Possible good news, for a change, in Congress -- some modest tightening of access to guns may pass.
Meanwhile, in Maryland, prepping for more of this pandemic plus the next one (?); a Hogan veto increases election results uncertainty and (for sure) opens up more time for Big Lies to grow; Dem Guv hopefuls feel pressure on education futures; state's higher ed schools show variety in recovery from COVID pause.
Federal news first…
Smithsburg, MD shooting is latest outrage so it make sense to start with possible good news from Congress – bipartisan efforts to pass new firearms restrictions, passed along by People’s Action: From Politico: “The emerging package is anchored around extra scrutiny for gun buyers under the age of 21, grants to states to implement so-called red flag laws and new spending on mental health treatment and school security.” “A handful of Republicans are supportive of raising the age to purchase assault rifles to 21, something [Minority Leader Mitch] McConnell has expressed personal openness to, but neither McConnell nor [Sen. John] Cornyn have pushed that as part of the package, and the idea may not get the 60 votes needed to survive a GOP filibuster.” The US House passed a tougher package last week but it was not given much of a chance in its present form.
Saturday for Sunday: JUNE 18, 2022 – 9AM GATHER – 10AM START: People’s Action has endorsed the Poor People’s Campaign’s Action on Juneteenth in downtown DC.
CLIMATE -- The White House announced a plan to use the Defense Production Act for domestic clean energy manufacturing last week. The Congressional Progressive Caucus and several advocacy organizations had been advocating for this action.
(Friday) MARYLAND ANNOUNCES LONG-TERM PLAN FOR SURGES: Maryland is moving into a new phase of the COVID-19 pandemic, with the state now planning long term for surges. Gov. Larry Hogan announced COVID Ready Maryland plans Thursday. Bryan Sears/The Daily Record
- One effort in the plan specifically calls for expanded use of so-called “test-to-treat.” That means getting people tested, and if they have an infection and are eligible, giving them an antiviral medication during the same visit. Hannah Gaskill and Meredith Cohn/The Baltimore Sun
- Maryland has ordered 65,400 doses of a pediatric coronavirus vaccine that will be ready for children on June 20, pending federal approval, state health officials said Thursday. Erin Cox/Washington Post
- The Health Department website is launching a portal on which Marylanders can check whether they are fully up-to-date on their COVID vaccinations. “No one should consider themselves fully protected unless you have gotten a booster,” Hogan said. Josh Kurtz/Maryland Matters
(Friday) CLOSE RACE RESULTS WON’T BE AVAILABLE RIGHT AWAY: A decision by Gov. Larry Hogan to veto state legislation allowing local election officials to count mail-in ballots before Election Day could delay the final results of close races and they won’t be called on Election Day, Montgomery County’s acting election director said. Bethesda Beat
(Thursday) Dem candidates show nuanced differences on education policy, schools pandemic recovery. Competitors in this year’s crowded race for Maryland governor largely agree the pandemic magnified problems that were already pervasive in public education in the state. But the direction and focus of schools’ recovery efforts for the next four years may depend on who wins the race. Baltimore Sun.
COLLEGE ROLLS UP & DOWN IN MARYLAND: Fewer students are signing up for college classes nationwide. But in Maryland, changes in enrollment aren’t as uniform. Enrollment trends vary at individual universities, both public and private, across the state from 2019 to 2021. UMBC and Coppin State University saw declines in enrollment. However Morgan State University defied national patterns and experienced boosts in their student ranks. And at the state’s flagship school, the University of Maryland, College Park, both undergraduate and freshman enrollment continued to increase. Baltimore Sun.
(Thursday) The volatile media ecosystem in Baltimore and its burbs was on parade this week as the new Baltimore Banner, a nonprofit effort with a corporate sugar daddy, showed off even newer Inner Harbor offices. This account comes from Baltimore Brew’s leader, Fern Shen, one of the plethora of ex-Sun reporters scattered throughout that growing nonprofit ecosystem.