Maryland Officials Recognized With NACo Leadership, Committee Positions

Congratulations to several Maryland county leaders and professional staff that have been appointed to serve on National Association of Counties (NACo) Committees. The officials were selected to serve on their respective committees at the 85th Annual NACo Business Meeting. A few hold multiple positions not only as committee members but as committee leaders as well. Honorable Calvin S. Hawkins, II, Council Member, Prince George's County appointed to serve as Vice Chair of the Justice and…

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Commission Seeks Major Criminal Justice Reform, Focus on Marginalized Populations

People’s Commission to Decriminalize Maryland seeks to transform the criminal justice system through reforms in five key policy areas.  The Commission was founded with the goal of giving a voice to advocates left out of other state run endeavors and to address disaprities in policing. Maryland Matters reports: They’ll identify laws they believe need to be reformed or eliminated surrounding five policy areas: drugs, homelessness, poverty, sex work and juvenile justice. ... Activists, community leaders…

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Montgomery Council Member Craig Rice Appointed Vice-Chair of NACo Steering Committee

Council Member Rice was appointed to serve as the Vice Chair of the National Association of Counties (NACo) Human Services and Education Steering Committee. Rice, who was appointed to the NACo Board of Directors in 2019, was selected for the steering committee vice chair position at the 85th Annual NACo Business Meeting: As vice chair of the Human Services and Education Steering Committee, Councilmember Rice will focus on all matters pertaining to children’s issues, foster…

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MDH Awarded Grant to Reverse COVID-19 Related Child Vaccination Decline

The Maryland Department of Health (MDH) was awarded $250,000 in grants by the Pfizer Foundation to address a steep drop in child vaccination rates.  The decline mirrors national trends and is attributed to factors related to the COVID-19 pandemic. The funds will be used for targeted communications, outreach, and vaccination clinics. WJZ reports: The largest decrease in the number of vaccinations given to children 0-18 was in April 2020 with a drop of 46 percent…

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Is Medicare Running Out of Money?

Some experts are worried that Medicare could become insolvent sooner than later as COVID-19 has resulted in less payroll taxes, more beneficiaries, and congress dipping into Medicare reserves for relief.  Trustees for Medicare's Part A trust fund project it will run out of money in 2026. While this has been the projection since last year, COVID-19 has exacerbated those fears. The trust is funded by a 1.45% payroll tax and is used to pay for…

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Health Officers Call for Return of Certain COVID Related Restrictions

Health Officers from Baltimore City and  Anne Arundel, Baltimore, Howard, Montgomery, and Prince George’s Counties call for Governor Hogan to rollback reopening and resume some COVID-19 related restrictions.  The group of City and County Health Officers would like to see unified statewide action and a standardized approach to the resurgence of COVID-19 cases Maryland is facing. This would include having the Governor revisit restrictions on bars and restaurants. The Baltimore Sun reports on a letter…

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Special Enrollment Period Leads to Nearly 60,000 Marylanders Gaining Health Insurance

Maryland's two special enrollment periods have resulted in over 58,000 Marylanders gaining health insurance.  The innovative Maryland Health Insurance Easy Enrollment program launched in February allowed people to seek enrollment information via their tax returns. The special enrollment period launched in March and extended to July 15 was part of Governor Larry Hogan's COVID-19 State of Emergency Order over the coronavirus pandemic. From Eye on Annapolis: Since February: More than 41,000 filers checked the box…

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Montgomery Council to Consider Bill to Reform Police Disciplinary Procedures

Council Members Hans Riemer and Craig Rice to introduce Police Accountability Act to change disciplinary procedures and management authority.  The legislation is expected to be before the Montgomery County Council on Tuesday. Bethesda Beat reports on the proposed legislation and a letter the sponsors have written to their colleagues about it: It would also ensure that Police Chief Marcus Jones has the employer right to issue a management decision, such as the use of body…

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Workgroup Hears National Perspectives on Police Reform and Accountability

The House Police Reform Workgroup was briefed by criminal justice experts on police reform data, legislative actions, and advocacy nationwide.  The goal of the meeting was for the workgroup members to get a better understanding of what is happening in other states so that the lawmakers could think outside the box of what sort of reforms are feasible here in Maryland. The briefing included presentations from Amber Widgery, Program Principal, Criminal Justice Program, National Conference…

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Health Officers Share Expertise, Lessons Learned on COVID-19 Response

During a live forum, county health officers provided important and timely updates and perspectives on pandemic policy and incident response from across the state.  During the MACo's Summer Series session "Public Health and Pandemics: Policy and Incident Response Forum" a panel of county health officers discussed COVID-19 response from a local and national perspective, struggles with staff coverage and burnout in a 24/7 coverage environment, responding to breakouts in nursing homes and poultry processing plants,…

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