State Roundup: Police Bill Of Rights Targeted; GOP Solutions; Subpoena For Mcgrath

MORE THAN OPPOSITION:The newly elected Senate GOP leader, Sen. Bryan Simonaire (R-Anne Arundel) does not see Republicans as merely an opposition party, Bryan Renbaum reports for Maryland Reporter. The minority party in the General Assembly needs to be focused on solutions, Simonaire continued.

STEPS TO REPEAL OFFICER BILL OF RIGHTS: A group of state lawmakers endorsed repealing the Maryland Law Enforcement Officers’ Bill of Rights, Pamela Wood reports for the Sun. The move by the House of Delegates workgroup is a tentative first step toward revoking a law that many believe protects police officers from being held accountable for bad acts.

  • The General Assembly has moved considerably to the left in the past two years and is taking action after protests arising from the death of George Floyd, Ovetta Wiggins reports for the Post. Still, any significant overhaul would draw strong pushback from the Maryland Fraternal Order of Police, which holds sway in Annapolis.
  • The vote for repeal is the strongest rejection yet from state lawmakers weighing the future of the controversial 1974 law, Madeleine O’Neill reports for the USA Today Network.
  • Montgomery County Del. Gabriel Acevero, one of the workgroup members and a staunch advocate for repealing the law, went so far as to say, “Maryland provided the blueprint to America on how to protect corrupt and racist cops by passing the Law Enforcement Officers’ Bill of Rights and providing these undue and unnecessary protections for law enforcement officers that ordinary citizens do not have,” Rachel Baye and Nathan Sterner report for WYPR.

SUBPEONAS ISSUED TO FORMER GOV CHIEF OF STAFF: Maryland state lawmakers issued subpoenas for Gov. Larry Hogan’s former chief of staff and another man to appear in two weeks before a committee investigating his six-figure payout from his prior job at a state agency, Pamela Wood writes for the Sun. The subpoenas also seek documents.

  • Leading the investigation is independent counsel Ward B. Coe, partner at Gallagher Evelius & Jones, LLP, Bryan Sears reports for The Daily Record. Coe comes to the committee with experience both in fraud and internal investigations as well as with the legislative panel reviewing the severance package.
  • The subpoenas are the first the General Assembly has issued in 15 years, Bruce DePuyt reports for Maryland Matters.

SCHOOL SYSTEMS REPORT POSITIVE EMPLOYEE TESTS: Two Anne Arundel County Public Schools employees who work at the Millersville supply warehouse tested positive for the coronavirus and others at the warehouse may have been exposed, Naomi Harris reports for the Capital Gazette.

  • In Frederick County, two employees of the Frederick County Public Schools Food and Nutrition Services department have tested positive for COVID-19, Katryna Perera reports for The Frederick News-Post.
  • Garrett County has also had a second person associated with the schools test positive for the coronavirus, but officials did not identify if it was a student or staff member, or the location involved, The Cumberland Times-News is reporting.
  • Two more staff members have tested positive at Greensboro Elementary School in Caroline County, Angela Price reports for The (Easton) Star-Democrat.

CITY TEACHERS UNION OUTRAGED ON REOPENING DECISION: After Baltimore City School leaders announced some students will be back in the classroom in November, the Teachers’ Union said the decision was “the most disrespectful thing the school district could have ever done,” Ava-joye Burnett reports for WJZ.

  • Objections include that the plan lacks specifics and demonstrates a lack of trust, Tim Tooten reports for WBAL TV.

MOCO CORONAVIRUS AID HANDLING QUESTIONED: Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich defended his administration’s handling of millions of dollars in federal COVID-19 aid days after the county council criticized his office for failing to get assistance to residents in need sooner, Kate Ryan reports for WTOP.

  • Adam Pagnucco provides some commentary on the council’s comments at Seventh State. 

BMORE ISSUES CONTRACTS TO TWO COMPANIES INVOLVED IN “HEALTHY HOLLY:” The Baltimore City Board of Estimates approved two contracts for employee health insurance with two companies who were “at the center” of former Mayor Catherine Pugh’s criminal conviction, Mark Reutter writes for Baltimore Brew.

BALLOT BOX GUARD SHOT OVERNIGHT: “A security guard watching over an election ballot box was shot during what police believe may have been an attempted robbery,” Brandon Ingram reports for WMAR.

INVESTIGATION CALLED FOR IN POSSIBLE VIRTUAL MEETING HACK: “Baltimore County Board of Education members are calling on state authorities to investigate ‘inappropriate audio’ of what sounded like a moaning woman that interrupted a late-night board meeting Tuesday,” Lillian Reed reports for the Sun.

  • When the sounds of apparently pornographic moaning took over the Board of Education meeting on Tuesday, after 1 a.m., the student member of the Board was the only one with his camera on, and he looked shocked, Katie Kyros reports for WBFF.

LAWMAKERS UPDATED ON TELEHEALTH, MORE REGS EXPECTED: Maryland legislators are expected to consider several bills expanding and refining the state’s telehealth laws when the General Assembly reconvenes in January, Bruce DePuyt writes for Maryland Matters.

PASS/FAIL FOR LAWMAKERS ON THE ENVIRONMENT: The Maryland League of Conservation Voters found climate change and transportation were the two largest areas of failure for the 2020 General Assembly session in the environmental group’s annual scorecard, Elizabeth Shwe reports for Maryland Matters.

PG SCHOOL CONSTRUCTION DEAL MOVES FORWARD: The Prince George’s County Council is taking steps toward approving a first-of-its kind public-private partnership for school construction, Rachel Chason writes for the Post.

CONGRESSIONAL INCUMBENTS SEEK REELECTION: All eight of Maryland’s congressional representatives are seeking reelection and are expected to pull it off with little trouble, but several challengers have mounted aggressive campaigns, Meagan Flynn reports for the Post.