State Roundup: Feds approve extra $300 unemployment payout

State Roundup: Feds approve extra $300 unemployment payout

FEMA GIVES MD APPROVAL FOR UNEMPLOYMENT HELP: Some unemployed Marylanders could begin receiving an extra $300 a week in benefits starting in late September, Jean Marbella reports for the Sun. Gov. Larry Hogan made the announcement because the state has received approval for at least $431 million in federal funds.

  • Hogan said in the release that “far too many” residents are still struggling during the pandemic, Briana Adhikusuma reports for Bethesda Beat. Montgomery County has had 143,207 first-time claims since the first week of March and last week was the fourth ranked jurisdiction for claims.
  • The funding comes from the Federal Emergency Management Administration’s Lost Wages assistance program, and Hogan said Congress still needs to act for economic recovery, reports the staff of Baltimore Fishbowl.
  • New unemployment claims in Maryland increased last week for the first time in more than a month, Bryan Sears reports for The Daily Record. The report Thursday represents a reversal of a trend of the previous five weeks where new claims decreased compared to the prior week.

USPS REFORMS SPARK RALLIES, CALLS FOR ANSWERS: U.S. Rep. David Trone and other Maryland lawmakers are calling for answers into new United States Postal Service reforms, reports Joseph Hauger for the Garrett County Republican.

  • “Rallies are planned for Saturday nationwide to show support for the U.S. Postal Service, including several in Central Maryland,” S. Wayne Carter and Ana Faguy report for The Aegis.

ANNE ARUNDEL REVISES DEADLY FORCE POLICY: Using a chokehold is now considered to be deadly force by the Anne Arundel County Police Department, just as when an officer fires a handgun, Alex Mann reports for the Capital Gazette.

WICOMICO CHOOSES DESMARAIS: The Wicomico County Council chose Dr. Rene Desmarais for the next county executive, reports Kelly Powers for the Salisbury Daily Times. Desmarais beat out Del. Carl Anderton (R-Wicomico) and Michele Ennis, the former county finance director, and the council’s decision drew criticism from some public members attending.

STATE PLANS BOXES, AN EARLY START TO VOTE COUNTING: The Maryland State Board of Elections plans at least 270 drop boxes for the Nov. 3 election, a dramatic increase over the 75 that were made available in this year’s primary election, Shen Wu Tan reports for The Washington Times.

  • Maryland will start tabulating absentee ballots Oct. 1, anticipating an avalanche of voting by mail for the November election, Emily Opilo reports for the Sun.

MASONRY COMPANY CITED BY FIRE MARSHAL: The Columbia facility of a New York-based masonry company last week was cited by the Howard County fire marshal, and an anonymous source raised concerns pumping of hazardous materials continued after the citation and that employees suffered burns to their skin, Bryan Renbaum reports for Maryland Reporter.  The fire marshal cited the company Hohmann & Barnard for having a blocked fire exit, and warned that it needs to have a permit to pump hazardous and corrosive materials.

REMOTE BAR EXAM REQUIREMENT CONTINUES: The Maryland State Board of Law Examiners is sticking with plans to have a remote two-day bar exam this year, despite calls to waive the bar requirement due to the coronavirus pandemic, Lillian Reed reports for the Sun.

  • Haven Shoemaker (R-Carroll) and a practicing attorney, wrote a letter against the idea of waiving the bar exam along with four General Assembly members, Mary Grace Keller reports for the Carroll County Times.

MARYLAND CRITIQUED FOR LACK OF OPENNESS: Maryland is a “backwater” when it comes to government openness, Bruce DePuyt reports for Maryland Matters. He lists state boards, commissions and even General Assembly meetings that have not been live-streamed ever or until recently.

VP TO SPEAK FROM BALTIMORE: Vice President Mike Pence will address the Republican National Convention next week from Fort McHenry in Baltimore, Jeff Barker reports for the Sun and notes that President Donald Trump has called the city corrupt and “rodent infested.”

DEMOCRATIC NATIONAL CONVENTION: A group of Democratic states attorneys general portrayed themselves as leading the fight against policies by President Donald Trump that would erode civil rights, pollute the environment and jeopardize November’s elections, Bruce DePuyt reports for Maryland Matters. Maryland AG Brian Frosh was one of the speakers at the virtual Democratic National Convention.

  • With the Democratic National Convention held virtually, Maryland pols are missing their chance to rub elbows and start unofficially campaigning for state races in 2022, Bruce DePuyt also reports for Maryland Matters.

COMMENTARY: HIGHWAY PROJECT OFFERS LITTLE BENEFIT OVER OTHER IMPROVEMENTS: Rockville resident Arthur Katz offers an analysis for Maryland Matters of a Maryland Department of Transportation report on the proposed I-495/270 project, revealing he says, little gain for most commuters.

PRIVATE SCHOOL PLANS MOSTLY IN COMPLIANCE: Anne Arundel County Health Officer Nilesh Kalyanaraman told WBAL Newsradio hosts C4 and Bryan Nehman on Thursday that most private schools that plan to welcome students back are in compliance with state and federal health guidelines. The department reviewed plans from the schools after encouraging them to not reopen for in-person instruction.

SCHOOLS MAKE DECISIONS ABOUT EMPLOYING SUPPORT STAFF: Public schools officials in Washington County have pledged to keep paying school staff like bus drivers and cafeteria workers through Thanksgiving, even as learning goes virtual, Sherry Greenfield reports for the Hagerstown Herald-Mail.

  • The Caroline County Educators Association said it would have appreciated more discussions of alternate employment opportunities before Caroline County Public Schools announced 82 people will be laid off from support staff roles, The (Easton) Star-Democrat reports.

FSU REPORTS ON COVID-19 TESTING: Frostburg State University announced Thursday that of the 2,673 students and employees who completed pre-semester, non-symptomatic COVID-19 testing from Aug. 11 to 15, 12 tested positive, Brandon Glass reports for the Cumberland Times-News.

FAMILY SEEKS DAMAGES IN POLICE SHOOTING: Family members of a Rising Sun man who was shot by police officers in May 2019 are seeking $255 million in damages, Carl Hamilton reports for the Cecil Whig.

MCNAIR’S PARENTS HONOR HIS MEMORY WITH CHANGE: The parents of former University of Maryland football player Jordan McNair, who died after getting heat stroke during a team workout, turned their grief into meaningful policy change, Mark Gray reports for AFRO on a new law that will help protect athletes.

TRASH PROBLEM IN BALTIMORE: Baltimore’s Department of Public Works is placing recycling dumpsters around the city for people whose recycling pickup was skipped as the pandemic caused staffing shortages, Rachel Aragon reports for WBFF.

STATE SONG ALTERNATIVE: U.S. Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-Md.) has penned a history-laden alternative to the state’s official song, which celebrates the Confederacy, Ovetta Wiggins reports for the Post.

KENT FIREFIGHTERS GET FUNDS FOR PROTECTIVE EQUIPMENT: “The Eastern Shore’s congressional delegation announced funding of $21,260 for the Kent Island Volunteer Fire Department Inc. for personal protective equipment in the fight against the spread of COVID-19,” The (Easton) Star-Democrat reports.

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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