State Roundup: Primaries delayed; September Preakness date sought

State Roundup: Primaries delayed; September Preakness date sought

The State House in Annapolis (MarylandReporter.com photo)

HOGAN POSTPONES APRIL PRIMARIES: Gov. Larry Hogan announced on Tuesday that he has ordered that Maryland’s primary elections — which were scheduled for the end of next month — to be postponed to early June due to the global outbreak of the coronavirus COVID-19, Bryan Renbaum writes for MarylandReporter.

  • Hogan issued the proclamation Tuesday to change the date of the election, during which voters will nominate candidates for the Baltimore mayor’s race, U.S. House contests and the presidential primary. Talia Richman of the Sun offers voters a guide for what they need to know about the change.
  • What Hogan chose not to delay was the election to finish the late U.S. Rep. Elijah Cummings’ term, which also had been set to be decided April 28 in a special general election. The state will instead hold a mail-only election, for which ballots must be postmarked by that date, Emily Opilo and Jeff Barker report in the Sun.
  • “While there are many valid reasons for unease and uncertainty right now, ensuring that the voices of Maryland citizens are heard shouldn’t be one of them,” Hogan said. Emily Opilio and Talia Richman of the Sun report that the elections board said in a statement that it was working to carry out the governor’s order.
  • Hogan said the state is working with the Stronach Group, which owns the Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore, to conduct the Preakness Stakes sometime in September, Holden Wilen reports for the Baltimore Business Journal. The Preakness is currently scheduled for May 16.

$2.4B KIRWAN PLAN GETS FINAL OK: Maryland lawmakers gave final approval Tuesday night to a sweeping education reform bill designed to restore the state’s public schools to among the best in the nation, Pamela Wood and Luke Broadwater report in the Sun. The bill took on new urgency once lawmakers agreed to end their session Wednesday — more than two weeks early — due to the growing coronavirus outbreak.

  • The House voted 96 to 38, along partisan lines, on the overhaul — which is set to expand prekindergarten, increase teacher pay and standards, and add more programs to ensure that students are prepared for college and careers, Ovetta Wiggins and Erin Cox report in the Post.
  • The proposal comes at a cost of about $3.4 billion in combined state and local spending by fiscal 2030. The General Assembly has not identified a way to fully fund its share of the plan. Several bills remain in the House and Senate that could generate hundreds of millions of dollars a year, Bryan Sears writes for the Daily Record.

Sen. Paul Pinsky (D-Prince George’s), chair of the Senate Education Committee, holds up the Kirwan Commission report during floor discussion of the bill in the Senate last April.  Pinsky was also a member of the commission. (Glynis Kazanjian/MarylandReporter.com).

SEN. PINSKY’S WIFE DIES: Sen. Paul Pinsky (D-Prince George’s) — who had shepherded through the Kirwan legislation — “stood to speak after the vote, his voice filled with sorrow.” Pinsky told his colleagues he had to rush home to be with his wife,  Joan Rothgeb, who was in the “very late stages” of a battle with cancer. Senate President Bill Ferguson announced that Rothgeb died at 4:30 a.m. Tuesday, Luke Broadwater of the Sun reports.

HOUSE PASSES $47.9B BUDGET: The Maryland House of Delegates approved a $47.9 billion budget plan on Tuesday, after a series of extraordinary steps to speed the budget approval process as the state battles the spread of the COVID-19 virus, Danielle Gaines of Maryland Matters reports.

SCRAMBLE TOWARD EARLY FINISH: With just hours left in the 2020 legislative session, lawmakers are dashing madly to put final touches on legislation they have long labored over. And lobbyists and advocates, banned from the State House because of the novel coronavirus, are scrambling remotely, hoping to push their priority legislation over the finish line and to the governor’s desk, writes Hannah Gaskill for Maryland Matters.

LIMITED PROGRESS IN COVID-19 TESTING: Maryland continues to have to triage who gets to be tested for COVID-19 while it asks the federal government pointed questions about the ability and capacity to test for the disease caused by the coronavirus, Tim Curtis and Bryan Sears report in the Daily Record.

  • The Garrett County Republican reports that Garrett Regional Medical Center has opened a COVID-19 testing clinic behind the hospital campus. The clinic was established to provide coronavirus testing for people throughout GRMC’s eight-county service area who may have been exposed to the virus or who are showing symptoms.
  • Meritus Health in Hagerstown now has drive-thru testing for those who are showing symptoms of the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19, Mike Lewis reports for the Hagerstown Herald Mail.
  • Peninsula Regional Medical Center in Salisbury has erected a COVID-19 triage tent near the walk-in entrance of the Robert T. Adkins, M.D. Emergency Trauma Center, Kelly Powers of the Salisbury Daily Times reports.

2nd COVID-19 CASE IN CARROLL: A family member of the first man found with the coronavirus in Carroll County has contracted the disease, according to the county health department, Mary Grace Keller of the Carroll County Times reports.

STRIPPED-DOWN SPORTS BETTING: A stripped-down version of a bill to let voters decide on legalizing sports betting is moving through the General Assembly in the final hours of the legislature’s abbreviated session, Pamela Wood of the Sun reports.

Kweisi Mfume (Edward Kimmel)

KWEISI MFUME PROFILE: KK Ottesen of the Washington Post profiles Kweisi Mfume, 71, who won the Democratic primary in a Maryland special election to serve out the congressional term of the late Elijah Cummings. Mfume previously held the seat for five terms. The election will be held by mail-in ballot.

CARROLL COMMISH SLAMS DELEGATE: A bill that would have affected Carroll County government’s purchasing limits will likely be put on hold for a year, and one commissioner is pointing the finger at Del. Warren Miller for “meddling” in county affairs, Mary Grace Keller of the Carroll County Times reports.

About The Author

Cynthia Prairie

Contributing Editor Cynthia Prairie has been a newspaper editor since 1979, when she began working at The Raleigh Times. Since then, she has worked for The Baltimore News American, The Chicago Sun-Times, The Prince George’s Journal and Baltimore County newspapers in the Patuxent Publishing chain, including overseeing The Jeffersonian when it was a two-day a week business publication. Cynthia has won numerous state awards, including the Maryland State Bar Association’s Gavel Award. Besides compiling and editing the daily State Roundup, she runs her own online news outlet, The Chester Telegraph. If you have additional questions or comments contact Cynthia at: cynthiaprairie@gmail.com

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