State Roundup: Newer vehicles would wait longer for emissions testing; feds want to seize McGrath’s $119,000 severance

State Roundup: Newer vehicles would wait longer for emissions testing; feds want to seize McGrath’s $119,000 severance

State would allow newer vehicles to wait six years to be tested for emissions. Photo by Matt Boitor on Unsplash

STATE WOULD EXEMPT NEWER VEHICLES  FROM EMISSIONS TESTS FOR SIX YEARS: After half a year of study and outreach, the Moore administration has decided to proceed with the proposed contract for the state’s long-running vehicle emissions inspection program. It is scheduled for a vote at the next Board of Public Works’ meeting on Sept. 6. The most significant change proposed for the VEIP program is that new vehicles, which under the old rule had to first be tested when they were three years old, now won’t have to be tested until they have been on the road for six years. John Kurtz/ Maryland Matters

FEDS WANT THE LATE ROY MCGRATH’s $119K SEVERANCE PAYMENT: Federal prosecutors want to seize more than $100,000 from a stock account belonging to the late Roy McGrath, alleging the money traces to a fraudulent severance payment that he negotiated when he left the state environmental office to become chief of staff to former Gov. Larry Hogan. The U.S. Attorney’s Office filed the case Wednesday in federal court and asked a judge to freeze the $119,000 in a TD Ameritrade account in McGrath’s name. Tim Prudente/The Baltimore Banner

BALTO. CO. FIRE DEPT. HELD VOTE OF NO CONFIDENCE IN ITS LEADERS: In June, the International Association of Fire Fighters Local 1311, which represents Baltimore County paramedics and firefighters, held a vote of no confidence naming Fire Chief Joanne Run and three other officials, citing a “toxic environment.” An internal committee compiled a 17-page report detailing the reasons behind that vote and presented it to Olszewski last week, a copy of which was obtained by The Baltimore Sun. Lia Russell/The Baltimore Sun

NEW MD. ELECTIONS DIRECTOR STARTS JOB: Jared DeMarinis takes over today as the state’s elections director, succeeding Linda Lamone, who retires after a quarter century. The 18-year veteran of Maryland’s elections agency becomes just its second elections administrator. Lamone, the first administrator, was a 26-year fixture at the agency and, sometimes, a polarizing figure. Bryan P. Sears/Maryland Matters

20 HOWARD SCHOOL BUS ROUTES STILL HAVE NO DRIVERS: Howard County school officials hope an $8,000 signing bonus to attract licensed bus drivers and help from small bus contractors will solve the transportation crisis that upended the first week of school in the county. Superintendent Michael Martirano did not promise the county could resume yellow bus service for 2,400 students on 20 routes that were suspended this week after Zum, a Silicon Valley transportation company, failed to provide the service. Liz Bowie/The Baltimore Banner

COVID CASES REMAIN LOW IN MONTGOMERY: The COVID-19 positivity rate in Montgomery County has seen a slight uptick in the past week to 30.74 cases per 100,000 residents,  according to the county COVID dashboard. However, within the county, the COVID-19 community level remains low. Ginny Bixby/MoCo360

GRADING THE MOCO SUPERINTENDENT’S INAUGURAL YEAR: Examining Monifa McKnight’s inaugural year as the superintendent of Montgomery County Public Schools, MoCo360 interviewed more than 25 students, parents, educators, stakeholders and officials to reveal key themes of feedback about the efficacy of her leadership. While many applaud McKnight’s ability to connect with constituents and appreciate her administration’s emphasis on eradicating racism and bigotry from the school system, students and parents alike expressed concern about transparency. Em Espey/MoCo360

SINCLAIR AGREES TO PAY $85,000 TO SETTLE EEOC DISABILITY BIAS LAWSUIT: Television station owner Sinclair has agreed to pay $85,000 in back pay and damages to settle a disability discrimination lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. The Hunt Valley-based broadcaster suspended then fired a help desk technician who worked at a Cockeysville office after learning she was diagnosed with schizoaffective disorder, the federal agency said Thursday. Lorraine Mirabella/The Baltimore Sun

MOORE URGES COMPASSION FOR SUBSTANCE ABUSERS AS STATE FOCUSES ON OPIOIDS: Gov. Wes Moore (D) issued a proclamation Thursday recognizing International Overdose Awareness Day in Maryland, as state and federal officials alike take a particular focus on opioids such as fentanyl that contribute to a rising number of overdose deaths. Moore urged Marylanders to support people in their lives struggling with substance use, according to a press release Thursday from Maryland’s Opioid Operational Command Center.  Danielle J. Brown/ Maryland Matters

BGE-BALTO. DEAL COULD COST TAXPAYERS $860 MILLION: The controversial deal Mayor Brandon Scott inked with Baltimore’s dominant utility provider over access to the city-owned underground conduit could come at a steep price for the company’s customers: $860 million over 50 years. That’s the finding of the Maryland Office of the People’s Counsel, an independent state agency representing ratepayer interests in Baltimore Gas and Electric Co.’s ongoing rate case. Adam Willis/The Baltimore Banner

STATE SAYS BALTO. CO. SCHOOLS ILLEGALLY BANNED STUDENT FROM CLASS: Baltimore County Public Schools violated the law when the school system banned a student who allegedly committed a sex offense from in-person instruction, according to the Maryland State Board of Education. Cassidy Jensen/The Baltimore Sun

OPINION: REGULATING AI’s USE IN POLITICAL ADS IS IMPERATIVE: Whether AI technology will improve the world or create a “Skynet” dystopia is unclear. That it will profoundly affect how candidates run for office and how political actors compete in the marketplace of ideas is not. With elections approaching, Maryland’s elected officials should address this issue expeditiously. Thomas R. Bundy III & Andrew D. Herman/Maryland Matters

About The Author

Regina Holmes

Contributing editor Regina Holmes has worked as a journalist for over 30 years. She was an assistant business editor at the Miami Herald and an assistant city editor at Newsday in New York City, where she helped supervise coverage of 9/11, anthrax attacks and the August 2003 Northeast Blackout. As an assistant managing editor of the Baltimore Examiner, she helped launch the free tabloid in 2006. Before joining Maryland Reporter, she was the managing editor for Washington, D.C.-based Talk Media News, where she supervised digital, radio and video production of news reports for over 400 radio stations. The Baltimore native is a graduate of Vassar College and Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism.

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