HOUSE PASSES KIRWAN EDUCATION REFORM: Maryland’s House of Delegates overwhelmingly approved Friday night ambitious, expensive legislation that supporters say would raise the state’s public schools to world-class levels, Pamela Wood and Luke Broadwater of the Sun report.

  • Ovetta Wiggins of the Washington Post reports that the bill would set in place a 10-year plan to expand prekindergarten; increase funding to schools with a high percentage of poor, special- education or limited-English students; raise teacher pay and increase standards; and add more programs to ensure that students are prepared for college and careers.
  • Also included in the bill is a proposed new education funding formula, which would guide the increased state and local education spending and direct more resources to low-income students, those in special-education programs and those learning English, Danielle Gaines of Maryland Matters writes.
  • The debate over whether to enact the recommendations of the Kirwan Commission into law kicked off in the House of Delegates on Friday morning with the defeat of an amendment that would have tied student performance to funding for the program, Bryan Renbaum of MarylandReporter writes.
  • Its passage came as no surprise even though Republicans spent more than four hours between a morning and evening session attempting to amend the bill, commonly known as the Kirwan Commission recommendations, or to sway Democrats to their cause, Bryan Sears reports in the Daily Record.
  • The House voted 96-41 for the bill, which still needs Senate approval, Brian Witte writes for the AP. Washington County Dels. Paul Corderman, Mike McKay, Neil Parrott and William Wivell voted against the bill.

OPINION: REFORM KIRWAN FUNDING PLAN: In this op-ed for Maryland Matters, Laura Price, a member of the Board of Directors of the Maryland Association of Counties, explains why she believes funding reform is still needed for the Kirwan education plan just passed by the House of Delegates.

COVID-19 CASES IN MD INCH UP: A Harford County woman in her 80s and a Montgomery County man in his 60s have tested positive for the coronavirus, bringing the total of confirmed coronavirus cases in Maryland to five, Danielle Johnson of WBFF-TV reports.

  • Both contracted the virus while traveling overseas, as did the three Montgomery County residents who were identified as having the coronavirus last week, Pamela Wood reports in the Sun. Health officials said there are “no major concerns over exposure risk to the community” related to the two new cases.
  • As the number of people confirmed to have the novel coronavirus climbs in Maryland, Virginia and the District, officials are trying to ease the confusion many residents feel about the spread of the virus and who should be tested, Jenna Portnoy writes in the Post.
  • WBAL-TV is reporting that Gov. Larry Hogan’s office has announced that a person who attended the Conservative Political Action Conference in Maryland has tested positive for coronavirus. On Saturday, the New Jersey Department of Health notified Maryland’s Department of Health that one person who attended CPAC, held at Maryland’s National Harbor from Feb. 27 to March 1, is confirmed to have coronavirus.
  • There are calls for city and state officials to do more to protect the elderly, poor and homeless in Baltimore from the coronavirus. Earlier on Saturday, members of the People’s Power Assembly gathered outside of City Hall with a long list of demands of city and state officials, Tre Ward of WBAL-TV reports.
  • Preparations for the respiratory disease by hospitals, universities, businesses and other groups have taken on a new urgency, Tim Curtis and Bryan Sears writes in the Daily Record. Some groups have announced event cancellations. Universities ramped up their planning. And local officials tried to answer questions about the confirmed cases without violating the privacy of the individuals who had contracted the disease.
  • Hogan plans to hold a press conference at 3:30 p.m. Monday to share the latest information, Dan Schere of Bethesda Beat reports.
  • Maryland’s U.S. senators expressed faith Friday in the handling of the new coronavirus, saying a vaccine is being developed as quickly as possible and that new testing capacity — covered by insurance — should help contain the disease. Meanwhile, Sen. Chris Van Hollen said he hoped the White House would improve its messaging.

HAIR-BIAS BAN POISED TO PASS: Maryland appears poised to join Virginia and a handful of other states to ban discrimination based on someone’s natural hair. The measure has already been approved by the Maryland Senate. On Friday a House committee heard testimony on a companion bill that has attracted support from 49 state Delegates, Bruce DePuyt of Maryland Matters reports..

FIXING MARYLAND’S CHILD-SUPPORT SYSTEM: Yvonne Wenger of the Sun writes about Colorado’s efforts to fix its child-support system by ensuring that the money goes to the children and not to the state government, and how this could be translated into helping families in Maryland.

CHILD’S DEATH TRIGGERS MORE AGENCY REVIEWS: The completion of the Maryland Department of Social Services investigation into the death of a 17-year-old Central Special School student, which concluded his death last November after choking on a glove likely involved child neglect, triggers reviews for several other agencies, Naomi Harris of the Capital Gazette reports.

VERBAL BRAWL OVER HOGAN TOLL PLAN: Members of a state committee dueled verbally Thursday with a lobbyist defending Gov. Hogan’s proposal to add toll lanes to I-495 and I-270, Louis Peck reports in Bethesda Beat.

D.C. AREA BUS PLAN FALTERS: The Washington region is off to a poor start in fulfilling its declared goal to expand bus service to lure drivers out of their cars to reduce congestion and help the environment, Robert McCartney of the Post reports.

SEEKING MORE OPEN POLICE DISCIPLINE RECORDS: Maryland lawmakers are pushing to change laws on disclosure of police discipline records, spurred in part by a police officer’s fatal shooting of a handcuffed suspect in Prince George’s County this year, Rachel Chason of the Post is reporting.

STATE PROCESSED 1M TAX RETURNS: Comptroller Peter Franchot on Friday announced that his office has processed more than 1 million tax returns since the start of the tax filing season on Jan. 27. The 1 millionth return was submitted by a Prince George’s County tax filer, the Garrett County Republican reports.

MAYOR YOUNG BACKS BIDEN: Baltimore Mayor Jack Young had just finished reading a group of elementary school students Dr. Seuss’ “Hop on Pop” when the kids pivoted to asking Baltimore’s top official some questions. And he ended up revealing that he will support former Vice President Joe Biden for president, Talia Richman writes in the Sun.



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