HEARING TODAY ON ENDING ENHANCED JOBLESS BENEFITS: The fate of Maryland’s participation in more generous federal unemployment programs remains in limbo after a key hearing was postponed from Friday until Monday, Pamela Wood and Alison Knezevich of the Sun report.
- Pamela Wood of the Sun writes about the key issues in the hearing that you need to know.
DEMS ASK HOGAN TO QUIT DEFENDING END TO ENHANCED JOBLESS BENEFITS: Democrats in the Maryland House of Delegates on Friday called on Gov. Larry Hogan (R) to stop defending in court his decision to end unemployment benefits early and to fire his labor secretary, Rachel Chason of the Post reports.
- The letter, signed by 83 of the 99 Democrats in the House, listed poor communication with claimants, conflicting and inaccurate advice to unemployed Marylanders, and slow adoption of legislatively mandated unemployment reforms as reasons Robinson should be removed from her cabinet post, Danielle Gaines of Maryland Matters reports.
SO FAR, THREE VIE FOR COMPTROLLER: For the first time in 20 years, Maryland’s incumbent state comptroller will not be on the ballot next year. The race to succeed chief tax collector Peter Franchot as he runs for governor has already attracted a trio of serious candidates who have hit the campaign trail, Democrats Brooke Lierman and Tim Adams and Republican Barry Glassman, Len Lazarick reports for MarylandReporter.
CHOUDHURY ON LEADING MARYLAND SCHOOLS: On July 1, Mohammed Choudhury began his new job as the state superintendent of Maryland, arriving two weeks ago from Texas. In an interview with Maryland Matters reporter Elizabeth Shwe, Choudhury talked about how he is settling in Maryland and how he plans to lead the state school system.
OPINION: HOGAN CUT TOLLS, NOW OWNS MESS: In a column for Maryland Matters, Frank DeFilippo opines that Gov. Larry Hogan’s “transportation and environmental plans appear to be a tangle of contradictions and misbegotten directions. … To be a crowd-pleaser, Hogan, early on, cut tolls along Maryland’s pay-for-use bridges, tunnels and roadways, the traditional method of financing the transportation money pool, thus depriving the state’s unified transportation fund of revenue to underwrite the sale of bonds.”
FREE STATE PODCAST: JUDICIARY CHANGES; BLUE CRAB SHORTAGE: Episode 5 of MarylandReporter’s Free State Politics podcast features interviews with Brian Saccenti, director of the Maryland Office of the Public Defender Decarceration Initiative, Baltimore County State’s Attorney Scott Shellenberger and Chesapeake Bay Foundation Maryland Fisheries scientist Allison Colden.
WHAT TO KNOW ABOUT THE DELTA VARIANT: Cases of COVID-19 in Maryland and around the country are way down from their winter peak, as are hospitalizations and deaths, thanks to the vaccines. But, writes Meredith Cohn for the Sun, the pandemic isn’t over, and the level of threat depends on where you live, your vaccination status, and now, a much more transmissible version known as the delta variant.
CDC: VAXXED KIDS CAN RETURN TO SCHOOL MASKLESS: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued new guidelines for schools Friday that give students who have been vaccinated the option of going maskless this fall while their classmates who have not had shots continue to wear face coverings, Donna St. George and Valerie Strauss report for the Post.
APPLICANTS SOUGHT FOR STATE ED REFORM BOARD: Applications to serve on a board to help ensure success of the Blueprint for Maryland’s Future education reforms will be accepted starting Monday, according to members of a nominating committee for the panel, Elizabeth Shwe of Maryland Matters reports.
CARROLL COMMISSIONERS REVIEW PROJECTS FOR COVID FUNDS: As local governments plan how to use federal COVID-19 relief dollars, Carroll County commissioners are reviewing a number of potential projects brought forward by various department heads. Payments are being released to governments in two parts, with half being directed now and the other half next May, Madison Bateman of the Carroll County Times reports.
MINN. MEDICAL CANNABIS FIRM CONTINUES PUSH INTO MARYLAND: Minnesota-based Goodness Growth Holdings announced Friday that its medical cannabis subsidiary has signed an agreement to acquire Charm City Medicus, a medical cannabis dispensary in Baltimore. The planned acquisition is the latest effort by Vireo Health to expand its reach across Maryland, Eric Neugeboren reports in the Daily Record.
- The store will be Vireo Health’s second cannabis retail location in Maryland, and CEO Kyle Kingsley said the company is “always open” to acquiring more, Morgan Eichensehr of the Baltimore Business Journal reports.
SURVIVORS OF CAP-GAZETTE KILLINGS TESTIFY: Survivors of the Capital Gazette newsroom shooting gave emotional testimony Friday morning as they took the witness stand to face the gunman who murdered their colleagues Gerald Fischman, Robert Hiaasen, John McNamara, Rebecca Smith and Wendi Winters, Hannah Gaskill of Maryland Matters reports. “I thought I was going to die,” Capital Gazette reporter Rachel Pacella told the jury.