State Roundup: Officials call ‘Defund the police’ a ‘terrible idea’

State Roundup: Officials call ‘Defund the police’ a ‘terrible idea’

From a march along Greenmount Avenue in Baltimore June 6 by Elvert Barnes Photography with Flickr Creative Commons License

LEADERS DEBATE DEFUND THE POLICE: Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan called the idea of defunding police a “terrible idea” in an interview with Katie Couric for TIME100 Talks. Citing Baltimore as an example, Hogan spoke of how city officials have been able to improve the relationship between police and the city’s residents by “by investing more in our police … In recruitment, in training, in equipment, trying to teach people about de-escalation.”

  • Across Maryland, the idea is sparking different reactions. Howard County’s top law enforcement officials – all African American – are warning the “defund the police” movement can lead to chaos and worry about the expense of body-cameras, at the same time they reject excessive use of force and racism in policing, Len Lazarick reports for Maryland Reporter.
  • Meanwhile, the Baltimore City Council is sending a message to people rallying around the “defund the police” movement: Tens of millions of dollars in proposed cuts to the half-billion dollar police budget to serve as down payment on a commitment to change the way tax dollars are invested in the future, Yvonne Wenger reports for the Sun.
  • Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan said flatly that he does not support the idea of a policy change to take money from police budgets to support community needs, Pamela Wood reports for the Sun.

HOPKINS EXPERT PUSHING BACK ON MD REOPENING: “A top adviser to Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan pushed back Thursday on the governor’s decision the day before to open the state’s restaurants, gyms and malls, saying the moves allowing indoor gatherings could erase progress on containing growth of the coronavirus,” Meredith Cohn reports for the Sun.

  • Tom Inglesby, director of Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security, suggested in a briefing with reporters from around the country that Hogan is moving too fast, Bryan Sears reports for The Daily Record.
  • There have been outbreaks in restaurants and bars, BruceDePuyt reports on Inglesby’s comments for Maryland Matters, so they will be higher risk. Additionally, group gatherings are situations where the virus could spread widely.

INDOOR DINING STARTING FRIDAY IN MUCH OF STATE: Anne Arundel County will go along with statewide permissions to allow indoor dining at restaurants and reopening outdoor amusement starting at 5 p.m. Friday, Olivia Sanchez reports for the Capital Gazette.

  • Baltimore County, which had been slow to adopt reopenings, will also proceed after county executive Johnny Olszewski said the patchwork approach had confused residents, Taylor Deville reports for Baltimore Sun Media. Baltimore County is “now the lowest among Maryland’s large counties” for positivity of coronavirus tests.
  • Baltimore City, which had faced criticism earlier this week for reopening more slowly from Gov. Larry Hogan, is not entering phase 2 and businesses feel left behind, Jayne Miller reports for WBAL-TV. But a spokesman for the governor said there was conversation Thursday between the governor’s office and the mayor’s office.
  • Also on Thursday, businesses in Fells Point sent a letter to the mayor’s office pleading the case to reopen, Jeff Abell reports for WBFF.
  • Montgomery County remains in phase 1, but Bethesda restaurant customers are in no rush to move inside and are comfortable with a temporary outdoor seating layout downtown known as the “Streetery,” reports Dan Schere with Bethesda Beat.
  • But Montgomery County should make sure indoor church services are allowed if other activities like protests are allowed, the U.S. Department of Justice warned in a letter, reports Kevin Lewis for ABC7 WJLA.
  • Meanwhile, Gov. Larry Hogan takes steps to clear hurdles with liquor licenses and fees for restaurants that want to serve alcohol for outdoor dining that have not offered it before, Tyler Waldman reports for WBAL NewsRadio.

MORE THAN 60,000 MD COVID CASES: Maryland surpassed 60,000 confirmed COVID-19 cases Thursday, Greg Swatek reports for the Frederick News-Post.  The state department of health reported 732 new cases over the last 24 hours, including 24 more in Frederick County.

HOGAN’S POPULARITY, LEADERSHIP FEATURED IN ROLLING STONE: Heralded as America’s most popular governor, Gov. Larry Hogan tells Andy Kroll in an interview with Rolling Stone that the country needs a national investment, stockpile and planning based on science as it moves forward with a response to the pandemic.

JUSTICE CRISIS TASK FORCE FORMS: Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh has formed a task force to ensure equal access to justice for the indigent and minorities in anticipation of a “tsunami” of eviction cases when Maryland courts reopen, Steve Lash reports for The Daily Record. On the agenda: providing a right to counsel for the indigent in civil litigation.

  • The group will propose legislation to address a “crisis of justice,” reports Marty Rose Madden for WYPR.
  • The task force is set to meet for the first time within the next few weeks, Hannah Gaskill writes for Maryland Matters.

MORE UNEMPLOYMENT CLAIMS PROCESSED: Maryland’s Department of Labor has processed 86% of unemployment claims and paid out more than $2.2 billion in unemployment benefits from March 9 to June 6, Ryan Dickstein for WMAR reports.

HOCO YOUTH ORGANIZING BIG: A 17-person group of 18- to 21-year olds organized the largest protest in Howard County history, Ana Faguy reports for Baltimore Sun Media about the youth-led group behind Columbia’s Black Lives Matter protest.

REMOVING CIVIL WAR MARKERS: Maryland House Speaker Adrienne Jones, the state’s first African American House speaker, is renewing her call to remove a Civil War plaque that sits in the rotunda of the State House, Ovetta Wggins reports for the Post.

  • There are also calls to rename buildings at the Naval Academy linked to the Confederacy, Heather Mongilio reports for the Capital Gazette.

MINIMUM WAGE FREEZE PROPOSED: Advocates of low-wage workers are fighting back against calls by business groups to freeze Maryland’s scheduled minimum wage increase for at least two years, Bryan Renbaum of Maryland Reporter writes.

LEADERS CALL FOR CHILD CARE SUBSIDIES, EVICTION PREVENTION: The leaders of Maryland’s seven largest counties are calling for child care center subsidies and an extended eviction prevention program plan, Olivia Sanchez reports for the Capital Gazette. With fewer children enrolled in child care centers due to state restrictions, child care centers are receiving limited income as it stands now.

FREE MEALS COST SCHOOLS: Frederick County Public Schools officials are hoping for state or federal funds will help them offset a $2.8 million deficit caused by providing free meals during the pandemic while schools were closed, Katyrna Perera reports for The Frederick News-Post.

ELECTION TURNOUT: Updated numbers released Thursday morning now show Montgomery County as one of the lower voter turnout jurisdictions in Maryland, but no longer last, reports Adam Pagnucco for Seventh State. Baltimore City had the best turnout with 46.1% returned.

HOWARD COUNTY PRIMARY RACES DECIDED: With nearly all of the ballots counted from the June 2 primary election, local races in Howard County look to be finally decided, Jacob Calvin Meyer reports for Baltimore Sun media. Ten Board of Education candidates and two Circuit Court judge candidates will now move on to the general election in November.

FORMER GOV CANDIDATE TALKS ABOUT BREAST CANCER EXPERIENCE: Krish O’Mara Vignarajah, a former candidate for Maryland governor who recently underwent breast cancer surgery, said she decided to go public about the experience to help other women cope with the disease, Jeff Barker reports for the Sun.

CARROLL MOVING OUT OF EMERGENCY: Carroll County Commissioners debated if they should allow the county’s state of emergency to expire on June 13, and ultimately compromised by voting to end the state of emergency on June 27.

OC VIOLATED OPEN MEETINGS: Ocean City received a warning from Maryland officials earlier this month after a statewide panel found the town violated the Maryland Open Meetings Act for 18 months during Ocean City Pier franchise agreement negotiations, Matthew Prensky reports for Salisbury Daily Times.

About The Author

Meg Tully

Contributing Editor Meg Tully has been covering Maryland politics for more than five years. She has worked for The Frederick News-Post, where she reported during the General Assembly session in Annapolis. She has also worked for The (Hanover) Evening Sun and interned at Baltimore Magazine. Meg has won awards from the Maryland-Delaware-D.C. Press Association for her state and county writing, and a Keystone Press Award for feature writing from the Pennsylvania Newspaper Association. She is a graduate of Franklin & Marshall College in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. If you have additional questions or comments contact Meg at:

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