State Roundup: Taking aim at Montgomery, Hogan strips locals of school closing decisions

State Roundup: Taking aim at Montgomery, Hogan strips locals of school closing decisions

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HOGAN STRIPS LOCALS OF SCHOOL CLOSING DECISIONS: Gov. Larry Hogan on Monday stripped local governments of their authority to prohibit schools from opening amid the coronavirus pandemic. His order overturned a decision by Montgomery County officials to shutter private as well as public schools for the start of the school year, Pamela Wood of the Sun reports.

  • Three days after Montgomery County’s top public health official said that private and parochial schools would have to stick to online teaching until at least Oct. 1, Gov. Larry Hogan on Monday sought to invalidate the county directive, Donna St. George, Erin Cox and Hannah Natanson are reporting in the Post.
  • The order would impact a private school attended by the 14-year-old son of President Donald Trump, the AP is reporting. Hogan’s initial order, issued in April, allowed local health departments to retain authority to close any individual facility thought to be unsafe.
  • Andrew Schotz and Caitlynn Peetz of Bethesda Beat writes that in Monday’s press release announcing Hogan’s order, he wrote that the “blanket closure mandate imposed by Montgomery County was overly broad and inconsistent with the powers intended to be delegated to the county health officer.”
  • Hogan’s revision to his April 5 executive order added “(except schools)” to a section granting the counties and Baltimore city the power to impose tighter restrictions on business activity and social interaction than the state’s, Bruce DePuyt writes for Maryland Matters.

SCHOOL FALL, WINTER SPORTS POSTPONED: The Maryland Public Secondary Schools Athletic Association is postponing the fall and winter high school sports seasons, with the coronavirus pandemic continuing and case counts climbing back upward, Tim Schwartz and Glenn Graham of the Capital Gazette report.

HOGAN DEMANDS ELECTIONS PLANS: Gov. Larry Hogan is pressing elections officials for information about how they’re going to carry out his orders for an in-person November election, as well as encouraging people to vote by mail during the pandemic, Pamela Wood and Emily Opilo of the Sun report.

  • Hogan had fired off a letter to Board of Elections administrator Linda Lamone, giving her 48 hours to explain how the board will execute plans for an in-person election Nov. 3, Kate Ryan reports for WTOP-FM. Among the things Hogan demanded to know: why absentee ballot applications haven’t been mailed yet.
  • The Maryland Association of Election Officials, the professional membership organization comprised of local election officials and Election Boards from all 24 jurisdictions, has repeatedly warned that Hogan’s plan will be “costly, inefficient, and unsuccessful” and says that the directive will lead to confusion and long lines at polling places, Kevin Kinnally reports for Conduit Street.
  • The governor also slammed local officials who want to limit the number of in-person locations for voting in the general election. Hogan wrote that he’d received a letter from Prince George’s County officials requesting to close 229 precincts and only open 15. Hogan said such a move would suppress voters of color, Bennett Leckrone of Maryland Matters reports.
  • Anne Arundel County elections officials plan to consolidate polling places for the 2020 general election as hundreds of veteran election judges — particularly older ones — back out because of coronavirus fears, Olivia Sanchez of the Gazette is reporting.

OPINION: RENT CONTROL IS REASONABLE: The editorial board for the Sun opines that during the economic slump that has accompanied the COVID-19 pandemic, each day seems to herald more bad financial news. As part of an effort to control the financial hit, some local governments have told property owners that they can’t raise rents on their tenants. But nearly two dozen landlords fought back and filed suit. This was, to put it mildly, a bad look for the landlords.

870 NEW CASES, 8 MORE DIE: Maryland has confirmed 870 new cases of the coronavirus and eight more deaths, Phil Davis reports for the Sun.

  • The Carroll County Health Department announced 36 positive COVID-19 tests among community members over the weekend, as well as the first death of a community member since mid-June, and confirmed that last week produced the most new community cases since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, Bob Blubaugh reports for the Carroll County Times.
  • Montgomery County recorded 84 new cases of COVID-19 on Monday morning, bringing its total to 17,842 since early March, Caitlynn Peetz of Bethesda Beat reports.

ISAIAS FORCES COVID TEST SUSPENSION: With Tropical Storm Isaias barreling up the East Coast, Maryland announced Monday that it was suspending COVID-19 testing at community based sites on Tuesday when the largest impact from the storm is expected to be felt in this area, Greg Swatek of the Frederick News Post writes.

FRANCHOT URGES SHOPPERS TO BUY DURING TAX HOLIDAY: Comptroller Peter Franchot urged Maryland’s shoppers to take advantage of the state’s seven-day sales tax holiday on qualifying items to help small businesses that have suffered durin the coronavirus pandemic. “I continue to pound the table. It’s a very important week for Maryland retailers who are facing an apocalyptic event as far as the pandemic has had enormous economic consequences,” Franchot told Bryan Renbaum of in a phone interview on Monday.

BA CO COUNCIL TABLE POLICE REFORM PUSH: The Baltimore County Council Monday night put the brakes on passing any sort of police reform legislation. By a 4-3 vote, the council voted to table the controversial bill, John Lee reports for WYPR-FM.

B’MORE LAYS OFF 48 CITY WORKERS: Baltimore officials have laid off four dozen city employees as the coronavirus pandemic continues to hammer the local economy. Forty-eight workers received a layoff notice last month, a city spokesman said Monday. Eliminating those jobs saves about $2 million, Talia Richman of the Sun reports.

VAN HOLLEN PROPOSES BILL FOR URBAN AREAS: Holden Wilen of the Baltimore Business Journal reports that U.S. Sen. Chris Van Hollen has a new idea for injecting federal funds into urban areas and he wants to use Baltimore as a model. He introduced a bill Monday that would create a $600 million program providing grants to projects in “distressed urban areas” across the U.S. The bill calls for a separate $200 million authorization to pilot the program in Baltimore.

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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