Capital News Service – 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.
Philip Van Slooten
Capital News Service – “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.
“Of course everyone wants to be with family and loved ones, but we are in the midst of a pandemic and cases are skyrocketing,” Dr. Katherine Feldman, director of the Maryland Department of Health’s contact tracing unit, told Capital News Service on Thursday.
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.
Capital News Service — The Supreme Court heard arguments Wednesday on Fulton v. City of Philadelphia, which questions whether religious-based foster care agencies that choose not to work with same-sex parents are exempt from nondiscrimination laws.
The Maryland State Board of Elections’ Oct. 28 daily totals show Democratic voters still dominate mail-in ballot counts, but Republicans have higher in-person turnout at many early voting locations across the state. These early patterns so far do not indicate any surprise upsets in any Congressional district race.
Capital News Service – Mail-in voting is underway as Marylanders consider a proposed constitutional amendment granting the legislature the ability to increase line-item funding and add items to the state budget.
Legislators advanced the measure in March, largely along party lines, with lead sponsors arguing it seeks to balance the budget process while opponents state it removes a legislative check.
An update to Maryland’s hate crimes law, named for slain Army 2nd Lt. Richard Collins III, is one of several anti-discrimination measures going into effect Oct. 1. Other notable bills address crime, the environment and healthcare, including an infectious disease mandate named for Olivia Paregol, a University of Maryland freshman who died during a 2018 campus outbreak.
Capital News Service
General Assembly leaders in Maryland ended the 2020 session early and recently declined a special session due to pandemic and presidential election concerns. But they have yet to announce plans, particularly regarding legislative voting, as the next session draws near.