First Click -- Maryland
Your Daily Download of the State's Top Political News and Analysis
Monday, August 24, 2009:
GOVERNOR IN PRINCE GEORGE'S TO TALK SWINE FLU
Gov. Martin O'Malley this afternoon is expected to announce an enhanced "bio-surveillance" effort by the state to track flu cases and other outbreaks and to discuss H1N1, or Swine Flu, vaccinations, planned for this fall.
O'Malley will make the announcements at the Health Studies labs at Prince George's Community College, and according to Lt. Gov. Anthony G. Brown's office, the two may also deliver new funding for the college's health studies program.
O'Malley and Brown are also scheduled to travel to Fort Washington later in the afternoon. They plan to visit Friendly High School on the county's first day of class, and to congratulate the school's Division 3A championship football team.
Brown is making a full a day of it in Prince George's, where his political career began. Prior to the announcements with the governor, he plans to attend another school event and to meet with officials at Laurel Regional Hospital Center.
FURLOUGH TALK IN MONTGOMERY COUNTY
Legal staff for the Montgomery County council say they expect to wrap up work today on an interpretation of the spill-over effects of the federal court ruling this month that furloughs in neighboring Prince George's were unconstitutional. It should be out today. "County governments all around are really scrambling," said Neil Greenberger, the council's spokesman. Montgomery has resisted the urge for furloughs thus far, but County Executive Ike Leggett put the idea on the table at a grim budget forecast earlier this summer.
QUESTIONS BEGIN AFTER FIRING OF CHIEF PUBLIC DEFENDER
The Washington Post's Ruben Castaneda and Dan Morse write that shortly after Maryland's top prosecutor was fired last week by members of a governor-appointed panel, Nancy Forster, wrote to her staff saying that she had been let go for, among other reasons, resisting demands she disband her office's capital defense and juvenile defender divisions.
In an e-mail to her staff, Forster quoted a letter she said she'd received from the board - The Office of Public Defender Board of Trustees -- that stated her office's responsibility was not to "rehabilitate and life-assist individuals charged and convicted with crimes." For example, Forster said in her e-mail, the board didn't think any of the state's 400 public defenders should be trying to solve clients' housing problems.
Forster, 51, who is white, said in statement blasting the decision on Friday that she'd also refused an order to fire "a well-respected African American District Public Defender, for absolutely no reason."
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