Expanded Move Over Law Takes Effect Saturday

October has been declared as Move Over Awareness Month in recognition of an expanded law taking effect on Saturday to protect all road users. The expanded Move Over Law (SB147) requires drivers to move over or slow down when approaching any vehicle that is stopped or parked and displaying hazard warning lights, road flares, or other caution signs. The expanded law is in place to protect law enforcement, emergency responders, and any motorist who may encounter…

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Aging in Place in Question?

A national shortage of healthcare workers threatens decades-old policies aimed at allowing older adults to age in place. According to the Washington Post, competition from other industries has shrunk the pool of available workers and lured away current workers. The article follows a recent report by the Maryland Hospital Association (MHA) regarding a severe shortage of nurses and health technicians in hospital settings. Regarding hospital worker attrition, MHA noted "the stress of acute care, an…

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FEMA Awards Washington County $1.9M for Lifesaving Equipment

In collaboration with the Potomac Valley Volunteer Fire Company, the Washington County Division of Emergency Services received a $1.9 million Regional Assistance for Firefighters Grant (AFG) from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to fund equipment for firefighters. "On behalf of the entire Board of County Commissioners for Washington County, MD, I extend our appreciation to Potomac Valley Volunteer Fire Company for your efforts to assist our County in obtaining a FEMA Grant Award," said…

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Montgomery State’s Attorney Tours Schools, Warns of Ghost Guns

On Saturday, September 24th, Bethesda Magazine published a piece chronicling Montgomery County State's Attorney John McCarthy's efforts to educate students on gun safety issues, focusing on ghost guns. The State's Attorney is visiting each of Montgomery County's 26 high schools to “educate [the county's] high school students about how to keep schools and students safe.” Gun seizures have risen in the last year, with "907 guns [having] been seized in the county as of Sept. 11,"…

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FEMA Establishes Revolving Loan Fund for Local Resilience Projects

Last month, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) announced that it would release a Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) for the Safeguarding Tomorrow Revolving Loan Fund program before the end of the year. The Safeguarding Tomorrow through Ongoing Risk Mitigation (STORM) Act became law on Jan. 1, 2021, and authorizes FEMA to provide capitalization grants to states, eligible federally recognized tribes, Puerto Rico, and the District of Columbia to establish revolving loan funds that provide hazard…

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Correlation or Causation? Connecting Gun Laws and Suicides

In observation of Suicide Prevention Month, a recent Governing article identifies a strong correlation between state gun laws and elevated gun suicide rates. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released its first-ever report on firearm deaths in May of this year. According to the CDC, the COVID-19 pandemic has worsened the conditions underlying gun violence, including "changes and disruptions to services and education, mental stress, social isolation, and economic stressors, including job loss,…

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Americorps Helps Fill Increasing Public Health Worker Gap

A recent Governing article spotlights "Public Health Americorps," an expansion of the longstanding public service program made possible through a $400 million American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) investment. In recent months, Public Health Americorps has helped local health departments (LHDs) across the country address staffing shortages and potentially stem a "mass exodus" of public health workers. Among LHDs, a Kaiser Health News report found that 300 leaders had "retired, resigned or been terminated since the…

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After Years of Advocacy, JUUL Settlement Represents Significant Win

On Tuesday, September 8th, Attorney General Brian Frosh signaled a massive win for public health advocates across Maryland, publicly unveiling a tentative agreement to join a multi-state settlement with JUUL Labs, a vape product manufacturer, worth over $438.5 million. For years, public health advocates and legislators have sought to curb youth vaping, levying multiple tools to achieve this goal, including public awareness campaigns, new laws, and lawsuits. JUUL held, at one point in time, the…

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MD Dept. of Health Okays Modified COVID Booster

Following the granting of Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) by both the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Maryland Department of Health has updated its COVID-19 Vaccine Plan to allow the use of Pfizer-BioNTech's and Moderna's revised COVID-19 booster shots.  The boosters are bivalent, meaning they provide immunity for both the original strains of the virus and more recent strains such as Omicron and its…

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Final Hurdle Cleared in Opioid Settlements’ Disbursement
Attorney General Brian E. Frosh
Final Hurdle Cleared in Opioid Settlements’ Disbursement

On Wednesday, August 31, two consent judgments were filed in Maryland's Circuit Court for Frederick County, allowing settlement funds from Johnson and Johnson and several major opioid medication distributors to flow to the state and its local governments. The multi-state settlements involving Johnson and Johnson, McKesson, AmeriSourceBergen, and Cardinal Health are worth approximately $395M and were first announced by Attorney General Brian Frosh in September of 2021. As a precondition to the settlement, the defendants required each state…

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