Friday Five | August 20, 2021

A recap of this week’s top-five news items and resources from the intersection of business and government.


1. Hogan announces vaccine mandate for nursing home and hospital workers

Governor Larry Hogan announced on Wednesday afternoon that the Maryland Department of Health will require all hospital and nursing home workers in the state to receive the COVID-19 vaccine or undergo frequent screening for the virus. With the Delta variant surge that has led to an increase in infections both in Maryland and the nation, the state hopes to continue to boost vaccination rates by requiring workers to get their first dose of the vaccine by Sept 1. In his announcement, Hogan also addressed the subject of COVID-19 booster shots, urging federal officials to make them available immediately for seniors and other vulnerable populations and called for the expedited approval of the COVID-19 vaccines for 5- to 11-year-olds.

Read the full story here.


2. 5 takeaways from the census data for Maryland 

New data released by the Census Bureau last week revealed how Maryland has changed over the past 10 years, from increased racial diversity to growth in the suburbs. One key takeaway from the census data is that although Maryland’s white population is still the largest racial group, they are no longer the majority. Maryland’s population of white people who do not identify as Hispanic decreased from 55% in 2010 to 47% in 2020. The next largest group is Black Marylanders, who make up 29% of the state’s population. Other insights from the data include changes in Baltimore City’s population, including total resident count and demographic changes, and their shift from fourth-largest jurisdiction to the fifth largest in the state.

Read the full story here.


3. Dueling commissions foreshadow partisan battle over redistricting

With the recent release of the 2020 census data, two separate commissions are expected to redraw congressional and legislative boundaries and propose new district maps. The Maryland Citizens Redistricting Commission, created by Governor Hogan earlier this year, finished its initial round of public hearings in July ahead of the release of census data used for redistricting. The commission is composed of three Republicans, three Democrats and three unaffiliated voters.

Last month, House speaker Adrienne A. Jones and Senate President Bill Ferguson announced their own redistricting panel, the Legislative Redistricting Advisory Commission, composed of four Democrats including Jones and Ferguson, two top Republicans and chaired by Karl Aro, the former executive director of the non-partisan Department of Legislative Services.

Both commissions are planning separate rounds of public hearings following the release of the census data. While the General Assembly will have the final say over the legislative and congressional maps, one group has already formed to promote the maps from the Maryland Citizens Redistricting Commission called Fair Maps Maryland.

Read the full story here.


4. Maryland making progress on unresolved unemployment claims

With the high volume of unemployment claims due to the pandemic, along with the constant shift in eligibility rules and the massive number of fraudulent claims, there has been a high number of Marylanders stuck in limbo without receiving payments throughout the past year and a half. On Monday, Maryland’s top officials overseeing unemployment insurance reassured lawmakers that the team is making headway in resolving pending claim issues and predict they will be able to make even more progress once the enhanced federal unemployment benefits end. Maryland has received about 820,000 claims for unemployment, with about 9,000 of them being new claims, and has processed 97.5% of them. The remaining 2.5% of the claims are pending, which amounts to 20,534 people who haven’t received payment.

Read the full story here.


5. COVID-19 booster vaccines recommended for all Americans

On Wednesday, U.S. health officials announced plans to offer COVID-19 booster shots to all Americans to increase protection amide the surging delta variant and signs that the vaccines’ effectiveness is falling. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and other top officials have outlined a plan that calls for an extra dose eight months after people get their first COVID-19 shot, which could begin as early as Sept. 20. However, this date is not guaranteed since the plan is subject to a Food and Drug Administration evaluation of the safety and effectiveness of a third dose and a review by a CDC advisory panel.

Read the full story here.


Request a vaccine mobile unit at your business – The Maryland Dept. of Health will deploy mobile vaccination clinics for businesses interested in providing vaccinations to their employees and the community.

LEARN MORE


EVENT: 2021 Congressional Roundup on Sept. 22 from 10:00 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. – Join us for a premier virtual event with policy experts and Maryland’s congressional delegation, including House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer. They’ll discuss the current legislative and electoral landscape and how it directly impacts the business community. View all confirmed speakers here.

REGISTER HERE


 

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