The former Maryland Environmental Service Director of Operations and Strategic Partnerships invoked his right against self-incrimination more than 100 times, disappointing legislators during Thursday’s joint committee investigation of a severance payout to the agency’s former director, who was also briefly Gov. Larry Hogan’s, R, chief of staff.
Maryland’s first shipment of COVID-19 vaccine doses is expected next week, and the state’s health department plans a phased-in distribution beginning with healthcare workers, long-term care facilities and first responders, though building confidence among those hesitant to take the vaccine — including minority populations — may prove challenging.
“Answer the call” and download the COVID Alert app have joined the growing list of pandemic precautions, such as wearing a mask and social distancing, as the Maryland Health Department battles a pandemic surge during this holiday season. Hogan said many had enabled the MD COVID Alert app, but it was still important to answer tracers’ calls.
Hogan issued a new emergency order, effective Friday at 5 p.m., closing bars and restaurants at 10 p.m., limiting capacity for retail and religious spaces to 50%, prohibiting fans at racetracks and stadiums, and implementing new hospital and nursing home visitation rules.
The Supreme Court heard arguments Wednesday on Fulton v. City of Philadelphia, which questions whether religious-based foster care agencies choosing not to work with same-sex parents are exempt from nondiscrimination laws. Catholic Charities of Baltimore no longer provides foster or adoption services but FreeState Justice, a statewide LGBTQ advocacy group, fears other Maryland social services could be affected by a religious exemption ruling.
Senate President Bill Ferguson, D-Baltimore on Friday released an operational plan for how the Senate will conduct the next session during the ongoing pandemic, including how health checks, voting procedures and public testimony will be conducted.
Marylanders faced two statewide ballot questions addressing Constitutional amendments this year — addressing the budget process and sports betting. Early returns indicate both are likely to pass.
Maryland State Board of Elections’ early voting numbers so far do not indicate any surprise upsets in Congressional district races. However, issues like police reform drive a few away from major party candidates.
Mail-in voting is underway as Marylanders consider a proposed constitutional amendment granting the legislature the ability to make changes to the state budget as long as those changes do not cause it to exceed the total amount submitted by the governor.