Baltimore Area Gets More Than $450K To Help Minority, Women-Owned Businesses, Lawmakers Announce

Baltimore’s congressional delegation on Thursday announced the region will get more than $450,000 to help support minority- and women-owned businesses and create jobs. The money will come from the U.S. Department of Commerce through the Opportunity Zones Assistance Project, Sens. Ben Cardin and Chris Van Hollen and Congressmen Kweisi Mfume, John Sarbanes and Dutch Ruppersberger said in a joint news release. Local funding will also help cover some of the initiative’s costs. (WJZ-TV)

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PG lawmaker pushes for special session on police reforms

One Maryland lawmaker is lobbying his colleagues for a special session to address police brutality. Del. Julian Ivey, D-Prince George’s, is calling for the special session to begin by July 31 in the wake of several recent police custody deaths of African Americans that has sparked a nationwide movement to address racial inequities and the treatment of minorities by law enforcement. (Daily Record)

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Local Elections Directors Want ‘Hybrid’ Voting In November

Local elections officials in Maryland have told state leaders they are best prepared to hold a “hybrid” election in the fall amid the pandemic with both voting by mail and more in-person voting centers than during the primary. In a letter Friday to the governor, legislative leaders and top state election officials, the Maryland Association of Election Officials suggested a system that would involve mailing ballots to all active voters, the Baltimore Sun reported. (WBAL)

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Maryland GOP Senators Oppose Preferred Mail-In Voting

The Maryland Senate Republican caucus said Thursday its members are opposed to holding a preferred mail-in election in November. The letter to the Maryland State Board of Elections was sent after two leading Maryland Senate Democrats recommended earlier this week for the board to prepare for a “hybrid, mail-in preferred election” due to the coronavirus. (AP)

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Carroll County commissioner withdraws diversity commission initiative after NAACP chapter president expresses opposition

In the Board of County Commissioners meeting on Thursday, Commissioner Eric Bouchat withdrew his initiative to establish a diversity commission after the president of Carroll County’s NAACP chapter expressed her opposition toward it. In the commissioners’ previous meeting on June 18, Bouchat, R-District 4, proposed the diversity commission initiative — which the commissioners decided to rename from the African American Heritage Commission — and received support from the rest of the board. They discussed holding a panel to hear thoughts and opinions from the community on the initiative. (Carr Co Times)

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Former Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh Reports To Federal Prison In Alabama For Three-Year Sentence

Former Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh is now a federal inmate. Pugh has reported for her three-year prison sentence at a minimum security facility in Alabama. In February, Pugh was sentenced to three years in prison and three years probation on federal fraud and tax charges tied to her “Healthy Holly” book scheme. (WJZ-TV)

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Unions: Hogan administration seeking layoffs, pay cuts for state workers to address economic impact of COVID-19

Gov. Larry Hogan is considering layoffs and pay cuts for state employees as a way of balancing a state budget that’s been hit by slow tax collections due to the coronavirus pandemic. Hogan could propose a series of budget cuts, potentially affecting the state’s more than 100,000 employees, as early as Friday. (Balt Sun)

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As BPW Prepares for Budget Cuts, Liberal Groups Argue They’ll Hurt Md.’s Neediest

The Board of Public Works, which has sole domain over the state budget when the General Assembly isn’t in session, is expected to vote on a round of spending cuts at its next meeting Wednesday — the first day of the 2021 fiscal year. With state revenues cratering due to the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, state Budget and Management Secretary David R. Brinkley is preparing recommendations for proposed cuts for the BPW — the governor, the comptroller and the treasurer — to consider. It is not clear yet how big the cuts will be or which state agencies and programs will be targeted. (Md Matters)

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