PHASE TWO STARTS FRIDAY: Most Maryland counties will reopen under stage two of Maryland’s recovery plan Friday, including Anne Arundel, Howard, Harford, Carroll and Cecil counties, Mike Hellgren reports for WJZ. An announcement from Baltimore Mayor Jack Young is expected today on what the city will allow. Young would not comment Thursday on reopening plans.

  • Young’s decision not to comment Thursday did not go over well with people, especially business owners, watching the presser online, Dave Detling reports for WMAR.
  • A health expert warns Gov. Larry Hogan and his team face much tougher decisions in the weeks ahead, particularly a wrenching tradeoff for what to do about reopening schools, Bruce DePuyt reports for Maryland Matters.

A CALL TO REOPEN MORE: Del. Brian Chisholm (R-Anne Arundel) said it is time to allow all businesses in the state that are still closed due to restrictions aimed at preventing the spread of the coronavirus to reopen provided they follow recommended safety guidelines, Bryan Renbaum reports for MarylandReporter.com.

  • Demonstrators are planning an event Saturday in Carroll County to protest the coronavirus-related restrictions still in place and urge for a reopened economy, Pat Stoetzer and Mary Grace Keller report for the Carroll County Times.
  • Montgomery County officials have changed their methodology on how progress is measured for coronavirus benchmarks that will help determine when the county reopens, Dan Schere reports for Bethesda Beat. The county now says it meets six of nine benchmarks for reopening.

MARYLAND LEADERS WANT MORE RACIAL JUSTICE, PROPOSE POLICE REFORMS: Heeding the calls of protesters from Baltimore to Minneapolis and beyond, leading Maryland lawmakers are putting forward proposals to reform policing practices, Pamela Wood reports for the Sun.

  • Bryan Sears of The Daily Record has details on a package of bills from Sen. Will Smith, chair of the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee, for the coming 2021 session meant to reform law enforcement practices and accountability in the wake of the death of George Floyd.
  • Smith’s proposals will include changes to officer training, use of force, disclosure of personnel records and other reforms, Hannnah Gaskill reports for Maryland Matters.
  • “Maryland Attorney General Brian E. Frosh (D) joined his counterparts in 17 states Thursday in calling for Congress to grant state attorneys general, across the country, the authority to investigate unconstitutional policing practices,” Hannah Gaskill writes for Maryland Matters.
  • Prince George’s County State’s Attorney Aisha Braveboy is urging Minnesota’s black Attorney General Keith Ellison to request an independent medical examination so proper decisions are made “in the pursuit of justice,” Mark F. Gray reports for AFRO. Braveboy has prosecuted a hate crime before and knows how difficult it is to prosecute officers, the article states.

RACISM A PUBLIC HEALTH CRISIS: There is a new call for racism to be declared a public health crisis, reports Ray Strickland for WMAR. Former Baltimore City Health Commissioner Dr. Leana Wen testified before a congressional subcommittee Thursday and called on Congress to address racial disparities that are now in the spotlight because of the coronavirus.

MARYLAND NATIONAL GUARD IN DC: Gov. Larry Hogan and Washington, D.C., Mayor Muriel Bowser continued to disagree Thursday over the presence of Maryland National Guard troops in the district, Pamela Wood for the Sun reports.

DEMONSTRATIONS REACH ALL OVER MARYLAND: Protests about the killing of unarmed Minnesota man George Floyd have spread as far as Oakland in Western Maryland, Joseph Hauger reports for the Garrett County Republican. Several protesters lined a street there with signs.

  • More than 300 people crowded Main Street in front of the Harford County Sheriff’s Office in Bel Air on Thursday to protest and demand equal treatment of black people by police officers, reports James Whitlow for The Aegis.
  • The demonstration went on for hours Thursday, ending outside of the sheriff’s office where protesters called for Sheriff Jeff Gahler to respond, Tre Ward reports for WBAL-TV.
  • Some University of Maryland students have attended protests in person, while others have taken to social media to promote fundraisers and other resources for justice, writes Carmen Molina Acosta and Rina Torchinsky for The Diamondback.

POLICE SEARCH FOR CYCLIST IN POSTER DISPUTE: A video clip showing a bicyclist trying to stop a young group from posting flyers on the Capital Crescent Trail about George Floyd’s death has drawn widespread attention, getting millions of views on Thursday, Andrew Schotz reports for Bethesda Beat.

WAITING FOR ELECTIONS RESULTS: Baltimore elections officials on Thursday didn’t count any additional ballots in the race for mayor, instead spending the day’s canvass sorting out a mistake in one City Council race, Emily Opilo and Talia Richman write for the Sun.

  • The ballots were previously counted incorrectly because of a printing error, David Collins reports for WBAL-TV. City Elections Director Armstead Jones described a tedious process canvassing the first district ballots, that involves 3,500 to 4,000 ballots.
  • Montgomery County election workers on Thursday continued their countof hundreds of thousands of ballots from Tuesday’s primary, but did not post updated results online, Caitlynn Peetz and Andrew Schotz report for Bethesda Beat.

COMMENTARY: ELECTIONS SCREW UPS: “It’s a toss-up to figure out which bungling election board in Maryland is more incompetent— the one in Baltimore or the one in Annapolis in charge of statewide coordination,” Barry Rascovar opines for Political Maryland.

STATE CREATES SUPPORT FOR COVID CAREGIVERS: Maryland is making a concerted effort to offer mental health support to staff in nursing homes and long-term care facilities providing caregiving for COVID-19 patients, Kristi King reports for WTOP.

RED MARYLAND SIGNS OFF: Red Maryland, the 13-year-old conservative blog, signs off for good with  a series of thank yous and a final podcast.