State Roundup: Sen. Serafini stepping down, Baltimore reports alarming virus trend

State Roundup: Sen. Serafini stepping down, Baltimore reports alarming virus trend

Maryland Reporter's Len Lazarick, left, interviewed then presidential candidate Herman Cain in 2012 at the Howard County Lincoln Day dinner. Fosie Weston video for MarylandReporter.com. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4J91VufWUEQ&feature=player_embedded#!

BUDGET CUTS LOOM WITHOUT STIMULUS DEAL: Maryland Budget and Taxation committee member Sen. Cory McCray (D-Baltimore City) is warning Maryland could be forced to cut the state budget if Congress cannot come to an agreement on the $1 trillion coronavirus stimulus package, Bryan Renbaum reports for Maryland Reporter.

SEN. SERAFINI STEPPING DOWN: “’After much prayer and contemplation,’” Sen. Andrew Serafini, R-Washington, announced that he is resigning from the Maryland General Assembly,” Mike Lewis reports for the Hagerstown Herald-Mail.

  • Two sources close to the Senate Republican Caucus told A Miner Detail Thursday that several Senate Republicans are pushing for Hagerstown state Del. Paul Corderman to replace Serafini over the two Republicans representing Washington County’s District 2A – state Delegates Neil C. Parrott and William J. Wivell, Ryan Miner writes.
  • Serafini, a Western Maryland Republican, is resigning effective Saturday, reports Pamela Wood for the Sun. He has served on the Budget and Taxation Committee and said the long hours and demanding job has been wearing.
  • Serafini, a financial planner when not in Annapolis, built a reputation as a budget watchdog who had the respect of his own party and that of Democrats, Bryan Sears reports for The Daily Record.

ALARMING TRENDS: Baltimore’s COVID-19 positivity rate is on the rise at 6.2% positivity this week compared to 4.8% across the state, reports Emily Opilo for the Sun. Officials are saying the virus’ rise is alarming and are asking residents to heed restrictions.

  • The coronavirus cases are rising faster than increased testing can account for, Jayne Miller reports for WBAL NewsRadio.
  • Carroll County Health Office Ed Singer said he is “very concerned”with the trend of rising COVID-19 cases in the county, and on Thursday the county confirmed 14 news cases, reports Brian Compere for the Carroll County Times.
  • Garrett County reported 10 new cases, which the health officer for Garrett and Allegany counties said shows asymptomatic community spread, Joseph Hauger reports for the Garrett County Republican.
  • Frederick County is expanding COVID-19 efforts, adding a new testing site, expanding data reported on the county’s health department website and standing behind Hogan’s new mask order, Greg Swatek reports for The Frederick News-Post.

UNIVERSITIES REQUIRE TESTS, STUDENTS TRY TO CANCEL LEASES: The University System of Maryland will require all students, faculty and staff returning to campuses be tested for COVID-19 within 14 days prior to arrival, Ellie Heffernan reports for The Daily Record.

  • Morgan State University is requiring tests before students, faculty and staff return, WBAL TV reports.
  • A group of University of Maryland students are fighting to terminate leases for on-campus apartments amid the coronavirus and 36 of them have filed complaints with the Consumer Protection Division of the Office of Attorney General, Angela Roberts writes in The Diamondback.

HEALTH OFFICE WORKERS WITH COVID: Prince George’s County is investigating what happened in the death of Chantee Mack, who was one of more than 20 employees in the county Health Department who tested positive for COVID-19, Rachel Chason reports for the Post. Union officials say the county did not allow employees to work from home and failed to provide them with personal protective equipment.

  • Baltimore County Health Director Gregory Wm. Branch has tested positive for the disease he has led the fight against, Wilborn P. Nobles III reports for the Sun.
  • Branch, who does not know where he got the virus, will continue working from home, Marcus Dieterle reports for Baltimore Fishbowl.

MD DELEGATION CALLS ELECTION DELAY ‘ABSURD:’ Democratic members of Maryland’s congressional delegation balked at delaying November’s election, an idea floated by President Donald Trump, Jeff Barker reports for the Sun. The delegation called it “absurd” and said it “reeks of desperation.”

COMMENTARY: CHILD CARE BUSINESSES NEED AID: The state’s child-care centers have been hit hard by dropping enrollments during the coronavirus crisis and the state must take action to bolster these centers which are the “workforce behind the workforce,” Dels. Ben Barnes, Eric Ebersole and Jared Solomon, and Sen. Craig Zucker writes in the Washington Post.

HOGAN ON C-SPAN: Gov. Larry Hogan discussed the role of governors on the front lines in combating COVID-19 on C-SPAN’s “Washington Journal” call-in program with Greta Brawner. He took questions from residents all over the country.

MOCO LIMITING USE OF FORCE, NO KNOCK WARRANTS: Montgomery County is taking action to limit the police department’s use of force, but a police union official says it will make it impossible for officers to do their jobs, Briana Adhikusuma reports for Bethesda Beat.

BACK THE BLUE RALLY: About 100 people turned out in Hagerstown Thursday evening for a “Back the Blue” rally to support police, Dave McMillion reports for the Hagerstown Herald-Mail.

COMMENTARY: ELECTION SHOULD BE MAIL-IN: In the midst of escalating numbers of confirmed coronavirus cases in our state, Gov. Larry Hogan has declared it safe for our seniors, the disabled and others to go out into potentially crowed spaces to vote in person, Chair of the Baltimore City Democratic State Central Committee Karenthia Barber writes for Maryland Matters. Instead, she writes ballots should be sent directly to voters.

COMMENTARY: STATE SHOULD NOT PROMOTE TRASH BURNING: Maryland should not be incentivizing burning trash, Sen. Michael Hough writes for Baltimore Business Journal.

PARKS FUNDED IN SIXTH: Four national parks and 16 state parks in Maryland’s 6thCongressional District will get federal funding from the Great American Outdoors act, U.S. Rep. David Trone announced in a Garrett County Republican article.

REMEMBERING JOHN LEWIS: The late Rep. John Lewis made an impact on students from the Park School in Baltimore who watched his funeral together, reports Lisa Robinson for WBAL.

HERMAN CAIN DIES: Herman Cain, who ran for president in 2012, died of the coronavirus. He was an early supporter of Donald Trump and attended his rally in Tulsa, Okla., last month. Here is his obituary in the New York Times written by  Aimee Ortiz and 

  • Maryland Reporter’s Len Lazarick interviewed Cain in 2012 at the Howard County Republican Party’s Lincoln Day Dinner. Here is the five-minute video.

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: Meg@MarylandReporter.com

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