State Roundup: Fired State Official Threatens Lawsuit; Speaker Seeks Rent Aid For Tenants

FIRED STATE OFFICIAL THREATENS SUIT: The Maryland official fired over the weekend for posting “divisive” memes, statements and images on social media — including several supportive of the Kenosha, Wisc., shooting suspect — said he does not regret his actions and will seek all possible legal remedies for his termination, Hallie Miller of the Sun reports. A video of former employee Arthur “Mac” Love tops the article.

  • “I’m not asking nor do I want my job back, would you?” Arthur (Mac) Love IV said during a press conference outside Lockerman Bundy Elementary School in Baltimore Monday afternoon. “I just want my life back — I’m an innocent American.” Elizabeth Shwe reports the story for Maryland Matters.
  • Love’s spokesman brought up a similar controversy involving Comptroller Peter Franchot’s chief of staff Len Foxwell, who in April wrote on social media that someone should, “lure (Trump supporters) into a big, big warehouse… bar the door and then let Darwin work his magic” amid the coronavirus pandemic. Foxwell apologized but did not step down amid calls for his resignation, WJZ-TV reports.

SPEAKER JONES SEEKS RENT AID FOR TENANTS: As Maryland courts resume hearing failure-to-pay-rent cases this week, Maryland Speaker of the House Adrienne A. Jones on Monday called for Gov. Larry Hogan to increase funding to help tenants at risk of being evicted, Jean Marbella of the Sun reports.

STUDENTS RETURN TO LEARNING: After a socially distanced summer, Montgomery County’s roughly 166,000 public school students on Monday were tasked with logging on to classes from home, a historic start to the new academic year, Caitlynn Peetz reports for Bethesda Beat.

PSC EXTENDS MORATORIUM ON UTILITY SHUTOFFS: The Maryland Public Service Commission has extended the moratorium on terminating residential gas, water and electric services through Nov. 15, citing the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, Phil Davis of the Sun reports.

  • The PSC also issued a number of requirements including that utilities supply residential ratepayers with a 45-day notice that service will be terminated. Residential customers in arrears would have 45 days from receipt of a notice to work out a payment plan with their utility or to apply for energy assistance programs, Josh Kurtz reports for Maryland Matters.

STATE PLANS TO BEAM INTERNET TO STUDENTS: Maryland plans to build a wireless network for education that could beam a reliable, high-speed internet connection to homebound students, reaching the state’s most rural, isolated pockets. But the network will likely take a year to build, reports Lillian Reed for the Sun.

The pandemic has been a game changer for so many aspects of the economy and the energy sector is no exception. From job losses and future employment opportunities to fluctuating oil prices and on-shoring of the supply chain, this FREE webinar on September 3rd offers high level perspectives on the current impacts and market trends, and kicks off the Maryland Clean Energy Center’s Connecting to the Energy Economy Speaker Series.***

STATE REPUBLICANS SAY MAIL-IN VOTING INCREASES FRAUD: Maryland’s Republican lawmakers urged the state’s voters to cast their ballots in-person rather than by mail in November’s general election, saying that the former better ensures a more accurate count than the latter. Del. Brian Chisholm (R-Anne Arundel) told Bryan Renbaum of in a phone interview on Monday that mail-in voting increases the chance of fraud. The State Board of Elections has encouraged Maryland’s voters to cast their ballots by mail due to the pandemic.

MAIL-IN BALLOTS ARRIVING; WHAT’s NEXT: Maryland’s much-awaited mail-in ballot applications have begun to arrive in voters’ mailboxes across the state, but before you fill yours out, there are some things you should know to help you through the process, Emily Opilo of the Sun reports.

OPINION: TRUTH HURTS: In a commentary for MarylandReporter, Chris Anderson writes that “Over the past week, I have received many calls from friends and family asking me about the recent videos by Kim Klacik.  My response to them: ‘The truth hurts.’ ”

HOGAN ROAD PROJECT CHANGED OVER YEARS: When Gov. Larry Hogan unveiled his plan to widen three interstate highways in September 2017, he and then-Transportation Secretary Pete K. Rahn boasted that it would be the largest public-private partnership in North America and would be “absolutely transformative.” Hogan’s project has undergone significant changes in the nearly three years since he and Rahn announced it, Bruce DePuyt of Maryland Matters reports.

59 MO CO SCHOOL STAFF CONTRACTED COVID SINCE MARCH: Fifty-nine Montgomery County Public Schools staff members have reported contracting COVID-19 to the school system since the pandemic began in early March, Caitlynn Peetz of Bethesda Beat reports.

OPINION: COVID NEEDS CONTEXT: In a column for Eye on Annapolis, Herb McMillan opines, “We are presented with COVID-19 information dots daily. Unfortunately, cases, hospitalizations, and deaths are presented without context. … With context, one can see County Executive Steuart Pittman’s decision to keep public school classrooms closed, as well as his interference with private and religious classrooms reopening, are based more on political science than medical science.”
FEDS SEEK 3 YEARS IN PRISON FOR PUGH AIDE: Justin Fenton of the Sun reports that federal prosecutors are seeking nearly three years in prison for ex-Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh’s aide Gary Brown Jr., saying he carried out an “eight-year pattern of nonstop criminality.”

EX B’MORE MAYOR CANDIDATE LISTS RESIDENCE AS COUNTY: A Baltimore Police officer who ran for the Republican nomination for mayor — vowing to work from City Hall during the day, then patrol the streets at night — lists a home in Baltimore County as his principal residence, Justin Fenton reports in the Sun.

NATIONAL HARBOR LAYS OFF 779: MGM National Harbor is laying off 779 employees effective Monday as part of a larger workforce reduction for casino operator MGM Resorts International, according to reports. MGM is citing business impacts related to the Covid-19 pandemic as the impetus for the company-wide layoffs, Drew Hansen of the Washington Business Journal reports.