State Roundup: Postal Service reverses on cutbacks; ballots not printed till Sept.

State Roundup: Postal Service reverses on cutbacks; ballots not printed till Sept.

BLACK COMMUNITIES AFFECTED MOST BY COVID: Maryland follows the national trend in which Blacks and other communities of color have been disproportionately affected by the coronavirus pandemic, prompting some politicians to call for Medicare for All to be implemented, reports Bryan Renbaum for MarylandReporter. Maryland’s statewide positivity rate is at 3.21%-record low. However, in Maryland’s two largest majority-Black jurisdictions — Baltimore City and Prince George’s County — the positivity rate is slightly higher than the state’s average.

BALLOTS TO BE PRINTED IN SEPTEMBER: As concerns mount over delays in U.S. Postal Service deliveries, many Maryland residents — 248,257 to be exact — have tried to get ahead by requesting ballots for the November election. But, reports Emily Opilo of the Sun, there’s no point in checking the mailbox yet: State election officials won’t start printing ballots until next month.

MO CO, PG SEEK MORE BALLOT DROP BOXES: Rebecca Tan of the Post reports that the Montgomery County Board of Elections has asked Maryland to approve a plan that calls for 40 ballot drop boxes for the November General Election, up from two or three in a normal year. Prince George’s County requested 36 additional secure drop boxes from the state last week.

MARYLAND JOINS USPS SUIT: Maryland has joined a group of states suing the U.S. Postal Service to reverse “unlawful” cost-cutting moves that Attorney General Brian Frosh said represent the “most deceitful plan in American history to disrupt an American election,” Jeff Barker of the Sun reports.

USPS TO DELAY COST-CUTTING TIL AFTER ELECTION: The U.S. Postal Service said it will shelve its controversial cost-cutting initiatives until after the November election, canceling service reductions, reauthorizing overtime and suspending the removal of mail-sorting machines and public collection boxes, Jacob Bogage, Amy Gardner and Erin Cox of the Post report.

  • Democrats in Maryland’s congressional delegation reacted with cautious optimism to Tuesday’s news that embattled Postmaster General Louis DeJoy intends to reverse policies that vaulted him into the center of a national uproar, Bruce DePuyt of Maryland Matters reports.

HORNBERGER CAN STAY ON BALLOT: A judge has denied the request of Cecil County Executive Alan McCarthy to have Republican county executive nominee Danielle Hornberger removed from the November ballot, William Carroll and Carl Hamilton report in the Cecil Whig.

  • Cecil County Circuit Judge Thomas Ross Sr. rejected McCarthy’s attempt to overturn his primary defeat by Hornberger because of her failure to file financial disclosure statements. Ross said “there were a number of irregularities in the Hornberger candidacy” but it was “certified and accepted” by county and state election officials. He declined to overturn the election in which Hornberger got 61% of the vote against McCarthy. Also, he said McCarthy had not filed his complaint against Hornberger in a timely fashion.  MarylandReporter.com

TRUTH ABOUT MARYLAND’s BOND RATING: Carol Park of the Maryland Public Policy Institute writes that as you may know, Maryland is one of only 13 states to hold the coveted AAA rating from all three major credit agencies—Moody’s, S&P Global, and Fitch Ratings. Many people tend to misinterpret this as a sign that Maryland has accumulated little long-term debt, or that the state has managed its debt very well over the years. “Unfortunately, such interpretation cannot be further from reality,” says Park.

PA CRITICIZED FOR SLOWING BAY POLLUTION EFFORTS: Pennsylvania officials are warning that the COVID-9 pandemic could hamper that state’s efforts to reduce pollution that flows downstream into the Chesapeake Bay, reports Bryan Sears for the Daily Record. Environmental advocates continue to criticize Pennsylvania for failing to act to reduce pollution and for failing to meet goals that it has set.

OPINION: McGRATH & PANDORA’s BOX: In a column for his Political Maryland blog, Barry Rascovar opines that Roy McGrath’s departure from state government – with a sizable “severance” check that he received from moving from one state agency to another still in his pocket – doesn’t end the controversy. It may even open a Pandora’s Box of similar special payouts.

BA CO SCHOOLS MULL LEARNING SUPPORT CENTERS: Wilborn Nobles of the Sun reports that Baltimore County is considering plans to establish learning support centers for its neediest students during the fall semester since schools are slated to open only virtually until the end of January.

COURT UPHOLDS B’MORE FOOD TRUCK 300-FOOT RULE: Maryland’s highest court ended a four-year legal battle Monday by upholding a previous ruling to keep Baltimore’s “300-foot rule,” which prohibits mobile vendors from operating within 300 feet of a competing retail establishment, saying it is constitutional because it is not “arbitrary, oppressive or unreasonable,” McKenna Oxenden reports in the Sun.

CAUGHT UP IN HOWARD COUNTY ICE CONTRACT: Horus Alas, in a story for Maryland Matters, writes about Howard County’s much criticized contract with ICE and how several undocumented immigrants got caught up in its system following minor traffic infractions. One said, “I still have [psychological] scars from it. I haven’t been able to forget what I went through.”

CARROLL HAS HIGH RATE OF CENSUS RESPONSE: Carroll County has one of the highest census self-response rates in the nation, and with a little over a month to go before the federal deadline, county officials are hoping that knocking on doors and ice cream socials can help elevate lower-participation parts of the county, Mary Grace Keller of the Carroll County Times reports.

MO CO ENDS COVID TESTING CONTRACT: Montgomery County has terminated its COVID-19 testing contract with Rockville lab AdvaGenix after state officials ordered the company to stop testing because of concerns about protocols, Briana Adhikusuma of Bethesda Beat reports.

WHAT IS LOST WHEN A NEWSROOM IS ABANDONED: Hit this year by a pandemic and an economic downturn, Tribune Publishing informed journalists at the Capital Gazette and four other papers that it was shutting the newsrooms down while keeping the papers going. “These decisions were not made lightly or hastily,” reads a memo sent to reporters for the Capital Gazette of Annapolis that promised to continue “our in-depth community coverage.” The Carroll County Times in Westminster was also closed. Elahe Izadi of the Post writes about what is lost when a newsroom is shut and reporters work from home.

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 news outlet, The Chester Telegraph. If you have additional questions or comments contact Cynthia at: cynthiaprairie@gmail.com

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