State roundup: Wes Moore says “follow the science” if virus surges; Franchot says don’t defend digital tax

State roundup: Wes Moore says “follow the science” if virus surges; Franchot says don’t defend digital tax

Democratic gubernatorial nominee Wes Moore shakes hands with some of the more than 5,000 visitors at the 45th annual J. Millard Tawes Crab & Clam Bake in Crisfield, Maryland. Moore was one of many politicians and candidates seeking office Nov. 8. (Courtesy of Wes Moore Campaign)

MOORE TALKS POSSIBLE CORONAVIRUS REPONSE: Democratic gubernatorial candidate Wes Moore said if he is elected and is forced to deal with a harsh coronavirus resurgence this upcoming winter his administration will “follow the science” and make decisions without political considerations when crafting a plan to respond to the outbreak. Bryan Renbaum/Baltimore Post-Examiner in Maryland Reporter

MOORE COULD BE NATION’S ONLY BLACK GOV NEXT YEAR: Democrat Wes Moore is poised to become just the third elected Black governor in U.S. history if he holds onto a wide polling lead in Maryland. He may well be the nation’s only Black chief executive in the country next year. Brakkton Booker/Politico

FRANCHOT SAYS DON’T DEFEND DIGITAL AD TAX: Maryland Comptroller Peter Franchot has recommended against the state defending what he called a “constitutionally questionable” digital advertising tax struck down Monday by a judge, and instead recommended the soon-to-be-elected governor and new legislature revisit the matter. Cassidy Jensen and Sam Janesch/Baltimore Sun

‘YES ON 4’ AMPS UP REC MARIJUANA MESSAGE: With just weeks before midterm elections in Maryland, those in favor of the legalization of recreational marijuana are doubling down their efforts to get voters to vote “Yes” on Question Four. The “Yes On 4” campaign, Chaired by former Baltimore Raven Eugene Monroe, held a news conference Thursday. Jessica Albert/WJZ

  • A recent poll by the Washington Post and the University of Maryland showed that 73% of registered Maryland voters support legalization of recreational cannabis. Timothy Dashiell/Capital News Service in
  • Meanwhile, state officials are prepping for the possible bureaucratic needs of the new law. Jeffrey Kelly, executive director of the alcohol and tobacco commission, said a possible plan would be to combine the units to enforce cannabis, alcohol and tobacco regulations. William Ford/Maryland Matters

McGRATH TRIAL POSTPONED, LIKELY UNTIL 2023: A federal judge on Thursday postponed the criminal trial of the former chief of staff to Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan, Roy McGrath, who is charged with wire fraud, theft and falsifying records. McGrath’s attorney asked for more time to review materials sent to them as part of the discovery process. Pamela Wood/Baltimore Banner

  • His defense was given more time for “the most recent production” of text messages, which account for 1,800 pages, and thousands more pages of emails released by the law firm that assisted a General Assembly committee’s investigation of McGrath and his time and severance pay from Maryland Environmental Services. Bryan Sears/The Daily Record

DATA SHOWS MDOT BEHIND ON DISADVANTAGED BUSINESS SPENDING GOALS: It took Harley Flack about two years and nearly $300,000 in legal costs to prove that Stella May Contracting was worthy of a minority-owned certification after founder Stella Miller turned over ownership of the Edgewood firm, just one case spotlighted in a review that shows the Maryland Department of Transportation missed its disadvantaged business spending goals. Iain Carlos, Shafeq Patel and Andy Medici/Baltimore Business Journals

DELEGATE PLANNING LEGISLATION TO RESTRICT PREDATORY LOAN PRACTICES: Del. Marlon Amprey, a Baltimore Democrat, is drafting a bill to be introduced in early 2023 that would seek to protect homeowners from predatory realty and lending companies that Amprey says are siphoning generational wealth from homeowners — especially Black homeowners. Sophie Kasalove/Baltimore Banner

GUBERNATORIAL CANDIDATES ON PUBLIC SAFETY: With the governor’s race at the top of the ballot, WMAR-2 News sat down for interviews on the top two candidates’ public safety and crime policies. Amanda Engel/WMAR

McKAY, DREISBACH WEIGH IN ON COVID VACCINATIONS IN SENATE CANDIDATE FORUM:  The candidates for state Senate District 1 shared views at a political forum Wednesday on a range of topics including COVID-19 vaccinations and uses for the state’s budget surplus. Greg Larry/Cumberland Times-News

COUNTY OFFICIALS DISCUSS AFFORDABLE HOUSING CRISIS: On Thursday, county officials and professionals dived deeply into the affordable housing topic at a symposium hosted by the Maryland Association of Counties, with emphasis on planning and zoning, infrastructure, and socioeconomic and environmental factors. Victoria Maas/Conduit Street, the MACo blog 

TELEWORK UP 44% IN D.C. REGION: Nearly 1.5 million employees in the D.C. region are now teleworking on a typical workday, according to a recently released Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments report. That amounts to 44% of all workers in the D.C. region — a figure five-times higher when compared to 2019, when there were fewer than 300,000 workers teleworking on a typical workday. Nick Iannelli/WTOP

BALTIMORE POLICE TO TRANSPORT ELECTION FLASH DRIVE: Baltimore will pay city police overtime to collect and transport flash drives containing vote counts on election night next month in hopes of avoiding a situation similar to the July primary when multiple drives were misplaced. Emily Opilo/Baltimore Sun

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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