Maryland Sees 22% Decline in Opioid Prescriptions

Maryland has seen a reduction in the number of opioid prescriptions over the past three years. As announced in a press release: The number of opioid prescriptions in Maryland has dropped by more than 22% since 2017, with nearly 20% fewer patients receiving opiates during the same period, the Hogan administration announced today. This decrease is attributed in part to an electronic prescription tracking system known as the Prescription Drug Monitoring Program (PDMP). ... According…

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New USDA Rule Restricts SNAP Work Requirement Waivers

The U.S. Department of Agriculture Food and Nutrition Service (USDA FN) has finalized a rule that would narrow the ability for states to waive work requirements for able-bodied adults without dependents (ABAWDs) participating in Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). The change, which goes into effect on April 1, will impact 76% of counties nationwide and ultimately result in 224,000 individuals immediately losing access to SNAP and approximately 700,000 individuals losing access later this year. A…

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DHS Announces FY 2020 Preparedness Grants

The U.S Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has announced Fiscal Year (FY) 2020 Notices of Funding Opportunity for eight DHS preparedness grant programs. The available funds total nearly $1.8 billion to be awarded to improve the nation’s readiness in preventing, protecting against, responding to, recovering from and mitigating terrorist attacks, major disasters, and other emergencies. Eligible grantees include state, local, tribal and territorial governments, as well as transportation authorities, nonprofit organizations, and the private sector.…

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DLS Suggests Interesting Change to Health Department Funding Formula

In an interesting twist, the Department of Legislative Services (DLS) has recommended a change to the Local Health Department's Core Funding formula. The recommendation was announced at the Wednesday, February 12 Maryland Department of Health Public Health Administration Budget subcommittee meeting. It is based on concerns that the funding formula is too complicated and that the Maryland Department of Health (MDH) has inconsistently applied it in past years. From the Department of Legislative Services Operating Budget…

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Baltimore County Announces Public Release Policy for Police Body Camera Footage

The Baltimore County Police Department has released a policy for the public release of police body-worn camera videos. From Baltimore County: Chief Melissa Hyatt said, “This policy is an important step in continuing to build and maintain trust between law enforcement and the community. The policy will preserve the integrity of investigations while respecting the privacy of individuals.” Under the policy, the Chief of Police can make a decision to release footage from critical incidents…

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Franchot Issues Groundbreaking Ban on Disposable E-Cigs

Maryland Comptroller Peter Franchot announced Monday that his Field Enforcement Division will prohibit the sale of disposable flavored Electronic Smoking Devices (ESDs). This would make his division the first in the nation to take such action. As reported by WUSA9: "Today, in addition to the FDA’s prohibition of flavored e-cigarette cartridges, I have directed our enforcement agents to take more aggressive action by prohibiting the sale of disposable ESDs with flavors other than tobacco or menthol,"…

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FCC Shares Agenda for February Meeting and Voting Session

In a recent tweet, Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Ajit Pie announced the next meeting will be an important one with a number of proposals and orders up for a vote. The @FCC has a big meeting coming up on Feb. 28. We've published the exact text of the proposals/orders we'll be voting on at that meeting. You can find the documents here, https://t.co/7rtWMr7kp8; they're also linked in my Medium post below. #transparency https://t.co/D31aNm4Yna —…

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Tiffany Green Makes History as Prince George’s First Female Fire Chief

The Prince George's County Council has sworn in Tiffany D. Green as the County Fire Chief. She is the first woman to serve in that role. From Maryland Matters/WTOP: The Prince George’s County native has been interim chief since last year and was named chief deputy in 2018. Green succeeded Benjamin Barksdale, who was in the department for nine years, the last three as chief. “It takes many years to become an overnight success,” said…

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Carroll County Pursues Broadband Feasibility Study

Carroll County has joined a group of counties that have contracted with CTC Technology & Energy to perform a broadband feasibility study. As reported in The Baltimore Sun: Carroll, along with six other Maryland counties, sought a contractor to conduct a study that would help counties assess their broadband needs and obtain grant funding for broadband projects, according to Mark Ripper, director of technology services. He said the counties, with Montgomery leading the charge, chose…

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FCC Order Creates $20 Billion Rural Digital Opportunity Fund

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has issued an order creating a $20 billion Rural Digital Opportunity Fund. The Fund is intended to help close the digital divide by advancing the deployment of broadband. Route Fifty reports: The Rural Digital Opportunity Fund will help internet service providers deploy broadband over 10 years to areas currently lacking service of at least 25 megabits per second download and 3 Mbps upload speeds. The federal agency estimates about six million rural…

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