State Prison System Sees First Confirmed COVID-19 Cases

Officials have confirmed that three individuals -- one inmate and two non-correctional contract employees -- from two different Maryland state prison facilities have tested posted for COVID-19. The Baltimore Sun reports: “The Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services has COVID-19 Response Teams working to determine whether any other staff or inmates may have had contact with the three individuals who tested positive,” the system said in a statement. The statement said DPSCS has been…

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Maryland Receives Major Disaster Declaration for COVID-19 Crisis

Governor Larry Hogan announced tonight that Maryland has received a Major Disaster Declaration from the federal administration in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The declaration means that Maryand is eligible to be reimbursed for the Emergency Protective Measures taken by state and local government agencies and certain non-profit groups under its Public Assistance program under the Robert T. Stafford Act. Earlier today, Maryland reported 580 confirmed cases of COVID-19—an increase of 157 new cases, which…

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Baltimore City Approves COVID-19 Pandemic Mission Critical Stipend

Baltimore City Mayor Bernard C. “Jack” Young today announced the COVID-19 Pandemic Mission Critical Stipend, which will provide additional compensation for frontline, public-facing employees amid the coronavirus outbreak. “It is critical that we provide any relief we can to our front line employees to ease burdens at home while they continue to go to work on behalf of the city and its residents,” Mayor Young said. According to a press release: Baltimore City’s frontline public-facing…

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City’s Board of Estimates Delays Approval of Surveillance Plane

The Baltimore City Board of Estimates met via video meeting Wednesday and voted to delay a contract that would have approved the use of a surveillance plan by the Baltimore Police Department (BPD). From The Baltimore Business Journal: Scott said the pilot surveillance program was deferred because the spending board's members felt the program requires public discussion, as well as conversation within the City Council, before it can be approved. The item was also protested…

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Advocates Call for Elderly, Low-Risk Prisoners’ Release During Crisis

In an effort to avoid the spread of Covid-19 behind prison walls, a group of criminal justice and public health professionals are calling for the Governor to release "certain older, immuno-compromised and parole-eligible prisoners." The Baltimore Sun reports: The letter sent Monday calls on Hogan to release all prisoners who are 60 years old or older or who are medically vulnerable and have five years or less left on their prison sentence. The letter’s signers,…

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2020 End of Session Wrap-Up: Public Safety and Corrections

An overview of MACo’s advocacy on public safety and corrections legislation in the 2020 General Assembly. Counties are the primary provider of public safety services in the state. Each county is required to have an elected sheriff and some also have a county police force. Additionally, each county operates a local jail which holds inmates awaiting trial and those sentenced to 18 months or less. This year, for the first time in since the Civil…

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Baltimore County Requests National Guard Assistance to Support COVID-19 Response

Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewski today requested Maryland National Guard support in Baltimore County to provide humanitarian and emergency management assistance to County government as it continues to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. https://twitter.com/BaltCoGov/status/1242128963239059456 “We’ve asked for the Guard’s help to support our County’s evolving response to this unprecedented pandemic,” Olszewski said. “These are neighbors from our communities who are here to support us all during this uncertain time. We’ll continue to work hand-in-hand with…

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Burdensome Ban the Box Legislation Stalls in Committee
Peggy_Marco (CC0), Pixabay
Burdensome Ban the Box Legislation Stalls in Committee

MACo opposed bill, HB 586 - Public Safety - Criminal History Records Check - Fire Departments, Rescue Squads, and Ambulance Services (CF SB 1008), was not voted out of the Judiciary Committee and therefore died at Sine Die. This bill would have prohibited a fire department, rescue squad, or an ambulance service from requiring an applicant to disclose their criminal record or criminal accusations before the first in-person interview. The legislation would also have placed…

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General Assembly Passes Bill to Provide Proper Oversight of 9-1-1 Fees

The General Assembly today passed HB 6/ SB 61 - Public Safety - 9-1-1 Fees - Audits, legislation that establishes the necessary framework to ensure that 9-1-1 fees are collected and remitted in accordance with state law. In 2019, the General Assembly passed landmark legislation to update state laws and the 9-1-1 financing system to provide the flexibility and resources needed for the deployment of a statewide Next Generation 9-1-1 (NG911) system. Advancing Next Generation 9-1-1…

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