State Roundup: Cutting polling places; reviewing Hogan’s book; lower casino takes

State Roundup: Cutting polling places; reviewing Hogan’s book; lower casino takes

Gov. Larry Hogan has been making the rounds of cable news and radio talk shows to promote his new book. Here is with CNN's Wolf Blitzer. Screen shot.

HOGAN’S ‘STILL STANDING:’ What can we learn about Gov. Larry Hogan Jr. from his new memoir, “Still Standing,” officially out Monday? “For someone like me who’s been following his political career for the past nine years, the basics are well-known,” writes Len Lazarick in this review for MarylandReporter. “But the book is not intended for people like me or even Marylanders. It is meant to introduce Hogan to a national audience. Hence his appearance on national cable and radio shows – not local outlets,”

  • In his review, Josh Kurtz of Maryland Matters calls the book “Hogan’s Paean to Hogan.”
  • Pamela Wood of the Sun offers these take-aways from Hogan’s memoir.
  • Erin Cox of the Post writes that Gov. Larry Hogan first describes President Trump as an irritating distraction, elected midway through the moderate Republican’s first term leading a deep-blue state. Then Trump becomes the most serious threat to Hogan’s 2018 reelection. And now, Hogan writes, the president is mishandling the coronavirus pandemic and sending the Republican Party in the wrong direction.
  • Josh Kurtz of Maryland Matters ponders who is in the index of Hogan’s book and who was left out?

GOP’s FED STIMULUS AID BENEFITS QUESTIONED: A proposal by Republicans on Capitol Hill to reduce enhanced unemployment benefits in the $1 trillion coronavirus aid package has reignited the debate on whether the GOP’s federal stimulus plan could help or hurt Maryland’s economy, writes Bryan Renbaum of MarylandReporter.

JURISDICTIONS CUT POLLING PLACES: Howard County Election Director Guy Mickley’s numbers for election judges didn’t look good. Within a day, they grew bleaker. The board unanimously approved Mickley’s proposal to slash the number of polling places in Howard to 35. Local elections directors across the state face the same problem as they grapple with how to implement Gov. Larry Hogan’s decision for the state to hold a traditional election this fall, Emily Opilo and Talia Richman report for the Sun.

STATE TO END PAYING NURSING HOME STAFF COVID TESTS: Maryland’s health department has warned nursing homes that the state will soon stop paying for the weekly coronavirus testing it requires for staff — prompting frustration from some in the industry, who say facilities cannot afford to foot the bill, Rebecca Tan and Rachel Chason of the Post report.

SMALLER CASINO CONTRIBUTION TO EDUCATION: Bryan Sears of the Daily Record reports that while Maryland contributes about $500 million annually to the state’s Education Trust Fund as part of its casino program, those contributions are likely to be less, maybe 50% less, than last year, according to Gordon Medenica, director of the state Lottery and Gaming Control Agency.

  • Maryland’s casinos are starting to bounce back after a three-month closure due to the coronavirus pandemic, but some workers say they don’t feel safe on the job. The general managers of the state’s six privately owned casinos told state lawmakers Tuesday that they’ve had workers who don’t want to return over health concerns, Pamela Wood of the Sun reports.
  • Josh Kurtz reports for Maryland Matters that most of Maryland’s casinos are operating at roughly half capacity now, Medenica and managers of the six properties said in their testimony — though traffic and revenues appear to be coming in at roughly 70%. Even so, Medenica told lawmakers, “I think we have to expect a long-term lowering of our expected casino operation revenues.”

WICOMICO SCHOOLS TO START ON LINE: Over a Zoom conference with attendance maxed at 500 listeners, the Wicomico County Board of Education voted in a special meeting Tuesday morning to start the upcoming school year online. The plan now calls for 100% virtual instruction for the first semester of 2020, Kelly Powers of the Salisbury Daily Times reports.

MO CO TEACHERS UNION-MANAGEMENT TENSIONS RISE: From contentious contract talks to pointed disagreements on coping with COVID-19, there’s ample evidence of “growing tension” between the local teachers union and Montgomery County Public Schools, as union President Chris Lloyd described it. But if the current strain is a marked departure from the norms of recent years, it underscores that labor-management relations have come full circle the past three decades, reports Louis Peck for Bethesda Beat.

CARROLL PRIVATE SCHOOLS OFFER OPENING OPTIONS: Many of Carroll County’s private schools are offering the option for students to return to schools five days per week, with a synchronous virtual option for families who choose to keep their students at home, reports Catalina Righter of the Carroll County Times.

HOGAN, CUOMO & NGA PUSH FOR COVID-19 RESPONSE: In a perspective piece for the Washington Post, Robert McCartney writes that the institution that would normally manage a common approach to the Covid-19 pandemic — the federal government — has forsaken the task. But, under the leadership of Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan and New York Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, the National Governors Association successfully pressed the Trump administration to take steps that it might otherwise have neglected.

HOGAN KEEPS HEAT ON TRUMP: On the first official day of his book tour, Gov. Larry Hogan accused President Trump and Senate Republicans Tuesday of reneging on a pledge to help states battle a fiscal crisis that has already led to massive layoffs — and he warned that continued failure to reach agreement on a new COVID-19 stimulus plan would lead to “real trouble” soon, writes Bruce DePuyt for Maryland Matters.

ODOR-BASED POT ARRESTS ILLEGAL: Police officers lack probable cause to arrest and search someone for marijuana possession simply for smelling of the drug, because possession of less than 10 grams of marijuana is not a crime in Maryland, the state’s top court unanimously ruled Monday, Steve Lash reports for the Daily Record.

CECIL EXEC SEEKS TO OUST WINNER FROM BALLOT: Cecil County Executive Alan McCarthy, a Republican, has filed a lawsuit in Cecil County Circuit Court to toss his one-time political rival, Danielle Hornberger, from the November general election ballot, Ryan Miner writes in his A Miner Detail blog. McCarthy’s suit alleges that Hornberger failed to file the required financial disclosure forms last November when she placed her name on the June ballot.

  • McCarthy suffered a stunning re-election defeat in the primary to Hornberger, who garnered more than 60% of the vote in a four-candidate GOP contest, Nancy Schwerzler of the Cecil Times writes.

AN ERUPTION IN MONTGOMERY: Adam Pagnucco of Seventh State writes that when the Montgomery County Council met yesterday to consider the case of admitted ethics violator and Chief Administrative Officer Andrew Kleine, one word alone can describe what happened: Eruption. The council held very little back. Montgomery County government has never seen anything quite like it.

MO CO FINDS RACIAL UNBALANCE IN USE OF FORCE: A new report released by Montgomery County shows racial disparities in county police interactions with Black and brown residents, Briana Adhikusuma of Bethesda Beat reports. Black people make up about 18% of the county’s population, but in 2018, they represented 55% of use of force cases and 32% of traffic stops, according to the county’s Office of Legislative Oversight.

BA CO COUNCIL CONSIDERS POLICE REFORMS: The Baltimore County Council heard passionate pleas Tuesday night in favor of proposed legislation that would ban the use of chokeholds by police — among other reforms — as some officials questioned the consequences of the bill. Nearly 50 people waited for more than six hours to speak during the online hearing, Wilborn Nobles of the Sun reports.

FREDERICK COUNCIL OKs 4 CHARTER AMENDMENTS FOR BALLOT: Frederick County Council members agreed on language for four potential charter amendments that will be placed on the ballot later this year, that could lead to changes to the county charter, Steve Bohnel of the Frederick News-Post reports. The four changes include lowering the borrowing limits of county government, allowing individual council members to request information from the executive branch for potential legislation or other uses and implementing a special election process for vacancies for county executive and the council.

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 newspaper, The Chester Telegraph. If you have additional questions or comments contact Cynthia at:

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