HOGAN ORDERS FASTER INMATE RELEASE: As the coronavirus pandemic continues to spread behind bars in Maryland, Gov. Larry Hogan has signed an executive order to expedite the release of hundreds of men and women imprisoned at state correctional institutions, Luke Broadwater of the Sun reports.
- Hogan’s order would accelerate release for people already scheduled to go home within the next four months, prioritize release for elderly inmates and prompt immediate consideration of release to home detention for inmates eligible for that program, writes Danielle Gaines for Maryland Matters.
SCHOOLS NOW SHUT THROUGH MAY 15: State School Superintendent Karen Salmon said on Friday that the closure of public schools will be extended to May 15 to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus, writes Bryan Renbaum for Maryland Reporter. Last month, Salmon said that schools would be closed until April 25 at the earliest.
- Salmon’s announcement Friday that schools will stay closed until at least May 15 marks the second extension of that closure. Schools had been planning to reopen on April 27. Washington, D.C., announced Friday that it will close schools for the year on May 29 rather than June 19, Bryan Sears writes in the Daily Record.
PUSH FOR KIRWAN CONTINUES: With schools closed for more than a month, lawmakers and advocates in Maryland say a multibillion-dollar education reform effort passed by the General Assembly as COVID-19 was just beginning to take hold is more critical now than ever, even with a faltering economy and uncertain fiscal future, Danielle Gaines and Hannah Gaskill of Maryland Matters report.
SHUTDOWN PROTESTERS SWARM ANNAPOLIS: A caravan of cars, trucks and motorcycles swarmed the streets of Annapolis on Saturday, demanding an end to coronavirus-related restrictions in Maryland, while a group of the state’s Republican politicians encouraged Gov. Larry Hogan (R) to reopen the rural areas they represent first, even if the harder-hit urban centers need to remain shut down to prevent the spread of the virus, report the Post’s Tom Jackman, Samantha Schmidt, Erin Cox and Katherine Shaver.
- “More people die from poverty than this coronavirus,” said organizer Evie Harris, a Baltimore-area nurse. “We grieve those losses, they are real lives, but so are all these people who are suffering.” Lilly Price of the Capital Gazette and Pamela Wood of the Sun report.
- Bryan Sears of the Daily Record reports that the vehicles, emblazoned with signs and slogans and some with U.S. or Gadsden or Trump flags, are part of a series of protests in other states meant to cause gridlock and bring attention to the plight of people who say they have been put out of business and have gone a month without a paycheck.
- ReOpen Maryland protesters called for Hogan to lift his March 30 shelter-in-place order as well as other measures, including the mandated closure of thousands of small “non-essential” businesses statewide, J.M. Giordano reports in Baltimore Brew.
MONDAY MORNING PROTEST: The City of Annapolis says there will be another protest to reopen Maryland starting at 9 a.m. this morning. Police will be handling traffic and people should give themselves extra time to get to where they need to go, WJZ-TV reports.
HOGAN, NORTHAM SLAM TRUMP FOR ENCOURAGING PROTESTS: Luz Lazo, Erin Cox and Hannah Natanson of the Post write that Washington-area leaders slammed President Trump for encouraging protests against stay-at-home orders and contradicted the White House’s claims that sufficient tests exist to reopen the nation’s economy. Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan (R) described Trump’s comments defending protesters as unhelpful and nonsensical, while Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam (D) said the president’s claims that the country has enough tests for the virus are “delusional.”
- Gov. Larry Hogan says increasing numbers of coronavirus cases in the mid-Atlantic region warn against an early re-opening of businesses, even as new data from the state show a slight drop in new cases, the AP is reporting.
- In an online interview with the Economic Club of Washington, D.C., on Friday morning, Gov. Larry Hogan praised federal guidelines offered as a road map for states looking to emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic, but cautioned that the state is unlikely to ease restrictions soon, Bryan Sears reports in the Daily Record.
- In the meantime, Comptroller Peter Franchot is defending his chief of staff, Len Foxwell, as the state Republican Party calls for him to be fired over a Facebook post that mocked people who’ve defied stay-at-home orders governors imposed to slow the spread of the coronavirus.
STATE GOP WANTS REGIONAL REOPENING: Republican members of the House of Delegates on Saturday urged Gov. Larry. Hogan to adopt a regional approach to reopening the state’s economy, Bruce DePuyt of Maryland Matters reports. In a memo, GOP lawmakers applauded Hogan for his leadership in handling the COVID-19 crisis to date — but they urged that he relax restrictions on businesses and certain recreational activities in certain parts of the state.
MD-DC-VA ON REGIONAL PLAN: Gov. Hogan is working with Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam and D.C. Governor Muriel Bowser on a recovery plan for the region, Jacqueline Covey of the Cecil Whig reports. After weeks of consultations with the Coronavirus Response Team, a roadmap to reopening the state will be released next week. The recovery plan is based on the four building blocks: 1) Expanding testing capacity; 2) Increasing hospital surge capacity; 3) Ramping up supply of PPE; and 4) Building a robust contact tracing operation.
HOGAN CITES LACK OF SUPPLIES AS NO. 1 PROBLEM: In an interview with Jake Tapper of CNN on Sunday, Gov. Larry Hogan, countering President Trump, also said a lack of supplies for coronavirus tests remains “probably the No. 1 problem in America,” and that rushing to reopen businesses is unsafe and unwise, Scott Dance of the Sun writes.
- On the same program, Hogan says that he’s disappointed if money for states isn’t in the deal between Congress and the White House.
FEDS MUST DO MORE, CARDIN, VAN HOLLEN SAY: The message from U.S. Senators Ben Cardin and Chris Van Hollen Friday afternoon was clear: “We will have to do more.” The lawmakers from Maryland spoke directly to business owners in an hour-long Facebook Live roundtable discussion, during which they answered questions about the recent federal stimulus packages passed in an effort to combat the economic destruction brought on by the novel coronavirus.
522 NEW CASES SINCE SATURDAY: Maryland officials said Sunday they have confirmed 522 new cases of the coronavirus since Saturday, the second consecutive day the state has seen a decrease in the number of new cases, Phil Davis reports in the Sun.
- Eight residents of Sagepoint Senior Living Facility recently diagnosed with coronavirus have died, family members and staff told the Baltimore Post-Examiner. Glynis Kazanjian reports that several other deaths and potentially dozens of confirmed cases are also suspected at the LaPlata aging and rehabilitation center.
- Dr. Darioush Nasseri, a retired orthopedic surgeon who practiced at Good Samaritan Hospital, died April 11 of complications of the coronavirus. The former Lutherville resident was 84, writes Jacques Kelly for the Sun.
- Daniel Oyefusi of the Sun reports that seven members of the Baltimore County Fire Department are in isolation after testing positive for the coronavirus. The first responders who have tested positive for COVID-19 are “seven out of over 1,000” workers, Lt. Travis Francis said Sunday
- Coronavirus cases in Montgomery County increased by 10% in two days, bringing the total to 2,507 cases as of Sunday morning, Dan Schere of Bethesda Beat reports.
DID YOUR VOTE COUNT? As the coronavirus outbreak pushes Maryland’s June 2 primary election largely to mail-in ballots, the State Board of Elections has created a way for citizens to check whether their votes have been counted, Lillian Reed of the Sun reports.
BALTIMORE MAY LOSE OUT ON MAJOR FUNDS: Major metropolises including Baltimore, Boston and Detroit may struggle to access a $500 billion emergency lending program meant to shore up local governments’ cash-starved budgets under rules that limit participation only to cities with 1 million or more residents, Tony Romm of the Post reports.
FACE MASKS REQUIRED: Colin Campbell of the Sun writes that starting this past Saturday, April 18, everyone must wear a face covering inside any retail establishment or when riding any form of public transportation in Maryland.
MD GOP TO HOLD VIRTUAL CONVENTION: Maryland Republican Party will be hosting its 2020 Spring Convention virtually, writes Brian Griffiths for Red Maryland. The convention, which will see the election of the national committeeman, national committeewoman, as well as delegates and alternate delegate to the Republican National Convention, was originally scheduled to be held at Arundel Mills May 15th and 16th.
FARMERS MARKETS OPENING, WITH CHANGES: More and more farmers markets are beginning to open for the season but not without some changes to help keep vendors and customers safe while providing an essential service, Hannah Himes reports in the Frederick News-Post. In March, the Maryland Department of Agriculture noted in a news release that farmers markets are considered an essential service and an important source of food for people.
MFUME OUTPACES IN FUND-RAISING RACE: Kweisi Mfume, the former Democratic Baltimore congressman seeking to return to his former 7th District seat, reported raising $191,419 with $120,801 on hand for the special general election on April 28, outpacing Republican Kimberly Klacik. Jeff Barker of the Sun reports.
WOMEN IN MEDICAL CANNABIS INDUSTRY: Gina Gallucci-White reports in the Daily Record about women who have entered Maryland‘s medical cannabis industry and what makes them tick.