State Roundup: Cautious optimism on economy

State Roundup: Cautious optimism on economy

Happy Fourth of July. In this 2014 photo for Maryland Day, a hand-sewn replica of the Fort McHenry flag that inspired the Star-Spangled Banner was unfurled in the State House rotunda. September 2014 marked the bicentennial of the British bombardment and the poem by Francis Scott Key.

JOBS REPORTS SLIGHTLY ROSIER: Maryland’s business leaders said they are cautiously optimistic about the numbers in the federal government’s latest jobs report, Bryan Renbaum reports for Maryland Reporter. The jobs report comes about three-and-half months after Maryland and many other states began implementing restrictions aimed at preventing the spread of the coronavirus.

  • In Montgomery County, the number of people seeking initial unemployment benefits decreased 28% from the week before, Briana Adhikusuma reports for Bethesda Beat.

AG OFFICE FOR BALTIMORE CRIME CASUALTY OF BUDGET CUTS: The state Board of Public Works scrapped plans to expand the Maryland attorney general’s office by adding a unit to prosecute street crime in Baltimore, Tim Prudente and Yvonne Wenger report for the Sun. The move came as part of $413 in budget cuts due to the coronavirus pandemic.

HOGAN HIRES FORMER AIDE FOR PANDEMIC BUDGET ADJUSTMENTS: Gov. Larry Hogan (R) hired a former political advisor , Steve Crim, to oversee the revamping of the state’s budget in the light of the pandemic in a new, $154,000 role, Erin Cox reports for the Post.

COVID-19 STATE OF EMERGENCY CONTINUES: Gov. Larry Hogan on Wednesday quietly renewed the state of emergency declaration he enacted in March in response to the COVID-19 pandemic even as the state continues to show signs the spread of COVID is slowing, Adam Bednar reports for The Daily Record.

  • Nic Kipke, Minority Leader in the House of Delegates, is fully recovered from the coronavirus but his grandfather didn’t, John Rydell of WBFF reports.
  • The daughter of a renowned scientist who died from the coronavirus is raising concerns about her father’s care. A state strike team responded to the facility where he was located around the time she sent an email, Deborah Weiner reports for WBAL TV.
  • Washington County Health Department officials are “highly” recommending that anyone attending the mile-long yard sale Saturday north of Hagerstown wear a face mask to help prevent the spread of the virus that causes COVID-19, Tamela Bakers reports for the Hagerstown Herald-Mail. The sale is traditionally held July 4th weekend and attracts thousands of people.

BRACING FOR COMING EVICTIONS: Residents and tenant advocates say they are bracing for a potential “tsunami” of evictions once court proceedings resume and federal coronavirus aid evaporates, Talia Richman and Wilborn P. Nobles III report for the Sun. The two developments are expected to happen at the end of the month.

  • Advocates are calling on Hogan to “cancel the rent,” Bennett Leckrone reports for Maryland Matters. More than 150,000 renters in Maryland could lose their homes due to coronavirus lost income when a federal moratorium on evictions expires on July 25, according to one advocate.
  • Residents will have at least until the end of the month to pay utility bills, Briana Adhikusuma reports for Bethesda Beat. Gov. Larry Hogan extended his emergency order that prohibits utility providers from stopping service or charging late fees for electricity, water, phone and internet services across the state through Aug. 1.

UMMS ISSUES BENEFITS CONTRACT TO FAMILIAR VENDOR: The University of Maryland Medical System has made a new deal with the company of a former board member that had previously received no-bid contracts, Meredith Cohn and Talia Richman reports for the Sun. It’s been more than a year since UMMS came under scathing criticism for a series of no-bid contracts with its own board members. The new contract was awarded after an extensive bidding process.

  • The deal is with the insurance firm of former state Sen. Frank Kelly, Jayne Miller reports for WBALTV.

MOCO ETHICS LAW VIOLATION: Montgomery County Chief Administrative Officer Andrew Kleine is making a $5,000 payment to the county and has terminated relationships with two private companies for violating two ethics provisions, Adam Pagnucco writes for The Seventh State.

BREONNA TAYLOR MURAL IN ANNAPOLIS: A 7,000-square-foot mural of a Black woman who was killed by police in Louisville, Kentucky, will be painted in a historically Black neighborhood in Annapolis, the AP reports.

RACIAL JUSTICE CALL AT COUNTY LEVEL: Frederick County Councilman Kai Hagen intends to introduce legislation around racial equity and social justice in the county, Steve Bohnel writes for The Frederick News-Post.

BODY CAM FOOTAGE RELEASED: New video from defense attorneys of the confrontation that landed two men in handcuffs and charged with assaulting a Baltimore City Police sergeant in January tells a different story than what they were initially told, Eddie Kadhim reports for WMAR-2 News. The incident had previously been shown on a viral video that caused an uproar from officials like the governor, mayor and states attorney against those who attacked the officer.

MD EYES NEW BALLOT VENDORS: Maryland officials are looking at new vendors to potentially print and mail ballots for the November election after a rocky process of mostly mail-in ballots for the June primary, Talia Richman reports for the Sun.

CARROLL USES FED COVID MONEY TO PLAN RENOVATIONS: Carroll County approved two design contracts from $14.6 million in federal funding to renovate the county’s lobby and emergency communications center, Mary Grace Keller reports for the Carroll County Times. The lobby renovations include new automatic sliding doors and other changes to encourage separation among people in response to the pandemic.

REMEMBERING FRANK SLIWKA:  Frank Sliwka, a former minor league baseball player and appointee for two Maryland governors, died in June and was remembered fondly by former Gov. Bob Ehrlich in the obituary by Edward Lee for the Sun.

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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