MD LEADERS TAKE SPOTLIGHT ON INSURRECTION ANNIVERSARY: The first anniversary of the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol was marked Thursday as much of the previous year has, with Maryland Congressman Jamie B. Raskin in the national spotlight and a whirlwind national interview tour. Josh Kurtz/Maryland Matters.
- Also taking a national prominent spot, GOP Gov. Larry Hogan expressed concern about the direction of his party. Standing just outside the U.S. Capitol one year to the day after the insurrection that sought to disrupt the certification of the 2020 presidential election, Hogan on “CBS Mornings” denounced those who have spread falsehoods about the outcome. Bruce DePuyt and Josh Kurtz/Maryland Matters
- A reporter on the ground that day writes, “A year after the January 6 coup attempt, my biggest takeaway remains the same as it was that surreal and violent afternoon, as I stood and witnessed the action on the steps of U.S. Capitol. “Why the U.S. Capitol building was left largely undefended remains an urgent question”. A year later, it remains the key question.” With this follow-up: “Why is it taking so long for those responsible to be held accountable?” Ron Cassie/Baltimore Magazine
- Here is the full clip of Gov. Larry Hogan on CBS Mornings Thursday discussing last year’s riot.
CHILDCARE, HOUSING AID IS OFFERING FRAGILE SAFETY NET: Twenty licensed child-care operations closed their doors in Washington County during the pandemic, and the Maryland State Child Care Association warns the industry was already teetering as it operated on a razor-thin margin before the pandemic. Its executive director condemned a lack of urgency by the Maryland State Department of Education in distributing pandemic aid. Julie E. Greene/Hagerstown Herald-Mail
- One woman’s story reveals the fragility of pandemic eviction aid, with a landlord coming close to evicting a Baltimore woman who got COVID-19 and lost her job, despite having gotten $12,000 in aid that required a halt on eviction. Barry Simms/WBALTV
- Building a robust access to counsel program for Marylanders facing eviction will take money — perhaps around $30 million per year — and a commitment to reshaping rent court proceedings, a new report argues. Madeleine O’Neill/The Daily Record.
- Acknowledging how the pandemic has kept homeowners from paying bills, Gov. Larry Hogan announced the opening of the Maryland Homeowner Assistance Fund to support homeowners with mortgage relief, legal services, home repairs, and housing counseling. Laura Stewart/Baltimore Fishbowl
MTA EZPASS BILLS ARE STILL UNDER HUGE BACKLOG: The Maryland Transportation Authority continues to report a huge backlog in the processing of deferred EZPass tolling bills, with some drivers just now receiving violation notices and overdue penalties dating more than a year ago. Ryan Dickstein/WMAR.
- Maryland drivers are complaining about E-ZPass overbilling and being unable to reach customer service while others are having trouble logging into their accounts to replenish their balance and are now facing stiff fines. David Collins/WBALTV
NEW TESTING SITES AT HOSPITALS ANNOUNCED: Gov. Larry Hogan announced Thursday that 10 new COVID-19 testing sites will open at Maryland hospitals by next week, Sarah Y. Kim reports for WYPR. All of the sites will be walk-up or drive-thru, and open seven days a week.
MORE EMS UNITS COMING TO CARROLL: Another emergency measure to reduce burden on emergency responders and hospitals is the three additional emergency medical service units will soon be put into service in Carroll County for the duration of Maryland’s State of Emergency, with federal grant funds covering the cost. Madison Bateman/Carroll County Times
COVID STATS: More than 50 people have died from COVID-related causes in Washington County since Dec. 4 as transmission rates hit a record high, the county reported Thursday. Mike Lewis/Hagerstown Herald-Mail
- Montgomery County saw 29 deaths last month, 18 in Nov. and 31 in Oct., and County Executive Marc Elrich said vaccinations were keeping those numbers down. Steve Bohnel/Bethesda Beat.
SCHOOLS SHORTEN QUARANTINE PROTOCOLS: Maryland’s Department of Health and the State Department of Education have issued updated guidelines for schools and child care providers on COVID-19 quarantine protocols, shortening requirements based on CDC recommendations. Kate Ryan/WTOP
LAWMAKERS GRILL SCHOOL OFFICIALS OVER TREATMENT OF STUDENTS WITH DISABILITIES: In an often-tense discussion, members of Frederick County’s delegation to the Maryland General Assembly asked the school board pointed questions Thursday about its knowledge of a federal investigation into the school system’s unlawful use of seclusion and restraint against students with disabilities. Jillian Atelsek/The Frederick News-Post
SCOTT RESEARCHING VACCINE PASSPORT: Baltimore Mayor Brandon Scott is researching the possibility of a vaccine passport for the city and has spoken with other county leaders to express his thoughts on the idea. Katie Ryan/WBAL NewsRadio
EMILY’S LIST ENDORSES O’MALLEY, LIERMAN: On Friday morning, EMILY’s List, the nation’s largest resource for women in politics, endorsed two women for election in Maryland: Catherine “Katie” Curran O’Malley for attorney general and Brooke Lierman for comptroller.
PARTY CONTROL OF THE STATES: Ballotpedia reports on partisan “trifectas,” in which one party controls the governorship and both houses of the state legislature. As of January 7, there are 23 states with Republican trifectas, 15 with Democratic trifectas, and 12 states, including Maryland, with divided governments where neither party holds trifecta control. As a result of the 2021 elections, Democrats lost one trifecta, Virginia. States with divided government—no trifecta for either major party—increased by one. Republicans neither gained nor lost trifectas.
COMMENTARY: OPPORTUNITY TO HELP RENAL PATIENTS: Maryland congressman and U.S. House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer has an opportunity to help pass a law that will cover gaps in medical coverage for those under 65 who have end-stage renal disease, many of whom currently must pay 20% of the costs of dialysis needed three times per week. Del. Heather Bagnall/Maryland Matters.
NEW CIRCUIT JUDGES Gov. Larry Hogan on Thursday appointed new circuit court judges for Howard, Caroline and Dorchester counties, including Heather Price, Bill Jones and Stephanie Picard Porter. Madeleine O’Neill/The Daily Record.
FUNDRAISERS MOVED TO VIRTUAL: There have been a wave of cancellations at Annapolis bars and restaurants, which would ordinarily be packed with lobbyists and donors bumping shoulders with elected officials for the two weeks leading up to the start of the Maryland General Assembly session on Wednesday, as fundraisers moved virtual with the spread of the Omicron variant. Dana Munro and Brooks Dubose/The Baltimore Sun