HOGAN LIKELY WON’T APPEAL JUDGE’s JOBLESS BENEFIT RULING: Gov. Larry Hogan’s chief spokesperson said Tuesday that the administration is unlikely to appeal a ruling by a state court that blocks the governor’s decision to bring an early end to Maryland’s participation in federal unemployment benefits, reports Bryan Renbaum of Maryland Reporter.
- Judge Lawrence Fletcher-Hill granted a preliminary injunction in lawsuits filed by two organizations representing unemployed workers that challenged Hogan over the early termination of the enhanced federal aid, Ovetta Wiggins reports for the Post.
- Bryan Sears of the Daily Record quotes Hogan spokesman Michael Ricci: “We fundamentally disagree with today’s decision. This lawsuit is hurting our small businesses, jeopardizing our economic recovery, and will cause significant job loss.”
- Jessica Iannetta of the Baltimore Business Journal writes that Tuesday’s ruling is the latest defeat for Hogan, who announced in early June that he had given the federal government the required 30-day notice to end the programs on July 3. In making that decision, he cited Maryland’s continuing economic recovery and the need to address what he described as “severe worker shortages” throughout the state.
- At issue are the federal unemployment programs that maintain benefits for those who have been unemployed for more than 26 weeks and offer $300 payments to workers who, historically, have not been eligible for benefits — such as independent contractors, self-employed and gig workers, Danielle Gaines reports for Maryland Matters.
- Lawyers for the plaintiffs in the case argued that, by ending benefits before the federal program required it, Hogan and state Labor Secretary Tiffany Robinson were violating the intent of multiple state laws, including one that requires the state labor secretary to “cooperate with the United States Secretary of Labor to the fullest extent” allowed under law, Rachel Baye reports for WYPR-FM.
HOWARD COUNTY OPENS NEW COURTHOUSE: Howard County justice moved into the 21st century from the 1850s Tuesday with the official opening of a new $120 million-plus courthouse built with a public-private partnership. There were congratulations all-around as the Leeds Gold 238,000-square-foot building arrived on time and on budget, replacing the landmark courthouse first built when it held hearings on runaway slaves, reports Len Lazarick of MarylandReporter.
CNBC STUDY FINDS MARYLAND RATES HIGH ON BROADBAND, POWER: As an old state with aging roads and bridges, Maryland has struggled for years to bring its infrastructure into the 21st century. Or so it seemed. It turns out that the century just needed to catch up with Maryland, Scott Cohn reports for CNBC. While others were focused on traditional infrastructure components, Maryland was developing its broadband system and strengthening its power grid — both of which have taken on new importance these days. The information comes from CNBC’s 2021 America’s Top States for Business study.
SEN. EDWARDS WON’T SEEK RE-ELECTION: State Sen. George C. Edwards, a Republican from Garrett County, announced Tuesday that he won’t seek re-election next year and will instead retire from the General Assembly after nearly four decades representing Western Maryland, the Sun is reporting.
- “After much thought and prayer I have decided that I will not seek re-election …,” Edwards, R-Allegany, Garrett, Washington) said in a statement Tuesday, Greg Larry of the Cumberland Times-News reports. “The 2022 session will be my 40th year in the General Assembly, with 24 years in the House of Delegates and 16 years in the Senate.”
- “I will continue to work hard over the next 18 months and I will always fight to help Mountain Maryland whenever I can now and in the future,” said Edwards, who was first elected as a delegate in 1983 and elected to the senate in 2007, Danielle Gaines and Bennett Leckrone write in Maryland Matters.
THE IMPACT OF INSPECTOR GENERALS: The public officials making some of the biggest headlines in the last few weeks aren’t the politicos at the top of the chain of command in Baltimore City and Baltimore County. Instead, report Emily Opilo and Taylor DeVille in the Sun, it’s the officials tasked with keeping government honest in both those jurisdictions — Inspectors General Isabel Mercedes Cumming and Kelly Madigan,
B’MORE IG, OVERSIGHT PANEL MEMBER CLASH: Baltimore Inspector General Isabel Mercedes Cumming called into question the independence of the oversight board charged with reviewing her performance, arguing that multiple members have a conflict of interest because they’ve been part of her investigations, Emily Opilo of the Sun reports.
- Mayor Brandon Scott’s chief lawyer, James L. Shea, signaled today that Baltimore’s corruption watchdog, Isabel Mercedes Cumming, will be subject to “full oversight” by a board of political appointees similar to a committee proposed, then withdrawn, by Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewski Jr. following a public outcry, Mark Reutter of Baltimore Brew reports.
B’MORE POSTAL DELIVERY REMAINS PROBLEMATIC: The Baltimore postal district was “challenged for years” to deliver prompt mail service and then “really tanked when COVID hit” and remains a problem, a Postal Service official told a Senate panel Tuesday, Jeff Barker of the Sun reports.
- Baltimore has seen some of the worst delays of the U.S. Postal Service’s national delivery woes, and the Office of Inspector General is taking a deeper look at why the city’s mail service has been particularly sluggish, Lauren Olsen of Maryland Matters reports.
KILLER SAID TO BE ‘PROUD’ OF NEWSPAPER ATTACK: The Capital Gazette gunman took pride in his meticulously planned attack, gloated about finding and killing a victim he had overlooked and said his only regret was not being able to murder more people during his rampage three years ago, a state psychiatrist testified in chilling detail on Tuesday, Alex Mann of the Capital Gazette reports.
- Dr. Sameer Patel, a state forensic psychiatrist randomly assigned by the court to evaluate the Capital Gazette gunman for criminal responsibility, took the stand Tuesday for the prosecution. Patel examined the gunman for 20 hours and wrote a 120-plus page report on the gunman’s mental state during the shooting, Lilly Price reports in the Capital Gazette.