State Roundup: Hogan knew of McGrath payout 2 weeks before public; Oyster spat planting in the Severn; state air quality poor as smoke from Canada fires hits Maryland

State Roundup: Hogan knew of McGrath payout 2 weeks before public; Oyster spat planting in the Severn; state air quality poor as smoke from Canada fires hits Maryland

Maryland's air quality is suffering as smoke from Canadian wildfires drifts down into the United States. "Smoke From Canadian Wildfires Drifts Down to U.S." by NASA Goddard Photo and Video is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

AFFIDAVIT: HOGAN KNEW OF McGRATH PAYOUT TWO WEEKS BEFORE PUBLIC: Former Republican Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan knew about his former chief-of-staff Roy McGrath’s six-figure severance payment from the government-owned nonprofit Maryland Environmental Service almost two weeks before it became public in 2020, according to newly obtained court documents. Alex Mann, Lee O. Sanderlin and Hannah Gaskill/The Baltimore Sun.

  • The governor felt concerned enough to call McGrath into his office the next day to discuss the matter. But it appears Hogan took no further action for 10 days — until the first news article brought attention to the payout. Within days, McGrath resigned under pressure. Pamela Wood and Tim Prudente/The Baltimore Banner.

BPW OKs $1.3M FOR 30,000 DOSES OF ABORTION DRUG: The Maryland Board of Public Works approved a $1.3 million contract Wednesday to purchase 30,000 doses of a popularly used abortion medication drug currently at risk of losing its long-held approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Hannah Gaskill/The Baltimore Sun.

  • Gov. Wes Moore (D) said a cache was necessary because of federal court challenges to Food and Drug Administration approval of the drug mifepristone. The governor called a Texas federal judge’s ruling in April invalidating that approval “a very unique and distinct attack.” “What we saw from this was yet another assault on women’s reproductive rights and women’s reproductive freedoms,” said Moore. Bryan Sears/Maryland Matters.

30 MILLION OYSTER SPAT PLANTED IN THE SEVERN: As part of the Operation Build-a-Reef campaign, 30 million oyster spat were planted in the Severn River Wednesday. Spat, or oyster larvae, were placed throughout the river as part of the partnership between the Severn River Association and Oyster Recovery Partnership. The campaign aims to restore the depleted oyster population and reefs in the Chesapeake Bay. Caitlyn Freeman/The Capital Gazette.

STAY INSIDE: AIR QUALITY IN MARYLAND SUFFERS FROM CANADA FIRES: As of Wednesday, a majority of Maryland is under an air quality advisory due to smoke wafting in from raging wildfires in Eastern Canada, and state environment officials are warning that Marylanders should limit their exposure outside. Danielle Brown/Maryland Matters.

  • The air quality in Baltimore and the surrounding region is worse Thursday morning than it was Wednesday. Depending on where you are in the Baltimore region, the air quality as of 6:45 a.m. Thursday is either “very unhealthy” or even “hazardous.Cody Boteler, Meredith Cohn and Emily Sullivan/The Baltimore Banner.

POLITICAL NOTES: TRONE STUMPS FOR LATINO VOTES; NEW ADDITION TO 6th DISTRICT RACE: In his continued push for the Democratic nomination for U.S. Senate, Rep. David Trone (D-6th) sought to encourage the growing demographic bloc of Latino voters in the state to back him. Add Montgomery County Councilmember Laurie-Anne Sayles (D) to the list of potential candidates pondering a run for Trone’s 6th District congressional seat. With key decisions coming soon to fill vacancies in the House of Delegates in Montgomery County’s District 17 and Baltimore City’s District 41, here’s a list of all the applicants in both places. William Ford and Josh Kurtz/Maryland Matters.

WHAT’s NEXT FOR THE PREPAID COLLEGE TRUST: Following an earnings calculation issue with the Maryland Prepaid College Trust that left many parents wondering where their money had gone, it was put under the state Treasurer’s Office and Treasurer Derreck Davis. What happens now? Dwight A. Weingarten/The Herald-Mail

HOWARD COUNCIL OKs BILL TO HELP TEACHERS REPAY STUDENT LOANS: The Howard County Council unanimously passed legislation Monday designed to help public schoolteachers repay their student loan debt. The Student Loan Assistance Repayment Program for Teachers will provide $1.5 million or $300,000 per year for the next five years for student loan repayments, County Executive Calvin Ball said Tuesday. Allana Haynes/Baltimore Sun Media.

SCOTT’s FORMER CHIEF OF STAFF STILL ON PAYROLL: On May 1, Chezia T. Cager was forced to quit as the chief of staff for Mayor Brandon Scott. Her name disappeared from the city’s website and other sources of government information. On May 4, Scott announced that his former campaign manager, Marvin James, had taken over her position as interim COS. But five weeks after her ouster, Cager remains on the city payroll, collecting her full $225,000-a-year salary. Mark Reutter/Baltimore Brew.

About The Author

Cynthia Prairie

Contributing Editor Cynthia Prairie has been a newspaper editor since 1979, when she began working at The Raleigh Times. Since then, she has worked for The Baltimore News American, The Chicago Sun-Times, The Prince George’s Journal and Baltimore County newspapers in the Patuxent Publishing chain, including overseeing The Jeffersonian when it was a two-day a week business publication. Cynthia has won numerous state awards, including the Maryland State Bar Association’s Gavel Award. Besides compiling and editing the daily State Roundup, she runs her own online newspaper, The Chester Telegraph. If you have additional questions or comments contact Cynthia at:

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