Bills to Require MAT in Jails on the Move

Bills to expand medication-assisted treatment (MAT) for opioid use disorders within county jails are on the move. HB 116, sponsored by Delegate Erek Barron, has already been passed out of the House and is awaiting a hearing in the Senate. And its crossfile, SB 846 sponsored by Senator Chris West, has passed second reader in the Senate and expected to continue its process over to the House in the next few days. HB 116/SB 846 would…

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Council President Introduces Bill to Keep City Conduits Public Assets

Baltimore City Council President Bernard "Jack" Young introduced two pieces of legislation that would permanently prohibit City officials from selling the City's conduit system and strengthen penalties against entities who use the system illegally. The bill is co-sponsored by 13 of the 15 council members and if passed would put the issue in front of city voters as a charter amendment in 2020. The Baltimore Sun reports: Young believes the legislation could help taxpayers avoid…

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City Gears Up to Demolish Vacant Houses

The Baltimore City Housing Commission has committed to demolishing over 2,000 vacant homes by the summer of 2020. The goal is to reduce the number of vacant properties to below 15,000 -- a level that hasn't been seen in over a decade. The City has struggled with vacant properties and has been demolishing them at a pace of 500 per year. Some progress was made with these past efforts, but necessary steps to prepare for…

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City Council Confirms Michael Harrison as Baltimore City Police Commissioner

The Baltimore City Council voted unanimously to confirm former New Orleans Police Superintendent Michael Harrison as the new Baltimore City Police Commissioner. Harrison has been serving as the acting police commissioner since February 11, 2019. The Baltimore Sun reports on Harrison's statement following the confirmation: “I expect a long and productive relationship with the City Council and am looking forward to working together to achieve our goals of reforming the Baltimore Police Department, reducing crime and…

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Washington County Health Department to Open 24/7 Crisis Center

The Washington County Health Department is slated to open a 24/7 crisis center this July.  The center will service people suffering from substance use disorders and mental illnesses. It is being funded in part by federal State Opioid Response grant funding awarded through the Maryland Department of Health. As reported by the Herald-Mail: The center would be staffed by several full- and part-time employees, including nurse practitioners, licensed practical nurses, social workers, intake specialists and…

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City Housing Department Targets Four Zones for Community Development

The Baltimore City Housing Department is launching a campaign to address blight, encourage development, and strengthen neighborhoods in areas outside of the the waterfront. The Baltimore Sun reports: Under the framework, the housing department is creating impact investment areas in which housing officials will work with community members to define a vision for what the neighborhoods could become, draw up a 10-year plan, put together a capital budget and develop a strategy for creating more affordable…

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Revive Local Health Funding Today for a Better Tomorrow

One of MACo's priorities this session is advocating to re-prioritize public health in the face of the opioid epidemic and crises to come by reviving local health department funding. SB 645 / HB 1082 achieves those goals by restoring local health funding to historic levels and updating the formula to recognize the growing costs of medical care these departments provide. Want to know more? The following is a primer on Core Funding and how SB…

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Supreme Court Issues Decision on Excessive Property Forfeiture Seizures and Fines

The U.S. Supreme Court issued a decision last week holding that civil asset forfeiture at the state and local level must occur under the same constitutional protections against excessive fines as they do at the federal level. While decision does not prohibit civil asset forfeiture, it does mean that state and local governments may be open to more legal challenges in cases where assets are seized. As reported in Route Fifty: The decision in the…

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Marshall Project: How the ADA Could Change the Way the Nation’s Jails and Prisons Treat Addiction

A bill introduced this session (HB 116) would require all jails and prisons in Maryland to provide the full range of FDA approved Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT) for opioid use disorders to inmates and pretrial detainees. These treatments include methadone, buprenorphine, and naltrexone. It would also require the state to fund the screenings, assessments, and treatments. The bill is part of a growing movement nationally to require MAT be offered in the criminal justice system.…

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Telemedicine to Expand on Eastern Shore Thanks to CareFirst Grant

CareFirst has awarded a $212,171 grant to the University of Maryland School of Medicine (UMSOM) to expand access to telemedicine medication assisted treatment (MAT) for opioid addiction on the Eastern Shore. The Star Democrat reports: [Dr. Eric] Weintraub and [Dr. Christopher] Welsh have been providing similar services in western Maryland for the past three years in collaboration with the University of Maryland Medical System (UMMS). With this new funding, the program is expanding into Talbot…

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