State Roundup: Long-shots prepare for 2022 race; committee investigates McGrath payout

State Roundup: Long-shots prepare for 2022 race; committee investigates McGrath payout

Government House, official residence of Maryland's governors. Lots of people would like to live here.

LOOKING AT ‘LONG SHOT’ CANDIDATES FOR GOVERNOR: Can a long-shot candidate win the Democratic nomination for governor, Bryan Renbaum asks in an article for Maryland Reporter. Five long-shots are hoping to pull an upset over more well-known candidates, and Renbaum asked them about their campaigns and the challenges they face.

MCGRATH INVESTIGATOR FINDS LITTLE OVERSIGHT, ATTEMPT AT CHANGING RECORD IN SEVERANCE PAYOUT: “Hefty travel and meal expenses that Roy McGrath, Gov. Larry Hogan’s former chief of staff, racked up while leading the Maryland Environmental Service received little more than a perfunctory review,” Bryn Stole reports for the Sun on testimony by the agency’s former treasurer. McGrath, who left his post at the environmental service to take over as Hogan’s chief of staff in May 2020, resigned just months later, after The Baltimore Sun revealed he’d negotiated a $233,647 payout from the agency, despite continuing to work for the state.

  • The committee’s investigator, attorney Ward Coe, found that a close associate of McGrath’s attempted to change the minutes from the meeting approving that severance package, Bruce DePuyt reports for Maryland Matters.

HOGAN SAYS MASKS NOT NEEDED IN SCHOOLS IN FALL: Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan says that when schools open in the fall, children should not have to wear masks and there is not a need for social distancing, Chris Berinato reports for WBFF. The governor’s comments mentioned the low positivity rate and included even elementary students, who have not yet been eligible for vaccination.

  • The rate of positive COVID-19 tests over the past week is the lowest it has been all pandemic and the positivity rate was below 1% for the second straight day Thursday, Colin Campbell reports for the Sun.
  • Hogan’s comments come as schools plan for in-person learning but give the choice for virtual learning to students that select it. About three percent of Frederick County students are choosing to forgo in-person instruction this fall and opt for virtual schooling instead, Jillian Atelsek reports for The Frederick News-Post. The virtual academy will function as its own school with 1,437 students.

UNEMPLOYED MDERS OBJECT TO HOGAN’S DECISION ON UNEMPLOYMENT: Out of work Marylanders say they feel stabbed in the back by Gov. Larry Hogan after he announced last week the state will join more than two dozen others ending the additional federal aid for unemployment,” Ray Strickland reports for WMAR. The virtual town hall came Thursday night as the Maryland Unemployed Workers Union plans to file a class action lawsuit on their behalf in the next two weeks. Del. Sheila Ruth said she and other lawmakers are working to reverse the decision.

COUNTIEST LIFT STATES OF EMERGENCY: Carroll County has lifted its COVID-19 state of emergency, Madison Bateman reports for the Carroll County Times. The county commissioners decided to lift it, effective immediately, as the number of cases and hospitalizations remain low and vaccinations among residents continue to rise. Gov. Larry Hogan’s state of emergency has not been lifted.

  • Anne Arundel County Executive Steuart Pittman has lifted the local state of emergency in Anne Arundel, but signed a bill that will allow restaurants continued outdoor dining privileges through Nov 1, The Business Monthly reports.

COMMENTARY: DAM DECISION MEANS LEGISLATURE NEEDS TO SAVE THE BAY: Blasting the long-term effects of a Federal Energy Regulatory Commission decision to grant a 50-year license for Maryland’s Conowingo Dam, Morgan Johnson, staff attorney for Waterkeepers Chesapeake writes that the Maryland General Assembly must explore legislative policy solutions in the 2022 session, including, but not limited, to obligations on Exelon to pay for Chesapeake Bay cleanup. Otherwise, she continues, since Exelon will not be paying for the pollution they caused, people in Maryland from farmers on the Eastern Shore to residents of Baltimore City, will continue to pay for Exelon’s pollution load for generations to come.

REDISTRICTING PROCESS STARTS WITH HEARINGS, SINGLE MEMBER DEBATE: With the 2020 census wrapped up, Maryland will be looking at how to apportion its legislative districts, Jane Bellmyer reports for the Cecil Whig. Residents of Cecil, Harford and Carroll counties are being invited to a June 16 meeting to discuss the topic.

POLICE IN CUSTODY DEATHS REVIEWED: More police in custody deaths are being reviewed from the tenure of Dr. David Fowler, the medical examiner who drew widespread criticism for his testimony in the death of George Floyd, Jayne Miller reports for WBAL TV news’ investigative team. Among them is the death of Anthony Howard in Montgomery County in 2013.

HOGAN LAMBASTS FELLS POINT CRIME RESPONSE: Gov. Larry Hogan says the violence in popular Baltimore neighborhood Fells Point is “outrageous and unacceptable,” Amy Kawata reports for WJZ. He said the state is pushing the city for a plan.

BALTIMORE CITY TO HELP RENTERS PAY FOR SECURITY DEPOSITS: Baltimore Mayor Brandon Scott announced Thursday the city will create a $3.3 million fund to help renters with security deposits up to $2,000, Sarah Kim reports for WYPR.

COMMENTARY: STATE SHOULD LIMIT PERSONAL INJURY LAWSUITS: Columnist Dan Rodricks served on the jury for a personal injury case recently, and writes about the experience, advocating for reform to the system with a higher threshold for jury trials and a limit to the amount of personal injury lawsuits one person can file in 10 years.

STATE PARKS SEE MAJOR INCREASE IN ATTENDANCE: Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, unprecedented numbers of people have flocked to Maryland’s state parks and total visits to state parks jumped more than 45% in 2020, Bryn Stole reports for the Sun. Rangers had to shut the gates and turn away would-be parkgoers a record 292 times last year because crowds had filled picnic grounds, trails, boat landings and cabins.

HOWARD COUNTY MAN PLEADS GUILTY FOR THREAT TO CONGRESSMAN: A Maryland man pleaded Thursday to lying to federal investigators in connection to death threats he sent to a member of Congress, not identified by prosecutors except as a representative for Maryland, Ann Marimow reports for the Post. Sidhartha Kumar Mathur, 35, of West Friendship admitted making a threatening phone call and sending a threatening message through the Maryland congressman’s website.

MOURNING FORMER DEL. JOHN JOSEPH BISHOP III: Former state Delegate John Joseph Bishop III died June 7 at the age of 73, according to the obituary on Ruck Towson Funeral Home. “The son of a former state senator and judge, John was drawn to politics,” it said. He was also an administrator with the Maryland Department of General Services and served in the House of Delegates from 1987 to 1 995.

About The Author

Meg Tully

megctully@gmail.com
http://MarylandReporter.com

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: megctully@gmail.com

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