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Quick News Updates – Read More

Md. Environmental Chief Hails New EPA Climate Rule and State’s Role as a Pathfinder

Maryland Environment Secretary Ben Grumbles on Thursday hailed the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for new rules phasing out a class of super-polluting gases that are far more potent than carbon dioxide.He also noted that Maryland was a leader in the fight to draw down the use of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), a fast-acting greenhouse gas used in refrigeration appliances, air conditioners, foam products and aerosol cans — and worked with federal officials to develop the new regulations.The EPA is issuing a rule designed to phase down HFC use by 85% over the next decade and a half. But other federal agencies,...

Scott Announces Tax Sale Workgroup, Says Baltimore Will Purchase Liens of 454 Homes This...

Baltimore will purchase the liens of 454 owner-occupied homes this fall to keep them out of the city’s tax sale process, Mayor Brandon M. Scott (D) announced Thursday.Scott said at a press conference that purchasing the liens will help protect low-income homeowners in Baltimore.The city will use $1.5 million in general fund money and federal grants to purchase the 454 liens. Homeowners will not have to reimburse the city.Scott said Baltimore’s tax sale process “has not been fair to many of our city’s low-income homeowners.”“This will effectively satisfy the standing lines on those properties, taking them out of the...

Maryland Matters on the Air

Maryland Matters Founding Editor Josh Kurtz joined hosts Nestor Aparicio and Don Mohler on a recent free-wheeling episode of their podcast, "Baltimore Positive."Roughly speaking, the topic was the Republican Party heading into the 2022 elections.The impetus for the conversation was a column Kurtz wrote earlier this month that pegged Republican Allan Kittleman's decision to run for Howard County executive next year to the notion that Democrats' declining poll numbers nationally could impact political races in Maryland.Kittleman won an upset victory in the county executive race in 2014, a good year for Republicans nationally, and was ousted by Democrat Calvin...

Former House Ways and Means Chief of Staff to Join CDi Consulting Services

CDi Consulting Services announced Tuesday afternoon that Keith A. Walmsley, former chief of staff and advisor to House Ways and Means Chair Anne R. Kaiser (D-Montgomery), will assist the firm’s government relations effort.“I am thrilled to be able to harness Keith’s advice, expertise and broad experience as well as his unique understanding of the inner workings of Maryland government,” CDi Consulting Services' President Chris DiPietro said in a statement. “Mr. Walmsley's relationships are second to none and will be a great resource for our clients."CDi Consulting Services represents some of Maryland’s largest employers in technology, banking, finance and local...

Montgomery County Board of Elections Approves Early Voting Center In White Oak

The White Oak Community Recreation Center will be an early voting center in the 2022 elections, Montgomery County Board of Elections members decided at their Monday afternoon meeting.Residents in White Oak, a community in eastern Montgomery County where a majority of residents are people of color, faced long Election Day voting lines in 2016 — sparking calls from fair elections advocates and community members for an early voting center in the area.The Republican-controlled county Board of Elections previously rejected calls to establish an early voting center in the area in 2019, although a temporary expansion of early voting due...

Dem Candidates for Governor to Talk Tenants’ Issues at Forum Tuesday

Six of the nine Democratic candidates for governor are scheduled to speak at a forum on tenants' issues Tuesday evening.The forum, at the Silver Spring Civic Center and sponsored by the Montgomery County Renters Alliance, is an invitation-only event for attending in public. But it will be live-streamed by the Montgomery Community Media YouTube channel from 6 to 8:30 p.m. It will also be shown later on various social media channels.Potential topics include government relief for renters, evictions, tenant protections, affordable housing policies, and more. William Roberts, the chair of the Montgomery County Renters Alliance, will serve as the...

Farm Bureaus Back Proposal for $737M Chesapeake Watershed Cleanup Initiative

Three weeks after the agricultural leaders of the six Chesapeake Bay watershed states urged the U.S. Department of Agriculture to create a regional conservation initiative to expedite Bay cleanup efforts, the farm bureaus of the same six states have done the same.Maryland and the five other Bay states are embracing a proposal from the Chesapeake Bay Commission to create a Chesapeake Resilient Farms Initiative, which would tap $737 million in federal funding over the next decade to help clean up nutrient and sediment pollution from farms in the Chesapeake Bay watershed.In a letter to U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack...

Christa Beverly Baker, Wife of Md. Gubernatorial Candidate Rushern Baker, Dies at 61

Christa Beverly Baker, the wife of former Prince George’s County executive and Maryland gubernatorial candidate Rushern L. Baker III, died Saturday after a decade-long battle with Alzheimer’s disease.She was 61.Today I lost the love of my life, my best friend, and the source of all my strength. She was our rock - the absolutely best mother to my kids and wife to me. She spent her life fighting injustice, inequities and, for the last decade, illness with grace and grit. pic.twitter.com/wObo6Ll2Y9 — Rushern L. Baker III (@CountyExecBaker) September 18, 2021 https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js“Today I lost the love of my life, my best friend,...

County Execs to Talk Climate Action in Online Program Next Week

Howard County Executive Calvin Ball (D), Montgomery County Executive Marc B. Elrich (D), Baltimore County Executive John A. Olszewski Jr. (D) and Anne Arundel County Executive Steuart Pittman (D) find themselves together often enough, and inevitably they have a variety of common interests and concerns.But next week they'll be together at a public event to discuss a single topic: climate change.It's the latest in a series of Maryland Democratic Party events designed to highlight the challenges brought on by climate change in the state. The event is titled, “Climate Change & Local Government: Community Solutions for a Global Crisis."The...

Former Sun Reporter Nitkin Launches Strategic Communications Venture

David Nitkin, the former high-profile Baltimore Sun reporter and editor who went on to a varied career in politics, policy and advocacy, has launched a strategic communications platform to handle his various clients and interests.New Line Strategy is already working on a variety of projects, Nitkin said in a social media announcement this week.This includes "taking more of a hands-on role" in Baltimore Fishbowl, the news and culture website in which he has an ownership stake; working with Margrave Strategies, the regional development firm headed by former Howard County executive Ken Ulman (D) and former Baltimore Development Corporation president...

Veterans’ Political Group Backs Moore for Governor

VoteVets PAC, a progressive political action committee led by military veterans that endorses fellow veterans or national security experts who are running for office as Democrats, announced Wednesday that it has backed former nonprofit CEO Wes Moore in the 2022 gubernatorial primary. Moore is a former Army captain and paratrooper in the 82nd Airborne division who was deployed to Afghanistan from 2005 to 2006."Leadership, accountability, and community are three words Wes Moore embodies," said Will Fischer, an Iraq War veteran and senior adviser to VoteVets. "From leading troops in combat to being a successful small business CEO and the...

Franchot Demands State Officials Speed Up Rent Relief Disbursement, Calls For More Detailed Data

Comptroller Peter V.R. Franchot (D) grilled a state housing official over the state’s sluggish rent relief disbursement at a Board of Public Works meeting Wednesday, and said “not one family should be evicted” while the state has access to hundreds of millions in federal relief funding.State and local governments in Maryland received roughly $401 million from the federal Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP 1) as part of the Consolidated Appropriations Act passed late last year, and are slated to receive another $352 million (ERAP 2) from the more recent American Rescue Plan Act.But disbursement of ERAP 1 funding has...

Speaker Jones Joins Health Department Effort to Encourage Vaccinations

House Speaker Adrienne A. Jones (D-Baltimore County) has a new title: Maryland’s newest “GoVax Ambassador.”The state Department of Health released a new television ad on Tuesday in which Jones urges Marylanders to get vaccinated against COVID-19.“Now is the time to strengthen our defenses,” she says. “If we’re going to stop the spread of the virus, we need as many people vaccinated as possible.”Jones also urges people with weakened immune systems to consult their physicians about a booster.“By protecting ourselves, we can make everyone safer,” she adds.In a statement, Health Secretary Dennis R. Schrader called Jones “a trusted voice throughout...

Abortion-Rights Advocates March on Kavanaugh’s Chevy Chase Home

Local activists took their demands for abortion access to Brett Kavanaugh’s suburban Maryland home late Monday, two weeks after the Supreme Court justice joined four of his colleagues in refusing to block a wide-reaching Texas law banning most abortions in the state.About 50 people gathered in a Chevy Chase park around dusk for an abortion-rights march demanding Kavanaugh resign, and that President Joe Biden respond by expanding the number of seats on the court.“Make no mistake, what’s happening to reproductive justice and abortion rights is far bigger than one person,” said organizers ShutDownDC, a coalition of D.C.-region activists who called for...

James T. Brady, Chair of Hogan’s 2014 Campaign and Adviser to Governors, Dies

James T. Brady, the chair of Gov. Lawrence J. Hogan Jr.’s 2014 campaign and former chair of the University System of Maryland Board of Regents, died Friday after complications from a stroke.He was 81.Brady was an adviser to Maryland governors who served as co-chair on the gubernatorial transition teams for Governors Parris N. Glendening (D), Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. (R), and Hogan.“Throughout his incredible life, he was deeply committed to making Maryland a better place to live, get a good education and start a successful business,” Hogan said in a statement over the weekend. “Jim was a great leader...

Raskin Endorses Lierman for Comptroller

Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-Md.) endorsed Del. Brooke E. Lierman (D-Baltimore City) for comptroller Monday, saying she would ensure the office is “the financial advocate for the people of Maryland.”Raskin recalled his time working with Lierman in the General Assembly in an endorsement video. Raskin was a state senator until he was sworn in to Congress in 2017; Lierman was elected as a state delegate in 2015.Raskin said he worked with Lierman in 2015 to pass the Second Chance Act, which allows people to shield records about certain criminal convictions from public view after their sentences to make it easier...

Maryland Matters on the Air

Maryland Matters' Josh Kurtz will be on WYPR's "On the Record" Monday to discuss the newest Census numbers and their impact on congressional and legislative redistricting in Maryland.Kurtz and host Sheilah Kast will talk about population trends in the state and how they will impact legislative redistricting next year — particularly the waning power of Baltimore City in Annapolis. They will also discuss pressure legislative Democrats will face on congressional redistricting and what the maps might look like. They'll also talk about the timetable for redistricting, the role Gov. Lawrence J. Hogan Jr. (R) might play in the process,...

Former Assistant State’s Attorney Roya Hanna Announces Bid Against Mosby

Defense attorney Roya M. Hanna announced her bid for Baltimore City state’s attorney this week, taking on the controversial incumbent candidate, Marilyn Mosby (D).“For our city to thrive, we must reduce the homicide rate, restructure the juvenile system to provide more support to our kids in crisis, deter gun violence, work with the business community, and create an independent body to investigate and prosecute police misconduct,” Hanna, a Democrat, said in a statement.Hanna served as an assistant state’s attorney for 12 years, working under Mosby in 2015 for the first three months of her administration. Hanna has been an...

Md. Medical Examiner’s Office Audit Comprises International Experts

Seven behavioral and forensics professionals have been named to design the audit of Maryland’s medical examiner’s office, which will examine the in-custody death determinations during the tenure of its former chief.Dr. David Fowler was the chief medical examiner at the Maryland Office of the Chief Medical Examiner from 2002 to 2019. In April, he testified for the defense in the murder trial of Derek Chauvin, the Minneapolis police officer convicted in the killing of George Floyd.Fowler testified that Floyd died of a sudden heart rhythm disturbance as a result of his heart disease, and contributing to that were drugs...

Gaithersburg-Based Novavax Testing Combination Flu and COVID-19 Vaccine

Novavax, a Gaithersburg pharmaceutical company which has not yet applied for regulatory approval for its COVID-19 vaccine, will begin testing the new vaccine in combination with its influenza vaccine.The phase one and two human trials will be conducted in Australia and will enroll 640 healthy adults between 50 to 70 who have either previously been infected with COVID-19 or who are fully vaccinated with approved COVID-19 vaccines. The human trials will be conducted at up to 12 sites, with results expected during the first half of 2022, Novavax said.The trials will evaluate safety, tolerability and immune response. Participants will...