Friday Five | September 18, 2020

Each Friday, the Maryland Chamber will bring you the top five news stories from the intersection of business and government. Here are this week’s top five stories.

 1. Fully Modernized BEACON 2.0 Scheduled to Launch Monday, September 21

A fully modernized BEACON 2.0 unemployment insurance system will be launching for claimants on Sunday, September 20, and for employers on Monday, September 21. BEACON 2.0 is a multi-year project dating back to 2015 that integrates all benefits, appeals, tax, and reemployment functions of the unemployment insurance system.

In addition to all that claimants can already accomplish in the current BEACON One-Stop application, launched to accommodate the unprecedented surge of new claims during the COVID-19 pandemic, the BEACON 2.0 system will offer claimants and employers dozens of new online features. Claimants will have the ability to update their claims, see details of eligibility issues, respond to fact-finding questions, file appeals, submit supporting documents for appeals or adjudication, and track overpayments.

To complete this transition, Maryland’s current system will be taken offline from Wednesday, September 16 at 5:00 p.m. to Sunday, September 20 at 12:01 a.m. to convert all of the data from the legacy system.

Find more details here.

2. MDOT Loses Showdown with Purple Line Contractor

Baltimore City Circuit Court Judge Jeffrey M. Geller ruled in favor of the Purple Line Transit Partners, allowing them to sever ties with the Maryland Department of Transportation (MDOT) over approximately $800 million in cost overruns.

A top PLTC official, construction manager Scott Risley, testified Thursday morning that because of design changes and shifting guidance from the Maryland Department of the Environment, the firms building the Purple Line repeatedly warned the state that the project was in “grave danger” and that the company had “no choice” but to withdraw.

In a statement, MDOT spokeswoman Erin Henson said, “While we dispute PLTP’s right to terminate for Extended Delay, MDOT and MTA will work with PLTP on an orderly transition. MDOT and MTA remain committed to both completing the project and protecting the state’s interests.”

Read the full story here.

3. Progressives Demand Legislature Hold Special Session, Leaders Refuse

What started as a publicity stunt to show that the legislature could meet while masked and social distancing turned into a hostile political event when Senate President Bill Ferguson and House Speaker Adrienne Jones appeared.

A crowd of more than a hundred members of the Special Session of the People’s General Assembly organized by the most progressive groups of the Democratic left gathered in Annapolis. The group called for a special session to pass new protections for renters, addicts, essential workers and to override Gov. Larry Hogan’s vetoes of spending for historically Black colleges and for new aid for public schools.

A majority of the legislature can petition the governor to call them back into session, but they have not done so. Jones, a Baltimore City Democrat, suggested they put pressure on Hogan to take some of the actions that they were asking for.

For more on this story, click here.

4. Maryland Chamber of Commerce upcoming events

9th Annual Maryland Chamber Cup

#Maskup, get out from behind the screen and join us at stunning Cattail Creek Country Club on Monday, October 26, for a fun and relaxing day on the golf course. Early-bird pricing is extended to the end of September. Round up your colleagues, invite your clients, or come on your own and we’ll team you up. Reserve your spots today!

Maryland business leaders and Maryland Chamber members look forward to this event all year, this year more than ever. We look forward to connecting with you and promise to deliver an experience that’s truly “above par”!

Registration includes:

Your participation in Chamber Cup and other MDCC fundraisers allows us to continually enhance our members’ experience and work toward achieving our shared goal of growing jobs, expanding our economy, and supporting our communities, now and into the future.

Click here to register for the Chamber Cup

Thank you to the Maryland Chamber’s Trustee sponsors!

Thank you to our Eagle Sponsors!

Thank you to our Tee Sponsors!

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Cattail Creek Country Club has implemented the following measures per CDC guidelines that we ask all attendees to follow:

5. Maryland and Pennsylvania Lawmakers Join Forces to Award Medal of Honor Denied to a Black WWII Medic

Members of Congress from Maryland and Pennsylvania vowed on Tuesday to force the U.S. Army to “right a historical wrong” by bestowing the Medal of Honor on a doctor who saved countless lives during the D-Day invasion of Normandy during World War II.

“He was denied that Medal of Honor because of the color of his skin,” Sen. Chris Van Hollen (D-Maryland) told reporters. “It is time that we right this wrong.”

Cpl. Waverly B. Woodson Jr., then a medic, was heralded as a hero when accounts of his bravery and service circulated back home. But because he was African-American, the military did not honor him as it should have, sponsors of new bipartisan legislation alleged.

Find the full story here.

Upcoming calendar of legislative briefings and hearings

Tuesday, September 21, 2020

Wednesday, September 22, 2020

Wednesday, September 22, 2020

Reminder: Fill out your census.

Maryland Planning Secretary Robert McCord is asking the business community to help spread the word by asking their employees and customers to complete the census. The date to complete the 2020 Census has been bumped up to September 30, 2020, from the end of October. Census data is important beyond simply determining congressional lines and it may play a factor in federal COVID-19 vaccine distribution to states when one is developed. Make sure you’re doing your part by filling out the census and encouraging others to do so as well. You can find more information at

Click here to take the 2020 Census





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