Vaccination Divide May Compound Other Health Disparities

Vaccination data shows a racial disparity, including in Maryland, where black residents are receiving the vaccination more slowly than white populations - threatening to compound health disparities. A report from Kaiser Health, affiliated with MACo Corporate Partner Kaiser Permanente, highlights frustrating data arising from early efforts to offer the new vaccines for COVID-19, principally among health care professionals. From the Kaiser Health report: The vast majority of the initial round of vaccines has gone to…

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Fentanyl Driving Still-Troubling Opioid Caseloads, Fatalities

The latest Maryland data on opioid related fatalities show a chilling picture - fentanyl is driving opioid deaths beyond those from 2019, likely arising from multiple social causes. From the latest Maryland release: According to MDH’s Vital Statistics Administration, there were 2,025 unintentional intoxication deaths involving all types of drugs and alcohol in Maryland between January and September of 2020. This figure represents a 12.1 percent increase from the same period in 2019, when there…

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Sun Previews Session “Major Issues”

The Baltimore Sun released a preview of major issues facing the General Assembly for the 2021 Session, including police reforms, education, sports wagering. With the 2021 reconvening of the Maryland General Assembly afoot, Maryland's top newspaper covers a range of issues expected to gather attention and ink in the weeks ahead. Unsurprisingly, police reforms are on that list, as many states have responded to calls for social justice in policing tactics and accountability. The legislature…

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FCC Order Promotes Wireless Deployments, Despite Community Standards

The Federal Communications Commission issued an order governing small hub and relay antennas - part of wireless infrastructure - specifically noting their intent to set aside "local regulations." The ongoing debate regarding roll-out of wireless infrastructure took yet another turn, with the federal agency overseeing telecommunication matters issuing a new rule, limiting local governments' authority to establish community guidelines for several classes of antennas and similar equipment. According to a press release from the FCC:…

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Jones Elected Chair of Baltimore County Council

Council Member Julian Jones, Jr. will serve as Council Chair for the year ahead, being elected by his peers to serve for the second time in three years. The Baltimore County Council has voted in Julian Jones to serve as its Chair for the 2021 session. Council Member Jones has years of experience as a professional firefighter, and has served in leadership roles with firefighter organizations, on his parent-teacher organization, and with the Democratic Party.…

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Top Issues of 2021 Session: 5G Wireless and “Small Cell” Siting

With the 2021 Legislative Session rapidly approaching, MACo is profiling some major issues that stand to gather attention in the General Assembly’s work. Here, we preview the ongoing hot topic of "small cell" siting for fifth-generation (5G) wireless service - but note that the main decision-making has already taken place at the federal regulatory and judicial level. Wireless connectivity remains an important and growing part of the telecommunications infrastructure, and for relatively densely-built areas (mostly…

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Top Issues of 2021 Session: COVID-19 Response and Relief

With the 2021 Legislative Session rapidly approaching, MACo is profiling some major issues that stand to gather attention in the General Assembly’s work. Here, we look at the state-level responses to the COVID-19 outbreak, and the many effects across Maryland. 2020 was marked, globally, by the outbreak of a pandemic - a novel coronavirus that has cost thousands of lives, and has undermined normal activity for most people. With vaccines hopefully in sight, policymakers face…

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State Issues New CARES/CRF Guidance After Federal Bill Enacted
Courtesy of the Maryland Manual
State Issues New CARES/CRF Guidance After Federal Bill Enacted

The Maryland Department of Budget and Management has issued new guidance to counties regarding the uses and timing of federal funds issued through the CARES Act - notably an extension through 2021 for its continued use. With the federal relief legislation passed, and finally signed into law by the President, the final pieces of implementation (mainly at the State level) have fallen into place. Namely, the State has issued its revised guidance for the spending…

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Top Issues of 2021 Session: Police Accountability Reforms

With the 2021 Legislative Session rapidly approaching, MACo is profiling some major issues that stand to gather attention in the General Assembly's work. Here, we preview accountability reforms for law enforcement agencies in Maryland. National attention has focused on police accountability - with wide-ranging stakeholders calling for changes to the laws governing discipline and accountability for officers accused of dangerous or criminal conduct in the line of duty. Maryland's legislative leaders have taken up these…

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Longtime MD Senate President Mike Miller Resigns Seat, Citing Health
Senate President Mike Miller, Courtesy of Maryland General Assembly
Longtime MD Senate President Mike Miller Resigns Seat, Citing Health

Senate President Mike Miller, Courtesy of Maryland General Assembly Thomas V. Mike Miller, Jr. - known to more than a generation of Maryland political and policy players as "Mr. President" for his long term as the presiding officer of the Maryland Senate, has resigned his seat in advance of the coming 2021 legislative session. Senate President Emeritus Miller, who vacated his presiding officer role in 2019 after 33 years serving as the Senate President, has…

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