GOP LAWMAKERS SAY THEY’d BACK SCHULZ OVER STEELE FOR GOV: Several of Maryland’s Republican lawmakers said that they would back state Commerce Secretary Kelly Schulz’s campaign for governor in a prospective primary contest between Schulz and Michael Steele, Maryland’s former lieutenant governor and the former chair of the Republican National Committee, Bryan Renbaum reports for Maryland Reporter.
HEALTH EXCHANGE AUDIT TURNS UP CONTINUING PROBLEM: Hallie Miller of the Sun reports that for the second time in three years a state audit of Maryland’s health insurance exchange system found continued problems in the program’s verification of some applicants’ income to determine their eligibility for Medicaid over a three-year period. A 2018 audit of the quasi-governmental agency that oversees the Maryland health exchange found similar problems with Medicaid eligibility screenings over fiscal years 2015 to 2017.
STATE ACTS TO BOOST GAS SUPPLY AFTER RANSOMWARE ATTACK: Maryland officials are moving to boost the flow of gasoline supplies into Maryland to offset the temporary loss of a major supply pipeline for the East Coast, Bryan Sears of the Daily Record reports. The Office of the Comptroller announced Tuesday that it has offering waivers and temporary permits to allow for easier distribution of fuel to merchants and consumers.
COLLEGES TO GET $545M FROM RELIEF FUND: Maryland colleges and universities, which include community colleges, public universities, and both private for-profit and not-for-profit institutions, will receive $545 million from a pot of national relief funding approved in March, Johanna Alonso of the Daily Record reports.
CORRECTIONS TRIES TO LURE INMATES TO VAXX: The Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services has created an incentive program to encourage its incarcerated population to volunteer to receive the COVID-19 vaccine that will include packages that contain snack foods such as rice, cookies, crackers and chips, Hannah Gaskill of Maryland Matters reports.
HOW KELLEY NUDGED FERGUSON TOWARD THE GAVEL: Bruce DePuyt of Maryland Matters writes about how Bill Ferguson ended up becoming Senate president when others were front-runners and he wasn’t even campaigning for the position after Mike Miller announced he was stepping down. Finance Committee chairwoman Delores G. Kelley felt it important to consider those who weren’t putting themselves forward.
OPINION: RACING SCANDAL & PIMLICO: Brian Griffiths of the Duckpin blog opines that the “Pimlico deal is a bad deal that got worse in the wake of the Medina Spirit scandal. Now, Marylanders are on the hook for $500 million to refurbish facilities for a once-a-year event in a sport that lacks any credibility.”
EX-MD OFFICIAL SENTENCED IN CHILD PORN CASE: Mathew Palmer, a former top state government official, was sentenced Tuesday to eight years in prison after pleading guilty to a federal charge of distributing child pornography, Pamela Wood reports in the Sun. Palmer, 44, pleaded guilty in March after authorities found more than 1,000 photos and videos of children on his phone.
- Palmer previously worked for Gov. Larry Hogan, first as his deputy legislative officer and more recently as chief operating officer at the Department of Commerce, where he earned a salary of $133,078. He abruptly resigned his position as chief operating officer at the Department of Commerce on Aug.12, one day after investigators served a search warrant at his Severna Park home, Bryan Sears reports for the Daily Record.
U.S. SENATE PANEL DEADLOCKS ON SARBANES BILL: U.S. Senate Democrats on Tuesday tackled the massive voting reform bill put forth by U.S. Rep. John Sarbanes in committee in a heated daylong debate. But the final vote on the bill by the Senate Rules Committee was a 9-9 tie, which means Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) likely would have to use a Senate procedure to bring the legislation to the floor as he’s vowed to do, Ariana Figueroa of Maryland Matters reports.
FCC’s CARR WEIGHS IN ON MOSBY CRITICISM OF WBFF: David Zurawik, media critic for the Sun, writes that Federal Communications Commissioner Brendan Carr on Monday blasted the office of Baltimore State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby for its call last week for an investigation of Sinclair-owned WBFF-TV, Baltimore’s Fox affiliate. The complaint against the conservative-leaning WBFF characterized the station’s coverage of the state’s attorney’s office and Mosby as biased, inflammatory and dangerous. Carr was nominated to the commission by Donald Trump and is the senior Republican on the panel, according to the FCC website.
OPINION: MOSBY A LIGHTNING ROD: Sun columnist Dan Rodricks opines on the Marilyn Mosby-WBFF-TV wrangle writing, “What is ‘extremely dangerous’ about a Fox-affiliated local TV news operation frequently and critically examining the way a public official does her job? It might be biased and weirdly obsessive, but is WBFF’s coverage of Baltimore State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby ‘extremely dangerous?’ “
MO CO PLANS FOR ALTERNATIVE TO SCHOOL POLICING: There will be no police stationed in Montgomery County schools when the next academic year begins, the district’s school board confirmed on Tuesday. Instead, reports Caitlynn Peetz for Bethesda Beat, planning is underway on an alternate program to provide “adequate local law enforcement coverage,” as required by state law.
BA CO FALL SCHOOL PLAN MAY FACE REJECTION: A Baltimore County schools plan to offer families a choice between virtual or in-person learning this fall may be headed for trouble with the state school board, John Lee reports for WYPR-FM. The plan would no longer have educators simultaneously teaching students at home and in the classroom. Teachers instead would be dedicated to one or the other.
PRINCE GEORGE’S LOOKS TO EASE RESTRICTIONS: Pandemic restrictions will soon be lifted on Prince George’s County businesses, and other changes are coming as early as next week, Dick Uliano of WTOP-FM reports. In an online meeting Tuesday night with residents, County Executive Angela Alsobrooks said infection rates are down, vaccination rates are up, and changes are coming to pandemic restrictions on businesses Monday.
B’MORE SCHOOLS TEST 15,000 FOR COVID PER WEEK: Baltimore City’s school system is now testing more than 15,000 people each week for COVID-19 — frequently before students and staff show any symptoms — in an effort to prevent the spread of infections within schools. The school system is now one of the city’s largest COVID testing sources, and has become a model for districts around the country, Liz Bowie of the Sun reports.
FIRST WOMAN ELECTED MAYOR OF WESTMINSTER: Mona Becker, a former Westminster councilmember, was elected Westminster’s first female mayor with 1,020 votes to Dennis Dillon’s 591 to cap a contentious and controversial campaign that resulted in 1,619 ballots being cast, a more than 50% increase over the number cast during the last mayoral election.
POCOMOKE COUNCIL MEETS BEHIND CLOSED DOORS ON DEFUND ISSUE: Pocomoke City Council members voted behind closed doors Monday evening on a motion regarding the future of the city’s police department, Rosa Velazquez reports for the Salisbury Times.
WIFE OF FORMER SPEAKER DIES: Mary Lenore “Polly” Taylor, wife of former House of Delegates Speaker Casper Taylor, died after a car crash. The driver of the other vehicle has been charged with driving while impaired, the Cumberland Times-News reports. Here is her obituary from the paper there.