State Roundup: Complaints mount from unemployed Marylanders seeking state relief

State Roundup: Complaints mount from unemployed Marylanders seeking state relief

The State House dome in Annapolis (MarylandReporter.com file photo)

JOBLESS RELIEF COMPLAINTS MOUNT: Senate Finance Committee Vice Chair Brian Feldman (D-Montgomery) told Bryan Renbaum of MarylandReporter that handling constituent complaints about the state’s unemployment website has perhaps been the most pressing issue his office has dealt with since the General Assembly’s early adjournment in mid-March. Senate Minority Leader J.B. Jennings (R-Baltimore and Harford), who also sits on the Finance Committee, echoed similar sentiments.

  • Barry Simms of WBAL-TV reports that calls for assistance end with a busy signal and a recording. There are problems filing for unemployment benefits in Maryland that go beyond the state’s beleaguered website. There are also hurdles facing those inside the call centers and those on the other end of the line.

COVID-19 CASES AROUND MARYLAND: Maryland officials reported Monday that the state has confirmed 786 new cases of the coronavirus while the number of patients hospitalized — a key metric for reopening the state — dropped by nearly 100, Phil Davis of the Baltimore Sun reports.

  • Three more people in Washington County have died from COVID-19, bringing the county’s death toll to 11, Dave McMillion of the Hagerstown Herald-Mail reports.
  • Montgomery County’s total of known coronavirus cases has increased 28% in the past week, reaching 6,909 cases on Monday. The county added five confirmed deaths on Monday for a total of 353, Dan Schere writes for Bethesda Beat.

NURSING HOME TESTING HAS CHALLENGES: The White House is recommending that all nursing home residents and staff be tested for COVID-19 in the next two weeks, a step for Maryland that Gov. Larry Hogan had announced in late April, the Daily Record reports. But if Maryland’s experience is any indication, widespread nursing home testing has its own set of challenges.

300 AG WORKERS TESTED: Over a two-day period, the Cecil County Health Department and the Department of Emergency Services helped with a project to test more than 300 people working in Maryland’s agriculture industry. COVID-19 testing was made available to workers and their families in southern Cecil and in Kent counties, Jane Bellmyer of the Cecil Whig reports.

A GUIDE TO LIFTING RESTRICTIONS: Maryland isn’t yet in a position to lift coronavirus-based restrictions, but Gov. Hogan has outlined an eventual plan for how it would work. Pamela Wood of the Sun outlines the steps that would be taken and how they would affect Marylanders.

FREDERICK EATERIES UNSURE OF FUTURE: Many Frederick County restaurants have see-sawed between being open for carryout and being closed altogether since the state of emergency began on March 15. Between an uncertain timeline for reopening the state, confusing grant guidelines and reductions in staff, restaurants across the county have been unsure about whether to continue their carryout and delivery services, Erika Riley of the Frederick News-Post reports.

SOME SMALL-BIZ OWNERS SEEK TO REOPEN: Cotton & Co. Vintage Boutique in Keymar is nonessential, according to the governor’s order, but to owner Jessica Crawford, it’s life-sustaining and she has asked Gov. Hogan for help in reopening, Mary Grace Keller of the Carroll County Times reports. “Our recovery is clearly going to be led by entrepreneurs like her who are committed to their customers and are determined to succeed,” Michael Ricci, spokesperson for the governor’s office, wrote in an email.

OPINION: HOGAN BUYS TIME WITH VETO: In a column for his Political Maryland blog, pundit Barry Rascovar opines that “Faced with a horrific health crisis, a collapsing economy, a disastrous plunge in state revenues and a raft of ultra-expensive bills rammed through the legislature by free-spending Democrats, Gov. Hogan had little choice but to veto those well-intended measures.”

Maya Rockeymoore Cummings (Courtesy: Ballotpedia.com)

CUMMINGS’ WIDOW BLASTS MFUME: The Washington Post’s Jenna Portnoy reports that three weeks before Democrats choose a nominee to serve a full term in the seat formerly held by the late U.S. Rep. Elijah Cummings, another candidate — the congressman’s widow, Maya Rockeymoore Cummings — says her husband never trusted Kweisi Mfume or considered him a friend. She made those and other allegations last week on the website Medium, in a post called “Stolen Legacy.”

B’MORE BILL BANS RENT INCREASES: The Baltimore City Council approved legislation Monday night that would prohibit landlords from increasing tenants’ rent while the city is grappling with the coronavirus pandemic, Talia Richman of the Sun reports.

  • The bill was first introduced by City Council President Brandon Scott in late April and prohibits landlords from raising rent during the ongoing state of emergency and retroactively cancels rent increases that have gone into effect after March 5, Emily Sullivan of WYPR-FM reports.

ARUNDEL EYES CAPITAL PROJECTS: Anne Arundel County’s capital budget proposes wide-ranging plans to upgrade Ritchie Highway and Route 3, make improvements to several schools and invest in law enforcement facilities despite slashed revenues due to the coronavirus pandemic and a cut to property tax rates, Olivia Sanchez of the Sun reports.

WA CO TO HOLD VIRTUAL BUDGET HEARING: The Washington County Board of Commissioners will hold a virtual public hearing Thursday night for its proposed $235.9 million general-fund budget and $54.9 million capital budget, Julie Greene writes in the Hagerstown Herald-Mail.

OPINION: BALTIMORE’S CORRUPT POLITICIANS: In a commentary for MarylandReporter, Richard Vatz of Towson University opines on Baltimore City politics and says Baltimore voters have only themselves to blame for the city’s woes if they allow criminal leaders to return to City Hall.

 

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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