HOUSE PASSES TWO CANNABIS REFORM BILLS: Maryland’s House of Delegates on Friday approved two bills aimed at reforming the state’s marijuana laws — one would let voters decide whether to legalize marijuana and another would let those convicted of possession drugs to request that their records be expunged. EA Breeden of Capital News Service/Maryland Reporter.
- Voters would decide in November whether to legalize recreational marijuana use for people 21 and older. The measure, which has yet to be considered by the Senate, authorizes a state constitutional amendment that would appear on the ballot for the general election. If approved, regulatory details, such as how to tax sales, would be decided by the General Assembly and come into effect in July 2023.. Jeff Barker and Bryn Stole/The Baltimore Sun.
- Additionally, the chamber passed House Bill 837 to study the racial impacts of cannabis legalization, create a public health fund, change civil and criminal penalties, and create an expungement process for drug possession. Hannah Gaskill/Maryland Matters.
- Of the. Gabriel Acevero of Montgomery County said he supports legalization, but it’s also important “that we fix the harm that’s been done to communities that have been disproportionately impacted.” Joel McCord/WYPR-FM
THE LEGISLATIVE REPEAL THE SCHOOL MASK MANDATE: Maryland lawmakers voted on Friday to overturn a statewide emergency regulation that mandated the use of face masks in schools since August. Lillian Reed/The Baltimore Sun.
WHAT SCHOOLS DO: Montgomery County Public Schools said Saturday that the school board is “scheduled” to vote in favor of removing a mask mandate at a March 8 meeting. While the outcome of the vote is not final, a council member says she and another council member discussed the idea of getting the message out to give notice to the community. Dan Schere/Bethesda Beat.
- On February 18, day one masking was optional, Broadneck High principal Rachel Kennelly said about half of the students wore a mask and the other did not. Fewer and fewer students have been wearing a mask since, she said, as they navigate with what they feel comfortable with. Rachael Pacella/The Capital Gazette.
- Wicomico County Public Schools announced they would end their mask mandate “effective immediately” Sunday night. The school system announced in a tweet just after 7 p.m. Sunday that masks would be optional for students, staff and visitors inside their school facilities. Ivy Lyons/WTOP-FM.
- Officials announced Friday that Prince George’s County would end its indoor mask mandate on Monday, a directive in effect since last August. The announcement comes as COVID-19 cases decline locally and nationally following an increase caused by the highly transmissible omicron strain of the virus. Johanna Alonso / The daily record.
ELECTORAL OFFICIALS STRUGGLE Amid REDIRECTION CHALLENGES: As the lawsuits against local, state and congressional redistricting plans are underway, Maryland election officials are scrambling to prepare for the fast-approaching June 28 primary. David Garreis, Anne Arundel County Chief Electoral Officer and president of the Maryland Association of Election Officials, said local election commissions are already recruiting election workers and scouting primary polling places while working on the implementing redistricting plans passed by state and local lawmakers — even as those maps are challenged in court. Bennett Leckrone/Maryland Matters.
REVIEW: A TAX CUTTING GIMMICK TO BELIEVE: Every once in a while, Democrats surprise me and introduce legislation in the General Assembly that actually works for the taxpayers of Maryland. Unsurprisingly, Democrats in the House of Delegates unveiled an election-year tax cut package. It mainly concerns child care and medical items. …Look, we all know this package is an election year gimmick designed to say that Democrats cut taxes for workers in Maryland. … Yet just because something is a political gimmick doesn’t necessarily mean it’s bad politics. Brian Griffiths/The Carroll County Times.
Post your comment: Over the past few weeks, the Maryland Reporter has published a wide range of opinions on issues that are before the General Assembly — or should be, according to the writers. Topics like soft drinks for children’s meals, the safety of mail-in ballots, Internet car prices, the dangers of corporate taxation, and the fears of people with disabilities about assisted dying, if If you have a comment about Maryland government and politics you would like to see published, send it to [email protected] It must be exclusive to Maryland Reporter and 700 words or less.
ANALYSIS: DOES MOSBY’S NON-PROSECUTION REALLY INCREASE CRIME? Baltimore City State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby kicked off each of the last few years with an announcement expanding the list of charges her office will no longer pursue, making a noticeable dent in mass incarceration rates and demonstrating to the city that the sky won’t be falling if the police stop arresting people for non-violent crimes like drug possession. …Looking at the actual number of those who avoided long incarceration thanks to Mosby’s policies, it seems impossible that less than 300 people not prosecuted for sex work and less than a thousand people not prosecuted for drug possession in two years could change the mood and tenor of crime in the city or lead to increased “lawlessness”. Brandon Soderberg/The Real News.
ARUNDEL REVIEWS ARMS SHOP SECURITY LAWSUIT: Anne Arundel County is considering a lawsuit to overturn a bill passed by County Council in January that seeks to prevent smash-and-grab burglaries at gun shops by imposing more security requirements. Dana Munro/The Capital Gazette.
PRINCE GEORGE’S MOVEMENTS TO CONSOLIDATE ALTERNATIVE SCHOOLS: The Prince George’s County School Board has approved a plan to consolidate its five alternative schools into three campuses at the request of community members to keep all schools open. Nicole Asbury/The Washington Post.
LIQUOR STORES REMOVE RUSSIAN ALCOHOL: On Sunday afternoon, Virginia announced that its state-run liquor stores would remove Russian-based vodka brands from store shelves. Later Sunday, Montgomery County in Maryland decided to do the same. Some of the drinks with Russian names will remain on the shelves as their companies are not based in Russia, Stolichnaya and Smirnoff being two. Matthew Delaney/WTOP-FM.
THE SUPREME COURT’S CHOICE HAS A B’MORE LINK: President Joe Biden’s choice as the first black woman to serve on the Supreme Court, Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson was born in Washington, DC, and raised in Miami — but also has a close connection to Baltimore. His brother, Ketajh Brown, served with the Baltimore Police Department from October 2001 to May 2008 and was last assigned to the Eastern District, police spokesman Det. Donny Moses confirmed. Jessica Anderson and The Associated Press/The Baltimore Sun.
TOMBSTONES OVERKNOWN AT UKRAINIAN CEMETERY: As they deal with heartache, watching Russia invade their home country, the Baltimore-area Ukrainian community is dealing with their own tragedy. Baltimore County Police are investigating vandalized headstones at the cemetery of St. Michael the Archangel Ukrainian Catholic Church in Dundalk. Personal/WMAR-TV.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO: Secretary of the Department of General Services, Ellington Churchill.
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