MoCo Private Schools Debate Heading to Federal Courts

Following a week of back-and-forth regarding the authority to allow or deny private schools to re-open for in-person classes, the dispute between Montgomery County and the State of Maryland appears to be headed to the federal courts. In a predictable turn following several days of salvos, the matter of approving (or denying) private school in-person education in Montgomery County appears to be headed to federal court. The County, whose public schools will be remote offerings…

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Maryland Joins Multistate Pact to Expand COVID-19 Antigen Testing

Maryland Governor Larry Hogan, Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards, Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker, Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer, Ohio Governor Mike DeWine, and Virginia Governor Ralph Northam today announced a major bipartisan interstate compact with the Rockefeller Foundation to expand the use of rapid point-of-care antigen tests to slow the spread of COVID-19. By banding together, the states are demonstrating to private manufacturers that there is significant demand to scale up the production of these tests,…

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Census Bureau Will End Count Early

The U.S. Census Bureau yesterday announced that will end all counting efforts on September 30, one month earlier than originally planned. With roughly 4 out of 10 Maryland households yet to be counted, the bureau now has less than two months to ensure a fair and accurate count. https://twitter.com/msanderson_MACo/status/1290465564687835143 In April, the agency said it would need until October 31 to accurately count all American residents due to delays spurred by the COVID-19 pandemic. Now,…

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Ocean City Topless Ban Headed for Appeal

Five women are appealing the decision of a federal judge in April that upheld Ocean City's 2017 law prohibiting female toplessness in public spaces such as the beaches and the Boardwalk. Citing 2019 case law, a federal judge ruled back in April that the elected officials of Ocean City were best placed to gauge the resident’s sensibilities towards female toplessness and were within their abilities to enact the ban. Plaintiffs in the case asserted that…

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Hogan to Counties: Bar/Restaurant Compliance Key To Continued MD Re-Opening

A July 14 letter to county leaders, from Governor Hogan, stressed the importance of keeping bars and restaurants in compliance with safety and distancing orders - connecting this to potential trends in coronavirus caseloads in the state. Governor Hogan is calling on counties - including Local Health Departments, liquor boards, and local law enforcement  - to emphasize compliance with statewide orders for bar and restaurant practices, responding to the continuing coronavirus threat. Read or download…

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State to Counties: Ramp Up Testing, Numbers Going Public

A June 18 letter to county leaders urges each jurisdiction to strive to test 10% of its population for COVID-19 - to further promote tracking and data on the coronavirus's spread and effects. The Maryland Department of Health has issued a series of goals for additional testing, seeking to reach... "the goal of testing 10% of the population in each jurisdiction and ensuring that vulnerable populations and areas identified as potential community outbreaks are tested…

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Governor Vetoes Kirwan, Tax, Fiscal Bills in Silent Session Cap-off

On the final day allotted for his decision regarding legislation passed by the General Assembly during its abbreviated session, Governor Hogan vetoed 37 bills, including the high profile Kirwan Blueprint school funding legislation, and others with fiscal effects. Governor Hogan, through statements and in the absence of any traditional "bill signing ceremony," revealed his decisions regarding legislation passed during the recent legislative session, itself abbreviated by coronavirus worries. The bottom line - 37 vetoed bills,…

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Franchot Demands Transparency in Federal Aid to Small Businesses

Maryland Comptroller Peter Franchot joins the Pennsylvania Auditor General and Delaware State Auditor in demanding transparency in the federal Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). Yesterday, Comptroller Franchot and State Auditors from Pennsylvania and Delaware joined together to call for transparency in the federal Paycheck Protection Program. The Program was launched by congress through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act to provide potentially forgivable loans to small businesses who continue to retain and pay…

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Procurement Problems Amid Pandemic

As state and local governments struggle to obtain necessary resources to effectively combat the spread of COVID-19, many are having to adapt their procurement practices. Procurement divisions in the state are scrambling to procure a variety of different products and services during the COVID-19 crisis. A nationwide issue is a lack of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), and governments are having difficulty securing the large volume required. An article in Yahoo Life details some of the challenges…

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MD CARES Plan: $364M, Split Between Local Health and Local Govts

The State's guidance for distribution of the federal CARES funds includes $364 million of local distributions -one half directed to local Health Departments in 19 counties, the other half to the county and municipal governments incurring new costs in combating the crisis. A letter from the Maryland Department of Budget and Management, on April 16, set forth the distribution plan for the federal CARES Act funding. Under the bill, large local jurisdictions (over 500,000 in…

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