Neither federal nor state law require the registration of individual gun parts, most notably a gun's frame or receiver. Absent the ability to track…

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Baltimore City Invests ARPA Funds into Trauma Informed Care

Baltimore City will put $1.4 million in American Rescue Plan Act funds toward trauma informed care programming. According to WYPR, the Mayor’s Office of Neighborhood Safety and Engagement will use $900,000 toward the Elijah Cummings Healing City Act, which requires trauma informed care training for City officials and establishes the Baltimore City Trauma Informed Care Task Force. Trauma informed care is defined as, "a healthcare methodology that attempts to heal trauma and provide culturally-competent service." Another…

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State Fights COVID Surge with $100 Million in Emergency Funding

Maryland will adopt several measures, including the release of $100 million in emergency funding, to combat a recent surge in COVID-19 infections. In addition to committing $100 million toward urgent staffing needs at Maryland hospitals and nursing homes, the days and hours of operations at community testing sites will be expanded and the National Guard will be providing staffing support. Another $30 million will be provided to schools to purchase testing resources. Governor Larry Hogan discussed steps…

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St. Mary’s Upgrades Emergency Services Systems

On Tuesday, December 14th, the Commissioners of St. Mary's County approved a new software vendor contract to assist its emergency response system. Tyler Technologies will be providing Computer Aided Dispatch (CAD) software to St. Mary's Department of Emergency Services. The upgrade should help improve efficiency as well as data collection and analysis. The contract award comes after a multi-year and multi-agency to identify the best possible product. software. Steve Walker, St. Mary's Director of Emergency Services,…

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Maryland Congressmen Help Secure More than $190 Million for Healthcare Providers

According to Maryland's Congressional Delegation, the United States Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), through its Provider Relief Fund (PRF), will be releasing $191,711,521 in payments to 1,723 health care providers in Maryland who experienced revenue losses and expenses incurred due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The congressmen, including U.S. Senators Ben Cardin and Chris Van Hollen and Congressmen David Trone, Steny H. Hoyer, Dutch Ruppersberger, John Sarbanes, Kweisi Mfume, Andy Harris, M.D., Anthony G. Brown,…

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Baltimore City Works with Local Universities to Implement ARPA

Baltimore City's Office of Recovery Programs has partnered with the University of Baltimore (UB) and Morgan State University (MSU) to assist with initiatives funded through the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA).  Baltimore City Mayor Brandon M. Scott discussed the initiative in a press release: “ARPA is a one-time investment. Support from these two world-class universities will position us to make evidence-based decisions and show our impact for the benefit of Baltimoreans,” said Mayor Scott. “In a city like Baltimore with deep systemic challenges even before the…

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Lights, Camera, Action: Talking Bodycams at Winter #MACoCon

During the 2021 MACo Winter Conference, a panel of policing experts discussed a major policy shift requiring body worn cameras on all law enforcement officers throughout Maryland. Under recently a recently adopted state law, counties and their law enforcement partners will be responsible for both procuring the equipment needed and implementing required policies for this new reality. Storage, redaction, and distribution of the resulting footage will also challenge local resources and require smart planning. Panelists discussed overcoming the…

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Righting a Wrong: Discussing the Opioid Settlement at Winter #MACoCon

At this year's Winter MACo Conference, the Attorney General was joined by several local government representatives to discuss Maryland's settlement with Johnson and Johnson and three major distributors of opioid medication.  The settlement has raised the incredibly important question of "How do we best help the victims of opioid overdose and overdose death, and prevent future victims?" With settlement funds on the way, panelists presented state and local perspectives on this matter, and the most equitable way…

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