HOGAN PROPOSES $1.45B IN BUDGET CUTS: Gov. Larry Hogan proposed $1.45 billion in budget cuts across state government Friday, including eliminating employee raises, cutting vacant positions and slashing funding for programs ranging from school security to prosecuting violent crime in Baltimore, Pamela Wood of the Sun reports.
- In total, the Hogan administration is proposing more than $610 million in cuts to the General Fund Budget and nearly $845 million in other actions including transfers, from numerous state special funds, writes Bryan Sears for the Daily Record.
STATE WORKERS FEAR SALARY CUTS, JOB LOSS: Salary cuts, job losses and rising health insurance costs are among the consequences some state workers fear as state officials re-examine spending plans amid a major economic downturn driven by the COVID-19 pandemic, Hannah Gaskill of Maryland Matters reports.
HOGAN COMMITS $30M TO IMPERILED RENTERS: Gov. Larry Hogan on Friday announced that Maryland would commit $30 million to prevent renters from getting evicted, including $20 million for local governments and $10 million for a housing relief assistance program, writes Marcus Dieterle in Baltimore Fishbowl. But the immigrant advocacy organization CASA criticized Hogan for not doing more to stave off evictions.
STEELE SAYS STATE SONG LYRICS NEED TO CHANGE: Former Lt. Gov. Michael Steele said the lyrics to Maryland’s state song should be changed, reports Bryan Renbaum for MarylandReporter. “I’d love to keep the theme. I love the theme music. But the lyrics should be more reflective — not just of these times but more reflective of who we are, how we see ourselves as Marylanders. And what does it mean to be a Marylander? And what does it mean to be a part of the United States?” Steele said Friday.
NEALL URGES SOME TO BE RETESTED: The Maryland Department of Health is advising Marylanders who received COVID-19 tests associated with Advanced Pain Medicine Institute to be retested, report Dan Lampariello and Elijah Westbrook on WBFF-Fox 45. Health Secretary Robert Neall issued an order Saturday requiring APMI to stop collection and processing COVID-19 specimens immediately.
NEW LAWS TO TAKE EFFECT JULY 1: Even though the Maryland General Assembly ended its annual session weeks early, lawmakers passed more than 600 bills this year. Most go into effect Oct. 1, but dozens take effect Wednesday, as the state begins a new fiscal year. Pamela Wood of the Sun takes a look at some of the laws.
BOARDS SEEK HYBRID ELECTION: Maryland’s local election board directors are calling on state officials to hold a hybrid vote-by-mail election in the fall with more in-person voting centers, saying it is too late to plan for a traditional election, reports Emily Opilo for the Sun.
SENATE GOP AGAINST MAIL-IN VOTING PLAN: Advocates for disability rights and other groups lobbied for a mail-in ballot for November’s election Friday morning, one day after Maryland Senate Republicans announced their opposition to such a plan, claiming vote-by-mail could lead to voter fraud, Bennett Leckrone writes for Maryland Matters.
327 NEW COVID CASES ON SUNDAY: Maryland health officials Sunday announced an additional 327 confirmed cases of the coronavirus and an additional 12 deaths resulting from the disease, the Sun is reporting. In Maryland, the total confirmed COVID-19 cases and deaths now stand at 66,777 and 3,042, respectively, according to the latest figures.
- Here’s the daily Sun Covid-19 data update.
REOPEN LEADER WITH COVID-19 STILL AGAINST MASKS: One of the leaders of a group pushing for the state to quickly ease restrictions put in place as a result of the novel coronavirus pandemic said contracting the illness has not changed his thoughts on wearing face coverings, Bryan Sears reports in the Daily Record.
JH HOSPITAL OFFERS ADVOCATES FOR FAMILIES: The woman felt helpless. Her husband, in his 60s, lay in Johns Hopkins Hospital attached to a ventilator and battling the coronavirus. He couldn’t speak; she couldn’t visit. Enter Ruoxi Yu, 26, a Hopkins medical student who this spring participated in a pilot program in which she served as an advocate for families of pandemic patients. Mike Klingaman reports in the Sun.
HOSPITAL CARE CONCERNS PUBLIC: More than half of the people surveyed by a Baltimore area hospital said they would be concerned about going to the hospital for care, a result that underscores health experts’ fears that COVID-19 is deterring people who need other medical services from seeking them, Ellie Heffernan of the Daily Record reports.
CLEAN ENERGY INDUSTRY SUFFERS UNDER PANDEMIC: The clean energy industry has lost more than 620,000 jobs, or 18% of its workforce, nationwide since the pandemic hit, according to a report by BW Research published on June 15. In May alone, 27,000 clean energy jobs were lost, writes Elizabeth Shwe for Maryland Matters.
FOUNDING FATHERS STATUES TARGETED: Amid the wave of protests against the nation’s legacy of racism, it wasn’t unexpected for vandals to target statues of iconic Confederate figures who are remembered chiefly for supporting a cause that aimed to preserve slavery. Jonathan Pitts of the Sun reports that now some protesters are targeting figures more widely revered — Founding Fathers such as Washington and Thomas Jefferson, who owned slaves even as they helped establish a nation “conceived in liberty.”
MO CO: PURPLE LINE NEEDS BETTER WALKWAYS: Katherine Shaver of the Post reports that a new study by Montgomery County planners say that suburban roads designed to move traffic need better sidewalks and crosswalks to make Purple Line stations easier and safer to reach on foot and bicycle.
PURPLE LINE WORK STOPPAGE THREATENED: Threats to halt work on the Purple Line over a contract dispute are stirring fears among elected officials, residents and business owners in Montgomery and Prince George’s counties, writes Bruce DePuyt in Maryland Matters. The consortium overseeing the 16-mile light rail line filed notice last week that it will end its partnership with its contractors and the state in August if a resolution isn’t reached by then.
CAPITAL GAZETTE JOURNALISTS HONORED: Gov. Larry Hogan proclaimed Sunday, June 28 Freedom of the Press Day in honor of the five Capital Gazette employees murdered two years ago to the day in 2018 to memorialize Gerald Fischman, Rob Hiaasen, John McNamara, Rebecca Smith, and Wendi Winters and to honor and protect “all journalists serving a vital role in the world’s democratic process to inform residents of the happenings of their governments,” Brandi Bottalico reports for the Capital Gazette.
- Alex Mann of the Capital Gazette writes that family members of the fallen relive their painful memories. Widows wake up with nightmares — an imaginary shotgun blast or anxiously awaiting a phone call from a husband that never comes — and siblings, children and friends remember in vivid detail where they were when the devastating news was received. They can feel the trauma all over.
TALBOT PROPOSES ‘UNITY STATUE’ TO REPLACE TALBOT BOYS: Some Talbot County officials want to construct a “unity statue” to memorialize both sides from the Civil War amid calls to remove a century-old Confederate memorial from the county’s courthouse grounds. Talbot County Councilman Frank Divilio (R) said, “I think the community can get behind coming together.”
CARROLL DIVERSITY COMMISSION IDEA WITHDRAWN: In the Board of County Commissioners meeting on Thursday, Commissioner Eric Bouchat withdrew his initiative to establish a diversity commission after the president of Carroll County’s NAACP chapter expressed her opposition toward it since the NAACP has already launched efforts that the commission would do.
BRUNSWICK SCHOOL REPLACEMENT ON DELAYED: The replacement of Brunswick High School is unlikely to occur for at least another 10 years, even though the project was approved last year by the school board, with the design phase delayed from 2022 to the 2028-29 school year, Katyrna Perera of the Frederick News-Post reports.
BA CO KEEPING JULY 4th ALIVE: Despite the lack of (organized) fireworks displays, community members throughout Baltimore County are still finding ways to keep the spirit of Independence Day alive, Taylor DeVille of the Towson Times reports.
DoD FLYOVER FOR THE 4th: The Department of Defense is set to fly over the Baltimore region on the Fourth of July to help celebrate the nation’s 244th birthday, McKenna Oxenden of the Sun reports.