Friday, June 25

Maryland Politics Weekly Round-Up: February 28 – March 6 | |

ANNAPOLIS, Md. — With the 2021 General Assembly moving into the second half, the Democratic majority has been increasing their push for police reform measures. Meanwhile, Governor Larry Hogan[R] held a press conference on vaccine equity, and schools beginning their move toward reopening.

Stories of The Week

  • Police reform has been one of the main issues pushed by state Democrats during this session, and their package of police reforms bill are drawing closer to being passed in both chambers. The Maryland Senate has already passed some bills which will move into the House for further review. The package included legislation that would ban “no-knock” warrants, a body camera mandate, returning local control to the Baltimore police department, reworking the transparency and diplomacy procedure for police departments, and the repeal of the Maryland Law Enforcement Officer’s Bill of Rights(LEOBR). 

  • In a press conference this week, Governor Hogan announced the “Maryland Task Force on Vaccine Equity,” which aims to improve access to the COVID-19 vaccine for underprivileged communities. This comes in wake of Hogan and the state government facing criticism over the vaccine rollout. The administration has been widely criticized for disparities with distribution in places like Baltimore and Prince George’s County. Hogan was joined at the press conference by Maryland National Guard General Janeen Birckhead who he has appointed to lead the commission.

  • Maryland schools began reopening this week following the Governor’s plan which he unveiled back in January. This plan was met with concerns from its opponents, saying that many districts would not be prepared to meet proper safety standards. Currently, many jurisdictions still have the option to continue online learning while their schools will be operating in hybrid fashion the combines both in-person and virtual meeting.

Bills to Watch

HB 2/SB 2: Environmental Service Reform Act of 2021: This aims to implement more transparency measures and structural changes to the Maryland Environmental Service. Status: Passed in the Senate. Referred to the Appropriations, Environment and Transportation Committee in the House.

HB 656: Election Law – Early Voting Centers – Bus Stops: Requiring that early voting centers must be located in areas that are easily accessible by public transportation. Status: Passed in the House, and referred to the Education, Health, and Environmental Affairs Committee in the Senate.

HB 445: Criminal Procedure – Charging Procedures – Citations: This bill adds regulations to how police officers issue citations for certain misdemeanors. Status: Passed in the House.

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