State Roundup: Glitches With State’s New Jobless Insurance Portal Hampering Claims

PROBLEMS WITH NEW STATE JOBLESS INSURANCE PORTAL: An updated online system designed to replace the Maryland Department of Labor’s previous unemployment insurance portal caused widespread confusion and frustration among claimants who said they could not file claims upon its launch Sunday, Hallie Miller of the Sun reports.

JOBLESS RATE DROPS, STILL MUCH HIGH THAN LAST YEAR: Maryland added 24,200 jobs in August and the state’s unemployment rate dropped from 7.6% to 6.9%, according to preliminary data released by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics on Friday morning, writes Bryan Renbaum for MarylandReporter. The state added 53,900 jobs in July. The national unemployment rate is at 8.4%

  • Bryan Sears of the Daily Record writes that the unemployment rate for August is nearly twice the 3.6% reported for the same time in 2019. There are 175,800 fewer jobs compared to that same time a year ago, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

KOREAN TEST KITS SHOW RELIABITY FAILURES: Hundreds of thousands of coronavirus tests that Gov. Larry Hogan bought from South Korea in April to much fanfare appear to be showing reliability problems, returning a spate of false positive results to nursing homes around the state, Meredith Cohn and Pamela Wood of the Sun report.

STATE PANEL TO BEGIN DOCUMENTING LYNCHINGS: A state panel will begin documenting Maryland’s 42 known racial terror lynchings, the first such government-backed commission created to confront a jurisdiction’s brutal history of lynchings and increase the public’s understanding of the practice, Ovetta Wiggins of the Post reports.

EXPANDED INDOOR DINING STARTS TODAY: Gov. Larry Hogan issued an order Friday allowing restaurants to offer expanded indoor dining starting Monday, but not all local governments in the Baltimore region intend to go along with it, Pamela Wood of the Sun reports. Hogan announced his decision to increase capacity limits to 75% after visiting bars and restaurants in downtown Annapolis,

PROTESTERS URGE HOGAN TO REOPEN BIZ: Nearly a hundred Marylanders, most without masks, walked around State Circle and Church Circle in Annapolis on Friday evening, urging Republican Gov. Larry Hogan to reopen Maryland businesses and schools, Elizabeth Shwe reports for Maryland Matters.

MO CO CASES RISE BY 120 IN DAY: Montgomery County added 120 confirmed cases of COVID-19 on Saturday morning, an increase of 0.55% from Friday, reports Bethesda Beat.

CARROLL BEGINS REPORTING ‘PROBABLE’ CASES: For the first time Friday, the Carroll County Health Department began announcing the number of COVID-19 tests that are considered probable but not confirmed. These “probable” cases stem from Carroll countians who tested positive with what’s called an antigen test — rather than a molecular test like those offered at state-run testing sites, Brian Compere of the Carroll County Times reports.

UM’s LACK OF COMMUNICATION CONCERNS STUDENTS: University of Maryland students are concerned about the confusing communications as well as lack thereof as they seek information on their Covid-19 test results, Madison Peek of the Diamondback reports.

BA CO UNION TO SURVEY TEACHERS ON RETURN TO CLASS: John Lee of WYPR-FM reports that the Baltimore County teachers’ union will survey its members this week to learn what they think about returning to classrooms. This comes as the union calls on school superintendent Darryl Williams to rescind his decision to have teachers report to school buildings Oct. 19.

WINDOWS OPEN FOR MO CO SCHOOL BUSES: Maximizing physical distancing by seating students in every other seat isn’t the only COVID-19 safety precaution being weighed by local school systems and they prepare for transporting students to school — many will open the bus windows, Neal Augenstein of WTOP-FM reports.

***Emerging Energy Storage Solutions & Grid Modernization This FREE Webinar on September 24th will examine energy storage in Maryland, beyond the pilot project proposals currently under consideration by the PSC. Find out which storage technologies are applicable- and at what scale- to provide value to the grid and facilitate resilience. Presenters will examine Vehicle to Grid capability and share examples of deployment in time-of-use environments, including Maryland based microgrid projects.***

HOWARD PARENTS WANT LEARNING CENTERS RE-OPENED: About 30 Howard County parents, students and teachers held a peaceful protest Sunday to reopen Howard County’s Children’s learning centers, Lauren Moses reports for WBFF-TV.

REMEMBERING JUSTICE GINSBURG: After Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg died Friday at 87 years old, reactions poured in from political figures and advocates nationwide, including those from Maryland and Baltimore. Gov. Larry Hogan said, “Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg was a revered jurist, a trailblazer for women’s rights, and a fierce advocate for justice.” Said Sen. Ben Cardin: “Words are insufficient to describe the loss to our country. Justice Ginsburg was a trailblazer, a jurist and a public servant. She set a standard of excellence that few will ever match.” Nathan Ruiz and Sameer Rao write the story for the Sun.

WICOMICO PICKS ADMIN AS ACTING EXEC: Seeking to end a weeks-long standoff that at times bordered on political soap opera, the Wicomico County Council adopted a resolution Friday to keep County Administrator John D. Psota in place as acting county executive likely until the 2022 election, Louis Peck reports for Maryland Matters. Del. Carl L. Anderton Jr. (R-Lower Shore), who was present at Friday’s meeting, was one of four individuals to apply for the vacancy in early August, and was initially seen as the frontrunner for the post.

CARROLL SEEKS STATE EMERGENCY FUNDS: Carroll County Government hopes to tap into a $10 million pot of emergency coronavirus relief funds being offered by the state to benefit law enforcement, youth and victim services, reports Mary Grace Keller for the Carroll County Times. The Board of County Commissioners on Thursday voted to apply for nearly $373,000 in funding from the Governor’s Office of Crime Prevention, Youth, and Victim Services. The $10.5 million in new federal funding comes to Maryland from the U.S. Bureau of Justice Assistance.

KLACIK’s ‘VIEW’ SEGMENT ENDS ABRUPTLY: A segment of ABC’s “The View” with Baltimore-area congressional candidate Kimberly Klacik ended abruptly on Friday when the Republican answered a question about the coronavirus by saying that host Joy Behar “paraded around in blackface,” Jeff Barker reports for the Sun. By midafternoon, Donald Trump Jr., the president’s son, had joined the growing social media conversation about the episode.

CITY PUSHES FOR INDIGENOUS PEOPLES’ DAY: Baltimore City Council President Brandon Scott will introduce a bill Monday to officially change the name of Columbus Day to Indigenous Peoples’ Day in the city, Penelope Blackwell of the Sun reports.