General Assembly to Launch Police Body Camera Task Force

Law Enforcement Body Camera Task Force to study costs and access to justice issues for police body-worn cameras.  The task force was created by legislation passed by the General Assembly in the 2020 session to help local governments deal with the costs of body camera programs which can be significant for video and data storage. Maryland Matters reports: [Del. Jazz] Lewis and Del. David Moon (D-Montgomery) will represent the House of Delegates on the task…

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Task Force Charged With Recommending Reforms for Prince George’s Police

A diverse task force to make recommendations on reforming police hiring, training, and use of force in Prince George's County. County Executive Angela Alsobrooks announced the task force as part of a plan to reform the county police department from top to bottom. The Washington Post reports: The task force will be charged with making recommendations on hiring, training and use of force in policing. It will be made up of residents and public officials,…

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Kaiser, AP Investigate the State of Public Health Infrastructure

An underfunded workforce and lack of basic tools were some of the findings of the investigation into the nation's public health infrastructure during the COVID-19 pandemic.  Kaiser Family Foundation and the Associated Press teamed up for the investigation which sought to understand the economic and other threats the COVID-19 pandemic has imposed on the nation's public health infrastructure. As announced in a news release: Among the key findings in the series’s first story, “Hollowed-Out Public…

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Overdose Epidemic Quietly Rages as COVID-19 Pandemic Continues to Surge

Jurisdictions nationwide are seeing spikes in overdoses and factors related to COVID-19 isolation, economic devestation, and disrupted drug trade are suspected as contributing to the spike.  According to federal data March, April, and May of 2020 respectively saw 18, 29, and 42 percent increases in overdose deaths nationwide compared to the same months last year. As COVID-19 continues to surge experts worry we will likewise continue to see an increase in overdoses and need for…

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Governor Extends Utility Shutoff Moratorium to August 1

The executive order extends the moratorium against the terminating resident’s utilities or charging them late fees to August 1, 2020.  The order helps protect individuals who have lost work or income due to the coronavirus pandemic from experiencing shutoffs of critical utilities. The Baltimore Sun reports: “No electric, gas, sewage disposal, telegraph, telephone, water, or cable television company, or internet service provider, or any company providing a combination of such services (a “Residential Service Company”),…

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St. Mary’s Takes Action to Advance Equity in Public Safety, Education, and Health

St. Mary's Health Officer, Sheriff, and Superintendent of Schools have joined forces to issue a resolution and establish a task force to advance equity in their agencies and in the county. The announcement recognizes the connections between public health, public safety, and public education; the commitment the agencies have for achieving equity and racial justice, and the importance of addressing disparities relating to socioeconomic status, geographical area, age, disability, sexual orientation, gender or racial/ethnic group.…

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Proposed BPW Cuts Hurt Local Health Departments, Undermine Public Health Efforts

Proposed across-the-board state employee pay cuts would have detrimental impacts on local health departments who are already understaffed, underfunded, and in the midst of providing vital services during a pandemic.  As previously reported on Conduit Street, the Board of Public Works (BPW) — a three-member panel which includes Governor Larry Hogan, Comptroller Peter Franchot, and State Treasurer Nancy Kopp — tomorrow will consider $672 million in state budget cuts as part of the Department of Budget…

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DHCD to Counties: Here’s What We’re Doing to Tackle COVID-19 Housing Issues

In a letter to county leadership, the Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) shares what actions it is taking to address COVID-19 related housing issues in response to county concerns that more is needed.  The June 25 letter from DHCD to county leadership discusses the Department's actions related to affordable housing and assisted rental housing, homelessness, and homeownership. In regards to affordable housing and assisted rental housing: We have worked with properties in our…

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Secretaries of Labor and Commerce Brief Joint COVID-19 Workgroup

The Secretaries provide updates on state unemployment insurance programs and business recovery programs.  The workgroup was joined by the Department of Labor Secretary Tiffany Robinson and Department of Commerce Secretary Kelly Schulz. Secretary Robinson discussed how the Department has increased staff, added new technology, and worked to improve communication while operating during the pandemic. By the numbers as of Wednesday, the Department has paid out a historic amount of benefits -- $2.7 billion in both…

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Advocates, Officials Raise Alarm About Potential Flood of COVID-19 Evictions

With the federal moratorium on evictions coming to an end and with the limited reach of the state eviction moratorium many remain on edge about evictions already in the courts' pipeline and those to come.  Maryland Matters reports on the concerns of advocates and local government officials as the July 25 end date to the federal eviction moratorium looms ahead and residents COVID related economic struggles remain: With a massive uptick in unemployment due to…

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