Courtney Watson
House of Delegates
District 9B

Greetings Friends,

The 2021 Session of the Maryland House of Delegates is already off to an incredibly busy start! My days are spent meeting with constituency groups and listening to their priorities, attending hearings in the Economic Matters Committee, testifying about my sponsored legislation, meeting with the Howard County Delegation and more -- all virtually!

Next week I will be in Annapolis on the House Floor as Delegates begin deliberation on Governor Hogan's vetoes from the 2020 session. Among these is the Blueprint for Maryland's Future, and despite its passing in both the House and Senate last year, there will surely be more discussion.

I am sponsoring two new bills which will hopefully head to the Hopper this week (after which they're assigned a bill number, assigned to a committee and placed on the MGA website) -- one dealing with the Bay Restoration Fund and the other concerning Fire Prevention Codes for Solar Installations. More to come on these in my next newsletter.

Vaccine distribution continues to be the biggest issue of concern with District 9B (and all Maryland residents). Please see below for more on this important topic.

As always, feel free to reach out if you have a question or concern. My contact information is listed at the bottom of this newsletter.

Stay well,
Included in this issue:

  • COVID-19 Vaccination Update
  • Howard County Executive Calvin Ball's Vaccine Town Hall
  • Latest Restaurant Directive
  • HCPSS/HCC Dual Registration Honors
  • Governor Hogan's Proposed FY2022 Budget
  • Celebrate Black History Month
  • Take a Hike with the HoCo Conservancy
  • HCPSS Community Notices, and more...
Follow this new Twitter account if you want information about the committee hearings happening in Annapolis: @mdgahearings - official Twitter account of the Maryland General Assembly Committee hearings.
A Word on Vaccines
There is no question that for many who are now eligible, getting a COVID-19 vaccine has proven to be frustrating. As you've probably read, the main issue is low supply. When vaccination was opened up to new groups, there weren't the coordinating number of vaccines available to adequately serve those populations. Additionally, Howard County recently had its expected number of vaccines reduced as the state began dividing the vaccine between county health departments, hospitals, and pharmacies. Some points to consider:

  • Supply is low and has been further reduced to local health departments as allocations are more spread out. Supply is insufficient for the 200,000 Howard County residents who have preregistered with the Howard County Health Department so far. While vaccine remains limited, Howard County Health Officer Maura Rossman suggests that community members may want to reach out to the retail pharmacies, hospitals or Kaiser Permanente to assess vaccine availability.

  • Despite the State moving into Phase 1C, it will take Howard County a number of weeks to vaccinate the remaining numbers from group 1B. Nevertheless, residents in Group 1C may preregister at this time. You can see details on who is included in which phases, preregister, and get answers to other questions here.

The Federal Government has heard the pleas coming from the state and local leaders who have been advocating for more vaccine, and 200 million doses of the vaccine have recently been ordered to be distributed in the coming weeks and months.

The state will soon open a series of mass vaccination sites to serve eligible residents. The first sites are set to open at the Baltimore Convention Center and Six Flags America in Prince George’s County. Announcements will be made as appointments become available. Once operational, these sites will be open to all Marylanders. The first of these sites is slated to open this Friday, February 5th.

At this time, I encourage you to take advantage of all vaccine options available through state and local agencies and organizations. Some guidance, if you are eligible to receive the vaccine (currently Groups 1A and 1B in Howard County):

  • Preregister with the Howard County Health Department here.
  • Call the Howard County Health Department at 410-313-6284 if you need assistance pre-registering. Be patient, call volumes are extremely high.
  • Once you have completed the pre-registration you will be contacted to schedule an appointment when there is vaccine supply available. Be mindful that this may take days or weeks. Anyone who attempts to go to a clinic without a valid appointment will be turned away.
  • Contact your local CVS*, Walgreens, Safeway and Giant stores to get on their lists.
  • Be ready to go as soon as you are notified - check your email often.
  • Once the state mass vaccination sites are open, you can register to go to any of these six sites. Appointments are necessary and you can register through once they are open. A tutorial on registering with can be found here. Those without computer access or in need of assistance can register by calling 443-462-5511 from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.

*We received an announcement that on Thursday, February 11, CVS Health will begin to offer COVID-19 vaccinations to eligible populations at a limited number of CVS Pharmacy locations. Supply for the initial rollout will be approximately 11,000 in Maryland.

More Links:
Johns Hopkins Facilities (Including Howard County General Hospital) Click here
Maryland State Vaccine Click here
Kaiser Permanente Click here

For more information on Vaccine Distribution in Howard County, plan to attend County Executive Calvin Ball's Telephone Town Hall on February 8th (see below).
County Executive Ball Hosting a Vaccine Telephone Town Hall on Feb. 8th at 6pm
Howard County Executive Calvin Ball will host a Vaccine Telephone Town Hall on Monday, February 8th at 6:00 p.m. to answer questions and concerns from Howard County residents about vaccine distribution. Residents are encouraged to pre-register and will receive a phone call to join the townhall or residents can call in to the event at (855) 756-7520 Ext. 71314#. The event will also be live-streamed online

Panelists include:

  • Calvin Ball - Howard County Executive 
  • Dr. Clarence Lam, MPH, Maryland State Senator 
  • Dr. Maura Rossman - Health Officer, Howard County Health Department 
  • Dr. Shafeeq Ahmed - Howard County General Hospital Interim President 
  • Dr. Michael Martirano - Superintendent, Howard County Public School System 
  • William Anuszewski - Chief, Department of Fire and Rescue Services 
  • Jacqueline Scott – Director, Department of Community Resources and Services
Howard County Removes Restaurant Curfew
Howard County Executive Calvin Ball announced Howard County would follow Governor Hogan’s directive to lift the restaurant curfew beginning February 1st. Bars and restaurants are able to offer dine-in services after 10 p.m. At the time of the decision, Howard County’s positivity rate was 5.75% and had been declining for 10 days from a peak of 8% on January 11. The case rate of 30.8 per 100,000 people had also declined from a peak of 48.7 on January 11.  
HCPSS, HCC Achieve Top Tier State Ranking for
Dual Enrollment Participation
Student participation in dual enrollment courses (known as JumpStart) offered in collaboration between the Howard County Public School System (HCPSS) and Howard Community College (HCC) has increased to 1,798 students, giving Howard County the distinction of the second-highest ranking among Maryland counties. Students enrolled in more than 2,800 courses for college credit during the fall 2020 semester.
Dual enrollment allows students to earn college credit while still in high school. Increasing participation in the program has been a priority for both HCPSS and HCC, which have worked collaboratively to provide access to higher education opportunities to all students.
Governor's Fiscal Year 2022 State Budget Released
Key elements in the budget proposal:


  • $7.5 billion for K-12 education
  • $833 million for new school construction
  • $151 million for targeted tutoring grants
  • $53 million to expand pre-kindergarten


  • $1 billion for road and highway development
  • $1 billion for mass transit projects


  • Fully fund Chesapeake Bay restoration efforts and Project Open Space
  • $43 million for renewable energy programs
  • $14 million for energy efficiency programs

Public Health and Safety:

  • $74.6 million for police aid to local governments
  • $43.7 million for local law enforcement grants
  • $5 million for crime prevention and witness protection in Baltimore City
  • $250 million for youth care and juvenile crime prevention programs
  • $978 million for mental health and substance abuse programs

Governor Hogan also announced his RELIEF Act of 2021, an emergency legislative package that proposes more than $1 billion in critically-needed relief to Marylanders and Maryland businesses who are still struggling due to the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. This legislation builds on the more than $700 million in economic relief already announced.
Celebrate Black History Month
Celebrate Black History Month with a driving tour that follows the footsteps of abolitionist, writer and statesman Frederick Douglass, suggested by the Maryland Municipal League. Learn more here.

Learn About African American History in Howard County
in partnership with the Howard County 50 Plus Centers

Tuesday, February 9, 2021 
2:00 PM to 3:00 PM

"The Great Migration"
A Presentation of Howard County History through the lens of the African American/Pan-African Experience.
Presented by Dr. Denise Boston, Equity and Restorative Practice Manager and, Trent Day Hall, Outreach Supervisor
of the Howard County Office of Human Rights and Equity.
Click link to join: 
Meeting #180 191 7882 
Password: Hoco50
Take a hike with your sweetheart and the
Howard County Conservancy
This Galentine's Day, bring your mom, sister, grandmother, neighbor or friend to celebrate Galentine's Day exploring the great outdoors! $25 registration includes a 30 minute slower paced or 60 minute moderately paced guided hike at the Conservancy, a gourmet boxed lunch and extravagance bag! 
Howard County Community News and Programs
For the latest news from the Howard County Public School System's community bulletin board, including academic enrichment, childcare, arts and music, and environment and nature programs, click here.
HoCo Moms Demand Action Virtual Meeting
On Thursday, January 28 I met with the District 9B contingent of Moms Demand Action to hear about the group's priority bills for the 2021 legislative session. We found lots of common ground in the bills they were championing. I always look forward to meeting with them and appreciate their passionate advocacy.
BGE’s Energizing Small Business Grants Program
Now Accepting Applications
Small businesses located within BGE’s service area can now apply for a BGE Energizing Small Business Grant of $20,000. This grant program is part of BGE’s $15 million pledge to assist small businesses with COVID-19 relief and recovery and is a multi-year commitment expected to run through at least 2023. Interested business owners can apply now at For technical assistance while completing the applications, business owners should contact
Toll Rates Reinstated
Reminder - Standard Video Toll Rates
Resumed Statewide January 1, 2021

Sign Up & Save with E-ZPass Today – Transponders Are Free!
MD Department of Aging and 211 Maryland Partner for Better Access to Aging & Disability Information
The Maryland Department of Aging and 211 Maryland announced a new partnership to increase access to aging and disability information. Maryland Access Point (MAP) is the Maryland Department of Aging’s focal point for finding aging services and resources. 211 Maryland is a nonprofit that connects Marylanders to health and human services resources. Together, MAP and 211 Maryland are helping consumers find more information easier and a lot quicker.

For more information, click here.
SNAP/Food Stamps Legal Help Hotline
The Homeless Persons Representation Project (HPRP) has launched a hotline to provide free legal help for Maryland families in order to get and keep their SNAP benefits. HPRP has created flyers in English and Spanish with more information.
Howard County Arts News
HoCo Open is our annual, non-juried exhibit showcasing local artists. Presented in a salon-style format, this immensely popular show is open to artists of all skill levels who live, work, or study in Howard County. This link will connect you to the virtual guided tour.
With the new coronavirus variants, it's even more important
to prevent the spread by wearing a mask.
Your thoughts are always welcome. Please contact me by email (see the link at the top of the page). When requesting help for constituent matters, please include "constituent" in the subject line.
Delegate Courtney Watson
Howard County District 9B
Member, Economic Matters Committee
Vice Chair, Democratic Caucus

Maryland House of Delegates
6 Bladen Street, Room 350
Annapolis, MD 21401
410-841-3077 / 301-858-3077